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Thread: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

  1. #1

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    What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    I am going to take a 2 weeks trips to Antarctica and Chile by Christmas time. I am thinking to bring a digital camera (5D3) and a 4X5 (Chamonix 45H1). The question is what lens should I bring with me.
    For the following three location: Antarctica, Torres del Paine, and Easter island. There is a weight limit for the flight to King Georges island, and for Torres del Paine, I have to balance the weight for the hiking.
    for digital: I have 24-70, 70-200, 400, 85, 35
    for 4X5 I have Schneider 58XL, 80SSXL, 110 SSXL, 150Apo Sironar S, 210 APo Sironar, 300 Fuji C, 360A, 450C, and NIkon SW 90f8
    Would you suggest the lens I should bring with me for Antarctica and Torres del Paine.

  2. #2

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    It depends on what you want to take pictures of, doesn't it? If you shoot portraits at home maybe you will not shoot them in Antarctica.

  3. #3

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    For digital, I like to use 24-70 and 70-200; for LF 4x5, I like to use 150 and 210.

  4. #4

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    My favorite is 110 and 210, but not sure if I should pack wider lens for landscape.

  5. #5

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    This is the problem when you have a lot of equipment. How do you normally choose your lenses when you go someplace to photograph?

  6. #6
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    As a lens designer, I would be concerned with thermal shock. So I recommend relatively new lenses that would deal with thermal shock better (think cemented doublets separating), or lenses that do not have cemented doublets such as a landscape lens or Cooke triplets. Very old school lenses such as rapid rectilinear which have shallow curvature on the cemented surfaces are OK as well.

    Also be sure you have a back up plan for shutters that may not work in the extremely cold temperatures. So that would mean barrel lenses with focal plane shutters, for example. Also, don't forget your polarizing filter.

    I would refer to lens layouts or lens diagrams to evaluate lens choice with shallow curvatures on the cemented surfaces.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    I don't know how close you'll actually get to the peaks in Paine, but a 210 and 300 would probably be smart. Too long and you'll likely have trouble with the incessant wind. I'd leave behind anything ultrs-wide. I've never been there, but did equip my nephew for the first ascent of the face of Escudo, possibly the most difficult technical climb ever done in Soth America. Batteries getting too cold was a predictable problem. So keep a warm spare in a pocket for your meter or whatever.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Oh, and I notice you've got some very nice lenses that are going to be difficult or impossible to replace. Do you really want to risk them under unknown conditions? For that reason alone, I'd personally leave behind the 360A. I will admit I've used that very lens hundreds of times in the mountains, but it's the kind of photography I'm very familiar with - and things do go wrong, including blowing sand. I also shoot a 450C quite a bit, and know that just a tiny bit of wind vibration can spoil of 4x5 shot at that kind of bellows length. You won't be traveling with a camera, but a kite! I'm packing right now for another mountain trip.

  9. #9

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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    For digital, I'd be reluctant to change lenses in the field (dust never sleeps), and I would probably just go with the 24-70. I have to admit that I'm curious about why you have so many lenses. In any case, I agree with the suggestion for 150 and 210, though I would also add a wide angle. But really, only you know what and how you like to shoot. This is kind of like asking what beer should I drink...

    Have fun on the trip. Be sure to look at Elliot Porter's Antarctica photos and Michael Kenna's Easter Island photos, they're sure to give you some inspiration.

    Denny

  10. #10
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: What lens should I bring to Antarctica and Patagonia?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    As a lens designer, I would be concerned with thermal shock. [... snip more good stuff ...]
    An associate, about 87 years-old, has done both poles twice. He uses a Linhof 6x17. I asked him how the focus and shutter performed is deep sub-zero cold and he reluctantly told me that modern lubricants liberated his moral conscience from depending on 'black fish oil', which was extracted from a Dolphin species. Ugh. Is not nature amazing?

    Back on topic: I have several lenses that cannot work at all in cold weather. Have them fixed.

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