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06-18-2011, 10:47 PM   #1
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So my Wife is going to Antartica!

As title, lucky her! She is going on a cruise to Antartica which possibly includes ground time so I'm seeking suggestions for lens and gear which would be indispensable in this environment.

What I have already:
K7 and R-Strap (Kx will stay at home with me)
FA31 1.8
Sigma 17-70 (2.8-4.5)
Kx Kit DA 18-55
DAL 55-300
SMC A 70-200 (f4)
52mm cheap UV filter
72mm HOYA Circular Polarisor with 52-72mm step up ring.

Original Battery and third party Battery.
Asus 10" Netbook with 160GB Hard Drive.
Slik F630 Tripod
Crumpler Shoulder Bag - Small carry bag/ fits body and two big lenses.

My main concern is the temperature, would it be wise to invest in a WR lens?
And should I use UV filters? (I don't normally I just Hood and Cap)

Just brainstorming as I have never shot in these cold conditions before.

06-19-2011, 12:44 AM   #2
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Yes, the very low temperatures may well be a problem. I think the entry-level Pentax DSLRs tend to have a specified lowest operating temperature of 0C, but I'm sure you'll actually be OK somewhat below this (the monitor may go sluggish though). The K-5 is specified down to -10C, so would be a much better bet.

Low temperature will be a problem for batteries too, and I would think that the Energiser Lithiums would be the only way to go for a K-x.

Another problem with low temperatures is when you go from sub-zero outside to a warm indoor environment, because you'll get condensation on (and worse, in) your camera if you're not careful. So, best to take your camera (and lenses) indoors in a plastic bag until temperatures equalise. Don't be tempted to play with your camera until it's warmed up, and particularly avoid lens changes.

And yes, good quality multicoated UV filters are always going to be a good idea. There's going to be an awful lot of UV flying around down there, and anyway they'll help protect your lenses.
06-19-2011, 01:13 AM   #3
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All the best for the trip (for her...).
m42man has addressed your K-7's potential (and very likely) issues during the stay. All I could suggest is that the camera and (hopefully) weather-sealed lenses will provide adequate protection from malfunction if used in the subzero temperatures for limited time periods.

Hope it works out well, and be sure to report back her findings.
06-19-2011, 02:19 AM   #4
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Oops, sorry, I got the impression you had a K-x (I'll have to learn to read!); of course, with a K-7 you're specified down to -10C (14F) also.

May I echo Ash's sentiments!

06-19-2011, 04:03 AM   #5
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I'd take the k-7, sigma 17-50 and pentax 55-300. If you want to invest in something new, I would consider the da 15 limited, or sigma 10-20. Antartica has some pretty awesome scenery.

I haven't been there, but I have been in the arctic several times, and I live pretty close to the arctic border. WR is not needed for cold alone. The only problem could be condensation, but I have never had an issue with it. I just leave my camera in the hall where it's not so warm for a while. Cold is a battery killer however. So keep an extra set on you body! And by on your body, I mean ON your body. Inside pocked, as close to skin as possible. Also keep the camera inside your jacket if possible.
06-19-2011, 04:39 AM   #6
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Isn't this the best excuse to sell the K-7 (after coming back from the trip) and buy a K-5?

Buy a handfull of these $12.04 - Pentax D-LI90 Compatible 1860mAh Battery Pack for Pentax K7/K-7 - Li-Ion Batteries and keep them warm to exchange for the cold one inside the camera.

I have no idea about changing lenses on such a trip, but taking DA*60-250mm/f4 would be a great idea. Just incase the whale descides to keep some distance. For this thing a monopod, a good one is very nice to handle. You can carry camera/lens on the monopod and just put it on your shoulder with camera hanging on your back.

Take the FA 31mm for those nice pictures on the boat.

Put as said the Da15mm on the K-7 and keep it on it for the whole trip (or do this whit the 31mm). Get a sun-sniper for this combo. That is an easy way to carry your second camera.

Have a nice trip.
06-19-2011, 04:53 AM   #7
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Cool trip! (pun)

A soft, collapsible insulated cooler bag large enough to hold the camera and lens(es) or the entire camera bag can be very useful to slow down/stabilize temperature and humidity changes -- especially when frequently going in and out of different environments.

It will also provide some padding (and a bit of floatation) around the type of 'vehicles' she'll be using there. If you're not "boat-people" I'd suggest you get some experience at a local marina with cameras and boats. The ol' sailors ditty "One hand for the ship and one for the sailor" would have included the need for a third hand for cameras if they'd been around then. It's really easy to loose control of ANYTHING you're holding when the floor is moving about.

The insulated cooler works in humid tropical climates around air conditioning and aboard ship or in air conditioned autos too. Just don't store gear in a closed bag in the tropics.

H2
06-19-2011, 05:38 AM   #8
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I recently read a post somewhere on someone's dog sled trip in Iceland or Greenland to the arctic. With the cold, batteries were a problem. I would suggest one in the camera, 2 in the pocket, and one back in the stateroom getting charged. Condensation is a problem. I ran into it when in the tropics - going from an inside air conditioned space, outside - the viewfinder and lens fogged up for about 15 minutes...



06-19-2011, 05:45 AM   #9
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SanDisk Pro UHS-I 45MB/s cards are very good for these conditions. They are expensive, but will last forever. Take some 32GB cards and you will be good to go. Back-up on your small netbook. I have a different brand 10"netbook and for 50 euro I changed the 160GB to a 500GB harddrive so no limitations on that evermore. Bought a little case to make off the original 160GB an external harddrive to carry that works on USB-port.
06-19-2011, 05:49 AM   #10
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Here is a report of a K-7 in the arctic by Thomas (aka Duplo).
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/131291-travel-arctic-tra...otography.html

He's been there again with the k-5...serach this or dpreview or check his blog.
06-19-2011, 07:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Here is a report of a K-7 in the arctic by Thomas (aka Duplo).
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/131291-travel-arctic-tra...otography.html

He's been there again with the k-5...serach this or dpreview or check his blog.
I see Polarbear, so that is a different arctic
06-19-2011, 07:32 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I see Polarbear, so that is a different arctic
Yeah! that's why this puzzle works:

A bear walks south for one kilometer, then it walks west for one kilometer, then it walks north for one kilometer and ends up at the same point from which it started. What color was the bear?
06-19-2011, 07:36 AM   #13
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Personally, I would take both cameras. A decent b/up could make the difference between having new-found friends send her their pictures after something breaks down and having her own special memories. And I don't say this because of the environment but rather the fact that 'whatever can go wrong, will go wrong'. For the same reason, I'd get a cheap external storage drive to b/up the netbook if it has a USB connection or some such.
For the scale of things, just picture the outback; never been there so desert it you prefer. The Sigma ought to handle the wide angles she'll need but a 14mm or 15mm would be nice. The 55-300 will handle most of the wild life because the guides will get you close enough to penguins, seals and, if she's lucky, whales. Something a bit longer would be nice and so would a macro but that's just me. In the middle, the 31mm will do just fine.
Cold? Don't worry about the environment itself. Not a problem if you're careful about condensation. The equipment will not break down due to cold, things will just go a bit slower and stiffer. This includes people on shore trips wearing flotation gear. It's stiff and awkward.
Priorities:
Insulated mittens, not heavy gloves along with a couple of pair of thin liner gloves. You take the liners off and and on when shooting and use the mittens for warming up cold fingers. Gloves are useless for that.
A liner-type balaclava. Lovely warm hats and wool watch caps can compliment the hood on the flotation gear but they get in the way when your eye is pressed to the viewfinder. Ears get cold and a bit of a breeze is exaggerated by wind chill.
Clothing layers from the toes on up. You can take things off on shore but you can't put on what you don't have.
Highly specialised camera gear for these conditions includes plastic, zip-lock bags. Once on deck from a shore trip, remove the SD card, pop camera and all lenses into a zip-lock and don't remove until the temperatures are equalised in the cabin. Spare batteries, one but probably two for each camera body. They won't drain out completely in the cold but will appear to. Pop in a warm one and warm up the cold one next to your body. Polariser is a must, UV not so much except if you are in the 'protect my glass camp'. WR is overblown. Keep a couple of those shower caps they give away in hotels and wide elastic bands in a pocket if it's really bad but otherwise just keep the camera and lens inside the jacket - nice and warm and dry. Plus absorbent lens cloth/cleaning cloth. (I take a few folded paper towels in a pocket however ....) If fact, she should keep the camera inside the jacket whenever she's not shooting.
A ball-head that won't stiffen up too much in the cold is a real plus. Same with a remote cable or IR shutter release. I like the cable (Pentax's own is great) 'cause I keep shoving the IR in a pocket and can't remember which one and cold finger tips make poor search tools.
You wife will get cold long before the gear gives out. If she keeps herself warm, the gear will look after itself. I've tried most of the gimmicks including insulated bags but have always fallen back on something that I can stuff or fold into a pocket. Much easier to handle in the cold.
It's warm here now. Get's up to 36F degrees some days and we'll get 50F in July. But then it will creep back down into the -20's and -30's and I'll still be out shooting with a K5 and K20D, often with one inside my jacket warming up and one outside dong the work.
06-19-2011, 07:50 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Yeah! that's why this puzzle works:

A bear walks south for one kilometer, then it walks west for one kilometer, then it walks north for one kilometer and ends up at the same point from which it started. What color was the bear?
Could be brown. We're getting Polar bear/Grizzles crosses up here as the climate changes called, among other things, Pizzlies. They're not into the Baffin yet but only a matter of time, I suppose. And NO Penguins. That's only in cartoons.
06-19-2011, 07:51 AM   #15
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Did the Antarctic cruise with extensive landings by Zodiacs with a K10. Used the 18-55, Tammy 70- 300, and FA50/1.4. No filters. Since you can only go there in their summer, the temps rarely go below 28F, temperature is a non issue.
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