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What to pack on Lapland trip

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Fuzzphoto View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fuzzphoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What to pack on Lapland trip
    Posted: 24 September 2017 at 22:02
We're planning a week long trip to Finnish Lapland this winter (probably early february), going husky sledding, scootering, XC skiing, and light trekking. There's not going to be many hours in the day; everything is obviously covered in snow; the temps are probably around -20C. I'm pondering what to take with me. I have quite a lineup, but I'm not sure if it's wise to take my top notch equipment north of the arctic circle. After all, it's just for advanced snapshots.

The one thing I'm sure about taking is an HDR-AS50 action cam, which is almost bomb proof in its IP68(?) case, and can do 1080p60 stabilised video and 12 MP interval photos. Just strap it to my body, one of the dogs' backs, or put it on a pole or whatever.

I'm also taking my smartphone, which is a Oneplus 3.

Then there's the "big stuff"

- A77II: weather sealed, extremely versatile, good low light, excellent video
- NEX-5: compact, able to take any lens I own, but fiddly to operate, mediocre video
- A700: expendable, weather sealed, no video, OVF cumbersome with goggles

Lenses. Really unsure. Here's a couple I'm considering, obviously not my top notch ones:

Sigma 10-20/4-5.6
Samyang 8/3.5 fisheye
Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5
Sigma 28/1.8
Minolta 50/1.7
Minolta 135/2.8

In any case, handling a bag, changing lenses and keeping battery packs warm in those cold temps is going to be a problem. Or is it?

Should I forget about taking an expensive camera and lenses into those temperatures and get a good wide-angle lens for my smartphone (the Oneplus 3 has quite a decent camera) and be done with it?
Joris' Fuzzphoto gallery | A77II, A700+VG, NEX-5, other gear
 



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stiuskr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 September 2017 at 22:57
Let me throw another wrench into the mix since you didn't mention a tripod. Have you thought about night time photography? The Aurora is unpredictable but you'll be under the darkest night skies possible.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 07:55
A77II with 17-70 makes the most sense. Basics covered, the live view will be nice with goggles, get some photography gloves.

At first I was thinking about the 10-20, but just that lens is quite limited and reading what you want to do, I think changing lenses isn't easy. So, basics covered makes sense.

In February there is little light in Scandinavia, your phone's small sensor won't deliver great results.

A small travel tripod makes sense also.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 10:26
I don't know about the oneplus 3, but my Nokia Lumia takes excellent picture in low light provided the subject (and camera!) are still. No good for low-light action, though; if you want that, I would have the thought the A77ii + Min 50mm f1.7 or 28mm f1.8 would be the things to take - maybe pick one lens each trip/day/etc so you don't have to swap them in the cold?

What I sometimes do in the snow is take a compact camera I can leave in an inside pocket and take out just for pics, so it doesn't freeze, but I don't have much experience of sustained low temps.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 13:10
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

I don't know about the oneplus 3, but my Nokia Lumia takes excellent picture in low light provided the subject (and camera!) are still
With a longer shutterspeed or other trickery it is possible to get a decent low-light pics. Also, your Lumia has a 1/1.5" sensor while the Oneplus 3 has a 1/2.8" sensor -that is half the size.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seppoj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 16:10
If you have not fixed your travelling dates; the later in February you go to Lapland the more daylight. For example in Ivalo the day is four hours longer in the end of February than in the beginning.
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fuzzphoto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 21:26
Thanks, all, for your thoughts.

@stiuskr: yup, that's another conundrum. I have a great Velbon Sherpa tripod, but it's just too large. I might get a monopod/actionselfie combo thingy. Or make do with a table top mini tripod

@addy: yes, that would make the most sense, but I happen to like ultra wide angle photography a lot. Then again the 17-70 is f/2.8 at wide angle... good for night shots

I plan on getting thin gloves to wear under thick ones.

@Miranda F: the Oneplus 3 is terrible in low light. Even the HDR-AS50 is better at that.

@seppoj: well, we figured early february would give reasonble daylight, but also reasonable chance of Aurora.


BTW, I neglected to mention I have an 18-55 and a 19/2.8 for the NEX-5. But I don't like to shoot video with the NEX-5 because it crops the frame to 1.8x crop.
Joris' Fuzzphoto gallery | A77II, A700+VG, NEX-5, other gear
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 21:31
I had noticed you have those lenses for the nex-5 and if you had a newer E-mount body I probably would have advised on that. But the 14mp sensor isn't as good as newer sensors (like the one in the A77m2).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote sybersitizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 22:23
Looking at what you anticipate out there ... I would give some thought to buying a second-hand RX100 for the trip. That, the action cam, extra batteries (same type for both cameras), and a small tripod for long exposures.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Swede101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 22:58
Well, an RX100 III, IV or V could be an idea (theese three have wider max aperture than the two earlier models). I have RX100 III myself, and I am always amazed about the image quality this very tiny camera is capable of ! RX100 III has only CDAF though, which really nails focus on non-moving objects but can't follow moving objects.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Swede101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 September 2017 at 23:56
Part of Lappland lies in my home country too (from my nick it is probably not to hard to guess it is Sweden...), and although I have never been that far north, I have experienced -20 C several times.

NEX-5N would not be of much use at such temperatures, the tiny battery would drain very quickly.

No need to worry about A77 II in low temperatures, it will survive, and most probably cope with low temperatures better than you'll do yourself ...


Two things though. First, as already said, you need extra batteries (stored inside your clothes kept warm by body temperature).

Second, at low temperatures, the relative moisture will easily be high. When the camera is out and exposed for half the universe, the camera will "try to warm it up" through radiation, because it is much hotter than the universe... This means that the camera will be cooler than the the surrounding air, which soon may cover the camera with dew or frost (by the physic law of "The cold wall" - don't sure about the English expression).

Usually you should be able to make a good number of photos. But when you are done and ready to go back into your warm house/hotel or whatever, THEN it is advantageous to prepare, because as soon as you go inside, the now cooled camera will be exposed to its biggest and quickest heat shock during the trip. The equipment will instantly be covered by dew. To prevent this you just put it into a plastic bag, squeeze out as much air you are able to, and try to seal the bag opening as good as possible. It doesn't need to be hermetically sealed, I just wrap the plastic bag around the camera and lens (but I am not often doing cold weather photography).

Of course it is not absolutely necessary to use plastic bags. You can just put the camera into the camera bag and close it before you go back into the warm house. Don't take out the camera until it has reached indoor temperature. Perhaps around one hour if stored in a plastic bag, more if stored in the camera bag or backpack.

As already said, don't bring more than two or possibly three lenses, and try to not use more than one for each session.



Edited by Swede101 - 26 September 2017 at 00:40
Gunnar

A77 II; A550; D7D w VC-7D; D7; 500si Super w DB (Unused); NEX-3
20/2,8; 50/1,7 Old; 50/1,8; 28-80 (Unused); 28-80 D; 28-105 RS; 135/2,8; 500/8 Reflex; Tamron 90/2,8 Macro 1:1 (V2); 5600HS(D)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Mark Twain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2017 at 07:37
Hi,

as I am a gearhead I love such threads about what to bring on a trip. First I have to make clear that not bringing decent equipment can result in regret later because maybe you won't have the opportunities to go that particular place a second time.

What you have to consider beside your lens/camera choices is equipment (as already mentioned before). I have photographed several times in temperatures around -20C and it is very important to be sufficiently protected against the cold.

But let's start with cameras and lenses.

I have no idea about weight/size restrictions so I will not take these into account. I would take the A77ii and the A700 (reliable gear is very important under these conditions) so you have a backup with you. Maybe the A77ii is not as reliable as it is a much more complex camera than the A700 but that is just guessing.

In terms of lenses I would take the Sigma 10-20 although it has an aperture of only 4 - 5,6 but it as the widest you own. Furthermore I would take the Minolta 50/1.7 and the 135/2.8. Both can be used for portrait and landscape pictures. You are going to have a great night sky (milkyway/stars!) so an ultra-wideangle would be a must for me.

What I would never dare to leave at home (I would prefer to leave some lenses at home) is a tripod. How am I supposed to take good landscape pictures (especially aurora and milkyway!) without a tripod? You own a good tripod so take that with you ;-)

In terms of additional equipment I use thin silk gloves below my photography gloves which keeps my fingers warm enough. Wearing many layers of clothes also helps to keep the cold outside and adds flexibility to remove some layers while hiking.

As already mentioned before don't take your camera from outside to a warm place. I simply keep it in my backpack which I do not open and store it in the cellar where it is not that warm. You can remove batteries an SD card if you want prior to entering a warm place.

Let us know how you decided finally!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote seppoj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2017 at 08:30
That is interesting- I always thought that aurora borealis activity is at its highest around equinox.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2017 at 09:46
I agree that some kind of tripod is essential, but if you aren't putting long teles on it for birding, it doesn't need to be that big, and if you take the A77ii with its pivoting screen it doesn't need to extend a long way either. A small lightweight carbon one which will lash onto the side of your backpack should do, plus I usually take my Cullman hand tripod which is small but extremely rigid (by far the best I've used that will pack inside a bag). Oh, if you have to put the Cullman in an outside pocket, take off the ball-head first - it tends to unscrew itself and drop off.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A7Rii, A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras ...
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