Expeditions 7: Two Years Around the World on all Seven Continents.

Every Miles A Memory

Expedition Leader
I'll be interested to hear you feedback of the Canon 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L after this trip.

We've shot with it for almost 10 years now and I have a serious love hate relationship with it. I love the versatility of it and it's the lens I usually grab if I'm only bringing one lens, but I seriously hate it's weight. The push pull mechanism can get very sticky and it a dust sucker if you're in that sort of environment. It's slow at focusing, but can produce some amazing images.

Because of all of these gripes, I just ordered a Sigma 18-250 f/3.5-6.3. for a few different reasons to compare it to our Canon. I also read a ton of reviews on the Tamron 18-270, but having had a Tamron lens before and selling it quickly due to the awful noise it makes while trying, and I use the term TRYING to focus very seriously, I went towards the Sigma very easily. We have multiple Sigma lenses and they've withstood some serious abuse. They're pretty fast, quiet and you can save thousands when it comes to comparing them to their Canon equivalents.

For one, the sigma is much smaller, drawing much less attention to the shooter when using the lens as a walk-around, all-around lens. It's hard to be out in public places while traveling with the Canon 28-300 and not have someone comment on it. I'm sure with the gear and trucks you'll be drawing enough attention already, so that might not be a big deal, but that's just something to think about. I love the white lenses of Canon, but they stick out like a topless woman when shooting in public places. The Sigma is standard issue black, and much smaller diameter, so it just looks like a normal lens.

The biggest thing to compare besides the price, is the Canon weighs a whopping 1670g and the Sigma weighs a scant 470g. That's a HUGE difference when thinking about carrying for long periods of time. Hanging 3.6lbs of lens off your neck or around your shoulder gets old very fast. That 1DX isn't a runway model by any means :)

Both are Image Stabilized so that's a toss up and with the high ISO capabilities of that 1DX, you can always just pump the ISO up to make up for the f/6.3 at the tele-photo end.

The Canon wins with 50mm more in total reach on the Tele-Photo end, but the Sigma wins with 10mm wider at the bottom end. With the new bodies being able to crop in so tightly, I'd rather have wider than longer and you'll always be able to do some editing after the fact to crop in tighter if need be.

The Canons minimum focusing distance is 2.3ft, or 27.6 inches. The Sigma will focus much closer with a minimum focusing distance of 13.8 inches

The Sigma has a 62mm filter size compared to the Canon's 77mm size. Since the other lens you'll be carrying will the the Canon 16-35 which has that huge 82mm front ring, you'll save more weight and cost with having smaller filters to carry around for the Sigma, saving more space in the Pelican. Not to mention the Canon will take up much more space inside that case than the Sigma will.

And then there is the price. The Canon comes in at a whopping $2689 where the Sigma will only put you back $349. I actually found mine on eBay used and won the bid for only $150. We buy all our stuff used since you save so much money.

I know you still have time before you're leaving, so I thought I'd point all these differences out so you have something to think about. I don't work for Sigma and have no ties to them, I just considered that I was doing all this research for myself since I hate lugging that Canon around, that it might help ease some space and weight for your upcoming trip.

Let me know what you think and I'll be sure to post up a comparison once I get the Sigma in the mail and go out shooting with it. All this might be a waste of my time if it produces shoddy images :(
 

Scott Brady

Founder
Which vehicles are using for this leg as I can't imagine the Troopies are well suited for this endeavour. I'm guessing Arctic Truck Hiluxes?
We are bringing Greg's Land Cruiser and an AT44. The support vehicle is an AT44 6x6, which is already on the continent.
 

Scott Brady

Founder
I know you still have time before you're leaving, so I thought I'd point all these differences out so you have something to think about. I don't work for Sigma and have no ties to them, I just considered that I was doing all this research for myself since I hate lugging that Canon around, that it might help ease some space and weight for your upcoming trip.
All great feedback Pat, thank you.

I really don't mind the weight, particularly when I am operating out of a vehicle. People think I lift weights - it is really all that L glass :)

There are a few conditions that exist that make the 28-300 ideal for this trip.
1. No dust
2. Super harsh environment, with extreme cold. The push/pull has proven to work well in these conditions.
3. Things will either be really, really close, or really, really far away (mountains, etc). For the first few hundred miles, it is a big deal to leave the truck, as crevasse are present, and you need to harness-up and tether to the vehicle. I will want one camera and one lens in that situation.
4. It will be sunlight 24hours a day, so the speed of the lens is pretty irrelevant. In fact, I am going to bolt polarizers on the lenses to get back the DOF.

When I was in Africa, I did a thorough test of a borrowed 28-300mm, while I still had my standby 17-40 and 70-200 2.8L as backup. I never took the 28-300 off, and was quite happy with the images. I never noticed the weight. At 240lbs. I don't even notice one camera over the other with regards to weight. If I was hiking with it, then a different deal.

The 70-200mm is most certainly sharper, but only under close inspection.

I actually did consider tossing another lens in the bag for a back-up, but it would probably by the 24-105mm L.

I do think Sigma is doing some interesting stuff, and their quality has improved significantly. I even seriously considered the 12-24mm instead of the 16-35 Canon.

In the end, I am going with what I know and trust - weight, bulk, and retirement fund be damned. . . ;)
 

Scott Brady

Founder
Tents

For tents, we are using two different models, most from Nemo, but a few built by an obscure manufacturer in Norway called Nanok

Nemo has really pushed into the specialty markets, even making overland specific tents. I have been close friends with Cam, Nemo's CEO for years, and we have traveled quite a bit together. I asked him which tents and sleeping bags to use, and in good faith he suggested a few competing brands, but also some new products his team had developed. Knowing my friend wouldn't let me freeze to death, we are using Cam's most recent mountaineering and antarctic offerings.

We are using three Moki 3p tents with vestibule and the connection tubes. http://www.nemoequipment.com/product/?p=Moki+3P
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We are also using a few of the Nanok. Which has been a staple of AT for years, but are no longer available
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Note: We are not paid to use any of this gear.
 

nwoods

Expedition Leader
Planning for nearly a month at -40 has been an interesting logistics challenge, particularly when you still need to operate cameras and drive trucks in those conditions. The boot that works great for walking around is less appealing for driving.

To make the necessary mileage on the continent, we will be driving up to 20-hours per day and then taking a 10-hour break to prepare hot meals and sleep in the tents.

For sleeping bags, we are using the new Canon bag by Nemo Equipment, rated to -40 C/F. There are a couple unique features I have not needed to test yet, but we have tested the bag in Alaska at -20 and in Siberia at about the same temps. We are going to pay pretty close attention to the pad as well, hoping to reduce conduction between the compressed down and the cold below. I am thinking a combination of the Cosmo sleeping pad for comfort and a closed-cell pad for insulation.

NEMO Canon Sleeping Bag

View attachment 194400
That is a really interesting bag. But something about this photo makes me laugh:
 

Scott Brady

Founder
In the interest of detail, here is the photography equipment checklist for Antarctica. Still a few adjustments coming, but it gives the meat of it.

SLR HDV Camera Bodies
Canon 70D (1)
Canon 5DMKIII (1)
Canon 1DX (1)
Canon 7D (2)

Video HD Cameras (note: DSLRs above also function in HD capture)
Canon XF100 w/XLR Audio (2)
Canon XA10 w/XLR Audio (2)
GoPro Hero 3 (4)

SLR Lenses
Canon 28-300mm L
Canon 16-35mm F2.8 L
Canon 40mm 2.8 Pancake (used as body cap)
Canon 85mm 1.2 L
Canon 10-22mm
Canon 70-200mm 2.8L
Tamron 18-270mm
Canon 24-105mm L

Pocket - Backup Cameras
FujiFilm X20
Canon G Series (?)

Filters and Accessories
iDC Photo Video Follow Focus Kits
Canon LP-E6 Batteries (used on 5D, 7D and 70D)
Canon 1DX Batteries (double capacity)
Canon XF100 Batteries
Canon XA10 Batteries
Other pocket camera batteries as required
Battery Chargers
Shutter Release
Audio Mics
Headphones
Audio Recorder (Zoom)
Polarizing filter
Variable ND filter
UV Filters to protect front elements
Lens Hoods as required
Extra body and lens end caps
Data Cards - 16GB Minimum. 90mbps
Pelican or similar card cases
Solid State Backup Drive
Western Digital redundant disk drives 1tb
Western Digital Nomad Cases for HDDs
Canon Speedlight Flash
Tripod w/ fluid head. Carbon legs
GoPro mounts
Interior HDV window mounts for POV
Gaffer's Tape
LiIon AA Batteries
LiIon AAA Batteries
Air Bulb for cleaning
Zeiss Cleaning Cloths
Lens cloth
Camera covers and jackets as appropriate
Card Readers (USB 3.0 or faster)
Extra lens caps
Canon GPS units as appropriate
Grip Extensions
Extra Tripod mounts
Wall adapters (EU and ZA)
Small Camera tool kit
Lens cases as appropriate
Camera case. Recommend Pelican
 

taugust

Adventurer
I'm curious to know what clothing you use to sleep in in those frigid temps. Seems like you wouldn't even want to change clothes in those conditions.
 

Scott Brady

Founder
I'm curious to know what clothing you use to sleep in in those frigid temps. Seems like you wouldn't even want to change clothes in those conditions.
At a minimum, we keep our thermal mid layers on and heavy socks. When we get to the -40 range up on the plateau, we will also use our down booties inside the bag. For me, the skull cap is the most important, given my seriously follicley challenged dome. . .

The old wives tale of sleeping in little or no clothing inside your sleeping bag has killed a lot of people. Sure, you warm up the insulation of the bag more quickly, but the total insulation is much less.
 

graynomad

Photographer, traveller
skull cap is the most important
You loose a heck of a lot of heat from your head, even with hair. I've been laying awake shivering and put a fleece hat on, near instant fix.

I have never been in such cold conditions (not even close) but I sleep with all clothes except my fleece jacket (that's my pillow). That allows me to carry a really light weight sleeping bag (150 grams) and you are carrying the clothes anyway, may as well use them.

An added advantage is that there's no cold period when you are getting dressed :)
 

grahamfitter

Expedition Leader
At a minimum, we keep our thermal mid layers on and heavy socks. When we get to the -40 range up on the plateau, we will also use our down booties inside the bag. For me, the skull cap is the most important, given my seriously follicley challenged dome. . .

The old wives tale of sleeping in little or no clothing inside your sleeping bag has killed a lot of people. Sure, you warm up the insulation of the bag more quickly, but the total insulation is much less.
I've found its worthwhile changing into dry thermals for sleeping in. Anything I've been wearing during the day will have accumulated some dampness which isn't noticeable but definitely chills down at night.
 

graynomad

Photographer, traveller
Yes, perhaps I should elaborate.

I normally walk in arid to desert regions, during the day it's hot so a certain type of clothing is worn while walking. At around dusk the temp drops and then it's time for thermals and fleece, and it's those clothes (and fresh socks if available) I wear to bed, not the sweaty day clothes.
 
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