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Thinking about GFX

dchew

Well-known member
Greetings! I have been invited on a cruise around South America and Antarctica this coming December. As most of you know I'm a dyed in the wool tech camera user. I'm pretty sure that won't work too well on the ship unless someone knows of a tripod with IBIS.

So I have two options: First is to upgrade my a7r ii to the a7r iv. I have some Leica lenses I've used with that camera several years ago: Apo Sumicron 50mm-ASPH, Apo Sumicron 90mm-ASPH and the R Apo f/2.8 180mm. I would need something wide for the Sony, either 24 and/or 35mm. The second option is to get into the GFX. Obviously that would be more expensive than the a7r iv plus a lens or two. In order to figure out how much (easy there, Dante), I have a few questions about the lenses and adapters.

Because I have the Zeiss 250 superachromat that I use on the technical camera, I could adapt that to the GFX for the long end. There is a host of competing adapters out there. From a quick B&H search: Metabones, Fotodiox, Kipon, Novoflex and even Cambo! Do one or two stand out, or are they all useable?

As for Fuji lens choice, I'd like similar angles of view that I am used to. The 30 and/or 45mm, maybe the 80mm, and definitely either the 110 or 120mm. The 30 and 45 could be covered by the 32-64 zoom, and the 110/120 could be covered by the 100-200. Most reach would be the 32-64, 80 and then 100-200 combined with my 250sa. It's been so long since I've used zooms; not sure how I would get along with them. I keep hearing they are about as good as the primes...? The most like what I'm used to would be 30/45/80/110, plus my 250sa. I can't imagine using the wide end much on this trip. I will still have a slimmed down tech camera kit for ground-based stuff, so I probably don't need both the 30 and 45. Could I get away with just the 45 and the 110 or 120 or 100-200? Probably. It might turn out that a lens like the 100-200 zoom would be on the camera 90% of the time.

It's been a long time since I jumped into a new camera system, so any experience and suggestions would be appreciated. I have some time, so I suppose I could try the zooms and return them for a few primes if I don't sync with them or if they don't measure up.

Dave
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
My suggestion I that you watch the YouTube videos and read the blog posts on trips to Antarctica . I think you will find that shooting from the ship requires more reach . The other issue worth looking into would be the use of a monopod and gimbal style head . That is the approach that Micheal Reichman came to years ago . Standing near the railing for hours without a camera prop is no fun.

I would be thinking GFX 250 prime and extenders plus being familiar with using it as a crop sensor (you are starting with 100MP).

Don't think you can beat a Fuji GFX 100S for this type of trip . Weather proof, stabilization , decent AF on mostly stationary subjects ..wide variety of lenses .

This is an expensive trip to pack for ..don t forget back up gear ..plenty of reports of camera failures in that environment . Plus always a chance of dunking your gear when in a rubber boat . This might be a place for renting gear with insurance . Would not think for taking HB 250 into that environment .

Ask the guys at PhotoPXL they do those trips frequently .
 

dchew

Well-known member
Roger,
I forgot about Michael's monopod; thank you for that. The problem I have with renting is that I fly out on 11-Dec and back 1-Jan. Including a few days before, I will have to rent stuff for ~24 days. Might make sense for the 250. Lensrentals is $676 for (4) weeks, or ~ 20% of new. Since I have the 250sa I don't need the 250 long-term.

Victor is offering his 110 up for sale. I could go for that w/extender instead of the 100-200. Hmm.

Thanks again, Roger.

Dave
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Dave,

I probably should recuse myself since I'm a fully paid-up member of the Dante club :)

I've used the GFX systems (GFX50s, GFX100, GFX100s plus a full spectrum GFX50s) for quite a while, including on safari. For shooting from a ship though my experience is that two key things are IBIS and weather protection, just like you would need for wildlife shooting. Likewise, the monopod / gimbal works well. Of course, if you want to go full Dante then there's always the option of using a gyroscopic gimbal that I was recommended by a shooter who'd shot in Antartica with a Phase One system.

The 250mm G + TC works really well, especially with the GFX100s with IBIS and lens stabilization working together. My go-to bag is 23, 45-100, 100-200 and 250 and all have been great performers. I'd be hesitant about using a non-weather sealed adapted lens like the 250 SA though in those conditions. As Roger mentioned, having a back up is essential if you're going that far. I normally rent the backup camera.
 

algrove

Well-known member
Dave

I have the 100S and have focused lately on the zooms which I always seem to go to unless wide or long required. That said the 1.4x can be used on the 100-200. I very much like the 32-64. When the 20-35 wide zoom becomes available I will get it for a 3 lens kit. As Graham mentioned the 23 is also a terrific wide. The 250 with 1,.4 is terrific. with fast focus and great image quality. I also have two bodies and could rent you one for that trip if required. ;) PM sent.
 

Digitalcameraman

Active member
Dave,

Take the GFX100s and don't look back. Good info above, I can tell you the 30mm lens is a sleeper, I found it to be a perfect 24mm equiv and very sharp on the edges. 32-64 is also solid, just slower and I do not feel as sharp on the edges. So if 23mm is too wide for you, I would go 30mm, 45mm-100mm zoom, and 250mm. With 23mm as an option if you can get one. It is so easy to shoot from monopods and get great results at lower shutter speeds than you are used to with DSLR. Dual Battery charger works great when plugged into a Anker Power Core battery, I carry in my backpack while shooting. Sound like an awesome trip. Renting for that long gets tricky regardless where you go, we get that request often. We have new cameras instock and most lenses, with the exception to be 23mm/250, that the two lenses that have been straining in the Fuji supply chain due to manufacturing parts not being available. Please let us know how we can help.
 

Geoff

Well-known member
Can't decide if its the advice here that is so good, or the sheer fantasy of taking such a trip! Keep the ideas coming, please.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I've used both the Zeis 250 SA and the Fuji 250/4. The latter is a better match for the GFX. Fast focus, beautiful bokeh. Settable infinity focus button. I left the GF system, but really miss the 100-200 and the 250/4.

As for reach, If you need more, there's always the Zeiss 350 SA and the 1.4x APO or 2x teleconverters. No loss in the extreme sharpness with either in my messing around. I've repeatedly posted a daytime picture of the moon taken with that combo. Anything longer than the Zeiss 350 (that I've tried) is *much* heavier.

OTOH, a Canon or Nikon 600 or 800 would probably work with adapter and may even cover the sensor. I'm not a fan of adapted lenses with *any* electrical connection, but who knows?
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
The old luminous landscape articles and videos covered the requirements in a lot of detail . I remember three key points worth repeating .

1. Harsh conditions killed most Canon DSLR on the trip . The GFX has the weather proofing to handle it BUT you need a redundant body . Not an alternative but and exact match . You also need to consider lens failure ..better to be redundant than have a wide range of focal lengths . Consider what if you lost your GFX and the longest lens overboard day one .

2. Long lenses are a must .. the 100-200 isn t close . That is a 160 FOV on a 35MM DSLR . You need 300MM minimum FOV so thats a 400MM lens on 44x33 sensor . 250 + 1.4 EXtendor is best alternative (280mm FOV). Use digital zoom to crop down to add another 50% and still have 50MP files . Leica S shooters had 180mm longest and no matching 1.4x ...not even close to long enough .

3. Stabilization (monopod ) with gimbal is what Reichman came up with after a bunch of trips . He said before that he grew very weary trying to hold a DSLR and long telephoto on the deck . Plus if you get out to minimum FOV ...250+1.4x _cropped sensor mode assume 1.5x gets you over 400mm in 35dslr equivalent . Even with IS you can t hold that stable fro long on a deck .

Unfortunately this type of trip requires a lot of gear or you must assume a lot of risk of failure .
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Oh, yeah. Weather. Forget the Zeiss SA's. Stupendous lenses that don't deserve to dissolve in salt water!
 

dchew

Well-known member
I really appreciate everyone's input, both on this thread and behind the scenes. This forum remains a wonderful place. The best resource for honest feedback from great contributors without most of the noise. Been that way since I stumbled in here in 2010. Thank you!

An update on my current situation which is progressing fast: I've got three lenses coming so far: 110, 100-200 and 32-64 all from forum members. 👏
I still have to work out the body, but I have several good options and I am not as concerned about the body as I am the lenses. The supply is a bit tight depending the specific lens. Looks like I have path for backup too from another great forum member.

I completely agree with Roger; the 250 w/ tc is a must. At this point, the 250 and maybe the 23 should get me where I need to be. I have several months to play around with what I have to see if there are any holes or needs beyond this:
23 (?)
32-64
110
100-200
250
1.4 tc
(2) 100s bodies

I don't see complete backups of lenses being an option both from $$ and from weight. Therefore, the primes will have to fill in if something goes awry with a zoom, or vice versa. If the 100-200 goes down, I will have the 110/250. I need to think about backup for the 32-64. I will have to debate between getting the 23 then maybe the 45 (or 50 since it is so small and light) versus trying to fill the gap between 45-110. Now that I think about it, the other answer is the 35-70. Super light and almost as good as the 32-64; probably the perfect backup. I will wait until I see how the 32-64 performs. The 80 is out because it is too heavy and expensive. I'm already at 6560 grams of raw camera gear without the 23. Ugh.

Dave
 

KlausJH

Well-known member
This is very interesting. I'll be in Antarctica in December/January and are almost ready with my planning which equipment to bring. After months of evaluation and study of many traveling reports, I came to this conclusion:
Due to weather conditions, that can be extreme and might change in no time, it is not a good idea to depend widely on prime lenses, since changing lenses could be sometimes not advisable.
For wildlife, birds, penguins, seals and wales, 400mm reach is mostly sufficient for Antarctica, for the Arctic more reach would be needed. (Polar bears)
Camera bags should be water resistant or better waterproof.
My equipment will look like this (for the moment)
• 907X CFV II 50c with 4/21 and 4/45. This is for landscape only.
• Sony A1 with PZ 4/16-35G, 4/24-105G, FE 4.5-5.6/100-400GM plus TC14. And the little Voigtländer Heliar 4.5/15 III which can be used also on the 907X.
• Sony A9 II, my wife's camera. Two cameras with two different lenses allow for a lot of flexibility.
The Sonys are primarily for wildlife and video.
Since no drones are allowed, we'll bring a Insta360 ONE X2.
The tripod will be a little Rollei compact traveller where one leg can be unscrewed and be used as a monopod.
This might change in the next weeks. Weight is a limiting factor.
 

dchew

Well-known member
This is very interesting. I'll be in Antarctica in December/January and are almost ready with my planning which equipment to bring. After months of evaluation and study of many traveling reports, I came to this conclusion:
Due to weather conditions, that can be extreme and might change in no time, it is not a good idea to depend widely on prime lenses, since changing lenses could be sometimes not advisable.
For wildlife, birds, penguins, seals and wales, 400mm reach is mostly sufficient for Antarctica, for the Arctic more reach would be needed. (Polar bears)
Camera bags should be water resistant or better waterproof.
My equipment will look like this (for the moment)
• 907X CFV II 50c with 4/21 and 4/45. This is for landscape only.
• Sony A1 with PZ 4/16-35G, 4/24-105G, FE 4.5-5.6/100-400GM plus TC14. And the little Voigtländer Heliar 4.5/15 III which can be used also on the 907X.
• Sony A9 II, my wife's camera. Two cameras with two different lenses allow for a lot of flexibility.
The Sonys are primarily for wildlife and video.
Since no drones are allowed, we'll bring a Insta360 ONE X2.
The tripod will be a little Rollei compact traveller where one leg can be unscrewed and be used as a monopod.
This might change in the next weeks. Weight is a limiting factor.
That is close to my original second option. I think that’s an excellent approach, if not the best approach. Certainly Kevin Raber follows something similar and he has a bunch of experience down there. Wildlife is less of a focus for me, although I will probably come back wishing it was more. I still would have needed a whole new set of lenses for my Sony since I’ve adapted Leica M/R lenses to mine; not the best setup for Antarctica. Sure would have saved me money in the end, and arguably more useful.

My only reason for not going that way is the fact that I have that system and just haven’t been using it. Looking beyond this trip, I want something from which I will get some mileage and use. Is that the GFX? I don't know, but I certainly hope so based on the cost. So far, everything I've sourced is used, so if it doesn't work out I can always put it back on the auction block.

Dave
 

ashandger

New member
Having been to Antarctica, I would highly recommend taking a 100-400mm or equivalent. There will we tons and tons of opps to shoot from the ship so IBIS would be extremely helpful as well. You will likely cover most situations with a combination of 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 100-400mm. I would personally not travel there without a 100-400mm and will probably bring a TC as well to have the option of going longer. We went in December and often shot till 2-3am. I also think having 2 bodies is a must. Hope this helps.
 
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