I don't want to lug a bunch of different lenses. What is the best for this trip? Telephoto, wide angle?


  • There is no single lens which will accommodate the range of sights you will see in the Antarctic. You'll want a wide angle for vistas and telephoto for animal shots.

    I recommend getting a high quality optical zoom lens. I travel with an 18-270mm which, because my DSLR is a 2/3 format equates to 27mm wide angle to 400mm zoom. Perfect for Antarctica. I do wish it was a bit more wide angle when photographing in narrow medieval streets in Europe, but not a problem in the Antarctic.

    Of course, any such lens should/will have image stabilization for those zoom shots.
  • I have not been to Antarctica but have used a Tamron 16-300mm (on my Canon DSLR) as my 'go to' lens since I followed a Tauck forum recommendation to buy it and first used it on the Kenya & Tanzania safari a few years ago.

    It is wide enough and has a good enough zoom for 99+% of the shots I take. It zooms from 16mm (35mm equivalent: 25mm) to 300mm (35mm equivalent: 465mm). It is not cheap, but significantly less expensive than similar OEM lenses and often on sale. Tamron makes a version to fit Canon, Nikon, and Sony APS-C DSLRs. Tamron just came out with an 18-400 mm- not as wide-angle but more zoom- but I've read a few reviews from pro/semi-pro photogs that is has some visual aberrations (I probably wouldn't notice).

    Check out the 16-300mm on the Tamron website or at B&H Photo.
  • As Alan and Portolan have said, superzooms (aka travel lenses or all-in-ones) that go from wide to long telephoto are great when you don't want to pack a lot of gear. I use a Sigma 18-250mm, although I have much better lenses for when I don't mind lugging the equipment around. If you're considering buying one of these, is a great place for independent lens reviews and ratings. Both Sigma and Tamron are good choices if you don't want to pay for OEM lenses.

    Superzooms are, in general, the worst quality lenses you can buy. As a rule, the wider the range, the worse the lens. In covering that wide range, they make a lot of compromises. Particularly at long focal lengths, they have some noticeable aberrations. To some extent, these aberrations can be corrected using the lens correction features in Lightroom or Photoshop. Bear in mind that this is being really picky. Most people would still say, "What a great picture!" Traveling on a tour the ease of carrying a superzoom outweighs the minor degradation in quality.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.
  • My wife and I are going on this trip in December 2018. From what I've read on photo sites, bringing a 200mm lens should be sufficient. I have 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses and am planning on bringing them both as well as polarizing filters for each of them. The key is to NOT change lenses or filters outside, as condensation can form inside the camera or between the filters and the lenses and cause all sorts of problems. As someone else said, using wide super-telephoto lenses (16-200 or 18-300, etc.) will have the poorest quality, but it all comes down to "what's good enough for you" and how fussy you are.

    The best option is to bring two camera bodies and have one lens on the first and another on the second. Polarizing filters are also quite important.

    I'm planning on bringing two camera bodies and the two lenses and polarizing filters I mentioned above. I may also bring a third lens for taking photos inside the ship.
Sign In or Register to comment.