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Photography-Mera Peak

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Hi All,

I am booked on a Mera Peak exped in October this year after it being delayed from 2020 and obviously unsure if it will go or not but keen to get some advice and guidance on photography and video shooting which I'm keen to do a fair bit of should we be lucky enough to go.

I have a Fujifilm XT3 with a 18-55mm, 70-200mm and 16mm prime lens. What are people's thoughts on lenses? Should I take all 3? Should I leave one behind? How many batteries do people take? I plan to take a 20,000mAh charger but are there any other tips for battery logistics other than keeping them warm? What do people do in terms of SD cards? Do you take loads as relatively cheap or do you have some way of backing them up without a laptop. The XT3 has 2 SD slots, do people shoot RAW on one and JPEG on the other?

I also was planning on taking a GoPro and again keen to hear how many batteries people take and if there is any "last ditch" charging options on route to the summit. I understand you can get devices charged at tea houses (for a small fee) but wondering what the last safe place to do this might be? Has anyone used solar powered chargers to help with battery management?

I appreciate that there are a lot of questions but keen to hoover up as much thoughts and commentary as I can.

Thanks for any input.

Malcy

In reply to MalcyversustheMunros:

With my X-T2 on long trips I put a really big SD card in one slot and a series of smaller ones in the other slot, so that as they fill up I can swap them out and keep them somewhere else as safe as possible as a backup. RAW on both and try to delete all the dross daily to save space.

Also wouldn't be without my wide 10-24 in the mountains. Also carry 18-55 and 55-200. Compact for going light and as backup. Spare older Fuji body if space. I have used a small solar charger in remote areas, but would always take quite a few batteries since can easily get through 2 or 3 in a day.

In reply to MalcyversustheMunros:

All three lenses are great quality, especially the 16mm prime.

Fuji don't make a 70-200 zoom as far as I know, but their 50-140mm is (more or less) the APS equivalent. Is this the one you have? I used it for a few days on my XT2 and found it a bit too heavy and cumbersome for the hills.

You might consider exchanging for the cheaper 55-200mm, (I've had one for a couple of years). It's a great lens with a longer reach, certainly good enough for your trip. The advantage is that it is 0.5 kg lighter than the 50-140. No weather sealing though. mbp.com will do part exchange, used for used:

https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/used-equipment/used-photo-and-video/used-lenses/used-fujifilm-lenses/fuji-xf-55-200mm-f-3-5-4-8-r-lm-ois/

I use a 64gb card in slot 1 for RAWs and a 32gb in slot 2 for jpegs, which covers roughly 3+ days of shooting (including bracketing). You would obviously need more space than this for your trip, and if you delete the duds at the end of each day you will be using up battery capacity, which would be better kept for shooting only. Try to do any deleting where there is also a facility for charging batteries, or as Robert has said, get a good solar charger.

I carry 3 charged batteries for a day trip just in case the scenery is outstanding, 4-5 for longer. Hahnel make good batteries, just as good as the Fuji ones and significantly cheaper at £21.95:

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/hahnel-hl-f126-battery-fuji-np-w126-1530217/?mkwid=s_dc&pcrid=418859072603&kword=&match=b&plid=&pgrid=54044317332&ptaid=dsa-383045936138&si=&gclid=CjwKCAjwpKCDBhBPEiwAFgBzj0amhSMHb7iOnNYRJ33xtDnhJjDd0smPugTFiNjsHOLD0nkvdT2DxBoCk8YQAvD_BwE

 a158863 03 Apr 2021
In reply to MalcyversustheMunros:

I back up my daily shots to a second card or USB stick using an OTG hub driven by an Android phone. Hubs only cost a few quid. 

It was 2007 when I went to Mera Peak and there wasn't much charging available then, but I've had several Nepal trips since and each time more places have electricity. I'd be surprised if you can't rely on charging facilities as far as Phare at 5000m on your trek. Not at base camp or high camp though. Your trek organiser will know. Take half a dozen spare batteries for each device, and a charger that will charge several at a time. And a couple of powerbanks in reserve.

I have a 25W solar panel but TBH I haven't found it very useful. On a trek, you move on most days, with an early start, and by the time you get to the overnight camp the sun has lost its power and soon drops below the horizon (which being the Himalayas is a long way above you). It's less space, weight and faff to take extra batteries. If you were operating out of a basecamp which you would return to every night it would be different, of course.

I'm not familiar with your camera or Fuji lenses. I'd just say that weight and usability become more important the higher you go and the colder it gets.  Something you can deploy quickly on the go will make it more likely you'll take a shot when you really don't feel like it.  There's a lot to be said for carrying just a GoPro or similar (several people I know speak highly of the DJI Osmo Pocket) on summit day, mounted on a small gorilla pod, tied on and stored in a warm accessible pocket.

Compared with stills, even shooting dual RAW/jpg, video has at least an order of magnitude bigger storage and power requirements. I see from the spec of the spec of the X-T3 it can shoot video at 400Mbps. That's 3GB a minute! If you only intend to take a few clips of the view from the summit etc, it won't affect the advice people are giving on here. However, I am a filmmaker, and I have several terabytes of video clips of stuff it seemed a good idea to film at the time, without any clear idea of what I was actually going to do with it. And it's all too easy to hold on to shots for a minute instead of 10 seconds. When I've got home, there's never been enough to edit together a decent story. Nowadays I only shoot video when I have a proper plan for the film I want to make.

But if you do see a Yeti, or a snow leopard walks though the camp, film it, plan or not.

In reply to MalcyversustheMunros:

Thank you all for the advice so far; it really helps.

Sorry Allan, I do actually have the 55-200mm but I called it incorrectly a 70-200mm as this is what I used to have when I shot Canon. 

Good to also understand that Phare might be the last chance for a charge and I think, given all the advice above, I will look to invest in more 3rd part batteries but great to see peoples strategies and as these trips don't happen very often so I just don't want to have dud devices on summit day or the more exciting parts of the trip.

Thanks once again, much appreciated.

Malcy

In reply to MalcyversustheMunros:

A light prime might be the way to go for saving weight high up, but I wouldn't want to be without a second camera on a trip like that as backup. A compact in a chest pocket might be easier to use and more versatile at times.


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