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Old Jul 13, 2006, 4:47 PM   #1
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I'm looking at a couple telephoto lenses; a Canon that is 1.4lbs and a Sigma that is 3.2lbs.

I want to start backpacking and I'm afraid that with a 3.2lb telephoto lense, it'd be quite a chore to haul it around unless I constantly had it set up on a tripod...something I won't be doing when I'm backpacking/shooting wildlife.

I wish there were a camera shop nearby where I could test it but the only one here doesn't carry Sigma products.

What's the heaviest lens you would carry around in such a situation?
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Old Jul 14, 2006, 9:21 AM   #2
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Completely depends on the type of backpacking - are you talking day trips or overnight? If you're talking overnight trips then you've got plenty of other gear and weight is more of an issue.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I typically carry my Canon 100-400 on my day hikes w/o a problem.
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Old Jul 14, 2006, 9:51 AM   #3
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Actualy the Sigma is quite similar in weight to the 100-400L in weight, since they are both made out of higher quality metal... (unlike the lighter plastic 70-300)

-> If you need the reach of a 400mm then the weight is probably a non-issue
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Old Jul 14, 2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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JohnG is quite right it depends on the type of backpacking you are doing!
For day trips I take a lowpro classic backpack that weighs in at 26 pounds
--> without food and any spare cloths. anything you take adds to the weight.

It does include a sigma 120-300 F2.8 that weighs in at 5.73 pounds.
19-35 F3.5
28-70 F2.8
1.4x & 2x TC's
set of extension tubes
Vivitar 3700 and Sigma 500DG super flashes
Radio triggers
Folding reflectors
Small silver umbrella
Garmin GPS-76CSx
Motorola FRS radio
Cell Phone
Uniden Bearcat Trunking Scanner
Bear spray (makes you taste better for the bears!)

For longer trips I loose the 120-300 and TC's and take a 100-300 F4-F5.6 instead.
And swap in more spare cloths and a bit more food.
Also add in a hand line to catch a fish or two if the opportunity presents itself.
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Old Jul 16, 2006, 12:32 PM   #5
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Wow! I'm trying to figure out an easy, convenient way to carry my stuff when day-hiking. I have problems carrying 2 light lenses (a 24mm and a 100mm macro that is very light), plus water, spare batteries, spare card, car keys, small first aid kit, monopod/walking stick, map,and GPS. If I have the camera stuff in a backpack I'm always taking it off and putting it on, so I've been trying a fanny pack. Shoulder bags are awkard to use with a hydration pack. I haven't been completely satisfied with anything yet.

My opinion is to go as light as you possibly can with all your gear. Get the Canon because it's lighter.
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Old Jul 16, 2006, 12:37 PM   #6
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Yeah I've decided to stick it out and wait for the Canon.

I tried a lense similar in weight to the Sigma and after 5 minutes of test shooting, my wrist was hurting - there's no way I'd be able to comfortably take that backpacking.
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Old Jul 16, 2006, 1:57 PM   #7
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Ok, I know I'm crazy but...
When I hike I carry my 600mm f4, Wimberley head, 1D MkII N, 1.4TC & Gitzo 1348 tripod. I wear my Lowepro backpack and lay the lens over my shoulder (on the tripod) on top of the backpack. This helps transfer the weight off my shoulder and to my waist and I can hike fairly far that way. Several hours of walking and shooting. That is around 20 lb, not including everything else I carry (food, other lenses, TCs, water, ...)

But I've been accused of being nuts. And I'm starting to think they are right.

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Old Jul 17, 2006, 6:55 AM   #8
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As Brett Weston quipped, "anything more than 500 yards from the car just isn't photogenic."

Meaning: weight is relative to the scenery, I guess; the heaviest lens I carry around regularly is the Olympus ZD 50-200mm at 1070gms (2.3 pounds). That's plenty for me, given all the other stuff I'm also carrying.

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