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Sony NEX-5r, Sigma 30mm f/2.8 @ 1/250 f/4.5 ISO 100

Photography equipment choice is a game of compromise. I always find it interesting to see what gear photographers choose to take on a trip, and assume other people interested in expedition/kayaking/travel photography are curious about my gear choices. Earlier this year in Japan I brought only a Sony NEX-5n and a few lenses, knowing that if something malfunctioned we could just zip into the city and pick up a new camera.While Argentina and Chile are fairly modern countries, we won't be spending time in the cities or have access to any camera equipment. The risk of having some bad luck in a month of kayaking with only one camera body is too high, so some redundancy is needed.

As an owner of Nikon's 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses these would seem like obvious choices, but neither will be making the trip. As this journey is not a sponsored expedition where I need to capture the absolute best in image quality, bringing $3,500 in glass doesn't really make sense. In addition to that are two other detractions to these fine lenses. The first is weight, at 30oz and 52oz that's a solid 5 1/4lbs of glass, which when combined with a camera body, batteries and other accessories is not exactly a pleasure to carry around every day for a month. The travel and conditions will be rough, and while these are professional lenses built to a high standard, they can still be broken. When my D700 was repaired by Nikon it took three tries and two months to get the obvious issue fixed. Since then their track record has only gotten worse. Scroll down in the link to see the average Nikon repair cost of $376 dollars with a turn around time of 26 days. I'm sure part of this is due to Nikon not selling any parts to third party repair facilities, forcing users to send the camera in for repair even if just the rubber pin seal on the bottom was lost. To quote the article "Just for curiosity, I compared same-item repair costs for Nikon and Canon 24-70s. All Canon 24-70 repairs were either $268 or $370 (non-discounted price) during the entire 6-month period. All Nikon repairs were $539 or $602 from April 1 onwards; they were $310 before April (although there were only two during that period). I don’t have room to list all the replaced items, but they were similar: barrels, collars, helicoid rings."  Short story is that having a Nikon lens repaired is something to be avoided.

Going light on the river, fitting this kit in a Pelican 1200 case:
Sony NEX-5r - small, super light (8oz), and ten frames per second
Sigma 19mm f/2.8 EX DN - small, light (5oz), fast, sharp
Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN - small, light (5oz), fast, sharper
Nikon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 AF-D - small, light (12oz), a bit of a relic, rather slow but sharp with massive amounts of purple chromatic aberration that can be removed in photshop. Worst focus ring I have ever used, but in my tests, sharper than the venerable 75-150mm Series E.
Alternate for select occasions: Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 fisheye.

That's a pretty competent kit at 30oz.

Off the river, or on the river if the light NEX-5r has durability issues.

Nikon D600 - lightest Nikon FX camera (27oz), stunning image quality.
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 - light weight (15oz), fast at wide focal lengths, low coma for star shots. Terrible in the corners wide open on FX.
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 - light weight (18oz), small size, great performance for the cost if you can find a good copy.
Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 VC - moderate weight (28oz), reviews better than the Nikkor 70-300VR especially at 300mm, and is f/4 at 70mm instead of 4.5. Taking a risk with this one as it arrives just before the trip, but with rebates its only $350 new with a six year warranty.

Bringing it because I can: Nikon FM2 (20oz) and a few rolls of Fuji Velvia 100. There is something beautiful about a camera that needs no batteries. Plus it works with the Tamron 17-35 and 28-75mm lenses, and fits in a Pelican 1200 case. I wish they made a DSLR version of this body.

All in all, it's not going to be super light, but there is a nice amount of redundancy in the kit if anything goes wrong with any one item. I'll be carrying all the SLR items in a ThinkTank Retrospective 30 and the NEX system fits nicely into a small generic camera bag, which only takes up half the space in a DaKine Heli Pack.

Also worth checking out, a video of the North Fork Little Wind River in Wyoming by Eric Seymour

Sony NEX-5r, Sigma 19mm f/2.8 (heavily cropped + polarizer) @ 1/125 f/4 ISO 100