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Author Topic: What is the perfect landscape photography support vehicle?  (Read 32122 times)
tsjanik
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« Reply #80 on: March 15, 2013, 06:38:25 AM »
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I got similar mileage with a TDI Passat wagon I rented for two weeks.  The mileage was so good that at first I thought the car might have a defective fuel gauge!
But no AWD as noted; if only the VW syncro camper would return as a TDI version.





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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #81 on: March 15, 2013, 08:58:16 AM »
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... 50 mpg on your Jetta Sport Wagon TDI? Wow!!! That's crazy amazing.

With cruise control on & staying within the speed limits it's a bit over 50 mpg, and it has passing power to spare.  This is with the 6-speed manual transmission.

I got similar mileage with a TDI Passat wagon I rented for two weeks.  The mileage was so good that at first I thought the car might have a defective fuel gauge!
But no AWD as noted; if only the VW syncro camper would return as a TDI version.

Syncro TDI camper would be awesome   Smiley
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 09:58:33 AM by wildlightphoto » Logged
tsjanik
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« Reply #82 on: March 15, 2013, 01:28:16 PM »
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Syncro TDI camper would be awesome   Smiley

Well we know two people who would buy one!
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #83 on: March 15, 2013, 04:09:11 PM »
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VW does have the Touareg TDI 4WD that gets 30 mpg. High clearance, 4WD, great MPG, large trunk area and I'm assuming the rear seats fold down.

Downside? It's $50K plus.
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NancyP
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« Reply #84 on: March 16, 2013, 10:06:12 PM »
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Subaru has diesel engines, but only for sale in Japan and Europe. Diesel engines made to the specifications required for clean air regulation states (California) or countries are not so easy to make. I don't know if Subaru engines didn't make the grade, or Subaru had a clean diesel but thought that the US had no interest in such an engine.

Dang, folks! I thought I had a bad case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, but this automotive stuff is GAS squared. This certainly makes my purchase of a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (everything else I have is ~ f/4 or slower) seem positively economical.
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Colorado David
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« Reply #85 on: March 16, 2013, 10:34:25 PM »
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I haven't read all the way through this thread, but I would like to make an observation.  There are virtually no off-road vehicles that would qualify as a photography support vehicle.  Off-road is a game that is played in off-road parks on private land.  There are a lot of off-highway vehicles that qualify.  What most people mean when they say off-road is off-highway.  These are four wheel drive, high clearance vehicles that are capable handling a designated backcountry trail that is a legal road.  Check out this site; http://treadlightly.org/  or  http://www.overlandjournal.com/
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shadowblade
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« Reply #86 on: March 16, 2013, 11:01:49 PM »
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I would love to convert a vehicle into a landscape photography vehicle - secure lockers for gear, a spot for sleeping, etc.

Unfortunately, most of my landscape photography takes place overseas, or on the other side of Australia, or in central Australia, which leaves me working with rental vehicles most of the time - definitely unsuitable or sleeping in. Although I do so anyway, at times...
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tsjanik
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« Reply #87 on: March 17, 2013, 08:25:10 AM »
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Subaru has diesel engines, but only for sale in Japan and Europe. Diesel engines made to the specifications required for clean air regulation states (California) or countries are not so easy to make. I don't know if Subaru engines didn't make the grade, or Subaru had a clean diesel but thought that the US had no interest in such an engine.

Dang, folks! I thought I had a bad case of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, but this automotive stuff is GAS squared. This certainly makes my purchase of a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (everything else I have is ~ f/4 or slower) seem positively economical.

I would love to see a Subaru diesel AWD van.  As for GAS, most of us need a vehicle anyway, if it can also serve as a camper/photosupport vehicle, it's in fact frugal!  Cheesy
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NancyP
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« Reply #88 on: March 18, 2013, 11:41:43 AM »
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You are reading one of the stingy, and non-car-obsessed, folks. My 1978 Saab 99 lasted 19.5 years, and got replaced because parts were getting hard to find, and it was my one and only car. My current wheels, 1997 Subaru Impreza Outback, are working fine at a mere 117K miles. I normally wouldn't bother replacing it for a few more years, because parts are still easily available for it. My out of town family has been nagging me for years to upgrade, in hopes that I don't get stuck on my road trips to visit them. They are car fans who salivate at new Beemers, and don't quite understand my crunchy-granola attitude about cars.
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TMARK
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« Reply #89 on: March 18, 2013, 02:46:34 PM »
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Volvo XC70.  Off Highway, not offroad.  And you need more aggresive tires than the stock Continental M+S.  But its big, has some ground clearance, loads of torque, Hill decent control. 
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wildlightphoto
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« Reply #90 on: March 18, 2013, 11:37:25 PM »
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You are reading one of the stingy, and non-car-obsessed, folks.

Same here.  My current ride is a 1996 Dodge Dakota 4x4, 120k miles on the odometer.  I figure that if my car is worth more than my camera my priorities are out of order.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #91 on: March 19, 2013, 02:04:57 AM »
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Currently reading the forum on my iPad mini bunked down inside Frito.  Camped halfway between Austin, Nevada and Eureka, bound for the Waterpocket Fold via the Burr Trail.  

Frito rules!  : )
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 02:08:05 AM by Peter McLennan » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #92 on: March 19, 2013, 04:32:07 AM »
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Answering the original question: a tripod.

Rob C
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John Camp
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« Reply #93 on: March 19, 2013, 08:59:04 PM »
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One of the problems with diesel SUVs (Mercedes, anyway, and I think others) is that they use urea to help eliminate some of the pollutants coming out of the tailpipe. You need to refill the urea tank ~12,000 miles, although Mercedes recommends that you do it at 10,000-mile intervals. If you run out of urea...the car won't start. Estimated cost for $100,000 miles of urea refills is ~$1500.
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Colorado David
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« Reply #94 on: March 19, 2013, 10:04:18 PM »
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If I could find a used one for a reasonable price I would definitely buy a Mercedes diesel Galendewagen.  That would be an awesome backcountry, sleep in the back or on top with a roof tent, support vehicle.  I'm not sure if there were any North American Spec diesel Galendewagens.  I know that the rest of the world gets to buy Toyota 70 series Landcruisers with diesel engines, but we can't in North America.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #95 on: March 20, 2013, 06:09:44 AM »
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... I know that the rest of the world gets to buy Toyota 70 series Landcruisers with diesel engines, but we can't in North America...

That is a real pity but what about F-150 or F-250 Diesel 4X4?

Tony Jay
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Colorado David
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« Reply #96 on: March 20, 2013, 06:53:11 AM »
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We can't buy the 70 Series Landcruisers with gasoline engines either.  Toyota decided to not meet NAS for the 70 Series at all.  It is a tremendous vehicle and a shame we don't get that choice.  Land Rover left the U.S. market with the Defender after 1995 and we could never buy the Land Rover Discovery with the TD5 diesel engine.  The Ford trucks you mention are great vehicles, but they are larger and heavier.  There are trails in the western U.S. that a 70 Series would have no trouble with, but the full size trucks are too large.  Diesels are a great choice for photographers, but also for anyone else because of the extended range.  I'm driving a 2001 Land Rover Discovery.  With Bosch electronics it does not have the electrical problems that the Lucas vehicles experience.  All the Land Rover jokes aside, there is no better, more capable four wheel drive from the transmission on.  There are some well documented engine issues, but they don't become a problem if you keep up with regular maintenance.
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fike
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« Reply #97 on: March 20, 2013, 09:59:49 AM »
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I've settled on a Subaru Forester with a few tweaks and mods.

First, I added a Maggiolina rooftop tent.  It has a three inch mattress and is very weather-sealed.  The tent makes a really neat photo blind.  You can open windows facing three directions.  Unfortunately, the fourth window has mosquito netting that can't be removed. Attached is a crummy pic of the tent on the Forester.

The Subaru is the best non-truck-like option for light off road use.  It has more than 8" of clearance which beats many SUVs and pickups. I was able to get an aftermarket skid plate for the engine for a bit more security on boulder-strewn fire roads.  Clearance and AWD are the key features for dealing with light-duty offroad and fire roads.  Low range would be nice, but the Subaru AWD system is quite rugged and performs well with as many as two wheels losing traction. 

Real-world fuel economy on highway is somewhere around 25 or 26 MPG. 

12V cooler plugs into the cargo-area power plug.

Power inverter for charging batteries while underway and running computers for short durations.  Power pack for charging phones and camera batteries.  http://store.bruntonoutdoor.com/portable-power/portable-power-packs/sustain2-trade-black/



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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
arlon
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« Reply #98 on: March 20, 2013, 11:02:50 AM »
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Love the Subaru with roof top tent. That's a cool setup. Subaru was going to bring the diesel to the US and I was waiting with check book in hand. Then after a lot of publicity saying it was coming they backed out...  )-:} 

Someday I'll find a way to get that Isuzu diesel into my van and I'll be done!
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Honey, did you bring an extra battery?
Colorado David
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« Reply #99 on: March 20, 2013, 11:38:48 AM »
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Diesel conversions are very tempting, but they may limit where you can live.  If you live in a state that requires vehicle inspections, your diesel conversion would make your vehicle illegal.  If the inspectors look under the hood or plug a code reader into your OBDII port, you're in trouble.  It's too bad.  The diesels are now low emission and extend range considerably.
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