View Full Version : Some suggestion for a trip to an African safari

9th of March 2010 (Tue), 14:03
I am trying to get to my list of dream trips, and an African Safari is on the horizon. But I am not sure what I should take for the trip.

I have a 40D with a 28-135 lens that I know is not the sharpest lens, but its very convenient since I travel a lot and I pack very light. Lately, this lens has getting too soft, maybe because its getting too old. I am debating if I should take the 40D because it's weight.

My other options is taking the G9 which I have been using almost daily every since I bought it including taken it several overseas trips. I do admit that I don't get the same results using a DSL but the trade off, in convenience, light weight and more importantly not attracting a lot of attention when wondering through remote places (I travel solo).

Now I am very frustrated wondering if I should get take my 40D and replace the 28-135 for a new one or maybe getting the 18-200 lens.

Or getting the wide angle, and longer lens for the G9. Security at the airport have a pinic when they see you traveling with lots of photo equipment and I don't check in luggage

9th of March 2010 (Tue), 17:25
If you think the 28-135 is soft then the 18-200 is probably going to disappoint you even more. For a once in a lifetime trip like that, I would consider renting a 70-200 2.8 (http://www.lensrentals.com/rent/canon-70-200mm-f2.8-l-is/for-canon) It would be money well spent IMO with the sharp memories you will capture.

10th of March 2010 (Wed), 20:13
Thanks a lot for the input.

I was considering renting but the cost would be almost prohibited for a long trip. Is forcing me not to take the 40D and take the G9 and might consider getting the tele (2x) lens. Not sure

I realize that this is a once in a life time, but ever since all the security checks, and hassle I am traveling very light.

BTW I have rented the 70-200 mm for urban shooting and I found it very heavy, maybe I'm getting lazy lol. But I'll try to rent it again and get the fell.

If I was going to get it, there's no doubt that I'd have to get the IS lens but kinda expensive isn't it

10th of March 2010 (Wed), 20:49
Well, most don't think much of the 28-135 and I don't really care why...I thought it was a great walk around lens for the cost. Go to Africa with everything you can muster!

11th of March 2010 (Thu), 15:16
I agree I have been using this lens since I got my first dig SLR a few years ago, granted is the same glass as the others.

But considering the practicality, and the price. However, since I am planning a trip to Africa I'm just wondering, gosh I just hate schlepping a lot of junk when traveling.

11th of March 2010 (Thu), 16:28
You won't find traveling with a SLR and a lens or two any problem for airport security. That's far from a lot of gear, and easy to stow in any number of inconspicuous bags. If you're going on a safari, you'll be in a group anyhow. I haven't gone on a vacation trip with less than 2 SLRs, 3 zooms and at least one P&S in at least the last 6 years. You will need something long and responsive - while tossing a 2xTC on the G9 might give you "long", I'd suggest getting either the Sigma 70-300 or the Canon 70-300 IS if you can stretch to that, the Canon 100-300 if you can't. But don't leave the 28-135 behind. Back in the day, it was one of the most frequently-recommended lenses around here. I wouldn't dream of going with less than my 100-400 and 24-70 with FF and APS-C bodies. The G9 won't give you the quick response time the 40D can, or the AF, and you'll find that if you're trying to photograph a moving animal you'll want to shoot in short bursts, but at something better than the best rate the G9 can do with AF active. Just remember to take plenty of memory whatever you decide on.

11th of March 2010 (Thu), 16:53
In a forum if you ask you will get many different answer (and many confusion). I am just throwing a different perspective..
If you want a closeup shot of an elephant's eye, you can get even in a zoo. You are visiting Africa, to see animals in their natural habitat. Then why not capture that.. I mean animal and nature together, not just animals freaking parts.
40D + 70-200 F4L and a 2X teleconv should be fine.. Not ultra expensive, not ultra heavy...
Just don't try to get animal's head shot in entire frame.. :)

11th of March 2010 (Thu), 19:23
In a forum if you ask you will get many different answer (and many confusion).


11th of March 2010 (Thu), 21:05
what about a 70-200 f/2.8 IS II with 2x extender instead of 100-400? the latter is much lighter and cheaper, but with the 70-200 you have the option of taking off the 2x and shooting at f/2.8.

I've rented the 100-400 for wildlife and found it to be wonderful, esp. the weight. but when it grew late in the evening I was wishing for wider...

11th of March 2010 (Thu), 21:11
For safari, your ultimate two lens set up would be a 100-400mm and a nice fast wide to normal zoom.
I can't imagine going on such a trip with only a compact when you own a DSLR!!!

If you were interested in either of the 70-200mm lenses, I'd forget the 2X T-Con and bring a 1.4x instead.
By choosing the 70-200mm over a 100-400mm, you are already assuming that you need 70mm more than you need 400mm, so stick with that choice and forget about trying to get 400mm from a 2X, it's bad results.

On the other hand, a 1.4x with ANY of the 70-200mm zooms works VERY well, and will get you a sharp 280mm reach.

Still, were it me (and it has been :) ) I'd reach for the 100-400mm, as the difference between 70mm and 100mm isn't much, but the difference between 200mm and 400mm is huge!

As for those times when you don;t need the reach, then absolutely, throw on your wide to normal.
The SIGMA 24-60mm f/2.8 is dirt cheap and light weight and very good.
For your late afternoon golden light evening shots, you won't want a super telephoto anyway,. so your wide to normal zoom is the one you want a fast aperture on.

12th of March 2010 (Fri), 18:28
Hi Guys,

I just finished reading the reviews on the G11, and after reading them and your comments I al meaning more toward taking my 40D and my G9 as back u, cuz thing can go wrong while traveling. I am going to check the 70-200 but I think still it will be heavy.

I have no intentions or the budget getting the 2.8, just getting the 4.0 IS would be a huge expense for my budget, but like some of you are saying this is no trip to the local zoo. I am not afraid taking my gear on the Safari, but more concerned taking on side trips like Zanzibar, Madagascar or other remote places.

At this point, I haven't have a clue which country to go to. However, I already have eliminated SO. Africa because it's too organized just like Disneyland. I am more interested with something more real.

12th of March 2010 (Fri), 18:46
The admin's post is most informative on this subject, coming down quite favorably on the side of the 100-400 L for wildlife work instead of the 70-200 with extender. Especially notable is the recomendation against using the 2x extender at all, even with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS II. in other words; don't push this lens to 400mm because it won't work well. got it. I suppose the jurry is still out on this combination because nobody has tested the 2x with the new 70-200 yet...

Anyway, especially having used the 100-400 myself, and with the above in mind, I would rent the 100-400 in a heartbeat if I were in your shoes. LensProTogo, for example, was like $100 for one week if memory serves. This lens gets consistently rave reviews as a wildlife lens, especially on a 1.6x body like the 40D which I also own. The IS is "old" but it still works very well - I have, for example, some Grizzly and Pelican shots from Yellowstone taken at 400mm and 1/60th second shutter speed -- handheld. Sure, it takes the 40D rapidfire and a steady hand to get a good pic, but it works and works well. I love the 100-400 and you will get much better pics with this lens on your 40D than you will with the G9.

13th of March 2010 (Sat), 14:43
Thanks a lot for the link to LensProToGo, I have never heard of this company. I always rely on a local rental store, and their prices are outrageous for a couple of weeks rental. I guess I should rent the 100-400 for a day or so to try it out

It sounds like you got really good wild life shots probably as good as National Geo. And that's a good point about shooting with a handheld camera, because I was not planning taking a tripod I'd be crazy.

The only thing remains is to decided to take the extra weight, but let me try it

15th of March 2010 (Mon), 17:32

At this point, I haven't have a clue which country to go to. ....

Namibia and Botswana are very nice :-)

15th of March 2010 (Mon), 17:38
Perhaps the guy described in this article could give you some pointers on using your DSLR in Africa, and a great way to get up close and personal with wildlife? See HERE (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1253935/Photographer-captures-amazing-images-lions-watering-hole-submerging-months.html).


15th of March 2010 (Mon), 20:59
Yes I was thinking about these two countries but to be honest I haven't started doing any research. However, for the hell of it I checked with one of the local consolidators, and the going rate r/t during the shoulder season to Nairobi $1,900 about 500 worth of fuel/taxes, yikes !!!!!!

Thanks for the link about Nambia, is that your by any chance?

That's what I'm talking about, I am aware that my G camera would not get these kinds of shots.BTW I was reading yesterday one of the Mac magz and a photographer took 3 cameras to Mexico and he didn't know they have a high tax for bringing into Mexico more than 2 camera regardless if its worth nothing. His 3rd camera was worth very little since he could only shoot b/w

Fortunately, they let him go, so be aware not take too much gear.

15th of March 2010 (Mon), 21:35
Thanks for the link about Nambia, is that your by any chance?

Nope not me, and never would be (I might be misreading your post). I'm not that adventurous, or that young and "reckless"...anymore. Also, only have a G9, no DSLRs.


16th of March 2010 (Tue), 00:48
Oh c'mon you never can tell if an opportunity might come along, lol

I think we are fine since we both have a G9 which I use it almost daily.

16th of March 2010 (Tue), 09:06
Yes, I still like my G9, but have been seriously considering the G11. I still prefer the zoom reach of my G9, especially with the 2x tele on it. However, I'm not so happy with the image quality above ISO80. I do like the size and features of the G9, but would also appreciate the swivel LCD of the G11, and better results above ISO80, perhaps up to ISO800.

I can compensate for various situations, but not for situations requiring a boost to ISO. I do like the ability to take HDR exposures via AEB, so I use it when I can. Here's one taken the other day of the Angel Oak near Charleston, SC. It wasn't the best situation with people moving around under it, but I picked a (long) moment when most of them seemed stationary.


I probably will get the G11, but keep the G9, to have the best of both situations. My wife will be happier as she gets to move up to the G9 from our older A620.


17th of March 2010 (Wed), 10:31
You really want a high-quality long lens if you can swing it. My setup when I went 2.5 years ago was my 400mm f/5.6 on my 20D and either my 28-105mm or occasionally 100-300mm on my 300D. Probably 75% of the shots were at 400mm and many of them could have benefited from 500 or 600 or even 800mm. There is no such thing as too long of a lens. I also used a 1.4x TC with the 400mm on some shots.

Obviously your budget will have to come into this, but don't let a few minutes of hassle in security (if that) get in the way of taking your best gear.

With a P&S you are, frankly, not going to get many very good shots.