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Thread started 11 Feb 2012 (Saturday) 13:43
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Rent 500ml for Safari? Advice please

 
Stuart ­ Leslie
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New York
Feb 11, 2012 13:43 |  #1

Going in August with family (wife and 2 teenage kids) on our first- and likely only- African Safari. We will be spending two weeks total, mostly in Tanzania with a private driver/guide then a few days in Kenya (Mara) with a small group in an open sided vehicle. I will have my 5D and 7D bodies with me.

I was planning to rent a 500mm f/4 for the trip as I really want the sharpness/image quality of my 300mm f/2.8 but with more reach. Reading the safari threads here I have started wondering though. Most are recommending the 100-400 (or 200-400 if it ships in time).

So now I am wondering if I should just bring my 300 f/2.8 and extenders for the 7D, and keep my 70-200 f/2.8 on the 5D and work with what I already have? I will still bring some wide lenses for landscape shots of course. The 300mm and 5D have spoiled me for image quality now so really want the best possible lens for the trip.

I have no problem lugging around heavy lenses. I hiked around the Galapagos islands a couple years ago with my 300 f/2.8 slung on my shoulder the whole time and didn't regret that decision for a second!

I appreciate any advice from those that have been.


Gear: Canon 5D III, 5D and 7D | 300 f/2.8L IS | 70-200 f/2.8L IS | 85 f/1.8 | 17-55 f/2.8 [COLOR=navy]| 24-105 f/4L | 10-22 | Zeiss 35 f/2 | TS-E 24II | Alienbees
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StructuredAmazing
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Feb 11, 2012 13:51 |  #2

Stuart Leslie wrote in post #13868993 (external link)
Going in August with family (wife and 2 teenage kids) on our first- and likely only- African Safari. We will be spending two weeks total, mostly in Tanzania with a private driver/guide then a few days in Kenya (Mara) with a small group in an open sided vehicle. I will have my 5D and 7D bodies with me.
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I was planning to rent a 500mm f/4 for the trip as I really want the sharpness/image quality of my 300mm f/2.8 but with more reach. Reading the safari threads here I have started wondering though. Most are recommending the 100-400 (or 200-400 if it ships in time).

So now I am wondering if I should just bring my 300 f/2.8 and extenders for the 7D, and keep my 70-200 f/2.8 on the 5D and work with what I already have? I will still bring some wide lenses for landscape shots of course. The 300mm and 5D have spoiled me for image quality now so really want the best possible lens for the trip.

I have no problem lugging around heavy lenses. I hiked around the Galapagos islands a couple years ago with my 300 f/2.8 slung on my shoulder the whole time and didn't regret that decision for a second!

I appreciate any advice from those that have been.

Yeah 300mm and extenders WITH crop 1.6x 7D would be a great idea.
Imagine how far of reach that can go, unless you'd want to rent for more reach.


"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil"
StructuredAmazing forever.
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zzmorris
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Feb 11, 2012 14:39 |  #3

If it is a once in a life time trip, rent a 500 and take the 300 and 70 - 200 and TC's. You don't want if only moments


Gear List Canon 7D, Canon 40D, Canon 450D, Tamron 17 - 50, Canon 70 - 200 2.8 IS, Sigma 150 Macro, Canon 50 1.8, Canon 400 5.6

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skater911
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Feb 11, 2012 14:47 |  #4

zzmorris wrote in post #13869254external link
If it is a once in a life time trip, rent a 500 and take the 300 and 70 - 200 and TC's. You don't want if only moments

That sounds like a lot of gear to carry around


Nikon D810 l Nikon 24-120 F4 l Nikon 50 1.8 g l Fuji XT-10 l Fuji 18-55 l

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birder_herper
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688 posts
Joined Feb 2009
Cleveland, Ohio
Feb 11, 2012 15:41 |  #5

I don't know what the hassles will be with the airlines carrying around excessive gear, but if it weren't a problem I wouldn't mind bringing a 500/4, 300/2.8, and 70-200 zoom, in addition to other lenses, bodies, etc.

I've never been on safari, but have heard from others that they enjoyed using their 600/4's in East Africa. So I certainly don't think 500mm is excessive. I think a nice combo might be your 500 and 700-200 on your two camera bodies. My personal opinion is that 300mm is too short, and you'd be tempted to use a TC with it most of the time. Not that using a TC is bad, but if you're going to use one, I'd rather use one and get some serious reach!




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x_tan
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ɐılɐɹʇsnɐ 'ǝuɹnoqlǝɯ
Feb 11, 2012 16:42 as a reply to birder_herper's post |  #6

See here:

African Safari Photography & Safari Photography Tipsexternal link

Lenses: Here is an approximation of the percentage of images I have made with various focal lengths over the past few years:
17-200mm: 35%
200-300mm: 25%
300-400mm: 25%
over 400mm: 15%

We're going there this September, we just carry 28-300L & 200L.

"Miss" 30% shoot, maybe. So what.


Canon 5D3 + Zoom (EF 17-40L, 24-105L & 28-300L, 100-400L II) & Prime (24L II, 85L II, 100L, 135L & 200 f/2.8L II; Zeiss 1,4/35)
Sony α7r + Zeiss 1,8/55 FE
Nikon Coolpix A; Nikon F3 & F100 + Zeiss 1,4/50
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skater911
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Feb 11, 2012 17:57 |  #7

x_tan wrote in post #13869833external link
See here:

African Safari Photography & Safari Photography Tipsexternal link

We're going there this September, we just carry 28-300L & 200L.

"Miss" 30% shoot, maybe. So what.

Stop traveling I am getting really jealous. :)


Nikon D810 l Nikon 24-120 F4 l Nikon 50 1.8 g l Fuji XT-10 l Fuji 18-55 l

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x_tan
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ɐılɐɹʇsnɐ 'ǝuɹnoqlǝɯ
Feb 11, 2012 18:34 |  #8

skater911 wrote in post #13870163external link
Stop traveling I am getting really jealous. :)

This time for 'education trip' :lol::lol::lol:


Canon 5D3 + Zoom (EF 17-40L, 24-105L & 28-300L, 100-400L II) & Prime (24L II, 85L II, 100L, 135L & 200 f/2.8L II; Zeiss 1,4/35)
Sony α7r + Zeiss 1,8/55 FE
Nikon Coolpix A; Nikon F3 & F100 + Zeiss 1,4/50
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skater911
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Feb 11, 2012 18:49 |  #9

x_tan wrote in post #13870351external link
This time for 'education trip' :lol::lol::lol:

Ok then I will be your student. Were's my plane ticket?


Nikon D810 l Nikon 24-120 F4 l Nikon 50 1.8 g l Fuji XT-10 l Fuji 18-55 l

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x_tan
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ɐılɐɹʇsnɐ 'ǝuɹnoqlǝɯ
Feb 11, 2012 19:14 |  #10

skater911 wrote in post #13870447external link
Ok then I will be your student. Were's my plane ticket?

Actually, my wife and me go for 'continues education for professional development' :lol::lol::lol: We're the students, too.


Canon 5D3 + Zoom (EF 17-40L, 24-105L & 28-300L, 100-400L II) & Prime (24L II, 85L II, 100L, 135L & 200 f/2.8L II; Zeiss 1,4/35)
Sony α7r + Zeiss 1,8/55 FE
Nikon Coolpix A; Nikon F3 & F100 + Zeiss 1,4/50
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rick_reno
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Joined Dec 2010
Feb 11, 2012 22:07 |  #11

I'd bring the 300, it with the TC's should be fine.




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ed ­ rader
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silicon valley
Feb 11, 2012 22:20 |  #12

rick_reno wrote in post #13871400external link
I'd bring the 300, it with the TC's should be fine.

i bought the 300L for alaska but once i added a TC i actually prefered the focus and IQ of 100-400L, which i took to alaska and africa.

ed rader


http://instagram.com/e​draderphotography/ (external link)
5D4, 80d, 16-35L III, 24-70L II, 70-200L F4 IS, 100-400L II, sigma 15mm FE, 430exII, gitzo 3542, markins Q10, kirk, really right stuff

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Scott_online
Senior Member
Joined Aug 2009
Feb 12, 2012 05:58 as a reply to ed rader's post |  #13

Unless your interest is primarily in birds, I would leave the 500mm at home. The 300/2.8+1.4x on a crop is much easier to travel with and much, much easier to manage in the safari vehicle. This extra agility will gain you many more shots than you'll lose from the 80mm difference in reach.

It also means you have f/2.8 available if you need it. Many of the best photo opportunities on safari come in the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset and it can get really dark - especially if you're trying to shoot animals in or around trees. If you're already at your upper ISO limit an extra stop of shutter speed can make all the difference. AF is also better at f/2.8.

Regarding the second body, you might find there is too big a gap between a 70-200 on a 5D and the 672mm equivalent that the 300+1.4x gives you on a 7D. If you've got another 1.4x you could use that but I wouldn't recommend the 2x (the IQ is fine but the AF takes a hit). Personally I would rent/buy another crop body and use the 70-200 on that (what I now do) or perhaps rent/buy the 100-400 and use that on your 5D.

But whatever you do make sure you take at least one decent bean-bag with you. The 'molar' types work best, and I would fill it with lightweight synthetic beads before leaving. I've seen lots of guides that say fill it when you get there but the camp shops are often quite limited in what they stock.

HTH.


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camera ­ dude
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275 posts
Joined Jan 2011
Feb 12, 2012 06:50 as a reply to Scott_online's post |  #14

Personally - most of my favorite shots on safari were not the typical animal shots.

1. Wide angle shots of people in the vehicle also showing the background.
2. Landscape shots from Kopjes. Shots capturing the planes, the weather.
3. Shots capturing the herd - especially in thickets, near water, dusty
4. Sunset / sunrise shots - the classic serengeti tree shot, sunrise in ngorongoro
5. Low light shots with people around a fire, etc
6. Star trails over Kilimingaro.
7. Video

Been on 3 safari's - twice to Serengeti and once to South Luangwa. Most of my favorite shots were with the 17-35 2.8.

What are you going to want to remember - you decide. For me it was a overall experience, the place, the vastness, openness, simple beauty. Having a closeup of an animal 500 yards away that doesn't look much different than a zoo shot wasn't it.

I would just a soon carry a tilt shift lens and a tripod for that perfect panorama of the Serengeti - than a monster 500 mm lens for that perfect lion shot. That's me.

I am going to South Africa at the end of the year. Probably gonna pick up the 70-300L and the Tokina 11-16 2.8 II and take the 17-55, 30 1.4 and the S100. The Toki needs to fix their flare problem or it will be the 10-22.


7D | Canon EF-S 17-55 2.8 | Sigma EF-S 30 1.4 | Canon 85 1.8 | Canon 135 2.0 L | 430EX | TT Speed Demon | Sony RX100

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MCAsan
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Atlanta
Feb 12, 2012 08:03 as a reply to camera dude's post |  #15

When we go to South Africa, we rent 500s in country. We don't want the liability/risk/hassle of carrying those plus our other gear. We used the 500s with a 1.4 converter for the really long shots. But the vast majority of our shots were done with our 100-400s. For landscapes and walkaround shots we have 24-105 and 17-40s.




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