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Thread started 01 Aug 2011 (Monday) 02:49
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Going on Safari to Tanzania: what should I take?

 
Owain ­ Glyndwr
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Aug 01, 2011 02:49 |  #1

Hi everyone,

I'm off on safari in a fortnight and I've managed to beg, borrow and steal quite a quite a bit of equipment to go with my Canon EOS 600d/T3i and Sigma 18-250.

I will definitely be taking:

600d
100-400L
18-250mm
Spare battery
charger
EF-S 10-22mm
2 x 16GB SDHC
1 x 4GB SD
1 x 2GB SD

but I also have the following questions:

monopod or tripod?
I've been lent a monopod and a tripod, both decent bits of kit. I only want to take one and am leaning towards the monopod due to weight and the possibility to use inside the vehicle. Is this the right choice?

My friend suggested taking the head of the tripod as sometimes the vehicles have mounts you can clamp into. Is it worth the extra weight on the off-chance and, if so, wouldn't it be better just to take the whole tripod?

20d or Powershot SX130IS?

I've been offered a 20d body to borrow for the trip. I'm not sure whether to take this or my Powershot SX130IS. Advantage of the body is that i can have the 10-22mm lens or the 18-250 attached on it to complement the 100-400. Disadvantage is that it is heavier, bulkier, requires a different charger and uses CF cards (which i don't have but could borrow one or two) and only has 8MP resolution with an older DIGIC II sensor. The SX130IS has the equivalent focal range of 28-336 12MP and uses the newer DIGIC IV sensor. It also runs on batteries so need to take an extra charger (I'll take enough batteries). Downside of this camera is that it is missing the UWA, which is only a problem on the game drives, and afik, can't save in RAW. So I'm not sure which to take.

Third battery for the 600d?

Is two enough or should I get a third? We'll be spending two nights in a row in the Serengeti Wild Camp, and afik there is only very limited electricity supply. I decided against getting a grip (with 2 extra batteries) because of the extra weight but maybe I should reconsider this.

And finally there a few bits of kit I'm not sure whether to take or just leave behind:

x2 TC. quite good for those long shots but doesn't allow AF and once it is on the body for the day I can't be taking it off. I think I'd only get use shooting from the lodge.

430EXII Speedlite. Am i really going to be shooting that much in the evenings? Knowing me yes, but I can also use the on-board flash if necessary

Nifty Fifty
. good for some portraits etc around the camp but would i really miss it that much with all the other lenses?

Have I forgotten anything important?

I'm really looking forward to this trip and I'm possibly over thinking the equipment but I'm quite new to the game and not that experienced so I very much appreciate any insights.


Bora Da! OG
Canon EOS 600d, EF 24-70L, EF 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Sigma 18-250mm, 430EX II, Lowepro Primus AW, Lowepro Zoom 55AW,

  
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KurtGoss
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Aug 01, 2011 02:54 |  #2
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what about a travel bag to carry all the gear?

also, rain poncho




  
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Owain ­ Glyndwr
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Aug 01, 2011 03:05 |  #3

I guess I should have included that too. I have a Lowepro Primus AW and am contemplating taking my Lowepro Zoom 55AW toploader.

I have a bunch of disposable rain ponchos, small and neatly packed that i could take. I hadn't really thought about that.


Bora Da! OG
Canon EOS 600d, EF 24-70L, EF 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Sigma 18-250mm, 430EX II, Lowepro Primus AW, Lowepro Zoom 55AW,

  
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dropmyload
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Aug 01, 2011 03:42 |  #4

I live in Kenya. An extra battery is not a bad idea, given the perpetual power issues we have both in Kenya and Tanzania. However, most camps have generators, so you should be ok.

Monopods/tripods are good for landscape shot, but useless in the safari cars. better off getting a bean bag to rest your lens on the roof of the car.

I'm also new to DSLRs but have done many safaris with a bridge camera.


Canon 80D, Canon 100-400L, EF 50 II
Fuji X-T20, 18-55 2.8-4, Samyang 12/2
Vivitar 28/2.5 RE, Auto-Topcor 3.5cm/2.8, Helios 44-2, Meyer Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100/2.8, Tele Lentar 135/2.8, Soligor 180/3.5
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Owain ­ Glyndwr
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Aug 01, 2011 03:46 |  #5

dropmyload wrote in post #12856125 (external link)
I live in Kenya. An extra battery is not a bad idea, given the perpetual power issues we have both in Kenya and Tanzania. However, most camps have generators, so you should be ok.

ok, well I have one spare, so that should be enough then.

dropmyload wrote in post #12856125 (external link)
Monopods/tripods are good for landscape shot, but useless in the safari cars. better off getting a bean bag to rest your lens on the roof of the car.

I was planning on taking a couple of zip-lock bags in different sizes and then filling them with sand or something when I get there. Not cos I'm too cheap to buy a bean-bag but due to weight.


Bora Da! OG
Canon EOS 600d, EF 24-70L, EF 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Sigma 18-250mm, 430EX II, Lowepro Primus AW, Lowepro Zoom 55AW,

  
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dropmyload
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Aug 01, 2011 04:28 |  #6

Owain Glyndwr wrote in post #12856133 (external link)
ok, well I have one spare, so that should be enough then.

I was planning on taking a couple of zip-lock bags in different sizes and then filling them with sand or something when I get there. Not cos I'm too cheap to buy a bean-bag but due to weight.

Not a bad idea...you shud be able to buy beans or dried maize anywhere...


Canon 80D, Canon 100-400L, EF 50 II
Fuji X-T20, 18-55 2.8-4, Samyang 12/2
Vivitar 28/2.5 RE, Auto-Topcor 3.5cm/2.8, Helios 44-2, Meyer Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100/2.8, Tele Lentar 135/2.8, Soligor 180/3.5
Yongnuo 468II, 565 EX & some 622C
My Flickr (external link)
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hollis_f
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Aug 01, 2011 04:40 |  #7

  • 100-400 is a great lens.
  • Bean bag > monopod > tripod. Try getting a bean bag and filling it with polystyrene packing balls.
  • Definitely get another battery. Nothing worse than getting out into the field and realising you forgot to recharge last night.
  • Forget the 2x TC. Worse than useless.
  • The 20D would be invaluable if the 600D should die.
  • Nifty 50 great for evenings - definitely take it.
  • Flash not that useful, I'd stick with the pop-up.
  • I wouldn't bother with rain ponchos. You'll be in the dry season.


If I were you I would get my hands on more storage. I presume you're going to be shooting raw (I shot my first safari in jpeg and I really, really regret it) which means big file sizes. And you will be taking lots of photos (a few thousand in all probability). And any videos will just gobble up space. You could try to get your hands on some more cards, or you could think about getting a Photo Storage Device like the Hyperdrive Colorspace (€370 for 500GB). Yes, it's expensive, but you won't run out of storage space.

Whereabouts are you going? I got taken to Tanzania for my 50th birthday - pics HERE (external link).

Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
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dropmyload
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Aug 01, 2011 04:48 |  #8

Yes its dry, but has been raining out of season...Mara was wet last week I understand.


Canon 80D, Canon 100-400L, EF 50 II
Fuji X-T20, 18-55 2.8-4, Samyang 12/2
Vivitar 28/2.5 RE, Auto-Topcor 3.5cm/2.8, Helios 44-2, Meyer Optik Gorlitz Trioplan 100/2.8, Tele Lentar 135/2.8, Soligor 180/3.5
Yongnuo 468II, 565 EX & some 622C
My Flickr (external link)
Instagram (external link)

  
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Owain ­ Glyndwr
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Aug 01, 2011 06:19 |  #9

hollis_f wrote in post #12856237 (external link)
  • 100-400 is a great lens.
  • Bean bag > monopod > tripod. Try getting a bean bag and filling it with polystyrene packing balls.
  • Definitely get another battery. Nothing worse than getting out into the field and realising you forgot to recharge last night.
  • Forget the 2x TC. Worse than useless.
  • The 20D would be invaluable if the 600D should die.
  • Nifty 50 great for evenings - definitely take it.
  • Flash not that useful, I'd stick with the pop-up.
  • I wouldn't bother with rain ponchos. You'll be in the dry season.

I'll look into getting some polystyrene packing balls from somewhere. never seem them here though.
I think i might order a third battery, it's only €20.
I really hope my 600d doesn't die, it is brand new!

hollis_f wrote in post #12856237 (external link)
If I were you I would get my hands on more storage.

I thought of that. I will be taking my very small netbook so i can dump the files on it each evening. I have about 100GB free on it. I might even take a 250GB 2.5" USb drive.

hollis_f wrote in post #12856237 (external link)
Whereabouts are you going? I got taken to Tanzania for my 50th birthday - pics HERE (external link).

we're flying into Kilimanjaro, staying the first night somewhere between there and Arusha, then off to Lake Manyara, the Serengeti NP, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro crater, Tarangire NP and then off to Zanzibar for 10 days on the beach.


Bora Da! OG
Canon EOS 600d, EF 24-70L, EF 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Sigma 18-250mm, 430EX II, Lowepro Primus AW, Lowepro Zoom 55AW,

  
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hollis_f
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Aug 01, 2011 06:31 |  #10

Owain Glyndwr wrote in post #12856433 (external link)
we're flying into Kilimanjaro, staying the first night somewhere between there and Arusha, then off to Lake Manyara, the Serengeti NP, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro crater, Tarangire NP and then off to Zanzibar for 10 days on the beach.

Cool! But you're definitely going to need more storage space!

I'm not sure I could last 10 days on the beach. It's very, very nice - but I did start getting a little bored after three days and wasn't too sad to be going home after that.


Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
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rick_reno
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Aug 01, 2011 08:18 |  #11

bring some binoculars. watch the dust around that 100-400.




  
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Owain ­ Glyndwr
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Aug 01, 2011 08:32 |  #12

hollis_f wrote in post #12856460 (external link)
Cool! But you're definitely going to need more storage space!

I'm not sure I could last 10 days on the beach. It's very, very nice - but I did start getting a little bored after three days and wasn't too sad to be going home after that.

more than the 250GB 2.5" USB and the 70-odd GB on the netbook I'm taking? I would have thought that would be enough. I was planning to shoot in RAW+JPEG. I was calculating 30GB (that should give +1,000 photos shouldn't it?) per day times 6 days safari, so 180GB then may be another 50-100Gb for the rest of the holiday (shots of Stone Town, day trip to the rain-forest, etc)

love your safari photos btw. I hope i get some good ones too.

rick_reno wrote in post #12856754 (external link)
bring some binoculars. watch the dust around that 100-400.

i have two pairs, one for me one for my wife. Neither are fantastic, though, only 8x22 but they are small and light-weight which is important.

any particular thing I should be doing/not doing re dust?


edit:

one more question. another friend mentioned that Tanzania was a "high-risk area for theft". Are there any things I should be particularly careful about doing or not doing?


Bora Da! OG
Canon EOS 600d, EF 24-70L, EF 50mm f/1.8, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Sigma 18-250mm, 430EX II, Lowepro Primus AW, Lowepro Zoom 55AW,

  
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hollis_f
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Aug 01, 2011 08:56 |  #13

Owain Glyndwr wrote in post #12856817 (external link)
more than the 250GB 2.5" USB and the 70-odd GB on the netbook I'm taking? I would have thought that would be enough.

Er, yes. That should be enough:oops:

Binoculars: I've always taken 8.5 x 42 bins. The larger objective makes a big difference to the brightness of the image, which is important when you're trying to spot a leopard hiding in the depths of a tree. But they are substantially heavier as well.

Dust: I've never been that paranoid about it. When driving from one spot to another I'll have my camera on my lap, or the seat next to me, covered with a fleece. That keeps the worst of the dust away but keeps everything ready for an emergency.

The game reserves in Tanzania are pretty safe and I've never felt at all uneasy. Zanzibar, on the other hand was terrible. On arrival we were met at the airport, only to be told that the resort we were booked into was full and they were taking us somewhere else. I had to phone the UK to sort it out and it was only when I told the UK agent to call the local police for us that the driver suddenly admitted that our original resort was suddenly available.

When we arrived at the resort they were surprised as they had just had a call from the car saying we weren't at the airport. It turned out that the crooks had got hold of the names of the passengers arriving that morning and were being paid to take us to some crappy sh!t hole. Everybody else was happy to go along with them. If I hadn't made a fuss.

When leaving Zanzibar the woman on the X-ray machine at security asked me for money before she would let my stuff through! I gave her an emphatic 'No!' but I think I should have reported her.


Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll complain about the withdrawal of his free fish entitlement.
Gear Website (external link)

  
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rick_reno
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Aug 01, 2011 14:43 |  #14

hollis_f wrote in post #12856947 (external link)
Er, yes. That should be enough:oops:

Binoculars: I've always taken 8.5 x 42 bins. The larger objective makes a big difference to the brightness of the image, which is important when you're trying to spot a leopard hiding in the depths of a tree. But they are substantially heavier as well.

Dust: I've never been that paranoid about it. When driving from one spot to another I'll have my camera on my lap, or the seat next to me, covered with a fleece. That keeps the worst of the dust away but keeps everything ready for an emergency.

The game reserves in Tanzania are pretty safe and I've never felt at all uneasy. Zanzibar, on the other hand was terrible. On arrival we were met at the airport, only to be told that the resort we were booked into was full and they were taking us somewhere else. I had to phone the UK to sort it out and it was only when I told the UK agent to call the local police for us that the driver suddenly admitted that our original resort was suddenly available.

When we arrived at the resort they were surprised as they had just had a call from the car saying we weren't at the airport. It turned out that the crooks had got hold of the names of the passengers arriving that morning and were being paid to take us to some crappy sh!t hole. Everybody else was happy to go along with them. If I hadn't made a fuss.

When leaving Zanzibar the woman on the X-ray machine at security asked me for money before she would let my stuff through! I gave her an emphatic 'No!' but I think I should have reported her.

Hilarious. I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time. Those people at the airport are pretty clever.




  
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simonjs
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Aug 01, 2011 14:46 |  #15

I would also suggest taking the 20D, having an another lens on a body will allow for a quick change of focal length.
I've always found a bean bag more useful than a tripod.




  
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Going on Safari to Tanzania: what should I take?
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