MikeV99 wrote in post #15117754
I am trying to get organized for a trip to Africa in January. I envision the 800 on a gimbal on top of the vehicle with another lens on a different body ready to shoot quickly either handheld on top or from a bean bag through a window.
Mike, where are you going in Africa? If you are going to game reserves (sort of like National Parks in US and Canada), then the guides are not allowed to drive off the roads, so your "camera to subject distance" may be small, or can be quite large. I have been to Africa twice in the past two years, the first was to Botswana in a "private reserve" where the guides could go off the main roads and into the grass, and I found that my 100-400 was quite sufficient, although a 500 to 600 would have been quite useful - the zooming capabilities of the 100-400 was the most useful. I also found that I could use my 1.4 or 2.0 (Mk II) teleconverters to some advantage if the subject wasn't moving too much.
My second trip, last month, was to 3 different National Game Reserves in Kenya. Here the guides were restricted to the roads in the park - rangers don't take well to guides who do drive off the roads and they can ban guides from the park if they are caught, so you will not see good guides driving off the roads. This means, as I have said that your "camera to subject" distance can vary considerably. In this case, my 100-400 with the two TCs worked quite well. Again, it would have been nice to have had a 600mm (I do have one on order and will take it next time).
As far as support goes, those of us with long lenses were using bean bags exclusivley. They worked very well because the action can change quite quickly and having you camera mounted on a gimbal, or other support, means you have to take it off and swing to the other side and get the bean bag ready, etc., etc. and I suspect you might lose some shots in the delay, but I did see one jeep with a chap who had a Wimberley on what looked like a Manfrotto clamp mounted on the bar around the viewing port at the top of the jeep - he wasn't using it at the time, but I am assuming, since he was the only one in the jeep, that he could get the guide to turn around to be able to use it as required. Of course, if it rains, which it did most afternoons in the Mare, the gimbal is kind of useless.
As far as bean bags go, make sure you can get "beans" at the camp, or that you can buy some in a local store somewhere. I also used two cameras: 100-400 on one and the 24-105 mounted on the other - made things a lot easier when trying to shoot panos, or just general scenery.
HTH. My 0.02¢ FWIW. Have a great time and enjoy Africa - it is an adventrue, well actually two of them, that I will never forget.