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Thread started 25 Mar 2010 (Thursday) 17:47
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African Essentials

 
Eclyps19
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Mar 25, 2010 17:47 |  #1

I'll be traveling to Africa in about 5 months. My gear is limited, so I plan on renting a Bigma or 100-400. Because I'll be out in the wilderness for days at a time while taking thousands upon thousands of pictures, how do I best prepare? I can estimate that I will only have access to power once every 2 days over a 7 day period.

Solar chargers? Some type of battery powered external storage device with a built in card reader (can't think of the name off the top of my head :()? A hard case rather than my Canon soft backpack? How many batteries/gigs would you recommend? I'm scared S&*@less about being in the middle of a safari and running on my last battery, but I don't have unlimited funds. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Canon 30D | Sigma 105mm 2.8 Macro | Canon 50mm 1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm 2.8 | 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS | 380 EX Flash

  
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DragonSpeed
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Mar 25, 2010 17:53 |  #2

Eclyps19 wrote in post #9870929 (external link)
I'll be traveling to Africa in about 5 months. My gear is limited, so I plan on renting a Bigma or 100-400. Because I'll be out in the wilderness for days at a time while taking thousands upon thousands of pictures, how do I best prepare? I can estimate that I will only have access to power once every 2 days over a 7 day period.

Solar chargers? Some type of battery powered external storage device with a built in card reader (can't think of the name off the top of my head :()? A hard case rather than my Canon soft backpack? How many batteries/gigs would you recommend? I'm scared S&*@less about being in the middle of a safari and running on my last battery, but I don't have unlimited funds. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

What type of Safari? A camping Safari? Lodge? (This will make a HUGE difference in your planning)

I took the 100-400 for a lens...that worked wonders. I think it's a little brighter than the Bigma. (every fraction of an F/STOP helps - I had to shoot some leopards at 3200 due to early morning).

Looking forward to hearing back.




  
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Eclyps19
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Mar 25, 2010 17:58 |  #3

I'm pretty sure it's mostly lodge, but some of the pictures I've looked at show something more like a big tent with beds inside.


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DragonSpeed
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Mar 25, 2010 18:05 |  #4

Cyruz's thread when he was going:
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=654033

Chris Newland's thread:
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=556229

My thread inquring about shooting in humidity:
https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=691829

My final - heading out thread: https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=696744


My Thread:




  
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themadman
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Mar 25, 2010 18:05 |  #5

You are gonna rent for 5 months? Thats prolly gonna cost more than just buying it...


Will | WilliamLiuPhotography.​com (external link) | Gear List and Feedback | CPS Member | Have you Pre-Ordered Your 3Dx Yet? | HorusBennu Discussion | In honor of Uncle Steve, thanks for everything! 10-5-2011

  
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DragonSpeed
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Mar 25, 2010 18:08 |  #6

Eclyps19 wrote in post #9871007 (external link)
I'm pretty sure it's mostly lodge, but some of the pictures I've looked at show something more like a big tent with beds inside.

Most lodges have power until 11pm or midnight. I would suggest 3 batteries (personally)

That way you can run one down to zero and have it charge while having two good batteries.

Bring LOTS of CF cards. I copied from CF card to small netbook every night and left the images on the CARDS. Keep them separate from your laptop at ALL TIMES. One gets stolen/water damaged/crushed, the chances are better that the other will survive.

NUMBER your CARDS.... use them in order. Only wipe one when you hit the end and need to start recycling.

Where are you going?




  
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DragonSpeed
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Mar 25, 2010 18:09 |  #7

themadman wrote in post #9871061 (external link)
You are gonna rent for 5 months? Thats prolly gonna cost more than just buying it...

LOL... he's going _IN_ 5 mos not _FOR_ 5 mos. :)




  
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themadman
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Mar 25, 2010 18:12 |  #8

DragonSpeed wrote in post #9871077 (external link)
LOL... he's going _IN_ 5 mos not _FOR_ 5 mos. :)

oooo.... I see... that had me confused...


Will | WilliamLiuPhotography.​com (external link) | Gear List and Feedback | CPS Member | Have you Pre-Ordered Your 3Dx Yet? | HorusBennu Discussion | In honor of Uncle Steve, thanks for everything! 10-5-2011

  
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Eclyps19
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Mar 25, 2010 18:51 |  #9

DragonSpeed wrote in post #9871070 (external link)
Most lodges have power until 11pm or midnight. I would suggest 3 batteries (personally)

That way you can run one down to zero and have it charge while having two good batteries.

Bring LOTS of CF cards. I copied from CF card to small netbook every night and left the images on the CARDS. Keep them separate from your laptop at ALL TIMES. One gets stolen/water damaged/crushed, the chances are better that the other will survive.

NUMBER your CARDS.... use them in order. Only wipe one when you hit the end and need to start recycling.

Where are you going?

Botswana for 7 days, Durban for 2 days, Zululand for 3 days.

Thanks :)


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hollis_f
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Mar 26, 2010 07:42 |  #10

Eclyps19 wrote in post #9871007 (external link)
I'm pretty sure it's mostly lodge, but some of the pictures I've looked at show something more like a big tent with beds inside.

You should be fine for electrickery in all those places. I'd take 3 or 4 batteries (Sterlingtek are so cheap it you may as well get a few).

Storage is more of a problem. I take at least three CF cards, even though the largest is enough for a full day's shooting. For my next trip to Namibia I'll be taking 32MB and 2x16MB. At the end of the day I backup to a Hyperdrive Colorspace and a netbook. I also backup to a friend's Hyperdrive and she puts a copy of her pix onto mine (as well as her own and a Jobo GigaVu). That way we each have three copies of all the images we've shot.


Frank Hollis - Retired mass spectroscopist
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wanyc
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Mar 26, 2010 09:31 as a reply to  @ hollis_f's post |  #11

Make sure you get the appropriate adapters for the plugs to charge everything. Some of the camps/lodges supply them but I would make sure to take a couple with me just in case. If your tents are mobile rather than permanent tented camp, then bring a charger that plugs into the cigarette lighter for charging while in the vehicle. I would not bring a hard case because they can be problematic if your trip includes any small planes. I have found backpacks to be the best for getting onto the planes without a problem and also in the safari vehicle. Bring lots of ziploc bags to protect your gear from dust.




  
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Eclyps19
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Mar 26, 2010 10:33 |  #12

dust... yes... major problem, I assume. I'm worried about my lens of choice, because I'll be stuck with it for pretty much all of my shots on the safaris. If I ever want to photograph something relatively close, such as a group or tribespeople or something, I don't want to be stuck with a minimum of 100mm.

This might be best left to my other thread, but if you were stuck with a single lens on your camera for an entire safari, would you rather be stuck with a bigma or a 100-400? The range of the bigma is much nicer, 50-500, but from what I hear, the IQ of the 100-400 is a bit sharper. Do I sacrifice wide range for a slight drop in IQ or the other way around?

Would you suggest ziplock bagging everything before placing it in my backpack? Should I have any sort of protection on my camera while using it?


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ed ­ rader
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Mar 26, 2010 10:35 |  #13

Eclyps19 wrote in post #9871355 (external link)
Botswana for 7 days, Durban for 2 days, Zululand for 3 days.

Thanks :)

i shot 50 gigs of RAW files in 10 days with my 1d mark III. i also had a back-up camera (30d). lenses were 100-400L, 16-35LII and 50 1.4. we had very strict weight limits.

i'd take a monopod, a storage/viewing device, enough cards so you don't have to ever erase and make sure to have a universal plug adapter. many of the plugs i used were very loose so you'll have to get creative to make sure your device is getting juice. also i'd take one of those plugs that will allow you to plug in three devices. you can get these for about three bucks and home depot.

our safari was the best thing we have ever done and if i could go anywhere in the world it would be back to africa without hesitation :D.

p.s. bigma vs. 100-400L you'll see plenty of 100-400Ls in africa because it's the best compact wildlife lens made for canon DSLRs :D.

ed rader


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OregonRebel
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Mar 26, 2010 10:42 |  #14

Several batteries/CF cards, a netbook, and at least a 400mm lens sound good. I went to South Africa two years ago with a 70-300 lens on a cropper; it wasn't long enough and I had to crop the photos.


Brian N
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CatchingUp
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Mar 26, 2010 10:57 |  #15

bug spray and lion repellent :D


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