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Archive 2012 · What would you bring to Panama?
  
 
jkhalifa
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p.1 #1 · What would you bring to Panama?


Hi all,

I'm looking for some input on what equipment to bring to Panama. I'll be spending a week there in late March, mostly in nature preserves/resorts. I'm primarily looking to photograph birds and other wildlife, though I imagine there will be some opportunities for landscapes. There will be a fair amount of day hiking with this equipment, but I'm not too concerned about carrying a heavy load. I think most of the bird photography will be of stationary birds, rather than in-flight shots.

I shoot with the 7D and own the 400mm 5.6. Everything I have is listed in my profile. My dad will also be heading out. He has a 5D, 7D, 500mm 4.0, 100-400, 70-200 II, 1.4x III, 2x III, and other assorted pieces.

So - what would you do? I've been heavily considering renting a telephoto like the 800mm or 300mm II (and using my dad's 2x). I have also been thinking about renting a 1D Mark IV. I could also potentially buy one or more of these used and then resell them after my trip. I really would've liked to have tried out the new 500 or 600 and the 1DX, but it doesn't look like those will be out in time.

And if I'm renting - I could always go to the dark side and check out Nikon. Just throwing it out there.

Any advice/focus would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Justin



Feb 16, 2012 at 05:09 PM
scalesusa
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p.1 #2 · What would you bring to Panama?


ND filters, pol filters, sun glasses, and lots and lots of sunscreen.

If you are going to rent, rent a 1D MK IV and take the 7D as a backup, disasters do happen, so a 2nd body is a must.



Feb 16, 2012 at 07:52 PM
KaaX
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p.1 #3 · What would you bring to Panama?


Tropical jungles are *dark*! You will be forced into shooting ISO 800, 1600, and higher, especially with slow teles, not to mention extenders.

I'd rent a low-light body (1DIV sounds good) before I rent more long lenses.



Feb 16, 2012 at 07:59 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #4 · What would you bring to Panama?


jkhalifa wrote:
I'm looking for some input on what equipment to bring to Panama.


Quinine, M-16, M-79...

Oh wait, that was my packing list in the '70s. Hopefully things are different now.



Feb 16, 2012 at 08:55 PM
swingthis1
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p.1 #5 · What would you bring to Panama?


You can carry everything in the world - remember its gets dang heavy.

also since its a tropical climate - careful taking your len's off the body after sitting inside at night - condensation is a big issue down there.

I was fine with my 5d2, 24-105, 70-200L II 2.8 IS, 1.4x tc, and my 17-40L. If you have a long lens, bring it if you have room.

Renting bodies sounds great - just make sure it is insured for international travel.

have fun!

Scott



Feb 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM
jkhalifa
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p.1 #6 · What would you bring to Panama?


Thanks for the responses. Right now I'm leaning toward renting the 1D IV and 300 II. I think this would make a pretty reasonable setup to carry and handhold. I'll definitely bring the 7D, and probably swap between the 17-55 and the 100L on that guy. My dad is going to bring his 580EX II and Better Beamer, so I'll probably play around with that to see if I can dial it in.

Good points on insurance and condensation, Scott. Thanks for that.

Any additional input is certainly welcome. BrianO, I have no idea how to use a gun, but if you want to send me one along with a list of instructions, that would be great.

Justin



Feb 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #7 · What would you bring to Panama?


jkhalifa wrote:
...BrianO, I have no idea how to use a gun, but if you want to send me one along with a list of instructions, that would be great.


Better to take along someone who already knows how. Check the classifieds pages of Soldier of Fortune magazine.



Feb 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM
jkhalifa
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p.1 #8 · What would you bring to Panama?


Fair point - I'll keep to carrying a sharp stick for now. I'm licensed to prod.

Justin



Feb 16, 2012 at 10:30 PM
BrianO
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p.1 #9 · What would you bring to Panama?


jkhalifa wrote:
...I'm licensed to prod.





Feb 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM
dswiger
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p.1 #10 · What would you bring to Panama?


BrianO wrote:
Quinine, M-16, M-79...

Oh wait, that was my packing list in the '70s. Hopefully things are different now.

Ha ha, that's exactly what I was thinking when I saw the thread title!

Dan



Feb 17, 2012 at 06:47 AM
 

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bkpix
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p.1 #11 · What would you bring to Panama?


One more vote for "the jungle is dark." In fact, it's really dark.

If you haven't been there, imagine yourself shooting inside the house at around sunset with no lights on anywhere. It all kind of puts a crimp in your plans for long-lens work, unless you have a tripod...



Feb 17, 2012 at 07:56 AM
jkhalifa
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p.1 #12 · What would you bring to Panama?


Thanks for the input. Haven't been to the jungle for a while, so the advice is greatly appreciated.

I think this will be what we have between two of us (plus my mom):

  • Cameras:
  • 1D IV
  • 5D
  • 7D x 2
  • Sony NEX-5
  • Lenses:
  • 17-55 f/2.8 IS (EF-S)
  • 24-105L f/4
  • 100L f/2.8 IS
  • 70-200L f/2.8 IS II
  • 300L f/2.8 II
  • 500L f/4
  • Assorted:
  • 2 tripods (1 Wimberley)
  • 1.4x III
  • 2x III
  • CPLs
  • Vari-N-Duo ND/CPL
  • Sharp stick

    If anyone sees any gaps or thinks there's a better setup, please feel free to pitch in. I'm pretty sure if my dad and I can't get any good pictures with all of this, we should consider other hobbies.

    Justin


  • Feb 17, 2012 at 04:38 PM
    KaaX
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    p.1 #13 · What would you bring to Panama?


    Five bodies seems a little excessive.

    Otherwise what strikes my eye is the lack of fast lenses. You have *nothing* faster than 2.8. I would consider that a problem (though it may be just me, as I like fast lenses and dislike tripods :-) ) I'd take something, even something basic like 50mm f/1.4 -- it's two stops faster than anything else you're bringing!

    Beyond that, I found it useful to have a waterproof P&S with me (I have a Lumix). Its IQ is nothing to write home about, but it's pretty much indestructible and offers great fun where you're messing around in or with water.



    Feb 17, 2012 at 04:54 PM
    jkhalifa
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    p.1 #14 · What would you bring to Panama?


    Thanks for the feedback. That's a good point on not having a fast lens. Maybe we'll bring the Sigma 30 1.4 or the Canon 50 1.4... that would probably be wise.

    5 bodies might be a bit much, but I think my dad and I will likely each carry two at a time (1 with walk-around lens, 1 with telephoto). My mom will probably use the NEX.

    Interesting idea on a waterproof P&S. I hadn't thought about that. I'll look into that.

    Kind of geeking out here... haven't been out of the country besides work in a very long time. And I sure do love camera gear.

    Justin



    Feb 17, 2012 at 05:05 PM
    Don Clary
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    p.1 #15 · What would you bring to Panama?


    I think you have a wonderful list of equipment to choose from, but you seriously underestimate the weight issue.

    The most important I'd suggest are 1DIV, 7D, 300 f2.8, 1.4XIII, 100L IS macro. The 500 will probably get very little use, because of its bulk. But its images will be spectacular when you can use it. You should also consider the 100-400 because of its speed of use and IS. Although there is no weight issue, the CPL will be close to worthless, at the light levels you will encounter, unless it is tripod mounted.

    I would carry a tripod, but expect to get very little use of it. This is because due the jumpiness of the subjects and the thick jungle foliage, by the time you set up the tripod to get a clear shot, among the leaves, the subject will be long gone. Any long lens without IS will be close to useless.

    I've shot in Madagascar, and Costa Rica. It you do a web search on pictures of Madagascar, in 90% of the pictures shown, you can't tell if you are looking at a lemur or a house cat! The images are black! This is because most pictures are from point and shoot cameras with poor low light ability, and none have IS.

    I would suggest practicing in a wooded area near home on heavy overcast days, or almost dark. Put a stuffed animal in the tree for your subject. Use your IS lens, but learn to brace both arms (from shoulder to elbow) against your body. Learn to squeeze the shutter very gently. Critically examine your low shutter speed pictures. You just can't appreciate how difficult it is to get sharp telephoto pictures in a dark jungle environment!



    Feb 17, 2012 at 06:26 PM
    Jay Adeff
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    p.1 #16 · What would you bring to Panama?


    Insurance for all that equipment you plan on taking.


    Feb 17, 2012 at 06:56 PM
    Glenn NK
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    p.1 #17 · What would you bring to Panama?


    Mosquito repellant. Calamine lotion. Immunization shots up to date.


    Feb 17, 2012 at 07:27 PM
    jkhalifa
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    p.1 #18 · What would you bring to Panama?


    Thanks, everyone.

    Don - I appreciate all the advice. There are two of us taking this gear, not just one (not sure if that was clear). I'm pretty comfortable with my ability to carry my gear, as I spent two months last summer carrying 40-60 lbs some pretty long distances. But either way, you're right, it is a lot of gear, and we may pare down a bit. Great idea to practice. I'm definitely not in long lens shooting shape. I'll pull out my 400 and try shooting with that to get reacquainted.

    Jay - I found an insurance company that will cover rented gear. And my other gear is already covered. Thanks for the input, definitely a good call.

    Glenn - good point on all that... I do need to get my shots up to date.

    Justin



    Feb 17, 2012 at 11:23 PM
    scalesusa
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    p.1 #19 · What would you bring to Panama?


    My brother in law lived in Panama for 20 some years, its not all jungle.

    Go to the beach, take the boat thru the canal, photograph the markets - Plenty of light, far too much. Moisture is a huge problem. Evaluate everything you bring for resistance to moisture. Steel items can rust overnight, even stainless steel unless its the really good stuff. He had to keep his tools in a closet with two heat lamps, because, if one went out, things would start rusting immediately without a backup.

    Take along lots of silica jel packs and sealed cases.

    These can come in handy too










    Feb 18, 2012 at 02:45 AM
    TheWengler
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    p.1 #20 · What would you bring to Panama?


    I don't know your shooting style so it's tough to answer that question. If it were me I'd take the 3 zoom lenses you have plus the 30/1.4, a tripod and all the filters you typically use.


    Feb 18, 2012 at 03:39 AM





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