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| p.1 #14 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is? |
Was in S.A. for three weeks in June. Did animals and birding in Karoo, Addo, Pretorius, for a couple days each, a week in Kruger, and a week at Zulu Nyala on Northeast coast, with trips to Phinda, Temba, and Hluhluwe.
I want to second the following comments from above;
1. take at least 2 bodies, ESPECIALLY if you are hauling a prime. There were times when i would have killed for a 500mm with a converter, but about 90% of the time it simply would have been an anchor to lug around without a use, and 5% of the time the shot would have been gone by the time I would have gotten the thing mounted. See #2 below.
2. Take a zoom, I used the 80-400 for about 85% of all my work, and a 300 with a 1.7 converter for about 10% and my 24-85 zoom for the rest.
3. Carry-on will be no problem if you have gear packed in something like a Think Tank International V2 and an Urban Disguise 60. (what I use) Customs and security were no poblems coming or going. I did have a complete packing list of my gear AND a copy of my insurance policy inventory list just in case, but no-one questioned anything......Customs seems to trust you unless you are acting funny (or the dog alerts on you), and TSA/security could care less as long as they can x-ray everything.
4. I know you said a "private safari" but here's a question...did they tell you how many people would be in the land rover besides the driver. In S.A. you generally use an open LR or Toyota converted to carry three rows of seats under a full length suncover. If you have only one person per row of seats, you could get away with carrying the big gun. If not, not (even two people per row of seats leaves you NO room to maneuver your gear around).
5. My kit for my next trip (october next year) will be the following:
a. Nikon D4 with 300mm with 1.7 converter
b. Nikon D800 with 80-400mm
c. Nikon D7100 with 24-85mm zoom.
and a BIG flash unit, something with a power factor exceeding 250, for the post sunset drives. My Nikon SB-800 was marginal in reach, even with an extender, and the recharge rates went off the wall after the first 15 or so full power firings each night.
All of above except b. fits easily into the TT UD60, so it is the main camera bag, with the zoom carried out "in-hand" for instant use. If you are one person be row of seating, you MIGHT be able to use a tripod or monopod for additional support. BUT, for birding, you can pretty much count on having to hand-hold everything so you can track movement.
6. I never used my tripod or my macro lens on the last trip. When we were in our rental vehicle I used both a Puffin Pad and a small bean-bag for stability.
7. I backed up my shots each evening to my laptop (carried in my TT Int V2) with no problem.
8. If you are going to be a privately owned reserve, you will be driving both on and off roads, and getting much closer to the wildlife - as well as maneuvering the vehicle for better angles and lighting. If you are going to be in a Provincial or National Park your tour vehicle will be limited to the existing roads and some of your shots (if not many of them) will be at longer distances....which might make the 500mm with a converter a good deal for birds. Even in that case, however, it will be too powerful for most animal work.
9. If you are going to be in the vicinity of any of the above locations, drop me a PM and I will forward more info to you.