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Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2....
  
 
israeljruiz
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p.1 #1 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Okay, in two weeks I have to decide which lens to take to South Africa.

I'm having a very difficult time deciding on which lens to take, Canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 ?
Maybe I should take both?


BTW- I've got both tele converter 1.4 and 2.0...


Pleases help!!!!!!!


-is



Jul 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #2 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Where in S Africa are you heading? That will make somewhat of a difference, as will what other lenses are you taking?


Jul 14, 2013 at 11:01 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #3 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Pretoria and southern parts...

This is what I plan to take:

Mk II 5 d
100mm macro
16-35 II
500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 or both?

Is



Jul 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #4 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Monopod and gitzo tripod ...


Jul 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM
mpwolfson
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p.1 #5 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


The wieght restrictions of your carry-on bag are getting rediculous all over the world. Since it is winter down there now, you should travel with a parka that has a lot of pockets so you can transfer camera bodies and lenses into it while going thru security.
In South Africa they use different trucks for safaries than those used in East Africa. They generally use open vehicles. If you are going on an organized safari, and not driving yourself, using a 500mm lens will be next to impossible with other people in the vehicle. You might be stuck in the middle seat. The 300mm might be easier to use.
Also, you must take a 70-200 or 70-300/400 lens. Take 2 bodies so you are not changing lenses and dirtying up your sensor.
A macro lens, without a specific place to use it, will be unnecessary. Just take a close up filter or extension tube to use on your 70-200 zoom for macro stuff. Take pillow cases to put your camera/lens in to protect them from dust while driving around.
Have a great trip!



Jul 14, 2013 at 11:29 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #6 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Wow! Great info!

Very helpful!
Thx MP


Is



Jul 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Scott T
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p.1 #7 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Are you going on a private safari or maybe self driving Kruger?

I'm sitting in the Cape Town airport on my way home after 4 weeks in SA

I brought a 5d3, 7d, 16-35, 24-105, 100-400 and 300/2.8 and tc's. the high iso capabilities of the 5d3 let me use the 100-400 the bulk of the time. The game this trip tended to be pretty quick, I didn't have much chance to swap bodies or lenses once we got started

Lens selection depends as much what wildlife you intend to shoot (birds or mammals) and where you're going.

Should be an awesome trip either way!




Jul 15, 2013 at 02:55 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #8 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Scott

thx for the info.

We are doing private safari and i will be shooting mostly wildlife...
but in general i will be doing a lot of birding.

BTW- did you get any hassle from airports carrying all this equipment?



Jul 15, 2013 at 03:37 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #9 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Scott,

i forgot to ask, which camera did you prefer shooting with?

full sensor or crop?


-is



Jul 15, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Scott T
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p.1 #10 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Huh, that's tough. I'm not a birder, but that would seem to call for the 500? I think both lenses would be too much. Which lodge/camp, just out of curiosity?

The 5d was most used, the 7d rarely. I didn't need the extra reach, if anything I wish i had left the 300 home and taken the 70-200/2.8, but i was shooting mammals.

No problems at all with the airlines, but my gear was essentially my only carry on, so you need to pack light otherwise. It is a lot to schlep around and worry about tho

Time to fly, back in 25 hours!



Jul 15, 2013 at 04:40 PM
 

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israeljruiz
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p.1 #11 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Thx have a safe flight !


Jul 15, 2013 at 06:45 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #12 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


I just got back from Serengeti - so, not the part you're traveling to, but I thought I'd at least weigh in. I'm interested in birds as well, though this wasn't a birding-specific trip, and I commented to my dad (another bird guy) that I thought the perfect setup would have been my 80-400mm lens, plus a second body with a 500mm + 1.4x TC on a tripod/monopod in the vehicle. I only had the zoom part of that setup (my Nikon D7100 + 80-400mm).

I really, really would not have wanted to do the safari with a prime only on the camera body - the dust is incredibly fine and pervasive; it finds its way into everything, and changing lenses was something to do as little as possible. Both cameras needed a wet cleaning when I got back. Maybe if I was only into the birds, it would have been different, but I spent a lot of time in all parts of the zoom range to capture the variety of animals or scenes we encountered, not to mention sometimes events unfolded pretty quickly.

We had a private safari as well. I definitely would not have wanted to fight for elbow room with others, nor have to abide by the preferences of others for starting/stopping. Well worth the premium for the private vehicle.

My camera bag was ~18 lbs., packed into a Think Tank Glass Taxi. It's a small bag and I got no hassle for it, even though I also had a hiking backpack and the total weight was over the airline requirements.



Jul 15, 2013 at 09:01 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #13 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Great help biary!

Ill keep info in mind...I can't wait !



Jul 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM
Genes Home
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p.1 #14 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Hi,

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.

Gene



Jul 21, 2013 at 09:00 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #15 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Great feedback Gene, really appreciate it!

Will be mainly in the Pretoria area and southern Africa ...


-is



Jul 22, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Genes Home
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p.1 #16 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Do you know which parks/reserves you will be visiting?

Gene



Jul 22, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Flowernut
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p.1 #17 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


The two lenses I would take are the 28-300 and the 500. Kenya was my first extensive use of the 28-300. I was sold on it when an elephant family approched us. I could photograph them in the river and continue to photograph as they came up the river bank and passed witing 75 ft of our vehicle. With two bodies and say a 24-105 and a 100-400, I could have gotten the same shots but I would have had a dry spell when I switched cameras. With the 28-300, no dry spell. The 500 was used for a lot more than just birds.


Jul 22, 2013 at 11:45 PM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #18 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


Thx for sharing flowernut!
What made you decide on the 28-300 vs 70-300?



Jul 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM
m.sommers00
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p.1 #19 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


I think a zoom in Kruger is best. For the most part, Kruger is not an open plain like Maasai Mara or Serengeti. Animals can be difficult to spot because there is a lot of vegetation. So, typically, when you do spot something it's fairly close. Of course I was after cats more than birds so a long prime would be nice for that - there are an incredible amount of birds. Bringing two bodies I feel would be a big advantage. One for birds with the prime, one for everything else with a zoom.

I used the new Nikkor AFS 80-400 over 2.5 months in Africa and it worked well enough given my weight and luggage restrictions, plus a 1.4x TC and a 16-35. It started acting up a bit through the trip, not sure if it's the lens or my D800. Your gear will get dirty as hell, I just tried to accept that it was being used and not to cry about it too much (but I still was on the inside!).

Enjoy your trip, you'll love it! Hopefully you'll have better luck in Kruger than I did and spot a leopard!



Jul 23, 2013 at 10:34 AM
israeljruiz
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p.1 #20 · Which lens to take to Africa: canon 500mm f/4 or 300mm 2.8 is?


M. sommers00

thx for your reply. I think Im going with the following: Canon 500mm,tc 2x, mk5ii, 7D, 16-35mm and 70-300mm.

Im after birds and wildlife...or anything that catches my attention.

thx again to all of you for your help and for taking time to reply!

-is



Jul 23, 2013 at 02:31 PM
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