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Archive 2016 · Going to Africa
  
 
runakid
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Going to Africa


Next August I will be blessed in going to SA for 10 days. As I will be riding in a "Jeep" type car with 5 others I was wondering should I bring the Nikon 500 f4 as my long lens or just go with the 80-400. I cannot handhold the 500 but can the 80-400. Not having been there previously, not sure what kind of room there will be in the car. I know there will no room for a tripod but can the 500 be used effectively with a monopod? This will be my only trip of this nature and want to get the gear right. I also have a 70-200 f2.8.
What wide angle would you bring? I have a 28-75 2.8 as my wide lens now.
Any help would be appreciated.



Oct 15, 2016 at 01:35 AM
JBPhotog
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Going to Africa


What is you your primary goal, better image quality or ease of use?

The 500 is a high quality optic which can be used on a monopod. I have no experience with the 80-400 but I doubt it is comperable to the 70-200 in that range.

A wide lens is useable for vistas and camp shots.



Oct 15, 2016 at 05:24 AM
Two23
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Going to Africa


JBPhotog wrote:
I have no experience with the 80-400 but I doubt it is comperable to the 70-200 in that range.

.



I have both; they are quite close. If it were me, I'd take the 80-400mm AFS. It's a very dusty place and a zoom would reduce lens changes. There isn't much difference between 400mm & 500mm at the wide end, but if something pops up a few feet from the car you're screwed if you have the 500mm mounted. I would also buy a D500 just for the trip and sell it when I got back. The 80-400mm on a d500 is a very powerful and versatile combo.


Kent in SD




Oct 15, 2016 at 06:29 AM
binary visions
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Going to Africa


I loved my 80-400 when I was in Tanzania. In an ideal world, I would have brought a 500mm, tripod, teleconverter and extra body and left it all set up in the vehicle at all times, but I would also have had to bring a sherpa and skip the trip anyway because my budget would have exploded.

However, if I had to choose one, I would have picked the zoom. Tanzania was such an incredible place with wildlife literally everywhere and beautiful landscapes around every corner - having the zoom was really the difference between capturing everything I wanted to capture, and having to just ignore some things because the big gun was left in my hotel room, or couldn't get wide enough, or whatever. I mean, when an elephant starts rubbing up against your safari vehicle, you don't need a 500mm.

The 500mm would have been lovely as a second lens, but the zoom was far more versatile if you're just carrying one.



Oct 15, 2016 at 07:21 AM
malgegg
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Going to Africa


I went recently and found that a big lens such as the 500 was awkward and missed many shots because the lack of room and I had all the back seat to myself. I noticed many safari vehicles packed to the rafters .in that situation your 500 will be useless, but the shots you get will be exceptional.I found low light shooting the norm and a 300 2.8 would have been ideal. I traveled to SA Botswana Namibia


Oct 15, 2016 at 07:42 AM
Desertcruiser
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Going to Africa


My vote goes to the versatile 80-400. Cause the guide knows the way to come close to the animals. Light should be quite good enough to stop down a bit and get near your prefered quality.
I have read once, the best safari lens is a 200-400 f4. So why not a 80-400?



Oct 15, 2016 at 11:27 AM
Vinnie_VdB
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Going to Africa


I go 2-3 times a year on safari in South Africa and this in the private consessions of the GKNP (Klaserie, Timbavati, Balule, Sabi Sands, ...) and is that indeed in an open safari vehicle. Depending on the camp can there be a total of 10 persons on the vehicle, excluded driver. In that case cab things sometimes be pretty cramped. Still, my standard kit is a D4s with the 70-200mm f2.8 and a D500 with my 500mm f4 G (for birding). However, coming december will I replace the 70-200 with the AF-S 80-400mm and see how it holds up.
I shoot with both sets out of hand but will take a monopod with me this time and give that a shot.

And the 200-400 f4 the best safari lens? Not sure. The lens is great for subjects that are close but is doing not so great on faraway subjects. I guess you are even better of with a 200-500mm.



Oct 15, 2016 at 12:28 PM
Desertcruiser
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Going to Africa


I sold my 200-400 cause of sharpness issues at longer distances.
For a safari i would go for a 200-500 as well.



Oct 15, 2016 at 12:34 PM
Oosty
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Going to Africa


Being South African and having spent lots of time in various National Parks , I'd opt for the 80-400 . If you're using a D500 that would be ideal.

Obviously for non game park images a shorter zoom lens would be necessary as well as a wide angle for the cities.

In the Kruger Park one can generally get close enough to game not to need 400mm. Often the bush is very dense also and long range views are poor.

If you're birding 500 mm is very handy. Ideally you'd like 2 cameras but if there are 5 in a vehicle that can be unwieldy.



Oct 15, 2016 at 01:16 PM
 

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Frogfish
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Going to Africa


Not exactly what you are asking but for wildlife/birds it's now D500+200-500 all the way. I had the 80-400G before, very good lens until the light drops and near useless with a TC early mornings/late afternoons (when your animals will be active). I haven;t tried the 80-400 on the D500 but I can tell you the 200-500 is great even in very low light and it takes the x1.4 very well indeed. Even the x2.0 at a stretch (sometimes struggles but in very good light no problem).

Pick your poison for the WA but 28-75/2.8 sounds good enough to me (assuming you have these mounted on 2 cameras and are NOT swapping lenses) !



Oct 15, 2016 at 04:12 PM
Vinnie_VdB
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Going to Africa


Oosty wrote:
Being South African and having spent lots of time in various National Parks , I'd opt for the 80-400 . If you're using a D500 that would be ideal.

Obviously for non game park images a shorter zoom lens would be necessary as well as a wide angle for the cities.

In the Kruger Park one can generally get close enough to game not to need 400mm. Often the bush is very dense also and long range views are poor.

If you're birding 500 mm is very handy. Ideally you'd like 2 cameras but if there are 5 in a vehicle
...Show more

Agree on this one. Especially in thge private consessions is 200mm in many cases too much and will you regret not having the 80mm, especially on a DX body.



Oct 15, 2016 at 07:20 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Going to Africa


Spent 10 days in Zulu Natal a few years go and my 500 f4 was my most used lens.


Oct 15, 2016 at 08:34 PM
Nick Birkett
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Going to Africa


If you were taking Dx bodies (e.g. D7200), would you be comfortable taking 2 bodies with a 70-200mm and a 300mm with TE1.4? Or would the lack of zoom ability above 200mm be a negative?


Oct 15, 2016 at 11:47 PM
Ethnos
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Going to Africa


Having made 13 safaris to RSA, Namibia, Botswana, Ethiopia, West Africa and elsewhere, I have some thoughts.

In RSA you will get fairly close to game. The guide knows exactly where the critters are, and a normal lens or 70-200 would be fine. In fact you'll probably get so close to rhino, e.g. that you may need a wide zoom like a 35 1.4 (White rhino are like cows), which will also grab shots of cape buffalo at dusk. However there are many instances in which you may not be able to get closer than 300-400 yards from your subject, so that's where a long telephoto like a 400 or 500 comes into play. Bring a Monopod. You may not need it if you can rest your lens/body on the truck bed, windowsill, or against the side of a tree.

I know it's your first trip, but there's so much else to shoot than animals. Take a good portrait lens, like an 85 1.4 or a 35 1.4 or a 50 1.4. You can hopefully get off the beaten path and get some dynamite pics of locals in their element. Also, a nice wide prime or even a 14-24 is perfect for panoramic sunsets, and with a fast lens you won't need a tripod.

Africa (except of its gorgeous sunsets) is VERY bright, so light and fast lenses are not an issue. The f/1.4s are for DOF with portraits, close animals etc.

Don't let your guide bully you into missing shots. YOU'RE the client. Unless there's a lion nearby get out of the vehicle if necessary for a good shot. If course you do need to exercise caution. I have a video of a dumbs tourist getting mauled and eaten by a by a lion and its mate when he stupidly cot out of the vehicle to video the pair rating. It wasn't a pretty site.

Some of my best elephant shots were taken at about 150-200 yards with the animal looking out from dense jungle.

And don't forget to get images of giraffe silhouettes against a sunset, metered on the sky so the animal is black, hopefully walking in front of the sun.

Bring a circular polarizing filter. You can remove it when it starts getting dark. Don't forget to bring tons of memory cards, and make copies as soon that night as you can. If you are binging a laptop or external SSD drives, BACKUP!

Then you can relax and imbibe sundowners while sitting around the campfire.

One caveat: Years ago in Africa I was shooting a Nikon F100 (pre-digital days) and the sunscreen on my hands took the finish right off of the body.



Oct 16, 2016 at 01:28 AM
Vinnie_VdB
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Going to Africa


Ethnos wrote:
...

Don't let your guide bully you into missing shots. YOU'RE the client. Unless there's a lion nearby get out of the vehicle if necessary for a good shot. If course you do need to exercise caution. I have a video of a dumbs tourist getting mauled and eaten by a by a lion and its mate when he stupidly cot out of the vehicle to video the pair rating. It wasn't a pretty site.

.....



Getting out of the vehicle is simple not done, not wehn you consider it save not by ignoring the ranger/guide.

http://www.kruger-national-park.de/pages/english/travel-guide/wildlife/tips/regulations.php

Kruger National Park Rules
Leaving your car Leaving your car is forbidden and is punishable by a fine. Also, sliding roofs and large window should be closed. Therefore, make sure that your rental car has a working air-conditioning unit. You will only be able to get out of the car at the various camps located within the Kruger National Park. You will find signs showing the distance to the nearest camp at each intersection. You can also view the distance table on this website.


This holds equally true when going to the private consessions, Addo Elephant park, ... so do not give this advice anymore, do not be that arrogant tourist claiming to know things better.



Oct 16, 2016 at 04:54 AM
swainsons
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Going to Africa


Just spent a few days at Lions sands and I had, D500, D610, 80-200AF-D and 200-500. You don't need more. Wide angle is optional really.

FWIW, I was disappointed at ISO2000 plus on the D500.

All the best



Oct 16, 2016 at 10:21 AM
Ethnos
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Going to Africa


Vinnie...thanks for the updated info (no arrogance was intended). That's what happens when you get too old for adventure. The last time I was in RSA with just my wife was in 1988. I'm sure things have changed greatly since then, especially in the parks. When I was there we mostly trekked on foot, and never made it to the game parks. We did take the kids on a guided photo safari in about 2004, but that was on private land. Thinking back on it, the girls loved it, but I don't think we ever did get out of the vehicle.

So, it does appear that my well-meaning advice is obsolete, and particularly inappropriate given the situations you will be in. Nevertheless, I hope you have a marvelous adventure, stay safe, and get some great images.



Oct 16, 2016 at 07:21 PM







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