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Shipping gear for African safaris
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · Shipping gear for African safaris

Full redundancy is tough and expensive, and probably not necessary. I've been to Africa and Antarctica (and all seven continents), but Antarctica is definitely tough on gear. Africa less so. The advice by Wildimages is very reasonable and gives you a certain level of redundancy. If you insist on shipping more gear than this, then you have the weight limitation imposed by internal flights on small aircraft. Contact Shem Compion at C4 Images in Johannesburg to see what he advises. Shem could probably help with receiving shipped gear. Another option is to carry the lighter gear and rent the long lenses in Jo'burg. Shipping costs are probably about the same as rental costs, and a rental is much more convenient (I did this too).

Good luck, ...Dave

plnelson wrote:
Yes, but I want full redundancy, so I'd have to double all that. My experience going to Antarctica is that an equipment failure can leave a hole in my focal length range and cause undue stress

Also I avoid telextenders because they rob me of f-stops - up to 300 I don't want anything less than f/2.8 and over that f/4. I have a TC 14EIII that I use in a pinch but it doesn't work with all my lenses (including my 24-70 f/2.8) (I don't have the 17-40 f/2.8 - does it fit that? Nikon's TC's generally don't fit
...Show more

Mar 27, 2017 at 03:54 AM

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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · Shipping gear for African safaris

Points to look out for:

1. 600mm f4 is fine. Go with a 400mm f5.6 or a 100-400mm f5.6 rather than a 300mm f2.8.

2. Pelican case is problematic as.it screams "heavy" a backpack and a photo vest do not.

3. Smaller lenses can be placed.in checked luggage. Ditto flashes, tripods, binoculars, etc.

4. Tripods are not all that useful unless you are either alone or with one other person in the land rover. Even then they are not wonderful as the vehicle will move with breezes and passengers shifting about.

5. Take a wide angle lens and a macro.

6. Take a decent set of binoculars.

7. Take a couple of beach towels. These can be placed over equipment that is not in use to keep dust off.

8. Do not change lenses any more often than absolutely necessary. Dust again.

9. Take a camera sensor cleaning kit.

10. Take a card downloader (Nexto DO or Sanho) and extra cards.

11. Laptop with 2 external HDDS for redundancy and a card reader.

12. Sweater - mornings are cold!

13. 2 bean bags. One for windows one for the roof.

14. Polarizer for increasing saturation.

15. Hat. At 6000' you will burn!

16. Photo vest.

17. Keep camera gear strapped on to the seat, not on the floor when moving as the sears will absorb some of the impact of the horrible bumps and jolts. This is IMPORTANT!

18. Keep medications ON YOUR PERSON! Monkeys and Baboons will get into tents and they WILL defeat childproof anything! And then eat it. Soap and shampoo included!

19. Hippos are faster than you and more dangerous than crocodiles, lions, cheetahs or just about anything other than hyenas or humans!

Hope this helps!

Grover Larkins

Apr 27, 2017 at 08:52 PM
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p.4 #3 · p.4 #3 · Shipping gear for African safaris

This is an interesting thread with some unexpected twists so I'll add my experience.

When debating on keeping weight down and still having enough backup for my "trip of a lifetime," I decided to keep the Canon 1DX and lenses home and take my Olympus MFT system. I just couldn't make the Canon system work, especially with my 120-300 f2.8. Now I could have bought the Canon 100-400 f4 but even that would be cutting it close. Clearly I was going to be buying some new gear. I wanted two bodies (you don't want to change lenses out in the bush if at all possible - there is dust everywhere) and I wanted lenses with overlap in case of lens failure (but never considered full redundancy). So I ended up with a Panasonic 100-400 f4-6.3 and an Olympus 40-150 f2.8 with a 1.4X TC. I also had an Oly 12-40 f2.8 and Oly 7-14 f2.8 for wider shots. This all easily made weight even with my laptop and the chargers (with enough extra weight to actually bring clothes!). So I typically had my 100-400 lens on my EM1 and the 40-150 on my EM5. If I would have had lens failure, I had another one that was close to it (TC helps here). If I had body failure, I had a second body with compatible batteries. If you can get your system down further (you only need a tripod for starry night shots because you can't leave the vehicles - ask you tour operator to provide beanbags), maybe consider a bridge camera as you backup like a Panasonic FZ or Sony RX10. That saves a lot of money and weight and provides flexibility if an animal isn't in ideal range of whatever lens you have on your camera.

I was in Tanzania and shot the typical lions, leopards and cheetahs. I would bet that anyone who has been there would agree that seeing them in the bush, in their own natural habitat, is nothing like seeing them in a zoo. It is incredible. Yes the birds were cool too but there was something about the "personalities" of the big cats and elephants that made watching them fascinating. Don't discount them because they're "touristy." It's just like comparing getting a shot of a penguin at a local zoo vs getting one in Antarctica. While the pictures may look similar, the experiences are worlds apart.

Apr 28, 2017 at 03:11 AM
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