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Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana

  
 
ebornstein
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


My wife and I are going to Namibia and Botswana for three weeks. We will be driving in our own truck and will be visiting a number of national parks, skeleton coast, etc. I am a little confused about what combination of lenses to bring. For sure I will be bringing:
A1
A7R4
35 f1.4 GM - small walk around
17-28 Tamron - landscapes, etc
28-70 GMii
1.4x teleconverter

I am having difficulty deciding between:

100-400 GM and the 600mm F4
Or
70-200 GMii and 200-600 G

My first instinct was to go with the 100-400/600mm pair as the 100-400 is easy to hold and a great overall
lens and the 600mm f4 gm will be great when I need a long reach with not a lot of light. I do have some concerns that switching between eh 100-400 and the 600mm will not be as easy due to limited room in the truck cab and the 600 is a lot of lens to move around in the cab of the truck if we are not able to get out of the car. Also I am worried that if I am using the 600mm and the target moves closer to me I will have to go for the 100 400. I have no doubt that the 600mm F4 will be great at dusk or dawn.

With the 70-200 and 200-600 I am thinking the 200-600 will be great in the truck cab and I will be able to easily zoom in out as necessary when the subject moves. The 70-200 will be great for when the action is up close or the need for a big aperature presents itself.

Any thoughts or advice wouyld be appreciated.

Thank you,
Eric



Jun 23, 2022 at 08:10 PM
DaveFP
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


I think that your gear will work as well or as poorly in Africa as it does in Florida.

If your skills are commensurate with your 30+K in pro gear you are likely to have a more intuitive understanding of your needs than folks on the internet.

Go with what has worked in the past.



Jun 23, 2022 at 08:40 PM
dhachey
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


ebornstein wrote:
My wife and I are going to Namibia and Botswana for three weeks. We will be driving in our own truck and will be visiting a number of national parks, skeleton coast, etc. I am a little confused about what combination of lenses to bring. For sure I will be bringing:
A1
A7R4
35 f1.4 GM - small walk around
17-28 Tamron - landscapes, etc
28-70 GMii
1.4x teleconverter

I am having difficulty deciding between:

100-400 GM and the 600mm F4
Or
70-200 GMii and 200-600 G

My first instinct was to go with the 100-400/600mm pair as the 100-400 is easy to hold and a great overall
lens and the
...Show more


OK, you're taking way too much gear, especially at the short end. Is your wife a photographer? If so, you'll need two long lenses because most of the interest will be wildlife. Leave the 1.4X home, you don't want to be changing lenses out in the filed (too much dust). Program one of the top buttons to switch to APS-C mode for a quick boost in focal length. Great choice for the two bodies. You need redundancy, gear fails in harsh situations (3 times for me).

I recommend this gear.
17-28mm Tamron
35mm f1.4
70-200 f2.8
100-400mm
200-600mm

BTW, my wife and I did Botswana about 10-yrs ago. She was not a photographer, but she used a 70-200mm on a Canon 7DII 100% of the time and got some remarkable images. We had a blast, and some of her photos are still hanging on the walls at our university. Enjoy your trip, and let us know how it went.




Jun 24, 2022 at 02:34 AM
aCuria
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


If you have the 600/4 you would be crazy not to bring it along imo.

My vote is for either the

600/4 + 70-200 + TC

Or 600/4 + 100-400 + TC

I would prefer the 70-200 if itís the rainy season, I donít trust weather sealing on lenses with no internal zoom

You need the TC when you predict the 600mm isnít enough, and it wonít be enough quite often from my experience

The 70-200 has a minimum focusing distance of 40cm, while the 100-400 is 98cm and the 200-600 is 240cm. in some unpredictable situations it can make a differenceÖ.

When a penguin was pecking at my shoe, my 150-600 couldnít focus on it (used my phone) and when a parrot perched on my companionís hat I used my phone again. The MFD on this was something like 2m.

Another weird thing is that the 200-600 is closer to 530mm at minimum focus distance due to focus breathing. Iím not sure about the other lenses



Jun 24, 2022 at 03:28 AM
Timkr
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


600, 70-200. Keep it simple


Jun 24, 2022 at 06:21 AM
rancherpix
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


It's all about your specific destinations. My experience in Southern Africa is that "less is more." Wildlife will either be close enough that a medium tele is sufficient or so far away that nothing but the biggest and most expensive lens will help. Best practical advice is to set up your camera bodies/lenses before you leave in the morning and don't try to change anything until you return from your game drive in the evening. Dust is a very real issue.


Jun 24, 2022 at 06:26 AM
duncang
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


ebornstein wrote:
My wife and I are going to Namibia and Botswana for three weeks. We will be driving in our own truck and will be visiting a number of national parks, skeleton coast, etc. I am a little confused about what combination of lenses to bring. For sure I will be bringing:
A1
A7R4
35 f1.4 GM - small walk around
17-28 Tamron - landscapes, etc
28-70 GMii
1.4x teleconverter

I am having difficulty deciding between:

100-400 GM and the 600mm F4
Or
70-200 GMii and 200-600 G

My first instinct was to go with the 100-400/600mm pair as the 100-400 is easy to hold and a great overall
lens and the
...Show more

Very nice - I am going back in October. I come from SA so am familiar with the place and have done a few trips.

Less is better if you are doing a self driving trip.

200-600G + 1.4TC, 100-400GM, 17-28. is all you need. Coupled with the a1 and a7riv you are covered for everything.

You don't want to be changing lenses out there. Everything gets covered in fine dust. If you are staying in chalet or lodge then you can clean things nicely and make some changes. We camp and there are no facilities so I will only make a lens change if something has stopped working.

I will take an A1/200-600/1.4TC as my main camera - I will be targeting mainly birds so the extra reach is required and more often than not it is also required for animals. There may be a kill in the distance and you will kick yourself without it.

a9/100-400 as secondary and for when animals get closer or for animal landscapes - in your case the a7riv will be perfect but given the animals are so close that high resolution is not really required.

a6400/11mm f/1.8 for landscapes or nightscapes - or if it is safe to do so I will use the A1/20mm f/1.8. Early in the trip before dust is in everything.

Don't leave anything unattended for even a second.

Have a great trip.

Oh and the 600 f/4 will be rather unwieldy in a vehicle - very few places you can get out and use it. However the subject separation may be worth it for you - in which case leave the 200-600.



Jun 24, 2022 at 07:20 AM
 


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pluturi
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


I agree with Timkr. Youíll have the best quality with the least hassle.

If the car is tight with the 600 you can try the back seat.



Jun 25, 2022 at 12:21 PM
ebornstein
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


Hi Everyone,
Sorry for the delay we have been very busy getting things sorted prior to leaving.
First thanks for everyones input and advice, I have read and re-read this thread and many others. At the end of the day I think I am going to end up taking the 100-400 and the 600mm. My only real concern is wether I will really be able to use the 600mm from the cab of the truck, I think the 200-600 is much more manageable. Recognizing that I am thinking I will have the 100-400 mounted with or without the 1.4 TC. in the truck most of the time. I am pretty sure I can keep the 600mm in the cab but it will be tough to manage and may only end up being used when we are in an area that we are able to exit the truck and have good visibility.

On another note, I did end up purchasing the 70-200gm II and shooting with quite a bit here at home. What a great lens, sharp, light, and great for lower light. It really has met wondering if I should sneak it into my wife's bag. I could see how it would be great to start with early in the day and end with later in the day when we are loosing light.

Traveling with all this gear is a hassle but only for the plane transit, once we get to our starting point, I can load everything into the truck and it will be easier going forward. So in summary this is the list....

Tamron 17-28 - Landscapes
Sony 35mm f1.4 - low light, walk around lens for our stop over in Doha and around camp at night.
Sony 28-70 GM II
Sony 100-400 GM II
Sony 600m F4 GM
Sony 1.4tc


I am still on the fence about 70-200 it would definitely be overkill but there is a lot of positive comments on what a great lens it is for this kind of trip.

I guess I will learn from this trip and hopefully get another shot at it in the future. But really I think the only other option would be to leave the 600m and 100-400 at home and bring the 200-600 and 70-200.

Thanks again.



Jun 28, 2022 at 07:28 AM
Faraday
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


I don't want to confuse the situation at this late date....but since you asked, I'd bring the 70-200 GMii. It's my most used lens for savannah and desert areas where wildlife comes close, and where I stayed in Botswana, the wildlife was definitely close! I usually take 70-200, 100-400 w/ a TC, and a prime for landscapes (so many choices, something like 24GM or Batis 18. Namibia is so beautiful, too). But if I had the 600mm I would not be able to resist bringing it ;-)

Check if you will be walking...unlike East Africa, you spend more time out of the truck/jeep where you are going. The 70-200 ii is way better to walk around with than the 100-400 IMO.



Jun 28, 2022 at 11:45 AM
rdcny
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


200-600 (anything longer and heat waves are too much)
135 F1.8 for low light at waterholes (and use 14mm extender to do macro)
24-105

Will be on a self-drive via Toyota Hilux double-cab 4x4 in the Kruger 7 July to 10 August...staying in the park each night;

then Nov-Dec to Namibia (Walvis Bay for flamingos and shorebirds; and then Etosha) on to Botswana via Caprivi Strip (stay Drotskyís near Shakawe) to Senyati for trips into Moremi and river trips too; drive down through Chobe to Maun and back to Winhoek to fly home)

Do you know this book? Traveller's Atlas Southern Africa (Edition 2) from Tracks4Africa (and related travel maps; GPS programs etc).

Deb and Bob



Jun 28, 2022 at 11:58 AM
Abuttolph
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


I will be traveling in Namibia this October. It will be my first trip there and this will be a guided photography tour. I plan to keep it to three lenses: Tamron 17-28mm, Tamron 35-150mm, and Sony 100-400mm, and probably a 1.4x TC. Owing to the dust situation, I am hoping to avoid changing lenses in the field.


Jun 28, 2022 at 01:29 PM
ftllens
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Gear choices for Namibia and Botswana


I would get one more body to avoid lens changing (for your non tele). Wildlife trips are always nothing, then everything at once.


Jun 28, 2022 at 01:59 PM







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