I hear you. I'm fortunate in that my wife has become reasonably tolerant of my bringing gear on family outings and trips (case in point, an all-ages outdoor jazz concert last evening, I brought the gripped 5DII, 35L, and 70-200/2.8 IS II, and the S100).
- Use a Blackrapid strap - having your hands free and the camera at you side/lower back makes it less obtrusive, but still very quickly accessible
- Insure your gear - that's not just about protection from theft, it's also piece of mind. Knowing my cameras and lenses are covered means I am comfortable treating them like the tools they are, so I can pay attention to family instead of gear.
- Don't chimp - bring lots of memory cards, use high speed continuous shooting. When you take a shot, AF and fire a 2-3 shot burst, then AF again and fire another short burst, then let the camera hang from the strap. More work to triage images later, but that's when you'll have time, and the pair of bursts means a keeper is very likely.
The 70-200/4 IS would be great for Sea World, pretty good for the Safari Park (if you have time to drive up to Escondido), and ok for the Zoo. The main 'problem' with an f/4 lens at the zoo is it's usually not wide enough to fully blur out the net/wire of the enclosure - try to get the lens as close as possible to the wires.
Thanks. I think I will grab the 70-200 since I could see using it for more than just the vacation. If I desire the 70-200 2.8 mk ii after I can always sell mine and get it then when the weight will not matter. I would rather the 24-70 mk ii to be my first 2.8 zoom though after I finally could cover 24-200mm. Then I can start upgrading. Anyway. My wife wants me to bring it but just not playing with it everywhere we go. I need to learn to balance it. I think if I set up my c1-3 modes correctly and only shoot the photo's I need rather than several pre photo's to judge for iso, shutter, f stop etc. I think that gets old bc I would have taken at least 5-10 shots before we take ours. I think that's what gets old. I am attending a photography session next weekend which will hopefully give me some additional tips on technique. Also I think I will bring a small bridge like the g1x or sony sx100 so I can have some days without it and have fun and at least know I am carrying something reasonable vs a low end powershot. I am excited though because the 5d mark iii will grab some nice images which I do plan on a photo book and want a nice one in front of the Castle at Disney to blow up to 24 x 36 or something large for above the couch in the front room. To give you like a quick glimpse of the atmosphere at Disney. I hope really to capture that the most. One last question. Do you think it would be worth it on my off photography days to walk around with that 40mm pancake since its cheap and light? And where would I get this insurance your talking about? Any suggestions?