Gear Talk > Lenses

African Safari Lens Help

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KorCoug:
I have lurked on CanonRumors for a couple of years and learned a lot from reading some of the forum posts.  I am hoping some of those that have been on an African safari can provide insight on what lenses to take.  I am taking my son for his high school graduation in August and will spend one week in Zambia (Vic Falls and South Luangwa) and then a week in the Masai Mara for the migration.  I have a 7D and my new 5DIII is on its way from B&H today.  So obviously taking both cameras along with the G15.  I am trying to figure out what lens combination to use.  Lenses include 100-400, 70-200 2.8 ver 1, 24-105, 17-55, and the new Sigma 35 1.4.   I can borrow a friend's 300mm 2.8 ver 1 with extender and am contemplating buying the 70-300L for travel as it is smaller then the 70-200.  I can't really afford for a 500mm lens at this point and I don't see a new 100-400 on the horizion. 

Given the weight limits on some of the African flights what would you recommend as combinations for the 7D and 5DIII? 

I am thinking - 7D with 17-55 and new 70-300L.  5DIII with 24-105, 300 2.8 and 100-400.  I would also probably take the Sigma for low light.  Any thoughts?  Too many lenses?  Thanks in advance. 

Botts:
Yikes. I wouldn't want to carry your camera bag if your thinking of bringing all of that!

The weight limits are likely far smaller than you are expecting.  Weigh your camera gear some time, it's heavier than expected.  I'd consider purchasing a LowePro CompuTrekker AW Plus.  It's huge, but it balances weight well.  In mine I had a 7D with 500L mounted, a T2i, 70-200 f/4, 10-22mm, 430EX II, 15" MacBook Pro, and Gitzo 3541LS with Wimberley.  It weighed a ton, but carried everything I needed.

I'm looking at a Botswana Safari soon with a maximum of 46 pounds of luggage including carry-ons.  That really limits the options.

Some fast glass would be great if you're thinking of any evening animal shots.  I'd still bring the 7D, but maybe not the EF-S lenses, keeping the 7D as a backup only.  I'd also leave the 100-400 at home if you're thinking of the 70-300L.

Lurker:
Lots of Focal Length duplication.
17-55 on crop has similar Field of view as 27-88 on FF.
You have 24-105, 27-88, 35, 70-200, 70-300, 100-400, 300, 300+ (It's good to have friends)

You did not say which TC with the 300.  Would you have 300/420 or 300/600?
I'm not familure with your equipment or how the pieces work together so keep that in mind.

My tendency is to trade some IQ for convenience and use zooms over primes.
When I went I had the 100-400.  I used it at 400 a lot but the zoom was really useful too.
You never know if you'll find a Zebra next to the road or a flycatcher in a tree 20 feet away
(or a hippo in your camp at midnight).

Besides budget, why do people use crop?  The extra reach.
If you have the 300/600 option I'd hang the 300 on the 7D (w/wo extender as needed) and leave it there.  If you have
the 300/420 option I might do the same thing or I might use the 100-400 and leave the 300 + tc behind.

I'd use the 5D III for low light and close encounters (may be more likely than you think). 
Hang the 24-105 or 70-200 on the 5D III.  This makes the 100-400/7D less likely, just switch cameras instead.

I would not buy the 70-300, you have that range covered already.  I would leave the 17-55 home, use the 5DIII w/24-105
for those shots. I'd probably leave the 35 home too unless you have specific situations you know you want to use it.
Leave either the 100-400 or the 300+TC at home.

If you really want to buy something new for the trip (who wouldn't) Sell the old 70-200 and maybe even the 100-400
and buy a 70-200 f/2.8 II with 1.4x and 2x iii TCs (adjust this based on what you can borrow from a friend).  To save $ buy
a Kenko 1.4 DGX TC instead of the canon 1.4 iii.  You could also look at a 1.4x (maybe 2x) TC to use with the 70-200
f/2.8 you already have if it plays nice with TCs.

24-105 and 70/200 w/ a TC would make a nice compliment the 300 on the 7D.

This gets you to 3 lenses (24-105, 70-200, 100-400 OR 300) with 1 or 2 TCs and 2 bodies.

johnf3f:

--- Quote from: KorCoug on February 04, 2013, 04:48:15 PM ---I have lurked on CanonRumors for a couple of years and learned a lot from reading some of the forum posts.  I am hoping some of those that have been on an African safari can provide insight on what lenses to take.  I am taking my son for his high school graduation in August and will spend one week in Zambia (Vic Falls and South Luangwa) and then a week in the Masai Mara for the migration.  I have a 7D and my new 5DIII is on its way from B&H today.  So obviously taking both cameras along with the G15.  I am trying to figure out what lens combination to use.  Lenses include 100-400, 70-200 2.8 ver 1, 24-105, 17-55, and the new Sigma 35 1.4.   I can borrow a friend's 300mm 2.8 ver 1 with extender and am contemplating buying the 70-300L for travel as it is smaller then the 70-200.  I can't really afford for a 500mm lens at this point and I don't see a new 100-400 on the horizion. 

Given the weight limits on some of the African flights what would you recommend as combinations for the 7D and 5DIII? 

I am thinking - 7D with 17-55 and new 70-300L.  5DIII with 24-105, 300 2.8 and 100-400.  I would also probably take the Sigma for low light.  Any thoughts?  Too many lenses?  Thanks in advance.

--- End quote ---

You have a very good friend if they will lend you a 300 F2.8!
My suggestion would be to keep things simple, light and cheap!
Firstly take both bodies - they are both good or very good and give you greater framing and iso versatility.
As to lenses - take the 24-105, it is useful on the 7D and excellent on full frame - the 17-55 is only duplication (though faster). If you can manage the weight take the 70-200 F2.8. If yours is like mine then it is an excellent lens, though I must admit I rarely use these focal lengths. The one lens you simply must take is the 300 F2.8. Even without extenders it beats the 100-400 (I have had both) in all departments except weight. With extenders it will out range and give better images than the 100-400 - it is simply a far better lens.
Note I have never been on a photographic safari - these are just my suggestions from my experiences of the cameras and lenses you mention.
Hope it helps.

Whatever you decide take the 300 F2.8!

Halfrack:
You'll want to do the G15 as your wide.  The 17-55 and 35 are both unlikely to be used. 

You should get a better idea from your tour guide - how close do they end up getting to the animals and how safe folks with big white lenses are.

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