October 23, 2014, 01:10:55 PM

Author Topic: Tanzania with minimal gear  (Read 8665 times)

DianeK

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2013, 04:27:09 PM »
Here's a few of my thoughts:
1.  I was in Africa two years ago with my first digital kit: 60D+18-200mm kit lens + 100mm macro.
2.  I have since added a 7D body, 70-300L, 10-22, 15-85, Sony RX100 P&S
3.  What I found on my trip is that the only time I felt comfortable changing lenses was in camp under dust-controlled conditions which was fine because the 100 macro was only used in camp shooting plants and insects.

If I were in your situation I would do one of two things:
1. Take 60D (so I had video available) with the 70-300L for wildlife (and reasonable macro) plus the Sony for wider-angle landscape and safety when in cities.
OR
2. Convince a family member (you did say this was a family trip?) who is not into photography to share the gear load with you in exchange for your incredible images.  One person would carry the 60D + 70-300L, the other the 7D + 15-85.

I know many would argue that the 70-300 should go on the 7D for wildlife but I found wildlife to be so cooperative I didn't miss the better autofocus of the 7D when I only had the 60D.  Also, since the 60D allows for video, you can switch between stills and video with the good range of the 70-300.

Diane

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2013, 04:27:09 PM »

langdonb

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2013, 06:31:06 PM »
I'm going on a trip to Africa next August.  I've searched the forums for other threads on this, and there was some good stuff, but I thought I'd ask for some more specific advice.

It's a two-week "Safari Serengeti" tour.  Arusha, Tarangire, Olduvai Gorge, Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Highlands & Crater.  It's a more "off the beaten" track type thing.  We'll be sleeping in tents and will have to walk fair distances carrying all our gear at some points, so I don't want to bring too much.  Plus, there are baggage limits.  We'll be given one duffel bag, and everything we need for the two weeks has to fit in it.  Plus a carry-on.  I presume my camera gear will be in the carry-on.

I was thinking maybe one body and two lenses (and maybe a point and shoot as backup). 

I'm willing to buy or rent what I don't have for the trip, so...what should I bring?

Hi, can you tell me the name/contact of the tour company? I wish to do a similar trip..Thanks!

eml58

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2013, 07:40:35 PM »
I probably spend around 6 to 8 weeks a year on Safari in Africa, so getting gear around has become a bit if an Art.

You mention a Hiking/Tent type Safari, so that may mean your Photography may well be mostly from Foot, as against from a vehicle, and that would suggest two different Rigs, or one Rig that would suit both Foot & Vehicle Photography.

Serengeti/Tanzania can be wide open plains, subjects next to the vehicle, or quite a distance away, if on foot I'de suggest mainly at a distance, which is where you want them if your on Foot, you don't want a Fully grown Male Lion 10 metres away.

A general purpose set up that you need to consider carrying in a backpack while hiking might look like this.

5DMKIII
24-70f/2.8 L II
70-300 f/4-5.6 L

I'de suggest the 70-200f/2.8 L II + 1.4x as an alternative to the 70-300, but be aware the 70-200 f/2.8 gets quite heavy after a while, where the 70-300 is quite a bit lighter, the 24-70f/2.8 or the 24-70f/4 will take care of your wide angle & closer up Imaging, I'de go the f/2.8 here as you will then have something that will take care of those Dawn/Dusk shots.

The 1Dx might be an alternative to the 5DMKIII, but it's heavy and the real world value is better dust protection & 14fps over the 5DMKIII. I've used both in Africa and no issues with either. The 6d might be a choice as well, you loose the wonderful AF Options of the 5DMKIII/1Dx though, and generally I only recommend gear I own & use, but my Son uses a 6D + 28-300 when he comes with me & produces some great Images with this Combo.

This suggested gear will present no issues for Carry On, I had a horrible experience with Carry On gear leaving Dar Es Salam on a SAA flight, it finally worked out, but the Cabin Staff were removing carry on Camera gear at the door, even from Business Class Passengers, tagging and putting the gear to the Hold, in many cases unlocked, and despite Passengers being really upset, in a case like this you are best to refuse to Board and make them remove your checked baggage then get another flight.

Be also aware that any Camera Gear that you put into checked luggage stands a reasonable chance of going missing, out of Johannesburg is unfortunately infamous for this.

Otherwise, enjoy your trip to Tanzania, I was there for 5 weeks in June/July 2013 & totally loved it, except for Dar.
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randym77

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2014, 09:36:00 PM »
Follow up to this post, as my trip approaches...

The tour company sent me a packet with more info.  We will be doing some touring in Range Rovers, but will also be walking a few miles a day over uneven terrain.  We will sometimes be traveling in small planes, so there are strict weight limits.  44 lbs. for the provided duffel bag, and 15 lbs. for the carry-on.  I plan to put all my camera gear in the carry-on. 

They said point and shoot cameras don't have enough range for wildlife.  They recommend a superzoom camera, or a DSLR with a mid-range zoom (up to 300mm) and a fast prime for low-light shooting. 

Based on the comments in this thread, I am going to try to bring two bodies.  Both so I have a backup, and so I don't have to switch lenses in the field.  I have a 5D Mark II.  I was going to convert it to IR, but I think I'll hold off until after the trip.  I plan to buy a 5D Mark III, and will bring that, too.  Electricity will be unreliable, so they recommend bringing extra batteries.

I'm still deciding on lenses.  The lens I bring when I bring only one lens is the 24-105.  But I'm thinking I might want to go longer and wider.  Maybe my 16-35mm F/2.8 instead of a fast prime, and my 70-200 f/4 plus 1.4 extender.  Not as fast as the f/2.8, but so much lighter.

I usually use prime lenses when I need reach, so the 70-200 the longest zoom I have.  Well, I have a Sigma 150-500mm, but it's too bulky for this trip.  I am considering buying a zoom lens for the trip. 

I think the 28-300mm will be too heavy.  The 70-300mm and the 100-400mm are possibilities.  The 100-400mm might also be too heavy, though it has the advantage of being compatible with the Canon extenders.

I am planning to buy the Pocket Rocket card holders as Vivid Color recommended, and the B&W filters (once I nail down what lenses I'm bringing).  And I'm stocking up on memory cards.

Still considering what other cameras I'll bring.  I have a point and shoot Lumix I use as a backup and when I don't want to bring all my gear.  (I'm planning to leave my smartphone at home.)  And a SX50 HS.  The superzoom might come in handy, though I am generally not thrilled with the image quality.  I also have a point and shoot Lumix that's been converted to infrared.  I love IR photography, but I doubt I'll have time on this trip for the long exposures needed when using an IR filter on a regular camera.

wickidwombat

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2014, 10:26:56 PM »
for me in that situation i would take from the list of what i have

5Dmk3
Tamron 150-600
Sigma 50 f1.4 art
Canon 135 f2L

EOS-M and EOS-M IR
EF-M 11-22 IS STM

lots of batteries and cards
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Hjalmarg1

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2014, 10:59:35 PM »
Simply take 1 body and two lenses: 70-300L/100-400L and 24-70L/24-105L and a super zoom p&s.
Body: 5DIII. Prime Lenses: 15mm f2.8, 100mm f2.8L IS, 35mm f2 IS, Extender EF 2X III.
Zoom Lenses: 16-35mm f4L IS, 24-70mm f2.8L, 70-200mm f2.8L IS II. Others: Flash 580EX II, 270EX II & MR-14EX II

Sashi

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2014, 11:59:51 PM »
Bare Minimum:
100-400
Blower brush
Batteries and Memory Cards
Bean Bag(you can fill it up with rice or beans once you get there)

Optional if volume permits:
1 portrait lens
1 fast ultra wide should you want to try night sky/milkyway
Extra charger so you can charge 2 batteries at the same time
More memory cards
Model
Studio strobes
Softboxes and umbrellas
  :)

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2014, 11:59:51 PM »

dslrdummy

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2014, 12:19:51 AM »
Follow up to this post, as my trip approaches...

The tour company sent me a packet with more info.  We will be doing some touring in Range Rovers, but will also be walking a few miles a day over uneven terrain.  We will sometimes be traveling in small planes, so there are strict weight limits.  44 lbs. for the provided duffel bag, and 15 lbs. for the carry-on.  I plan to put all my camera gear in the carry-on. 

They said point and shoot cameras don't have enough range for wildlife.  They recommend a superzoom camera, or a DSLR with a mid-range zoom (up to 300mm) and a fast prime for low-light shooting. 

Based on the comments in this thread, I am going to try to bring two bodies.  Both so I have a backup, and so I don't have to switch lenses in the field.  I have a 5D Mark II.  I was going to convert it to IR, but I think I'll hold off until after the trip.  I plan to buy a 5D Mark III, and will bring that, too.  Electricity will be unreliable, so they recommend bringing extra batteries.

I'm still deciding on lenses.  The lens I bring when I bring only one lens is the 24-105.  But I'm thinking I might want to go longer and wider.  Maybe my 16-35mm F/2.8 instead of a fast prime, and my 70-200 f/4 plus 1.4 extender.  Not as fast as the f/2.8, but so much lighter.

I usually use prime lenses when I need reach, so the 70-200 the longest zoom I have.  Well, I have a Sigma 150-500mm, but it's too bulky for this trip.  I am considering buying a zoom lens for the trip. 

I think the 28-300mm will be too heavy.  The 70-300mm and the 100-400mm are possibilities.  The 100-400mm might also be too heavy, though it has the advantage of being compatible with the Canon extenders.

I am planning to buy the Pocket Rocket card holders as Vivid Color recommended, and the B&W filters (once I nail down what lenses I'm bringing).  And I'm stocking up on memory cards.

Still considering what other cameras I'll bring.  I have a point and shoot Lumix I use as a backup and when I don't want to bring all my gear.  (I'm planning to leave my smartphone at home.)  And a SX50 HS.  The superzoom might come in handy, though I am generally not thrilled with the image quality.  I also have a point and shoot Lumix that's been converted to infrared.  I love IR photography, but I doubt I'll have time on this trip for the long exposures needed when using an IR filter on a regular camera.
Having done the safari this time last year (Botswana/Zambia), my advice is to remember to enjoy the moment, not just the photography. You can go to a Zoo to photograph animals up close, but it's being with them in the wild that makes it so special. Breath it in. Post some pics when you get back.
5Diii, 24-105, 50 1.8ii, 70-200 2.8ii, 300 2.8ii, 1.4xiii, 2xiii, 580EXii, Sony RX100, Fuji X100s + WCL & TCL

sanj

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2014, 12:21:11 AM »
Dust is an issue only when you change lens, not about weather sealing.
You say you do not even know what type of photography you will do. Hmmmm. That would be the first step for you to figure. But I already know what you will photograph:
1. Wildlife
2. Wildlife
3. Wildlife
4. Some tribes
5. Some sunsets.
6. Family photos.
You need:
a) Crop body for its reach. There will be no off road driving where you going and you need all the reach.
b) 100-400mm lens.
c) 24-70mm. (Tribes)
d) A pocket point and shoot for the real fun photos.
e) 35mm f2 IS lens for sunsets. (IS elements need for tripod)

You can do without the 35mm if you point and shoot has decent IQ and IS.

Enjoy the trip and be prepared to get addicted.

I will be in Tanzania too most of August. My list is:
1DX
5d3
200-400
70-200
16-35
35 Zeiss 1.4 for post sunset shots.
Light tripod, head.
1.4x
Fuji XE2 for evening dinner/campfire photos.
Contemplating on:
Flash
24-70

The airline allows 15kg including handbag. Having serious fights with my girlfriend already.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 02:58:51 AM by sanj »

scottkinfw

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2014, 12:55:43 AM »
Everyone raised such great points.

I'll add my 2 cents.

Get a safari vest and load it up- they don't count that weight, plus, very handy in the bush.
I used Africa Dream Safaris X2- very good.
I went to all of the above places plus a few more.  The animals while in Range Rovers will be quite close, and you will likely go off road to get the shots.  Other times you will need the reach.  For me, the 70-200 was most used, and the f4 is is my preference over the 2.8 is II due to weight/size and the fact that there will be hiking and restrictions.

I would agree with the 24-70 2.8 II for quality and fast lens.

5DIII is excellent for focus and low light and weight/size compromise vs. 1DX.

I would not go without two bodies however, but I am paranoid.  Aside from possible camera failure, two bodies lets me be ready for close and far situations at all times.

I like my good old 400 5.6L- great images, light and small, inexpensive compared to the big white brother, plus it is paid for.  I only used it a few times for distant large animal shots and some birds.

With the 5DIII you can use multiple inexpensive sd cards as a backup/storage solution.

Don't forget to enjoy your time.

sek
sek Cameras: 5D III, 5D II, EOS M  Lenses:  24-70 2.8 II IS, 24-105 f4L, 70-200 f4L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, EF 300 f4L IS, EF 400 5.6L, 300 2.8 IS II, Samyang 14 mm 2.8 Flashes: 580 EX II600EX-RT X 2, ST-E3-RT
Plus lots of stuff that just didn't work for me

Synkka

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2014, 06:17:35 AM »
I have done a similar trip last year, the same locations. You can check my flickr all my Africa shots were with a 7d and 70-300L, almost all my shots were at 300mm

Here are a few tips from my trip. You will be shooting in pop up hood landrovers so a bean bag is useful to lean the camera on. A lightweight tripod is well worth it for the beautiful sunrise/sunsets. In those parks you are not allowed to drive off the tracks but you will still get close to wildlife. Some of the best photo chances are at the lowest light so prepare to bump the ISO. Luggage requirements on small aircraft for carry on are often smaller than international requirements, pretty much it has to fit under the seat. Regarding batteries I bought a grip purely for the ability to take AA's as you can get them at any major rest stops or hotels. You should be allowed to charge while the land rovers are running, the travel agency should be able to confirm (British plugs I think). On a really small plane you might get weighed as well as your luggage. Lenscoat hoodie !. I was shooting in the rain so I used my lenscoat rain cover quite a bit.

That's about all I can think of for now :)

Abmurksi

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2014, 03:24:19 AM »
All very good points. I'm in the same position, will be on Safari in Kenya/Tanzania for 8 days and havent figured out yet what to bring.

At the moment I'm strongly considering bringing my 5D3 as my (only) DSLR and:
- Buy the Tamron 150-600 as main lens for the whole trip
- Bring the 24-70 II for the landscapes and environmental shots (but considering the dust, that would stick on the 5D the whole day, hmmm)
- Get a RAW capable point & shoot (e.g. the G1X II?) in case wildlife gets very close and for the shots in the villages, environmental shots, etc.

Would like to prevent bringing a second DSLR body as we are already hassling with the weight limit of 15kg.

Although an other option would be renting a crop body and use my 70-300L and keep the 24-70II on the 5D3 but wouldn't that spoil the quality of the more distant wildlife?

Would love to hear your thoughs on that.
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Synkka

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2014, 03:54:56 AM »
Check my flickr for shots done by a 7d and 70-300L in Africa that should give you an idea for distance to shots and lower quality of the dusk/dawn shots.

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2014, 03:54:56 AM »

Corvi

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2014, 04:36:25 AM »
Ditch all that digital nonsense and get a Leica M6 with a 35mm and a 50mm Summicron :)

sanj

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2014, 05:08:03 AM »
All very good points. I'm in the same position, will be on Safari in Kenya/Tanzania for 8 days and havent figured out yet what to bring.

At the moment I'm strongly considering bringing my 5D3 as my (only) DSLR and:
- Buy the Tamron 150-600 as main lens for the whole trip
- Bring the 24-70 II for the landscapes and environmental shots (but considering the dust, that would stick on the 5D the whole day, hmmm)
- Get a RAW capable point & shoot (e.g. the G1X II?) in case wildlife gets very close and for the shots in the villages, environmental shots, etc.

Would like to prevent bringing a second DSLR body as we are already hassling with the weight limit of 15kg.

Although an other option would be renting a crop body and use my 70-300L and keep the 24-70II on the 5D3 but wouldn't that spoil the quality of the more distant wildlife?

Would love to hear your thoughs on that.

You seem to be on the right track. Unless you are into bird photography, 600mm is mostly good enough on full frame.
Crop frame would give you perfect IQ till about 400 ISO. I would recommend the full frame option.

When you will change lenses from tele to that wide it would mostly be in your hotel room or a not so dusty environment. Wildlife and tribes will be far apart and give you enough dust free options to change lenses.

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Re: Tanzania with minimal gear
« Reply #29 on: June 18, 2014, 05:08:03 AM »