November 23, 2014, 04:02:52 AM

Author Topic: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x  (Read 6564 times)

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Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« on: July 17, 2014, 05:09:51 AM »
This year in October, I will visit the first time South-Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls. We will do several safari trips during that period. I did already read a lot of gear to use for capturing wildlife. However I stay with the problem of the big white lens I want to take with me on the 1Dx. The 70-200 2.8 mkii will be placed on my 5Diii. Also the 17-40 and probably the 24 1.4ii will go along.

I own a 300 2.8 Mkii, however I see that the 200-400 1.4 is a very versatile lens. Point is of cause the 4.0 max. aperture of the 200-400 against the 2.8 of the 300. On 400mm and 600mm reach they perform almost the same (400/4.0 or 420/4.0 and 560 5.6 or 600 5.6). The extra reach for the 300mm asks for using a 1.4 or 2.0 extender, but changing that is not that quick and I don't like to change a lot because of the dust. For that reason I think about buying/renting the 200-400 1.4 for that trip. Do I need the 2.8 for capturing early or late pictures together with the 1Dx? Or would you use the 200-400 1.4 on the 1Dx for the versatility of this zoom-lens.

What would you do 300 or 200-400 1.4 ? I can't take both because of the weight limit on the airplane.

Any other thoughts or remarks for the gear for this trip are also welcome.
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Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« on: July 17, 2014, 05:09:51 AM »

geonix

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2014, 07:42:32 AM »
Hello

I have visited Southern Africa a few times now and would take the 200-400 over the 300mm prime. Depending on what your focus is of course but when you like to take pictures not only of the big animals but also birds the 200-400 with its integrated 1.4 extender would give you a lot more opportunities. I was in Namibia with a 300mm and it was way too short at a few occasions.
With a ff body I also don't see the need for very fast aparature lenses, even for early morning shots an f4 lens on a ff body should be good.

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2014, 08:20:13 AM »
I've done quite a lot of travel in my life - from Australia (where I was born) to Europe (where I lived for about 11 years) to Asia (visited a number of times).  So while I haven't been to Africa (or your particular safari) I have used various camera / lens configurations during my overseas trips / holidays.

My advice would be to go with the zoom. Much more flexible for composing shots of various animals (small to large size, near or far).  And generally in Africa, for a 'safari setting' f/4 to f/5.6 works fine.

So for such a holiday I'd go for the 200-400mm 1.4x f/4 L zoom over the 300mm f/2.8 L prime any day.  And as you said, you don't want to be changing separate 1.4x and/or 2x TCs all the time.

Be careful with your gear (Any photographic gear will potentially attract attention - including possibly from some people who might think to 'relieve you of it'.  So... will it be insured? Will you be with someone else? What are you plans for storage? etc)   I generally find having 1 body and a flexible (eg zoom, and IS) lens is better than 2 bodies on 'holiday' situations. Especially when you have a big lens... just don't weigh yourself down too much.

Hope you enjoy yourself.  Best wishes. And I look forward to see some photos of your safari after you've returned!

Paul
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2014, 08:28:15 AM »
If I had the 300 2.8 IS II and a 1.4XIII I would put the 1.4 permanently for the safari. It would be an excellent 420 4L IS. This and the 70-200 would be enough. Plus the 300 2.8 + 1.4 combination would be lighter than the 200-400. Just my opinion. However, keep in mind that I did not and I will not have experience with a safari so take all this with a grain of salt.

jdramirez

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 08:43:37 AM »
I know we need our cameras asap... So we wouldn't want to unlock it each time we turn it on like a phone... but what about daily locks?   In the morning we have to enter a code to unlock the camera functions.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L-> 85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm -> 85mm f/1.2L mkii

Plainsman

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 08:54:24 AM »
This year in October, I will visit the first time South-Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls. We will do several safari trips during that period. I did already read a lot of gear to use for capturing wildlife. However I stay with the problem of the big white lens I want to take with me on the 1Dx. The 70-200 2.8 mkii will be placed on my 5Diii. Also the 17-40 and probably the 24 1.4ii will go along.

I own a 300 2.8 Mkii, however I see that the 200-400 1.4 is a very versatile lens. Point is of cause the 4.0 max. aperture of the 200-400 against the 2.8 of the 300. On 400mm and 600mm reach they perform almost the same (400/4.0 or 420/4.0 and 560 5.6 or 600 5.6). The extra reach for the 300mm asks for using a 1.4 or 2.0 extender, but changing that is not that quick and I don't like to change a lot because of the dust. For that reason I think about buying/renting the 200-400 1.4 for that trip. Do I need the 2.8 for capturing early or late pictures together with the 1Dx? Or would you use the 200-400 1.4 on the 1Dx for the versatility of this zoom-lens.

What would you do 300 or 200-400 1.4 ? I can't take both because of the weight limit on the airplane.

Any other thoughts or remarks for the gear for this trip are also welcome.


You have ruled out the 400/4 DO IS. Just wondering why - given the low weight advantage of this little prime.

Kerry B

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2014, 08:55:34 AM »
Whilst not South Africa I did go on a specialist photographers safari to the Masai Mara last September and going again this September. I had the same dilemma as you, in the end went with the 300f2.8mk11 on the 5dmk111. What a combination for early morning shots and late evenings f2.8 was the norm. Got some stunning Leopard/Cheetah shots at ISO 5000 with shutter speeds below 1/20 second. Those photographers who had the 200-400 and 500f4 were not able to get the shots required.

Of course these big lenses came into their own when photographing in better light. When this happened I added either the 1.4 or 2x extenders, both mk111 and they were just brilliant.

For me the 300f2.8 is the most versatile lens around. Do you really need to spend £10k for a lens that you have principally got covered. The other factor is weight the 200-400 is a hefty beast and takes some handholding whereas the 300f2.8mk11 is comparatively light.

I did take two bodies with me namely the 7d which was only used very occasionally. I also took a 70-200f2.8mk11 lens which was used for closer subjects. I had no problem with dust and was able to change lenses without any issues.

Hope this helps and have a great time.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2014, 08:55:34 AM »

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2014, 08:56:22 AM »
Weight would be a concern, 300mm MKII 2350g vs 200-400mm 3620g

Add the 860g 5DMKIII and the 1530g 1DX... then the rest of your lenses...

70-200mm 1490g etc etc

Have you thought how you will carry all the gear/mount it on safari?

I would be taking a 300 F4 or 400 5.6 or the 70-300mm or 100-400mm for good balance between IQ and weight.

But its a hard choice between the 300mm and the 200-400mm. If it were me and I could take all the weight I would take the 200-400mm but 5000g in one camera combo is going to be hard work to transport. But the 300 with tele converts is a good combo.

400 DO removes itself because its IQ is no better than a 100-400mm and is £3000 more.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2014, 09:01:46 AM »
I'm my mind's eye I am envisioning a Jurassic park style vehicle, but without a roof.  A monopod and then getting off the vehicle only ever so often.  It's there going to be much walking out hiking on the safari. 

Weight would be a concern, 300mm MKII 2350g vs 200-400mm 3620g

Add the 860g 5DMKIII and the 1530g 1DX... then the rest of your lenses...

70-200mm 1490g etc etc

Have you thought how you will carry all the gear/mount it on safari?

I would be taking a 300 F4 or 400 5.6 or the 70-300mm or 100-400mm for good balance between IQ and weight.

But its a hard choice between the 300mm and the 200-400mm. If it were me and I could take all the weight I would take the 200-400mm but 5000g in one camera combo is going to be hard work to transport. But the 300 with tele converts is a good combo.

400 DO removes itself because its IQ is no better than a 100-400mm and is £3000 more.
Upgrade  path.->means the former was sold for the latter.

XS->60D->5d Mkiii:18-55->24-105L:75-300->55-250->70-300->70-200 f4L USM->70-200 f/2.8L USM->70-200 f/2.8L IS Mkii:50 f/1.8->50 f/1.4->100L-> 85mm f/1.8 USM-> 8mm -> 85mm f/1.2L mkii

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2014, 09:08:28 AM »
400mm on full frame is a generally bit short for safari, so I would recommend the 200-400 1.4x over the 300 + 1.4x combo.

A cheaper alternative to buying the 200-400 would be to use the 300 + 2x on 1 body and the 70-200 (with 1.4) on your 2nd body. With the 2 2.8 lenses and both extenders you have
- 70-200 2.8 / 98-280 4.0 / 140-400 5.6
- 300 2.8 / 420 4.0 / 600 5.6

Overall reach is the same.

I would not say this is more or less flexibility, but it certainly is different flexibility over the 200-400.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2014, 09:34:05 AM »
I'm my mind's eye I am envisioning a Jurassic park style vehicle, but without a roof.  A monopod and then getting off the vehicle only ever so often.  It's there going to be much walking out hiking on the safari. 

You still have to get it to the safari too… flights etc a lot of weight to carry then luggage on top.

Depends where you are in terms of reach if you are in north Africa 400mm may not be enough but in southern Africa it will be spot on.

The 300mm is the sweet spot for size and weight in the big white category and performs very well is the 1.4 and 2x TC. The 500mm is the safari favourite, the 200-400mm would be the best of both worlds, but like I said carrying and transporting it will be a pain and may make you miss some shots too...
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 09:35:10 AM »
This year in October, I will visit the first time South-Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls. We will do several safari trips during that period. I did already read a lot of gear to use for capturing wildlife. However I stay with the problem of the big white lens I want to take with me on the 1Dx. The 70-200 2.8 mkii will be placed on my 5Diii. Also the 17-40 and probably the 24 1.4ii will go along.

I own a 300 2.8 Mkii, however I see that the 200-400 1.4 is a very versatile lens. Point is of cause the 4.0 max. aperture of the 200-400 against the 2.8 of the 300. On 400mm and 600mm reach they perform almost the same (400/4.0 or 420/4.0 and 560 5.6 or 600 5.6). The extra reach for the 300mm asks for using a 1.4 or 2.0 extender, but changing that is not that quick and I don't like to change a lot because of the dust. For that reason I think about buying/renting the 200-400 1.4 for that trip. Do I need the 2.8 for capturing early or late pictures together with the 1Dx? Or would you use the 200-400 1.4 on the 1Dx for the versatility of this zoom-lens.

What would you do 300 or 200-400 1.4 ? I can't take both because of the weight limit on the airplane.

Any other thoughts or remarks for the gear for this trip are also welcome.


You have ruled out the 400/4 DO IS. Just wondering why - given the low weight advantage of this little prime.

Because I have the 300 2.8 ii and the 1.4 extender will give me 420 4.0. I don't have the 400 DO, which I would need to rent in that case. So this is no choice for me.

The weight is not my biggest concern, only the total weight for handlugage in the airplane (12kg) as we will be driving around with vehicles without top roof during safari.
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mackguyver

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 09:44:19 AM »
I think the 200-400 1.4x is a no brainer given the dust and the fact that you'll be in a vehicle without full control of the distance, but I'd take the 300 & TCs as a back up and for low light and closer work where you want shallower DOF.

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 09:44:19 AM »

ditty

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 09:52:11 AM »
I have done a very similar safari - South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Victoria Falls.  Without knowing the specifics of your itinerary, a lot of Kruger is boutique safari where the vehicle will get up very close to the animals and you won't need more than 300mm to get great shots and in a lot of instances you'll be grabbing for your 70-200 as the range can be inside of 10ft and having a zoom is almost a necessity.  Birding is a different story.  There are many fantastic birds throughout all of those locations and the more reach the better.  For Chobe and Botswana, its wide open and you need quite a bit of reach.  You'll want an extender on your 300mm pretty much all of the time if that is your longest lens.  I don't recommend swapping lenses or extenders in the jeeps, it can get pretty dusty.  I really think you will be more than happy with the 70-200 and probably a 1.4 on your 300.  The 200-400 1.4 certainly gives you a lot more flexibility, but it is an added expense.  If money is no object or you were starting from scratch, I'd say the 70-200 and 200-400 1.4x is a perfect combo.  I really wouldn't worry about 2.8 on your long lens - by the time you're positioned on wildlife in the morning there will be plenty of light.  You'll probably do 1 maybe 2 dusk safaris in Kruger where you'll want 2.8, but you'll have your 70-200.  The flexibility of reach having the 200-400 1.4x far outweighs it being 4.0 if you decide to go in that direction.  Weight of gear isn't an issue.  You might do 1 or 2 walking safaris, but the animals freak out at human footsteps and get very skittish (whereas they aren't bothered by motor vehicles) it will likely be more of a vegetation nature walk.  The rest of the time you'll be in the jeep and can have one camera in hand and one resting beside you.  You might want a stabilization sack or a monopod for your white lens. 

Bugspray, full brim hat, sunglasses, lightweight neutral colored clothes, hiking shoes.

You'll be happy to have the 24mm for sunrise/sunset/stars.  17-40 will be good for around camp and at the falls

Sounds like a trip of a lifetime. have a great time, and you'll be happy and have plenty of photographic opportunity no matter what decision you make on gear. 

hendrik-sg

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 09:56:38 AM »
We were in SA on safari, together with my wife. we had a 300f2.8ISi and 70-200f4IS and a 2xiii Extender on 5dii and 50d

in "good light mode" we had the 300mm on the 50d normally with extender, in the evening, we removed first the extender, next changed the 300mm on the 5dii and maybe the 50d to a fast 50mm.

this, because:

- a crop camera is the better extender than a real extender
- the big whites are so bitingly sharp, that their resolution is enough for the spaller pixels on the crop sensor
- with 2 cams one gets different perspectives at the same time.

For the (in my opinion) way overpriced 200-400 you can probably take a 2nd person on the trip, who does the 2nd perspective (and helps to carry all the stuff).

If money doesnt matter, and if y can carry the weight of the 200-400, i would take a 400f2.8 instead, with the same strategy, and would use a 1 crop and one FF camera instead of 2FF



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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2014, 09:56:38 AM »