October 20, 2014, 09:51:37 AM

Author Topic: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x  (Read 6187 times)

Lnguyen1203

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2014, 10:09:35 AM »
I have done 2 safaris, first time in Tanzania and Keynia, second time Botswana.  I had the 500f4 II on my 1DX and the 70-200f2.8 II on my 5D3.  I find that the1.4x works well with both combo, but for fast actions at close range, taking off the 1.4x improves focusing a lot.  I found myself constantly taking the 1.4X on and off one camera after another.  I didn't take any shots at f2.8.

So to name the long story short, I think there is way too much overlap between the 70-200 and the 300.  If you can afford it, the 200-400 is the way to go for mammals.  If you are interested in birds, perhaps the 500f4 or 600f4 would be a better choice.  Most of the time you will be on a safari vehicle, so a good beanbag will save you.  Weight is only an issue to get there and in transit.  Usually there is weight restrictions, but unless you abuse the rules, you should have no problems with say 10 lbs over.

Good luck.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2014, 10:09:35 AM »

AlanF

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2014, 10:20:43 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

+1 for much of this. For animals, I found the 7D with 70-200 more than adequate, but too short for birds. What I would do next time is take the 70D with the 300 f/2.8II + extenders and, in my case, the Tamron 150-600 on the 5DIII (or 1DX if I had one) to be ready for all events. You really do need a zoom. The Tamron is more than adequate for animals during the day time. At dawn and dusk I would put the 300mm on the 5DIII.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2014, 10:23:18 AM »
I did a Kenya-Tanzania safari last year and experienced the same dilemma. For the trip I settled on a rented 200-400 and my 70-200 an a 24-105 and two 5D3's. With the dusty conditions in a safari vehicle I found  the 200-400 the most valuable tool in the box. With weight on the aircraft being a issue I carried my lens in a backpack and the  bodies  and other equipment in a photo vest I wore.  It worked for me and I would carry the same kit again.

dolina

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2014, 10:54:16 AM »
The most popular lens that is $3000 or more is the 300. Followed by the 200-400.

During the World Cup it appears that half of the lenses brought by canon as loaners was the 200-400.
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ykn123

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2014, 11:29:08 AM »
Well i think you are well equipped in terms of DSLR plus the 300 2.8II.

For maximum reach have you ever thought to bring  a sx50 or then sx60 just as a second / third camera ?
It is leightweighted and handy. You get a 2000mm lens plus image stabilization for very very little money. I just recently had a friend who was completely satisfied with the images he made with the SX50 in Africa compared to another friend with a Nikon and a 300 f2.8. He got tacksharp images and had them (the big fives) much more filling the frame than our Nikon friend.

Don't get me wrong - not talking about an SX50 or 60 could/should replace the other combo - but it will give you far more reach than any of the other options you described.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2014, 11:40:49 AM »
I've been on 7 African safaris and the #1 challenge is DUST!  Dust is everywhere and very fine.  Anytime you open your camera, it finds it's way to your sensors.

Unless you specifically book a "walking safari", you will be riding in open air "bokkies" (jeeps or SUVs) most of the time.  Since they don't have a roof so you can shoot photos from the vehicle, dust is everywhere including inside the vehicle.   The last thing you want to do is be changing lenses or converters in order to get the right lens combo.   In Africa on game drives in vehicles, ZOOMS are your best friend and will give you your best photos.

Great idea to have two camera bodies.   And the 70-200 is the perfect zoom for big stuff like giraffes, elephants, etc.  70-200 also gives you the low light capabilities in early morning and evening.

African animals range in size from a house cat (or smaller) to giraffes over 18 feet tall.   The challenge with game drives from vehicles is that you can't "zoom with your feet".   You need flexibility on focal ranges.  Even with herds of elephants you often can't get that close to them at water holes.   I have shot many elephants using 400mm and that wasn't long enough.

My long lens is the Canon 500mm f4.   F4 is sufficient with most like if you have the 5D III or a 1D, and provides great bokeh.   The challenge is that the 500mm is often too long for animals that are close or when taking shots of animals in herds.   The 200-400 would be the perfect lens if money is not an obstacle.

If money were no object, the perfect Safari lens setup would be 24-70, 70-200, 200-400.   

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2014, 11:58:48 AM »
The 28-300L never gets any love in these situations.  Should it?  If not why not.  Seems like it would at least cover  all the bases except beyond 300. 
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2014, 11:58:48 AM »

LOLID

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2014, 12:02:50 PM »
I went to Kruger Dec. 2012. I did not have (still don't) the money to get a 300 2.8 or 200-400. So lucky you on this.
I took the 70-300 L and put it on my 5D3.

My experience:
- 50% of shots @ 70-200 mm
- 30% of shots @ 200-300 mm
- 20% of missed shots + 300mm (I would guess 10% 300 - 500 mm ; 10% +500mm)

This is just my own experience based on my personal way to take photos (don't care much about birds for example).
Anyway you are facing a dilemma that a lot of us would like to confront: 2 combos on 2 bodies and I would stress that you cannot go wrong either way:
- 70-300 L + 300 2.8 with x1.4 and x2 (changing lenses - or in this case the extenders - is not such a huge deal, just have someone helping you and go fast! Plus I bet you will want to put the x2 only if very few situation - 10% or less)
- 70-200 2.8 + 200-400

From what I read the 300 2.8 offers the best image quality over the canon glass range even with the x1.4 (I might be wrong though), so my preference would be the first combo.

Hope this helps a bit.
O.

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2014, 01:18:19 PM »
Just go to a zoo.  ;-)
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2014, 02:07:20 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.

Hi Ian,

When i didn't need An airplane for the trip, I would also take both. However, because of the weight limitations, I have to make choices, and as I also need Other Lenses like 70-200, 17-40,.. I can take only one big white unfortunaly.

francois
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2014, 02:11:27 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.

Hi,
Thank you for This detailed answer concerning gear but also the other points you mentioned.

Welcome on CR

Francois
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2014, 02:23:34 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...

Hi tom,
I know that a lot of people do use a 500mm on safari. But the weight difference between the 500 and the 200-400 is not that big anymore (420g). I see more use in a 200-400 afterwards then in a 500, that's what driving me to the 200-400. Also the spread of the weight of the zoom is very good, as weight is in the front element but also in the zoom element at the other side. Several big whites are front heavy and that requires more arm power.
Carrying weight is no problem for me, I'm used to carry 15kg in a backpack and that together with 2 bodies on a harness. Only real limitation there is max limit of airplane.

Francois
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2014, 02:36:27 AM »
Never been to a safari (yet, I hope I still have time ;) ), but it seems if you absolutely need to spend on something, you might better spend it on a second Pro body.
I love my 5DIII, but I would not want to take it into super dusty areas nor would I rely completely on it for wildlife and quick shooting.
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2014, 02:36:27 AM »

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2014, 02:37:24 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

+1 for much of this. For animals, I found the 7D with 70-200 more than adequate, but too short for birds. What I would do next time is take the 70D with the 300 f/2.8II + extenders and, in my case, the Tamron 150-600 on the 5DIII (or 1DX if I had one) to be ready for all events. You really do need a zoom. The Tamron is more than adequate for animals during the day time. At dawn and dusk I would put the 300mm on the 5DIII.

Hi Alan,
I have seen many posts of you concerning the tamron 150-600. I really do believe that this lens is really great, for sure compared to its price. I won't get 10 times better photos with the 200-400 compared to the tamron, however the price difference is that big. On the other side, I see my lenses as an investment. A 200-400, will give me the same value as today within 5 years. The only thing I lose is the interest, but as you know, that's very marginal nowadays.
I will not take my 7d with me on the trip. As you know, the AF of the 7d is good, but is overruled a lot by the 5diii or the 1dx. I know the 70d seems to be a bit better on that, but I like to have a heavier body as I find that easier to keep the combo steady.

Francois
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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2014, 02:42:47 AM »
The most popular lens that is $3000 or more is the 300. Followed by the 200-400.

During the World Cup it appears that half of the lenses brought by canon as loaners was the 200-400.

Hi dolina,

That's great info. So there is a real game changing going on. Football was mostly the 400 2.8 in the past combined with a shorter lens like 70-200. Don't want to say that you wouldn't need that 70-200 anymore, but the fixed 400 is now changed into a flexible zoom. I'm aware that during the World Cup, the lighting was very well compared to smaller events, but anyhow the 200-400 seems to win a big piece of the cake of the big whites.

Francois
Camera: 1Dx, 5D3, 7D, 300D  | Prime:14 2.8Lii, 24 1.4Lii, 50 1.4, 85 1.2Lii, 100 2.8Lmacro, 300 2.8Lii | Zoom: 16-35 4.0L, 24-105 4.0L, 70-200 2.8Lii, 200-400 1.4x 4.0L | TS-E 24 3.5Lii | Other: 1.4xIII, 2.0xIII, 2x YN568, 6x YN560iii,  YN622TX, 6x YN622, 2x YN560TX, 6x YN603, CamRanger, ...

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Re: Safari 300 2.8 Mkii or 200-400 1.4x
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2014, 02:42:47 AM »