Dholai

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Feb 5, 2014
69
9
Dear friends,
Me and my family are off to Kenya and Tanzania for 24 days- the trip of our lifetime - mainly for photography and videography.
Please suggest Cameras and lenses.
I have access to R5/ 1DxMK III/DxII/Dx/5DsR/5DIV/Fuji GFX 100s
Canon L lenses - from 11-24 to 600 mm f4. All flavors except a 300 mm 2.8
Is 200 F2 a choice ?
100-400 vs 70- 200 ?
Have access to Fuji GF 250 mm F4 prime and 45-100 F4 zoom

Please suggest.

Thanks in advance

Dholai
 
Last edited:

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
CR Pro
Nov 7, 2013
3,458
2,261
Germany
Hi Dholai!

First and in general there are some other threads that might help you.
Feel free to read through them, even though times have changed and an R5 wasn't there back then.
One I found pretty fast:

Few things that come to my mind:
  • First: Enjoy the trip! don't stress your family too much with your photography. Let the moment happen.
  • Wherever you come from think about climate (temp., humidity) and how much you want to carry.
    Travel as light as possible.
  • Think about dust, actual climate conditions, like dry period vs. monsoon season.
  • Try to avoid chancing lenses in the field => two bodies (also one a sbackup?)
  • Be flexible => zoom over prime
  • Depending on type of safari animals can be close (100 mm are too much) and far as well (400 mm are not enough).
As I haven't done such trip myself I leave the details up to others.
And last: Enjoy the trip! ;)
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,289
10,366
Dear friends,
Me and my family are off to Kenya and Tanzania for 24 days- the trip of our lifetime - mainly for photography and videography.
Please suggest Cameras and lenses.
I have access to R5/ 1DxMK III/DxII/Dx/5DsR/5DIV/Fuji GFX 100s
Canon L lenses - from 11-24 to 600 mm f4. All flavors except a 300 mm 2.8
Is 200 F2 a choice ?
100-400 vs 70- 200 ?
Have access to Fuji GF 250 mm F4 prime and 45-100 F4 zoom

Please suggest.

Thanks in advance

Dholai
It all depends on what you will be photographing, your mode of transport, whether you have a personal guide or travelling in a group etc. If you lay out the parameters, you are more likely to get useful rather than random, if any, responses.
 
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privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,274
5,395
Whilst I am not experienced enough with safari’s to suggest lens choice regarding bodies I would suggest very strongly to focus on what you are most familiar with. Trying to get once in a lifetime images with an unfamiliar body is going to be tough, at the very least you won’t be getting the best out of the body or yourself.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,289
10,366
To get things started, when we went to Tanzania, my wife had the 5DSR plus 100-400mm II Plus 1.4xTC and an Olympus Tough TG5, and I the 5DIV plus 400mm DO II plus extenders, and a Sony RX10 IV. That was minimal lightweight kit which we could take everywhere, including the small planes. If we were to go again, I'd take the R5 plus 100-500mm and a pair of extenders, with the Sony for wide angle stuff that can zoom in if necessary. My wife would possibly take the same again, although another R5 might be safer for interchangeability back-up. The 100-400mm and 100-500mm are perfect general purpose safari lenses. The pros would take a prime telephoto, and I would too if Canon comes up with a very light RF. However, a zoom is essential, and I grabbed the 5DSR/100-400mm II whenever I could last time.
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,336
541
So many variables - 24 days leaves plenty of time for pretty much everything and what interests you most : safari versus landscape , city versus portrait. But as has been said, a lot depends on how it has been organised and how you will travel around. If it is largely self-organised with several changes of base and using public transport, I would say compact as possible - do you want to be carrying loads lenses and cameras and constantly worrying they will be stolen or damaged?
If it is an organised tour then it will be easier to get away with a larger amount of kit - but don't forget to consider internal flights and their own luggage restrictions.

I would consider things like f2 lenses to be a luxury but it depends on how wedded you are to what this lens can do and how much of your portfolio it comprises. Pretty much the same for the 11-24.
I would concentrate on two bodies with zooms. Simplest set would be 5DIV and 5DSR with the 24-105 and 100-400. and maybe 2 primes for a compact day out - 35mm or 50mm. That way you do not really need the 70-200 - all your bodies are good enough to crop the 24-105 and cover most of the 70-200 range. In a way, minimising kit like this will remove frustrations of 'damn, which shall I take' or 'I wish I had brought the other lens'.
For safaris, I would contact the tour operator to see what type of vehicles you will be using. Many I have conversed with have said that the drivers look to get as close to the animals as possible and a lot of the time 200mm is plenty - others say 400mm is enough. Also, many comments have been that handling a 600mm lens between roof bars in a truck with 6 other people next to you is a nightmare and becomes a chore. Going out in a truck with outriggers and 4 people per truck may be different - but do you want to carry a 500mm/600mm prime for the sake of 2 or 3 days out of 24? I reckon the 100-400 with 1.4 converter will be OK.
If you are really keen to get as many wildlife action shots as possible, then by all means think about the 1Dx models - but the chances of watching a high-octane hunt is not as common as many people think.
Then there are times you are walking around town and just want to have a really compact option - this could be a 5D with a 35mm/50mm lens or a compact camera.

Also, what accessories do you consider essential? Tripod/monopod? Flash? Reflectors/Diffusers? A laptop to view images as you go? It quickly adds up....

On 'trips of a lifetime' it is tempting to want to photograph everything - and you end up remembering it all through a viewfinder rather than as an experience (been there, done that). Just remember to put the camera down every now and again and simply soak it up.
 

Dholai

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Feb 5, 2014
69
9
First of all- my apologies to everybody for not responding earlier !
My work life is crazy- I am working this weekend too!
Now, I am all confused! I thought everybody will recommend the 600/400/200 and the 1DX MKIII/II
BTW,
It is a private tour- 4 of us.
We will have a guide with us- everyday
We will have an extended body land cruiser.
No internal small flight- whole trip ( Kenya and Tanzania) will be by road only
I plan to use Tripod, bean bag etc. My laptop will obviously go - for image downloads
Not interested in cities- not at all but will go to Masai village

Alan F,
Now some suggestions please

Private by design
I know exactly what you mean. I have been burnt. That is why I am trying to learn the R5 !

Unfocused
Please suggest now

Mikehit,
Thanks for you suggestions. You are so right ! I I only remember things through viewfinder !

Thanks again everybody! Really appreciate it .

Dholai
 

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,274
5,395
First of all- my apologies to everybody for not responding earlier !
My work life is crazy- I am working this weekend too!
Now, I am all confused! I thought everybody will recommend the 600/400/200 and the 1DX MKIII/II
BTW,
It is a private tour- 4 of us.
We will have a guide with us- everyday
We will have an extended body land cruiser.
No internal small flight- whole trip ( Kenya and Tanzania) will be by road only
I plan to use Tripod, bean bag etc. My laptop will obviously go - for image downloads
Not interested in cities- not at all but will go to Masai village

Alan F,
Now some suggestions please

Private by design
I know exactly what you mean. I have been burnt. That is why I am trying to learn the R5 !

Unfocused
Please suggest now

Mikehit,
Thanks for you suggestions. You are so right ! I I only remember things through viewfinder !

Thanks again everybody! Really appreciate it .

Dholai
Send Grant Atkinson a message, he liked some of the comments already posted. he leads safaris for a living and is very helpful.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,289
10,366
First of all- my apologies to everybody for not responding earlier !
My work life is crazy- I am working this weekend too!
Now, I am all confused! I thought everybody will recommend the 600/400/200 and the 1DX MKIII/II
BTW,
It is a private tour- 4 of us.
We will have a guide with us- everyday
We will have an extended body land cruiser.
No internal small flight- whole trip ( Kenya and Tanzania) will be by road only
I plan to use Tripod, bean bag etc. My laptop will obviously go - for image downloads
Not interested in cities- not at all but will go to Masai village

Alan F,
Now some suggestions please

Private by design
I know exactly what you mean. I have been burnt. That is why I am trying to learn the R5 !

Unfocused
Please suggest now

Mikehit,
Thanks for you suggestions. You are so right ! I I only remember things through viewfinder !

Thanks again everybody! Really appreciate it .

Dholai
I gave you some suggestions. Check whether you will need a tripod.
 

Dholai

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Feb 5, 2014
69
9
Hi Dholai!

First and in general there are some other threads that might help you.
Feel free to read through them, even though times have changed and an R5 wasn't there back then.
One I found pretty fast:

Few things that come to my mind:
  • First: Enjoy the trip! don't stress your family too much with your photography. Let the moment happen.
  • Wherever you come from think about climate (temp., humidity) and how much you want to carry.
    Travel as light as possible.
  • Think about dust, actual climate conditions, like dry period vs. monsoon season.
  • Try to avoid chancing lenses in the field => two bodies (also one a sbackup?)
  • Be flexible => zoom over prime
  • Depending on type of safari animals can be close (100 mm are too much) and far as well (400 mm are not enough).
As I haven't done such trip myself I leave the details up to others.
And last: Enjoy the trip! ;)
Thank you Maximilian- for your valuable input. I will definitely keep all these in my mind.
 

Grant Atkinson

EOS 90D
Jan 6, 2014
191
29
Hi Dholai

I read the posts above with lots of good suggestions in them, specially AlanF with lenses. When you say Tanzania and Kenya, I am assuming that a good proportion of your days will be in protected areas like the Masai Mara GR, Amboseli NP and Serengeti NP. If this is the case then I can share some thoughts as those are places that I do frequent. At the same time, I don't know what you normally shoot with on other wildlife trips. So I don't know which lenses you are comfortable with managing and handling? I will write first about lenses as I think they are the more important part of the gear bag for such a trip. When it comes to focal lengths, there are many variables. A long trip through the protected areas i listed above might provide you with subject matter as big as an elephant, and in the same environment, something as tiny as a pygmy kingfisher! Many of the animals you encounter will not be very afraid of the jeep and you might get very close. Some others might not let you get so close. In some reserves, you may be able to go off the road and choose your distance. Other times you may be restricted to the road and then longer focal lengths will allow more options.
I would try to take three lenses with. Also, as Mikehit mentioned, your vehicle configuration will be a factor in how easy and effectively you can set up for your shooting. There are very many different game drive vehicle configurations. If you are using one that will take you between those countries on the public roads then it is most likely to have hard windows which will hopefully be able to open as wide as possible? If we spend more days within a single game reserve we also sometimes remove those windows entirely for our game drives, if it is permitted?

An EF 24-105 f4 L IS, for scenery, elephants, landscapes and skies, and casual people photos.

An EF 100-400 f5.6L IS ii for your 'fast-reaction' rig. This one you keep by your side or on your lap whilst on game drive, and it is generally light and compact enough that you can rapidly deploy it, when needed. Some subjects might only be available for a very short time and being able to get off a few quick shots can be helpful. The 100-400mm of focal length is usually enough for most but definitely not all of the scenes you might find yourself in. The maximum aperture of f5.6 is not really ideal for taking pictures before sunrise, nor for the short period after sunset. At the same time you can offset that somewhat with the good high iso image quality of any of the 5D Mk4, 1DX2, 1DX3 or R5 that you mentioned above. On many of the trips I go on, at least a few of the very best images come from the 100-400 or an equivalent, just because the user was able to get it out and take the picture handheld and quickly. An RF 100-500 would do the same job.

An EF 600 f4 IS or EF 500 L F4 IS or EF 400L f2.8 (with 1.4x extender) - taking along any one of these three super telephoto lenses will allow you to work in lower light, pre-sunrise and post-sunset, than the zoom. They will also enable you to capture strong portraits, control the background more, and photograph animals for longer, by staying a further distance away whilst photographing without disturbing their behaviour. You will also likely get stronger shots of small animals like mongooses, lizards, and perhaps better shots of baby predators like lion, cheetah, hyaena and leopard cubs. Bird pictures become better options. However, these lenses are all bulky, and they can take a little dexterity and practice to get them set up easily in a safari jeep. It is possible to use a tripod with a gimbal of course, but many folk do well with these lenses supporting them on a bean bag. If you already have experience of using any or all of those three I listed, you may already have some idea of how easy or difficult one is for you to manage in a vehicle. The latest version III of those super telephotos, in EF 400 f2.8 III and EF 600 f4 IS iii weigh about the same as the EF 500l F4 IS ii but they are both bulkier than the 500. Using one of these long lenses in a shared safari vehicle also works best if your fellow occupants don't shift around too much in the vehicle when you are focusing, shooting etc. Images taken over long distances with such lenses are also most affected by heat haze, and the only way i know to avoid that is to get closer or find the subject at a cooler time of day.

If you cannot take one of these three super teles, 600 f4, 500 f4 or 400 f2.8, then the EF 400 f4 IS ii is an alternative that is quite compact, and very light and can be combined with a 1.4x extender. Alan F mentioned it above and its a good option if you decide that a lighter rig is preferable. Then you combine a 24-105, a 100-400 f5.6, and a 560 f5.6 (in the form of an EF 400 DO f4 IS ii with Extender). For the lenses that i discussed above, one can obviously replace EF with RF where applicable.

For camera bodies, I find that the 1DX Mk3, 1DX Mk 2, 1DX, 5D Mk 4 and the R5, R6 can all get me good results. I am happy to process RAW images from all of those cameras for print at iso settings from ISO 3200 to ISO 6400. For web use, I am happy to go up to iso 10 000 on all these bodies. If your lens choice includes the use of a 1.4x extender on a super telephoto a lot of the time, then generally the 1DX bodies seem to handle AF a little better the 5D bodies. The R5 and R6 also seem to be a little better with 1.4x converters and AF accuracy than the 5D bodies. With bodies, if you choose to use the higher resolution models like the 5DSR and R5 then you might find that you have to make extra effort to steady yourself when shooting, specially with the longer focal length lenses. Some people experience this more than others and it will also depend upon how you evaluate your images afterwards. With the 5DSR, my only concern would be with its reduced continuous shooting capacity, compared to the other cameras in the list. But, so long as you are aware of that limitation, then it is also a solid safari camera. If you are trying to save weight for your travel, then taking similar Canon bodies that share battery types can save you weight. If you take a mix of 1DX and 5D/R5 bodies then it is two battery sizes as well as two different chargers. Usually, most people don't run their 1DX or 5D bodies out of battery during a single day or at most, might use a single battery. With the R5 you may use more batteries than that. It will depend upon subjects as well as how much time you spend looking at the pictures on the camera.

Also important is what Private By Design said regarding familiarity with camera bodies. Some sightings the animals will be around for long periods and you can take your time with settings and setup, other times you may only get a moment to shoot.

For myself, I typically take 3 lenses with when i travel to Tanzania and Kenya, most often being the 16-35/100-400/500f4 trio. I try take 3 bodies. Most often it is a single 1DX iii, a 5D4 and an R6 nowadays. Before, I traveled with the same lenses but a single 1DXii, and a 5D4 and a 90D. I do make use of the added versatility that the swivel-tilt screen allows with the R6 and 90D so i always want one swivel-tilt camera in my bag.

Sorry for this long post but if it is a trip of a lifetime, you do want to make good choices and have a great time and there some variables.

Cheers
Grant
 
Last edited:

AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,289
10,366
Thanks Grant for your usual helpful reply and being generous with your time. By coincidence, I got a shot of the Pygmy Kingfisher that you mentioned at Speke Bay, where we had the opportunity to walk around. And it was having the portable "rapid reaction" set up of a 5DSR +100-400mm II. Not a good shot, but better than none. I used to prefer the 5DSR to the 5DIV because of its extra resolution but the R5 is giving the best of resolution and AF.



3Q7A1498-DxO_pygmy_kingfisher.jpg
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
25,050
3,006
Excellent suggestions above, it has been many years since my wife and I went to Tanzania and Rwanda, before I started using dSLRs. Like your planned trip, our time on safari was in a private Land Rover, just my wife and I and our driver (the safari portion of our trip was about a week, we also spent a week on Zanzibar for diving and a week in Rwanda as well, with a wonderful trip to see mountain gorillas). I brought a 4 MP superzoom P&S, FF equivalent of 38-380mm.

I won't recapitulate the excellent advice above, but in the large NPs mentioned by Grant I found the longer end of the focal range to be important for most of the wildlife in the larger parks like Serengeti.

SmilingLion.jpg Ride.jpg

However, if you venture into the Ngorongoro Crater you may find that the animals are quite comfortable around tourists and approach very closely.

Lion.jpg

Enjoy your trip!
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
25,050
3,006
One more thought, for you and anyone else going on a safari. Choose an outfitter that uses Land Rovers / Cruisers, not one of the minivan outfits. Why? Land Rovers don't usually get stuck in a ditch...

Help.jpg
 

Dholai

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Feb 5, 2014
69
9
Hi Dholai

I read the posts above with lots of good suggestions in them, specially AlanF with lenses. When you say Tanzania and Kenya, I am assuming that a good proportion of your days will be in protected areas like the Masai Mara GR, Amboseli NP and Serengeti NP. If this is the case then I can share some thoughts as those are places that I do frequent. At the same time, I don't know what you normally shoot with on other wildlife trips. So I don't know which lenses you are comfortable with managing and handling? I will write first about lenses as I think they are the more important part of the gear bag for such a trip. When it comes to focal lengths, there are many variables. A long trip through the protected areas i listed above might provide you with subject matter as big as an elephant, and in the same environment, something as tiny as a pygmy kingfisher! Many of the animals you encounter will not be very afraid of the jeep and you might get very close. Some others might not let you get so close. In some reserves, you may be able to go off the road and choose your distance. Other times you may be restricted to the road and then longer focal lengths will allow more options.
I would try to take three lenses with. Also, as Mikehit mentioned, your vehicle configuration will be a factor in how easy and effectively you can set up for your shooting. There are very many different game drive vehicle configurations. If you are using one that will take you between those countries on the public roads then it is most likely to have hard windows which will hopefully be able to open as wide as possible? If we spend more days within a single game reserve we also sometimes remove those windows entirely for our game drives, if it is permitted?

An EF 24-105 f4 L IS, for scenery, elephants, landscapes and skies, and casual people photos.

An EF 100-400 f5.6L IS ii for your 'fast-reaction' rig. This one you keep by your side or on your lap whilst on game drive, and it is generally light and compact enough that you can rapidly deploy it, when needed. Some subjects might only be available for a very short time and being able to get off a few quick shots can be helpful. The 100-400mm of focal length is usually enough for most but definitely not all of the scenes you might find yourself in. The maximum aperture of f5.6 is not really ideal for taking pictures before sunrise, nor for the short period after sunset. At the same time you can offset that somewhat with the good high iso image quality of any of the 5D Mk4, 1DX2, 1DX3 or R5 that you mentioned above. On many of the trips I go on, at least a few of the very best images come from the 100-400 or an equivalent, just because the user was able to get it out and take the picture handheld and quickly. An RF 100-500 would do the same job.

An EF 600 f4 IS or EF 500 L F4 IS or EF 400L f2.8 (with 1.4x extender) - taking along any one of these three super telephoto lenses will allow you to work in lower light, pre-sunrise and post-sunset, than the zoom. They will also enable you to capture strong portraits, control the background more, and photograph animals for longer, by staying a further distance away whilst photographing without disturbing their behaviour. You will also likely get stronger shots of small animals like mongooses, lizards, and perhaps better shots of baby predators like lion, cheetah, hyaena and leopard cubs. Bird pictures become better options. However, these lenses are all bulky, and they can take a little dexterity and practice to get them set up easily in a safari jeep. It is possible to use a tripod with a gimbal of course, but many folk do well with these lenses supporting them on a bean bag. If you already have experience of using any or all of those three I listed, you may already have some idea of how easy or difficult one is for you to manage in a vehicle. The latest version III of those super telephotos, in EF 400 f2.8 III and EF 600 f4 IS iii weigh about the same as the EF 500l F4 IS ii but they are both bulkier than the 500. Using one of these long lenses in a shared safari vehicle also works best if your fellow occupants don't shift around too much in the vehicle when you are focusing, shooting etc. Images taken over long distances with such lenses are also most affected by heat haze, and the only way i know to avoid that is to get closer or find the subject at a cooler time of day.

If you cannot take one of these three super teles, 600 f4, 500 f4 or 400 f2.8, then the EF 400 f4 IS ii is an alternative that is quite compact, and very light and can be combined with a 1.4x extender. Alan F mentioned it above and its a good option if you decide that a lighter rig is preferable. Then you combine a 24-105, a 100-400 f5.6, and a 560 f5.6 (in the form of an EF 400 DO f4 IS ii with Extender). For the lenses that i discussed above, one can obviously replace EF with RF where applicable.

For camera bodies, I find that the 1DX Mk3, 1DX Mk 2, 1DX, 5D Mk 4 and the R5, R6 can all get me good results. I am happy to process RAW images from all of those cameras for print at iso settings from ISO 3200 to ISO 6400. For web use, I am happy to go up to iso 10 000 on all these bodies. If your lens choice includes the use of a 1.4x extender on a super telephoto a lot of the time, then generally the 1DX bodies seem to handle AF a little better the 5D bodies. The R5 and R6 also seem to be a little better with 1.4x converters and AF accuracy than the 5D bodies. With bodies, if you choose to use the higher resolution models like the 5DSR and R5 then you might find that you have to make extra effort to steady yourself when shooting, specially with the longer focal length lenses. Some people experience this more than others and it will also depend upon how you evaluate your images afterwards. With the 5DSR, my only concern would be with its reduced continuous shooting capacity, compared to the other cameras in the list. But, so long as you are aware of that limitation, then it is also a solid safari camera. If you are trying to save weight for your travel, then taking similar Canon bodies that share battery types can save you weight. If you take a mix of 1DX and 5D/R5 bodies then it is two battery sizes as well as two different chargers. Usually, most people don't run their 1DX or 5D bodies out of battery during a single day or at most, might use a single battery. With the R5 you may use more batteries than that. It will depend upon subjects as well as how much time you spend looking at the pictures on the camera.

Also important is what Private By Design said regarding familiarity with camera bodies. Some sightings the animals will be around for long periods and you can take your time with settings and setup, other times you may only get a moment to shoot.

For myself, I typically take 3 lenses with when i travel to Tanzania and Kenya, most often being the 16-35/100-400/500f4 trio. I try take 3 bodies. Most often it is a single 1DX iii, a 5D4 and an R6 nowadays. Before, I traveled with the same lenses but a single 1DXii, and a 5D4 and a 90D. I do make use of the added versatility that the swivel-tilt screen allows with the R6 and 90D so i always want one swivel-tilt camera in my bag.

Sorry for this long post but if it is a trip of a lifetime, you do want to make good choices and have a great time and there some variables.

Cheers
Grant
Grant,
Thank you very much for the post. Appreciate it from the core of my heart. I will try to do my best and seems that between me and my son- we can share around 5 bodies and lenses. My daughter and wife will be happy with their tiny Sony camcorder and iPhone respectively. I don't like to change lenses in the field and hence will take 5 bodies ( remember we are 2 photogs )
Once again, thank you.

Dholai

Will keep my fingers crossed .
 
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Dholai

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Feb 5, 2014
69
9
One more thought, for you and anyone else going on a safari. Choose an outfitter that uses Land Rovers / Cruisers, not one of the minivan outfits. Why? Land Rovers don't usually get stuck in a ditch...

View attachment 197535
Neuro- the Travel agent stated we will have an extended body open roof Land cruiser to ourselves ( like the left one in your picture). Now, what will happen in reality, I do not know!!
Thank you for your input. Appreciate it.