What gear to bring for Banff/Jasper with EF and RF mixed systems?


Mar 29, 2012
I will be visiting Banff/Jasper next week and am wondering if I should bring my 200-400mm lens for wildlife. I will be with my family so it's not a pure photography trip where I will be able to take off for hours.

I'm just picking up an R5 + 28-70 this week which I will bring along for 4K video. For still photos, I will probably stick with my 5D MIV since I know that body a lot better. The other EF lenses I am thinking of bringing are:
  • 16-35 f/2.8
  • 24-105 f/4
  • 17mm TS-E f/4
  • 70-200 f/2.8
  • 200-400 f4 (trying to decide on)
For those of you that have been, do you think I'm bringing too much gear and do you think I will get any use out of the 200-400?
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Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
CR Pro
Aug 9, 2018
I'm a pretty bad counselor, since I almost never leave home without a 400mm zoom, and tons of gear.
But: since you expect to see some wildlife, the 200-400 is a must. With the other lenses you mentioned, your equipment seems perfect to me, a coverage from 17 to 400mm.
You might add a luminous prime ,maybe a 50mm instead of the redundant 24-105, and an extender.
Enjoy your trip!


It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
Colorado, USA
Depends on the balance between photography and family. It’s different for each of us and each time we travel. Rather than cover the entire focal length range, I tend to pick something wide, mid, and long for my 3 lens kit.

I’m on family vacation right now, but will have photo opportunities. I tend to dial it down. Left the 1DXII and most of my EF lenses at home. I acquired an R6 , RF24-240, RF800 f/11, and RF 1.4x a few months ago. I plan to get more familiar with them on this trip. I shot a bald eagle 50ft off our deck yesterday with the 800. The R kit could possibly meet most of my travel photography needs other than it’s size. I added the EF 11-24L just in case. Left the rest of my L primes and zooms at home.

I also brought along my S110 and M6II/M5 kit to spend some time shooting with my 9yo granddaughter. She’s been using P&S for a while. She took a few snaps with the M5 and suddenly got more excited about photography (it has a view finder) so I may be gifting her my M5 and a lens. We’ll see how it goes. Her mom has my 6D and f/4 zoom trinity (17-40, 24-105L IS, 70-200L IS).

If I had your kit and wanted to travel light, I’d bring the R5 and RF 28-70 and commit to using it. I’d add the 17 for all wide and the 200-400 for long. I like two body setups so I’d bring the 5DIV and mount the 17 or 200-400 on it. With an adapter I could mount the other on the R5 if I don’t need the midrange. This really minimizes the equipment and setups which I prefer to do when traveling, even by car.
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CR Pro
Jul 6, 2017
Davidson, NC
My experience around Jasper was that you needed normal or maybe even wide angle for wildlife. And you need very wide angle for scenic vistas on the ice fields between Jasper and Banff. I was shooting just an S120, as I recall, so my panoramas were stitched together from shots taken at 24mm equivalent.


Mar 29, 2012
Thanks for all your feedback. I took everyone’s feedback and this is what I ended up bringing and how often I used it:
  1. Canon 5D IV
    1. I used this body for the first portion of the trip exclusively because I didn’t get the R5 until a few days into the trip. I did all video from my iPhone 12 Pro Max shooting 4K 30FPS
  2. Canon 70-200 f/2.8
    1. I only had a chance to use this twice as we were not fortunate enough to see much wildlife.
    2. We saw an elk once in town in Banff. I also use it at the waterslide in one of the hotels.
    3. I can’t imagine a time when I would have needed the 200-400
  3. Canon 17 TS
    1. Of all the lenses, I used this this about 10% of the time
  4. Canon 16-35
    1. Of all the lenses, I used this about 10% of the time
  5. Canon R5
    1. I use this exclusively once I received it.
  6. Canon 24-105
    1. Of all the lenses, I used this about 70% of the time, as my primary walk around
    2. For family trips, this was the easiest as I was already packing too much.
  7. Canon RF 28-70
    1. Honorable mention. I didn’t get this lens until after my trip was over but I feel I would have used this one instead of the 24-105
After using the 28-70 for a week, I think I will keep looking for a lighter travel lens or continue to use the 24-105.
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CR Pro
Jul 16, 2020
After using the 28-70 for a week, I think I will keep looking for a lighter travel lens or continue to use the 24-105.

I had the 28-70/2 for a short time but I had to come to terms with how often I was actually going to use it. I ended up going with the 24-70/2.8 instead.
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