In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by JaimeGibb, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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    So I am traveling to, you got it, Africa. I am leaving late December and Ill be gone for 2.5 weeks. OBVIOUSLY, more important to have than clothing and personal hygiene products will be my camera.

    I purchased a Sigma 70-200 2.8 a few months back (tax return check!) specifically for this purpose. My only lenses before the purchase were my 85mm and my kit lens. I figured this would be a decent lens to get some good wildlife photos, as we are planning on doing a safari (I am also planning on investing in a decent wide-angle before I leave...Christmas present maybe, good ole' Mom).

    HowEVER...as I've been reading, I keep seeing authors and posters say that the mac-daddy telephotos (300mm, 400mm, 500mm and up) are what's needed for wildlife photos...which is sad, because here I have this cool lens, and an approaching trip to Africa, and the last thing I want is sucky pictures. They don't have to be PERFECT, but I would love some sharp, printable, hang-on-my-wallable shots. Couldn't I get a great shot with my Sigma and crop and zoom the image in PS?

    I guess my question is...what do you think? Do you think this lens will serve me well on my trip, or do you think it was a waste?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well the 70-200mm is a bit short for true wildlife however on african safari you have 2 things in your favour
    1) the wildlife is larger - you not after small foxes or songbirds, but have hippos, lions and such to shoot

    2) the guides/drivers - if you get a good one you can get fairly close to the wildlife without problems

    I have certainly seen shots taken with a 70-200mm on safari that were good - though you might consider getting a 1.4 teleconverter from sigma - though the sigma 70-200mm is not a canon L its still a strong lens and with a 1.4 you will be able to get up to 280mm (almost a 300mm) and still get good results (africa is also bright - well brighter than the UK on average ;) - so lighting won't be a problem)

    As for crop and zoom this is debatable - what I say is if you can't get blindingly close shots then get creative with composition - abraxus has some interesting cyote shots up at the moment somewhere which are nearly all landscape with a single cyote staring out and they work well.

    That said a good 300mm (f4 or f2.8 - though the 2.8 canon is very popular since it will work and give sharp results even with a 2* teleconverter) or longer prime is a good aim if wildlife is your hobby.

    As for a good landscape lens the sigma 10-20mm is a sharp (sharp as the canon equivalent) and cheap (cheaper than canon ;)) and popular landscape lens for the crop sensor camera

    Have fun - oh and make sure to take extra memory cards ;)
     
  3. saltface

    saltface TPF Noob!

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    For birds, I wouldn't recommend it.
    I have a 300 I use for wildlife and it suits me just fine. I've always thought Savannah animals are less flighty than what you find here (deer, elk, cougars, etc.), or maybe all those National Geographic images of the Land Rover next to the pride of lions are photoshopped.
     
  4. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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    Yea I'm not too concerned about birds or other small creatures. I mainly want the big guys :) And no, this won't be a huge hobby of mine, just a chance trip. My best friend is doing the Peace Corps over tere and I am visiting her.

    Yep, memory cards are definitely written in to the budget!!

    Thanks for the advice, very helpful!
     
  5. JaimeGibb

    JaimeGibb TPF Noob!

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  6. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    If you do not want the bulk of the primes, I would suggest the EF 100-400 f/4-5.6 L IS. That is the lens my friend is taking next week on safari. Most guides will reccommend at least a 400-500mm because you are not going to get that close to the big game animals. A co-worker that went last year to Kruger brought a 70-300 VR and it was way too short. The Sigma 50-500 offers great range, but is not stabilized and very soft wide open. The EF 100-400 is pretty good. Pricey, but the lens I would take over my 400 f/2.8 anyday. Tack on a 1.4 Teleconverter if you need more reach. Be mindful, you will lose AF though. Extra cards or a laptop, data storage (i.e. Epson P3000), rain/element cover, extra batteries and you are set.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    hmm for a similar price as the 100-400 you could get a 300mm f4 prime - which with a 1.4 tc would be a sharp good reaching combo which would still have AF support.
    Of course these options are far from cheap to go for - the 70-300mm you link to might give you more range, though I would be curious about its quality when compared to the sigma you have at the moment.
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do yourself a Huge favor and think hard about a kick butt wide lens.

    You aren't likely to be out tracking any of these animals in the wild because

    a: If they were where you could get to them by yourself (off the reserve) then the poachers would have already killed them. :( Which means that you will be able to get fairly close on the tour.

    This is really a good thing because hunting game is time consuming (my experience is over here in the US but still..) and unless you are going for a couple of months you really don't have time for much of that.

    B: What you are going to want to remember most is the impact of the place. Not a little hut that you could see at Disney Land but a bunch of them complete with the people who live there. The landscapes, sunsets- the whole kit and kaboodle and that takes a wide lens. And since half the day is night a fast wide would make you happiest. And an extra tube sock to put gravel in in place of a tripod. ;)

    Good luck and have a great trip!!
     
  9. soylentgreen

    soylentgreen TPF Noob!

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    The EF 70-300 IS is a decent lens for the price. Better performing when stopped down a bit making it even slower. The prime 300 f/4L IS is a great lens, even with the 1.4 TC. Lacks the convenience of the zoom that the EF 100-400 IS offers though. In a situation where you cannot control your working distance (i.e. shooting out of the sunroof of a range rover) the zoom will help. On a more personalize safari, where it is just a couple of people and the guide/driver, you may be able to move around a bit more and get the driver to move to a good spot. Primes are tack sharp and the preferred tool, but do require a bit of forethought in setting up.
    Since you already have the 18-55 for a wide angle, it may suffice unless you want to upgrade. I have seen some fairly good images taken with the stock lens. The EF-S 10-22 would be gravy.
     
  10. Buszaj

    Buszaj TPF Noob!

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    The 70-200 is definetly a good lens, however, if you are going on safari, you will most likely be needing a longer lens, I've been there before. I used the Sigma 150-500, and the range was perfect. However, I actually had to switch to the 70-200 because the former was too long! We managed to get very close to a herd of elephants feeding in the bush. With elephants (sometimes), giraffes, and wildebeest, you can get pretty close, so the 70-200 will suffice. Hippos, they're in the water, so if you do see them, you'll probably be viewing them from the river's edge, possibly higher up, so the 70-200 should suffice also. As for the rest of the smaller animals, and cats, you'll need that extra range. Basically, it does depend a bit on the driver, you may be able to get in pretty close to the animals, at least the "safer" ones. I think you'll still get plenty of great shots with that lens. Have fun! By the way, which county are you going to?
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think we might be overspending the OP's budget - considering that she linked to a 70-300mm and we are now debating lenses nearly 3 times that in cost - also I think we might be eating into the wideangle lens budget here and whilst africa is famous for its wildlife its also famous for its landscapes (heck at dawn/sunset its fantastic!)
    I agree with Mike - go for a the wideangle - since at the price range you are looking at I don't think your going to get better quality than the 70-200mm that you already have.
     
  12. uplander

    uplander TPF Noob!

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    Why has no one suggested the 2x TC. With the 70-200 L you can get very good results. As previous noted Africa will be bright and stopping the lens down will help with IQ. This would be better than the 70- 300 IS ( which I have and is a nice lens) and cost less.
    The bigest draw back I see is swapping out TC's in a dusty enviroment.

    You might want to consider renting a 100-400L this is an amazing lens and would serve your purposes best and would be my first choice to have with me.
     

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