Lenses for safari ....??

BigBazza

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Hi I am going to Kenya again in October and will be taking 7D + f2.8 70 - 200 (+1.4Ext) and a 450D back Up Camera with a ?????????? so here is my question should I go for a f4 24 - 105 or f2.8 40 - 70 on the second camera which I would use if and hopefully when the action is closer ??
I am not that experienced so any help would be much appreciated ....... also have just moved over to using RAW for the first time and was blown away but how much difference editing can make in the post process .... may be obvious but would you shoot RAW in Africa as I fear I will over / under expose at some point and may be able to recover a little more detail with this format as opposed jpeg........ I think I know the answer but any more strength added to my argument would help my confidence Cheers Baz :confused::confused:
 

MarshallG

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I agree with your decision to shoot RAW. I think you need to decide if you'll shoot in single shots or bursts.

One way to practice burst shooting/focusing is to shoot at baseball games. Set up your shot on the batter, then fire a burst to capture the swing of the bat. However, this won't give you much practice tracking focus. You can also try the local zoo.

If you shoot RAW in bursts, you're going to eat up storage very fast. I can easily fill a 16 GB card in one ballgame, and I don't shoot throughout the game. RAW+JPEG isn't very good for burst shooting.


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iolair

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As you're shooting on a crop body, I'd consider going for the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 over the 28-70 f/2.8L; I wouldn't want to be somewhere scenic with only 28*1.6 as my widest view. The 17-55 is optically at least the equal of the 28-70 L (however, it does not have the same level of weather sealing, which is worth considering if you expect it to be dusty there).

If you want to stick with an L lens so you get that weather sealing, the 17-40 f/4L is worth considering too, but you have quite a gap then between 40mm and 70mm. Of course, your 450D is not particularly dust proof.


Personally, I shoot RAW for everything on my Canons, it gives way more scope for rescuing shots. Say you spot a leopard in shade up a tree, only have a chance to shoot it once, but your camera sets the brightness for the bright sunlight around it. The leopard would be so dark you wouldn't see any detail - but shooting in RAW most of that detail is in the file and you'd be able to get it back. Shooting in JPEG in a similar situation, you would probably just see the animal's outline, and not be able to recover any more.
If you want the JPEG for quick sharing, you can choose RAW + small JPEG as an option.

Do take lots of memory cards (and, ideally, some way of backing them up).
 
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baturn

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I'm going in Sept. for first time. Do you get close enough to all the critters that 200mm is enough? I was thinking of taking my 150 - 500, but would leave it to save weight. I suppose this is a situation where if I don't have it with me I'll need it for sure. thoughts??
 

Gavjenks

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On safari you'll mostly take two kinds of shots:
1) Scenic vistas of the environment, for which you will want almost as wide as you can get (one of the many available 18mm lenses on crop frame would be good). Unlike many scenes in more urbanized areas, there won't as be much to clutter or distract from the scene, so you can go wider than perhaps you normally would.

2) Wildlife -- Are you going on a walking or vehicle safari? If vehicle, animals could be anywhere from 5 feet away from the vehicle to 50-100 yards, could be very variable. You could need anywhere from a 20mm to a 500mm lens, depending. It especially depends if you are following a road or not, and the strategy of the driver (do they have a fixed sort of path, or not? etc.) Whoever is guiding you should be able to provide useful information in this regard. Keep in mind also that if you're hanging out in a vehicle, weight is hardly an issue, so you can worry less about heavy or slightly redundant lenses.

If walking, your group will be more free to generally approach whatever critters are around, without scaring them off or being out of range with obstacles, etc., but is also more likely to hang back from getting silly-close, for obvious safety reasons. A 200-300 or so is likely to be more often and consistently useful as you stay at a near-ish but not-too-near range almost all the time. You must be much more conscious of weight when walking, of course.



It's also going to be very sunny most of the time, and animals sit around or move slowly most of the time. Wide apertures are not going to be very necessary for exposure (although they are nice luxuries to have for good looking narrow depth of field). If you do have wide aperture lenses, consider a neutral density filter as an important accessory, to make sure you are able to use those apertures easily without worrying about max-ing out your shutter speed. 2-3 stops or so would probably be good to easily work with and still see through / use auto focus with. A CPL also blocks some light while helping with the appearance of skies and vegetation, and is also good to have, possibly as a full replacement for a moderate ND.

Although in October, you may also encounter rains, so certainly bring some sort of water protection gear as well, such as rain sleeves and the like.
 
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BigBazza

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On safari you'll mostly take two kinds of shots:
1) Scenic vistas of the environment, for which you will want almost as wide as you can get (one of the many available 18mm lenses on crop frame would be good). Unlike many scenes in more urbanized areas, there won't as be much to clutter or distract from the scene, so you can go wider than perhaps you normally would.

2) Wildlife -- Are you going on a walking or vehicle safari? If vehicle, animals could be anywhere from 5 feet away from the vehicle to 50-100 yards, could be very variable. You could need anywhere from a 20mm to a 500mm lens, depending. It especially depends if you are following a road or not, and the strategy of the driver (do they have a fixed sort of path, or not? etc.) Whoever is guiding you should be able to provide useful information in this regard. Keep in mind also that if you're hanging out in a vehicle, weight is hardly an issue, so you can worry less about heavy or slightly redundant lenses.

If walking, your group will be more free to generally approach whatever critters are around, without scaring them off or being out of range with obstacles, etc., but is also more likely to hang back from getting silly-close, for obvious safety reasons. A 200-300 or so is likely to be more often and consistently useful as you stay at a near-ish but not-too-near range almost all the time. You must be much more conscious of weight when walking, of course.



It's also going to be very sunny most of the time, and animals sit around or move slowly most of the time. Wide apertures are not going to be very necessary for exposure (although they are nice luxuries to have for good looking narrow depth of field). If you do have wide aperture lenses, consider a neutral density filter as an important accessory, to make sure you are able to use those apertures easily without worrying about max-ing out your shutter speed. 2-3 stops or so would probably be good to easily work with and still see through / use auto focus with. A CPL also blocks some light while helping with the appearance of skies and vegetation, and is also good to have, possibly as a full replacement for a moderate ND.

Although in October, you may also encounter rains, so certainly bring some sort of water protection gear as well, such as rain sleeves and the like.

Thanks very much for all that .... much appreciated ...... forgot to mention I will be taking Sigma 10 - 20 as well but hopefully concentrating on animals whilst driving ... I am staying in a tented camp which has nice views so will use that wide angle lens when I can change it away from the dust....... I really wanted a good (second Camera) lens that will work when the animals are closer but I spose also something I might use as a general walkabout ( dont like using that word) lens....... I think I will probably go for the 24 - 70 but dont have the experience to make the call really ....have read the reviews but just seem to scramble my eggs with contrasting info....but I think the focal length sort of fits with what I have and am taking .....10-20, 24-70??, & 70-200 (+1.4 if necessary).....Yes the short Rains are a potential threat but they dont last too long normally and only stay around for 30 mins or so and normally are at night........Thanks again Baz
 
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BigBazza

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I'm going in Sept. for first time. Do you get close enough to all the critters that 200mm is enough? I was thinking of taking my 150 - 500, but would leave it to save weight. I suppose this is a situation where if I don't have it with me I'll need it for sure. thoughts??

It "all depends" which I spose is not the answer you wanted to hear...........I got really close to some Rhino ...wow, Buffalo,Warthog Baboon Giraffe Zebra Gazelle but NOT others like Elephants Lions Leopard Cheetah.... I only had my 70 - 200 2.8 + 1.4 so I got some ok results but I would like to think I have a better understanding of my camera now as I only bought the 7D, 2 weeks before I went and am not ranked too high in the realms of wildlife photography :) .....but some of my photos of my son playing semi pro cricket this summer have been quite good ..... well alot lot better anyway, so I am going again with the same set up as I cant get both my 100 - 400 + 70 -200 in my weight allowance and my results with the 70 -200 seem alot sharper anyway....plus for a rank novice I find the 70 -200 easier to use. Thats why I asked about a backup lens for closer work on my 450 d where hopefully I wont be shooting in bursts cos if the animal is close I guess it will be relaxed and not on the move too much which was definitely the case.... Most advice I can glean is 100 - 300/500 is ideal range you want so with my 1.6 crop + 1.4 ext I think Im ok even tho I lose 2 f stops .....The other bit of advice I was given was to put the camera down sometimes and just take in the views.........easier said than done !!
 

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