Botswana decision - do I really need a longer lens?

Started Apr 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
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jsam
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Botswana decision - do I really need a longer lens?
Apr 26, 2009

To be clear, as a very average amateur, I have enough lenses: the Nikkors 18-200 VR and 70-300 VR; and some Sigmas: 10-20, 18-50, 30 and 50-150. I admit my favourite lens is the Sigma 18-50 (not a popular choice on this board I know). I can see the benefit of VR/OS for drives.

Given what I have, what would one take for three weeks on various camps to Botswana? We're celebrating my wife's birthday. She's patient, but not a photographer herself. It's our first trip to Africa - and we don't think there'll be that many. We'll do Maun, Victoria falls and three or so camps. Options:

1. Just the 18-200 VR and enjoy the light load. Tempting, did that for a Canadian city trip; but that was pretty urban and no wilderness.

2. The 18-200 VR for general walk-around and the 70-300 VR for drives. That's a lot of overlap for 50% more reach and a bit more quality.

3. The 18-50 for general walk-around and the 70-300 VR for drives. The 18-50 f2.8 for wandering around in Maun. This is probably my default.

Or should I break down and buy yet another lens for the extended reach? If so, I think I'd go for the Sigma 150-500. I've read most of the threads on this board - so know that if I do go the 150-500 route I'll buy early and test. It's darn near twice the weight and size of the 70-300. The Nikkor 80-400 seems to focus too slowly. I'd love the Nikkor 200-400 but it's way, way too much lens, in every sense, for me.

Of course I'd like some good photographs - I've a number of A3 size up in the house. But I don't want to carry a lot of kit I'd never use.

Decisions, decisions. Stick with one of the combinations - or buy something special for what could be once in my lifetime?
--
John

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