Safari: MFT good enough?

Started Nov 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
safaridon
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Re: Safari: MFT good enough?
In reply to ultimoamore, Nov 12, 2012

Many excellent replies to your inquiry.  I do not have an m4/3 outfit outside of GF1 but I have been on 3 photo safaries to Tanzania in last 10 years (where I lived or worked for over 30 years previously) using not only but trusty film SLRs, DSLRs, and camcorders to capture the events.  I used primarily a Kx or K10  with IBIS and small inexpensive 28-300mm (42-450mm equivalent) and more recently 50-200mm lens and very pleased with the results keeping cost and size to a minimum.  I always take a small TZ camera with me at all times for scenics am able to get my small DSLR, TZ travel compact and small camcorder and lenses into a smaller outfit of a small camera case and one camera on a sling then most require for just their camera alone.   Yes advanced compacts are capable of taking better IQ but generally good lighting enabling use of ISO 100-200 is an equalizer for the travel zooms with wider reach.  Note use of any LCD screen only is very difficult under the very bright sunlight conditions you are likely to find.

One of the most frequently overlooked subjects is just how much more taking video to capture a wildlife safari adds to you future enjoyment in re living your experiences.  For that reason so you don't have to carry also a camcorder around I would strongly recommend for m4/3 getting the new GH3 with its excellent video capability and to simultaneously transmit data directly to a large remote harddrive to save on expensive large capacity CD cards.  Reportedly the GH3 now has the fastest autofocus in m4/3 for both still and motion subjects with little or no hunting and that should combine very well with the 100-300 lens.  From recently published reviews the GH3  new OLED screen is excellent for touch control for selecting focus point.

I believe that currently m4/3 could be an excellent alternative to a DSLR outfilt and my recommendation would be the GH3 with the 100-300 lens and a second smaller body like the G5 or EM5 with small 45-150 lens  and a lens to cover the wide angle to normal range.   If you are going to do both stills and video than having two camera bodies is essential and the smaller tele lens is much less obtrusive and quicker to get candid shots and I was surprised to see it covered most of my needs except for bird photogrography.  My practice was to take my still pictures first till I was satisfied and then switch to video.  In most of the game parks the animals are suprisingly cooperative in most cases and with the video you can catch the animals in full flight if they decide to run.  I would plan on having the capacity of taking anywhere upwards of 3,000 still pictures and 4 hrs of video for a week safari.

In Africa having dependable and durable equipment is very important given the jarring roads and very dusty conditions you do not want to be changing lenses as you will may also miss the action.  A typical safari vehicle carries 6 with 4 people protruding from hatches on the top so not possible use of a tripod and having a large bulky lens is a handicap to catching a fleeting moment.  As others have noted having a very fast lens is not a requirement as in most situations the except right a dusk the sun will be very bright and with very good high ISO one can get a fast enough shutter speed so even image stabilization not a big issue. All important is having sufficient spare fully charged batteries and battery charger with current adapter.

Yes most professional photographers would not agree with my above suggestions but then they usually hire a vehicle all for themselves so more room to carry and cart all their equipment, take a lot more time ie even months and a lot of patience to get their shots then you are likely to experience and cost is less of an issue.

I am sure you will have and enjoy your venture of a lifetime.

Hope this information is of some help.

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