For safari, 12-35 or 14-140 teamed with the 100-300?

Started Nov 23, 2012 | Questions thread
watcher1
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Re: For safari, 12-35 or 14-140 teamed with the 100-300?
In reply to ahrensjt, Nov 24, 2012

The answer depends on what part of Africa you will visit: the open savannahs, scrub forest or thick vegetation. Also, how  you will tour: closed vehicle shooting from a hatch in the roof; open vehicle and able to shoot almost 360 degrees; or even safari on foot.

My experience was in Botswana shooting from an open vehicle in scrub forest and some open areas.  We often got to within 50 to 100 feet of the animals (including lions and leopards), but further distance from elephants, cheetahs, hyenas, hippos and the herd animals. I had a 16-85mm zoom (24 - 135 effective full frame) on one body and an 80-400mm zoom (120-600 effective) on the second. The greatest number of my best shots were from the smaller zoom.

I highly recommend using two bodies so you don't have to change lenses. First, because of the dusty conditions and secondly, because things happen fast and you'll lose a lot of shots changing lenses (especially if you have to duck back onto your seat to do so). I also found a monopod to be most useful because I could set it on the floor in front of me or on the seat between my legs (remember we were in an open Land Rover equipped with bench seats - two persons per seat). If you will be shooting through the roof, a bean bag will work. A tripod is only useful for long shots when you're on the ground (in my trip only a very few instances).

And yes. a wide angle IS useful for landscapes/sunsets or for getting images of close-in animals in the context of their environment.

If I were going back to repeat my Botswana trip I would take my OMD and EPL3, one with a 12-35 and the other with the 35-100 (or 40-150, a very good lens). This would capture 90% of the images. Maybe bring a legacy Zuiko 200mm f4 ($60) with adapter for the long shots.

Yes, you will need to be able to get low-light shots because you leave campt before dawn, end at mid-morning and go out again at dusk. Also, you may be able to get night shots when the guide hits the animal with his spotlight.

Also, do a search on Flickr or other sites and check for images from the areas you will be visiting to see what lenses/focal lengths others have found successful.

Whew, didn't need to be so long-winded. Enjoy your trip, Africa is an AMAZING place for photographers (and anyone else, actually). I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Cheers

 watcher1's gear list:watcher1's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm F2.8 OIS Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 +4 more
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