Lens setup for Amazon tour (6 days)

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Andu
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Lens setup for Amazon tour (6 days)
4 months ago

Hi all,

I am heading to Amazon rainforest for six days in early June. More precisely I will be going to a jungle tour into Rio Urubu area about 200 km northeast of Manaus. We will be staying with a friend of mine in a lodge (Amazon Antonio Jungle tours). It is a jungle exploration type of package that will contain hiking, canoeing in the rainforest and also a few day tour away from the lodge (sleeping in the jungle).

My friend is also very interested in photography so taking photos will be probably one of our key interests during the trip. As I have relatively limited experience from jungle before I am somewhat confused about photography opportunities/requirements i.e. (despite studying the topic online) Which focal lengths do you suggest having covered and is flash a necessity? The humidity is high so I might have to pay attention also on the lens sealings and swapping lenses continously should be avoided? Lenses below f4 aperature are probably also not very useless either due the lighting conditions?

My current photog setup is following: D600, 24-120mm f4, 50mm 1.8g. Probably it is worth mentioning that I had Tamron 70-300 VC USD but sold it since I found the AF speed slowish and also wide open aperatures limiting.

Current planned steps:

1) Sell the 24-120 (f4 somewhat limiting, AF speed just ok level). The 24-120 has been my travel lens so far (have been lugging it even around Himalays) but I have started to enjoy 50 1.8g more and more due to better portability & IQ. Hence, I am planning to sell the 24-120 and buy a smaller cam: RX100, Canon G1X mark II, Panasonic GM1 or Nikon 1 with kit zoom to cover the “normal area” (image quality decreases to some extent against f24-120 but significant portability increase is considered to overweight the IQ loss and I have still D600 for low-light scenarios)

2) Buy flash, SB-700 strongest candidate (ring flash too limited/expensive). Lightning conditions are likely continuously far from ideal.

3) Buy macro and/or mid telephoto lens. Following considerations:

Tamron 90 VC USD (inexpensive, light & sharp but too short FL for Amazon critters&plants?)

Nikkor 105 VR 2.8 (very sharp, somewhat expensive, heavier and still fairly short FL for Amazon critters&plants? )

Sigma 150 non-os/os (for macro). Sigma 150 should work nicely for macros and also double as a mid-telephoto fro other wildlife (slow AF speed is, however, an issue for general use?).

Nikon 70-200 f4 (2.8 versions are simply too bulky). I know that 70-200 f4 is the most versatile alternative and with close-up lenses it could probably double as macro but it is still relatively dark and expensive and with the purchase of the 70-200 f4 I won´t really have funds for a dedicated macro.

Nikon 180 2.8 (slowish but inexpensive (used) & really like the sample photos I´ve seen from this one)

4) Maybe add Nikon 20 2.8 or Nikon 18-35 for ultra wide shots.

Based on the steps above my Amazon setup could be one of following:

a) Small cam to cover wide-normal FLs (i.e. RX100, Nikon 1)+D600+SB-700+70-200 f4+close up lens

b) Small cam to cover wide-normal FLs (i.e. RX100, Nikon 1)+D600+SB-700+Tamron 90mm+Nikon 180mm 2.8

c) Small cam to cover wide-normal FLs (i.e. RX100, Nikon 1)+D600+SB-700+Sigma 150mm 2.8

…And if I have funds left add a lens to the UW end for D600

I am not very interested in shooting birds and do not particularly like the bulk that it usually brings. Wildlife would be something of interest but I am not expecting to seeing much other thanks insects and birds in the dense jungle). However, I am interested in macro photography but have not really tried it before. Amazon should offer great macro opportunities and hence I am planning have some lens capable for macro shooting

I am also going to add a smaller cam for the moments I like to keep my DSLR in the backpack/lodge. Probably RX100, upcoming Coolpix p8000, small Nikon 1 or M4/3 setup. Nikon 1 would have the benefit of using my DSLR lenses with the FT-1 adapter (this would a plus and also offer better reach but I am somewhat worried about the low light image quality (even the recently announced V3 high isos don´t look too good…)

Also note that our trip continues from here further Latam so renting a lens is not reasonable alternative due to its high cost.

All comments/suggestions (even radically different from above) are welcome & highly appriciated!

//Andu

Nikon 1 V3 Nikon D600 Sony RX100
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