Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Started Aug 22, 2013 | Discussions
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DanielBme
DanielBme Contributing Member • Posts: 673
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

"In Kenya or Tanzania if you guide is good you can get within 5 feet of a lion, so an 18-105 fits this need."

Although I don't recall that the OP indicated where exactly he was going, in Tanzania in Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti you are not allowed off road like you are in Kenya in the Mara.  So while the wildlife is all around, I wouldn't bet on being within 5ft of the wildlife at all times.  Sure it may frequently happen that you are very close but just as much you may be further than you anticipate.  For Botswana you can be pretty sure you won't be as close to the wildlife as in Tanzania, Kenya or Kruger.

Not sure what month you are going but for the Serengeti with large herds of wildebeest a nice wide shot will look incredible.  Personally I would go wider than 18 if possible.

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Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Guys, you are helping me a lot.  And you continue doing it, since we haven't decide yet where to go in Africa.

I'm inviting my older brother and I want a nice safari lodge, hopefully inside trees and as close to that wonderful Africa nature as possible. Where we could even take shots from that lodge balconies or even from our rooms when  not on the daily photographic tours.

When I was in Las Vegas with my wife, we took and helicopter tour to the great canyon, it cost me as an expensive lens but it was totally worth it.  I would love to repeat that experience with my brother over the sabana if that's possible.

Nice rooms and good food are also important.  Not mentioning Wi-fi.

Ed

Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

greg mclemore wrote:

I use the Tamron SP 200-500, for the reach and sharpness its hard to beat for under $1500.00

500px.com/photo/43235453

I'll check the Tamron and I'll compare it with Sigma 150-500.  Any real exerience with any ot those and the D7100.

Ed

Bobby Handal
Bobby Handal Veteran Member • Posts: 5,438
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

The Tamron 200-500 is quite sharp, almost as sharp as the Sigma 50-500mm OS, and very lightweight and cheaper. Not having OS is a big bummer, specially in Africa and the low light levels. The 150-500mm OS is not as sharp as either lenses.

The advantage of the Sigma 50-500mm in addition to its range, it has a great macro capability at 200-300mm range. This lens was a blessing to have in Africa and for my birding.

Going to Africa, to many of us, is a once in a lifetime thing. Buy the best you can buy then sell after if you want, it is better to have and not miss.

Good luck and best regards,

Condor wrote:

greg mclemore wrote:

I use the Tamron SP 200-500, for the reach and sharpness its hard to beat for under $1500.00

500px.com/photo/43235453

I'll check the Tamron and I'll compare it with Sigma 150-500. Any real exerience with any ot those and the D7100.

Ed

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AikenMooney Senior Member • Posts: 1,369
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Nice images, I know you will remember the trip for ever.

AikenMooney Senior Member • Posts: 1,369
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

+1

Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Bobby Handal wrote:

The Tamron 200-500 is quite sharp, almost as sharp as the Sigma 50-500mm OS, and very lightweight and cheaper. Not having OS is a big bummer, specially in Africa and the low light levels. The 150-500mm OS is not as sharp as either lenses.

Didn't know Tamron has no OS

The advantage of the Sigma 50-500mm in addition to its range, it has a great macro capability at 200-300mm range. This lens was a blessing to have in Africa and for my birdinY

I like to take macros.

Going to Africa, to many of us, is a once in a lifetime thing. Buy the best you can buy then sell after if you want, it is better to have and not miss.

Totally agree.

Good luck and best regards,

Thanks.  Great shots.

Ed

DanielBme
DanielBme Contributing Member • Posts: 673
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

If it's your first time going on a safari, I highly recommend Tanzania.  It's got soooo much to see with so many options.  I highly suggest you check out the Trip Advisor Tanzania forums for any questions, itineraries, tour operators etc.  There's a wealth of information there.

Tanzania has the Serengeti, Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Selous, Ruaha for wildlife just to name a few.  Nevermind places like Lake Natron, Oldoinyo Lengai, Empakaai Crater, Ilkarian Gorge, Zanzibar etc...  It's an amazing place for a camera!

When I first went I too thought it was a once in a lifetime event, I'll be going on my 3rd in 6yrs...

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Bobby Handal
Bobby Handal Veteran Member • Posts: 5,438
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Thanks for your kind comments on my photos, I forgot to recommend something to you : tell the driver (heck, insist on the driver) that you like to take pictures of birds, sometimes they tend to concentrate on the big 5, the majority of their time is spent doing this. When I went I had to remind him that our group was more interested in birds than anything else. Not that we will not stop to see a lion or cheetah , but we did not want to be hours waiting to a good lion shot while we where loosing opportunities for birds.

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greg mclemore Contributing Member • Posts: 743
Re: You should read Bythom first

Either big Sigma are both great if you are using a tripod, for me lugging a big 500mm lens, I prefer the light Tamron 200-500 for birding, after a couple hours your really feel the weight. All three will work.

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Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: You should read Bythom first

greg mclemore wrote:

Either big Sigma are both great if you are using a tripod, for me lugging a big 500mm lens, I prefer the light Tamron 200-500 for birding, after a couple hours your really feel the weight. All three will work.

I was already considering Tamron 200-400 lighter weight as a very important factor on those eventual long daily photographic sessions, even tough we will switching equipments with my older brother.  It also cost less than $ 1,000.

But today, looking for a way to have an idea of Nikon 70-400 lens feeling and performance, which has been fearly recommended in this thread, I tried Sony's 70-400mm and I was suggested to combine it with A77, which is very very close to the D7100 that I would prefer.  Is Sony's 70-400 that similar than Nikon's?  I understand that both; A77 and D7100 uses the same sensor (a Sony sensor).

Ed

Wade Tregaskis
Wade Tregaskis Forum Member • Posts: 81
Re: You should read Bythom first

But today, looking for a way to have an idea of Nikon 70-400 lens feeling and performance, which has been fearly recommended in this thread, I tried Sony's 70-400mm and I was suggested to combine it with A77, which is very very close to the D7100 that I would prefer. Is Sony's 70-400 that similar than Nikon's? I understand that both; A77 and D7100 uses the same sensor (a Sony sensor).

Comparing them on the D600 and A99, at DxOmark, they seem pretty close.  The Nikon tends to be sharper wide open in the mid-to-long range, though at 400mm there's nothing really in it.  Stopped down they're pretty equal.  Similar levels of chromatic aberration, geometric distortion, etc.

That's talking about the latest model of the Sony.  DxOmark doesn't have test results for the previous model (or your A77 specifically, for any lens).

Vandyu Veteran Member • Posts: 8,767
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

I'd suggest regular checking with the state department to assess the safety in the various countries you're interested in. Things seem to change pretty quickly around the globe. You want this to be a memorable trip with as few gliches as possible. I have a Nikon 70-300VR lens that I use on my D80, but if I were going to Africa, I'd want a lens with longer reach.

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ndenyer Forum Member • Posts: 54
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Might not give the reach you want, but the Nikon 70-300VR is fantastically sharp on a D7100, even at 300mm, and has hardly any failures even in low light. Better to have a sharp shot with a bit more background than a frame filling blurry image.

tommiejeep Veteran Member • Posts: 4,466
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

But D7100 and its 57 focus points, 24 Mp and 1/8000 convinced me to get one unit, for this kind of safari trips, but mostly for my permanent amateur bird ID hobby.

Ed

51 points but what's 6 points between fiends .     Safaris and birds are not mutually exclusive but it can make a difference , vehicle-wise, on what lenses.  If you are serious about birds it is down to most mms vs price vs IQ.  I have the 500vr and 300 2.8vr for birds but I am buying the 80-400vrII for walkabout nature and birding/safaris/ and to up-grade my son's 70-300vr.  He is a pretty fair shooter and 300mm is too short.  He'll be able to use the TC 1.4 on the 80-400vrII.   For 6 months of the year we have lots of light.

You might want to play with the 1.3 crop to save big files when you know your going to have to crop big.

As others have said you will probably be able to sell whichever lens you buy without too much loss.

The two of you have everything covered except for your long range safari lens.   Have a great time.

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Condor OP Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Any real-user Tanzania-Kenia good ldge references?

Based on this threads recomendations, Tanzania and Kenia seems the best places for photographic safaris and all kind of nature observations; big five, birds, flowers, insects, reptiles, landscapes, etc.

Does any have first hand experience in a really good lodge, hopefully in the trees?

Ed

BackroadsTraveler
BackroadsTraveler Contributing Member • Posts: 605
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

david41 wrote:

Tokina 11-16

Nikkor 16-85, or 18-200

Nikkor 80-400.. (it's worth the bucks!)

That should see you through your safari... enjoy!

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Cheers
David41
WSSA member #271
'We are all dying of slow oxygen poisoning.. it takes about 85 years'.. I hope!

I'd agree with david41 about the three Nikons for covering every possibility other than wide. But if budget allows, the Nikon 10-24 instead of the Tokina would be preferable (a bit wider reach, less flare, and probably just a bit sharper at most settings, but these are slight differences for a significant $$ increase).

And if the 80-400 is the biggest reach you end up with, you may consider a 1.4 TC.  I would not recommend a TC on either of the big Sigmas, however. I have the 150-500 Sigma, and sharpness is already a concern without further degradation.

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BRT

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philblair Regular Member • Posts: 209
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Just got back from Pilanesburg, South Africa, Ivory Tree game lodge.

The lodge was great, very posh and to purpose.

Buffet style food that was great.

Saw the big five, mostly used my 70-300VR on my D90.

Two game drives a day, first started before sunrise second ended after sundown.

Switched to the 18-200vr occasionally when something was right next to our truck, or when the sun wasn't up and using a spotlight.

Our guide, Yolondy, kept a Sigma 150-500 on her lap, it gave me lens lust.

Could have used the extra reach.

The next time I go I will get either the sigma 150-500 or the Tamron 200-500, and a d7100.

That is a much more useful range.

Got back yesterday and haven't yet gone through the 4000 pictures.

Enjoy

Phil

kayaker353 Contributing Member • Posts: 714
Which Travel Agent

I recommend Africa Safari Specialists at 1-800-456-8950, or Safaris.com.  They are located in Winslow, WA.  Africa travel is all they do, and they do it well.  They work with Kibo Guides in Tanazania.  Kibo has guides with vehicles, tent camps and lodges.  The book "Africa's Top Wildlife Countries" by Mark Nolting is a great resource in trip planning.  It costs about $15 on Amazon.

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Bobby Handal
Bobby Handal Veteran Member • Posts: 5,438
Re: Which Travel Agent

Try Safari Ventures in Tampa, they are awesome and got me fantastic deals. In the same exact hotels and people paying double.

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