Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

Started Aug 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
Wade Tregaskis
Wade Tregaskis Forum Member • Posts: 85
Re: Africa-Safari with D7100. Which lenses to buy?

I'm very interested in those 80-400 and 200-400 you mentioned. Since as odd as it could sound, this new D7100 unit would be probably remain always attached to the long lens that I will buy based on other members recomendations on this thread. For all other situations I already have sort of permanent kits-units; GH3-25mm 1.4 for the majority of normal life shots, family, groups, etc. LX3-wide lens for wide shots. A57 would be probably our macro camera with the 30mm 2.8 macro lens always attached. But the kit that needs higher perfomance-parameters is definetly the really long shots beautiful images kit, which I decided would be based on the D7100.

I could spent even 3 to 4 k on that long shots kit.

Including the D7100 or not? Because ~$4k just on the lens gives you some very interesting options (like the Sigma 120-300/2.8 plus a teleconverter).

I have the new 80-400 myself, and it's very good. Pricey, for what it is, but it's in the same league as the also pricey 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8. It apparently outdoes the Sigma 50-500 fairly handily at 300mm+ (so says DxOmark, LensRentals, etc), but I suspect the Sigma'll still get you the better photo if you really do need 500mm, and the Sigma is also noticeably better at 200m and below, at least in terms of sharpness. It's a bit heavier, though, but a lot cheaper.

The 200-400 is obviously a fan favourite, but it is really expensive. Out of the budget you've specified, for sure, even second hand. Apparently for long distances it's "only" comparable with the 80-400 at f8. I've heard this second hand but it's also echoed by DxOmark's tests. It's noticeably - but not massively - sharper at wider apertures, of course, and everywhere else in its range. But, if you're out under bright African sun, shooting as telephoto as you can, the 80-400 is a lot cheaper...

At the other end of the scale, I'll add my minority dissent to the popular opinion that the 18-105 is good. It's just okay. The 18-55 is better value for money and better at the wide end, in my experience (though this is not what's sometimes reported in tests, such as DxOmarks - maybe I've got a good 18-55 and a bad 18-105, or I just dislike chromatic aberration and barrel distortion, which the 18-105 has boatloads of). In any case, if you're spending big money on lenses you can do way better. There are so many options I won't even try to enumerate them. Other than to say that if you want landscapes, get the new Sigma 18-35/1.8 if it's out in time (hopefully arriving in the U.S. in three or four weeks, according to Sigma earlier this week). I don't see anything else on the market right now that even comes close to it (on Canon mount it even beats the also amazing 35/1.4 in everything but maximum aperture).

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