Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Started Jun 8, 2014 | Discussions thread
C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 1,604
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari
1

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi everybody,

greetings. This is my first post in m4/3rd forum and I am bothering you with a question.

I will be working in Africa this summer as an intern and after my work finishes, my wife will join me in Tanzania for a safari. My wife uses a Pana G3 only when we travel (she is a casual photographer) and I use a Nikon D7000 (I am a serious landscape photographer).
I will bring my D7000+tamron 70-300 VC for the safari and I planned to rent a Panasonic 100-300 for her G3. I planned to use the G3 as a back up to my Nikon and also to use it when 450 effective focal length of the Tamron would not be sufficient.
In the mean time, I posted an ad to sell the G3 in craigslist and I am getting a good price for it, with which I can buy a Nikon D5100 and rent another 70-300 for her during the safari.
Now I am in dilemma about what to do with my G3. One reason for posting the ad was that my wife uses a 14-42 on G3 and if she wish to do some serious shooting, it will be difficult for us to buy lenses for two different systems. If I buy a Nikon D5100 she could use my lenses. I also like the idea of a back up camera from the same brand.

but if we buy the D5100 then we will loose the advantage of 600mm effective focal length of panasonic 100-300.
In this respect I would appreciate your suggestion on the panasonic combo. I am mostly interested to use it for the reach. So, please share your experience of using it at 300 mm, optical quality and autofocus speed etc. please also share if you have experience of using both the systems.

Thank you very much in advance

Rajesh

I haven't been to Tanzania so I can't comment on what to expect. I only been to Kruger Park once and I will be going again hopefully this October once my employers accept a slight amendment to my time off. When I went Kruger Park years ago I only had a super zoom(x12) point and shoot. Looking at my photos now, most of the action or the lack of it took place in the background and a long telephoto lens is needed for the smaller animals or close ups.

The cameras and lenses I will be using this October will be the following:

GM1+12-35, GH3+35-100 and G3+100-300

This link will explain everything to you perfectly what to expect when going on a photography safari trip. it might be a few years out of date with the mordern cameras out now but the stratergy is still the same.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/safari-tips.shtml

G3 + 100-300 combo

Continous shooting

The G3 can only do 3fps and I have no doubt you are aware of this. The good news is the 100-300mm is only capable of the maxium of 3fps aswell. So even if you got the newer G6, GH3 or even the GH4, you still be getting 3fps continous shooting with the 100-300. Now I don't know how the buffer is like on the G3 because personally I never tested it myself, I can only imagine it not great. However the truth is most of the safari action aka big cat hunts does take place before sun rise so I don't think you will use this feature very often. Me personally I like to refocus everytime when I shoot so I get the subject in the shot at least once. It worked very well for me at the London Olympics and I have no doubt it will work in Kruger national park. However it going to be more complicated with the amount of bushes and tress in the for and background.

Handling

The G3 + 100-300mm combo maybe small but so is the G3 grip. The grip isn't large enough to sustain a lens that size for a long period of shooting. Why do you think Panasonic revert back to the larger grips in the G5 and the g6? I can tell during the time in the main Olympic stadium, my wrist was beginning to strain from this combo and I'm atheletic. If she going to use this combo then I would advise not to hold on the camera all the time and give her right hand a break. Or you could get her to do grip exercises to strengthen her forarms.

Iso

The best iso to use is iso 800 to gain higher than 600 of a second shutter speed. Some times you can downgrade the iso to 400 if there is enough light around your subject but you most likely be using iso 800 90% of the time. The maxium iso in my opinion is iso 1600 but I would highly recommend you do some of your own iso tests and see if they meet your standards.

Reach

I'm very happy with my lens for the shots I can get. I know some others on this board disagree and say the lens is too soft at the long end. However in my situation I could capture other people facial features the other side of the London Olympic stadium. How many camera combos do you think could do that or capture the action at the end of the circuit? In fact I was watching some of the games through my evf while snapping away. I sat close to the Olympic flame and was snapping people on the other end doing the high jump. Most people in the crowd didn't have the photographic equipment to get the shots I was getting.

Focus

It's a three year old camera and there are better models out there. My only advice is to plan the movement of the subject and keep re focusing when shooting. Don't bother trying to get good shots of birds in flight because it just become out of focus. I can promise you it's unlikely you will see many action scenes on safari. Most of the hunts take place in the morning, most animals in the day are either resting, drinking water or eating vegitation. You may see males fighting over a female or a crocodile snappig at birds but cats don't like hunting in the heat.

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