Zoom recommendation for safari

Started Mar 13, 2019 | Questions thread
PentUp Contributing Member • Posts: 531
Re: Zoom recommendation for safari

Horatiu Mihalache wrote:


In the summer I will go for a safari trip to Malawi, Zambia & Botswana (my first).

I have no experience whatsoever with safari photography nor with long lenses. I rarely use my 70mm on my K-3ii and almost never go beyond that.

I would like to take some nice pictures but they will be just memories - no printing or selling.

I was looking at Sigma 50-500 (both versions) but they seem very hard to find, even used, and I don't know if I will really need all that reach.

What sort of focal lengths it's more likely that I will need? And, if I am not asking too much, what lenses would you recommend?



I was born and raised in Zambia. I always take the following 3 lenses on Safari (with my K5ii), especially for South Luangwa:

1. Sigma 50-500 OS HSM - main lens, gets the most use at all focal lengths.

2. Sigma 70-200 HSM f2.8 - always on the camera for night drives (invaluable for photographing predators hunting at night viewed by spotlight).

3. Pentax 18-270 - always use this for walking safaris (for which Zambia - particularly South Luangwa is world famous). My son has the Sigma 18-300 HSM on his K50. This is a great walking safari lens too. Both these lenses are light enough for walking and give great flexibility in zoom range.

Also don’t worry about the weight/size of the 50-500 on game drives as most camps (in Zambia at least) provide bean bags on their open land rovers / land cruisers.

 PentUp's gear list:PentUp's gear list
Pentax K-7 Pentax K-x Pentax K-5 II Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM II Pentax smc DA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 +8 more
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