Zoom recommendation for safari

Started Mar 13, 2019 | Questions thread
Jhaakas Senior Member • Posts: 1,147
Re: Zoom recommendation for safari

PentUp wrote:

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.

Good recommendations

During daytime, 18-135 will be good as it has excellent IQ. The 18-270 and 18-300 are not really Pentax and I feel lack in IQ

I would also suggest to upgrade to KP body to get that jump in high ISO and I am sure the swivel screen will also help!

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 Jhaakas's gear list:Jhaakas's gear list
Pentax K-5 II Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR Pentax smc D-FA 100mm F2.8 macro +3 more
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