Zoom recommendation for safari

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

dnscott645 wrote:

Your concerns are not issues on normal safaris. you are in a pop-top Toyota "safari jeep". You do not take photos while it is moving; you are on dirt roads bouncing around. You stop to take photos. Dust is not an issue if you do not change lenses when when the vehicle is moving. You will rarely use anything under 150mm when out on safari. You only need a wider lens when an elephant walks within 15 meters of your vehicle. The wider lenses are mostly used for non-safari photos. Dropping a lens in a safari vehicle is no more likely than in your own car.

Perhaps you didn't read the OP's opening post clearly.

1. OP is going to be on safari in Zambia/Botswana. They don't use "pop-top Toyota "safari jeep"" in those countries like they do in East Africa. The OP will be in completely open land rovers or land cruisers with (maybe) a shade cover.

2. If the OP is going in the dry season as most people do in Southern Africa there will always be some dust particles blowing about even when the vehicle is stopped.

3. changing lenses in a stopped vehicle just increases the risks of (i) getting dust on the sensor, (ii) dropping a lens and (iii) more importantly, missing a photo opportunity. I only ever change lenses (to an f2.8 70-200) when we stop and get out for the sundowners, and even then I am extra careful.

4, Re "You will rarely use anything under 150mm when out on safari." - that may be valid in the open savanna of East Africa, but in the riverine forest, mopane woodlands and ox-bows of the Luangwa and Zambezi Valleys (or the miombo forest and dambos of the Kafue), that is simply not true.

5. Re "You only need a wider lens when an elephant walks within 15 meters of your vehicle". - In Zambia and Botswana you will frequently get elephants, lions, sometimes leopards closer than 15 meters. I have had lions brush past the side of an open land rover no further than one meter from my knee.

6. Re "Dropping a lens in a safari vehicle is no more likely than in your own car." - That may be true, but the difference is that on an open land rover there are no soft carpeted landings for the lens, it is either going to fall down below the bench seats and hit the metal floor or fall out of the vehicle altogether and hit the ground (where depending on the wildlife around, you may or may not be able to retrieve it for a while). Also unlike in your car at home, there are no camera shops near by where you can get a damaged lens repaired or replaced. If you damage a lens on a Zambian safari (unless you can fix it yourself) you aren't going to be using it for the rest of the trip. My son's camera once dropped down below the seats with my Sigma 50-150 f2.8 on it, fortunately landing on the lens hood, but unfortunately jamming the lens hood off its thread at an angle thus partially covering the front lens element. I had to sit up at night warming the lens cover over a parafin lamp until I heated (expanded) the lens cap enough to budge it back into place and unscrew it. It is still going strong

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