Borneo safari: which lens?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
LarsPolarBear Regular Member • Posts: 486
Re: Borneo safari: which lens?

popi wrote:

Thank you all for the advice!
I would like to travel as light as possible and optimize the lenses.
I will bring the G9 with one tele zoom and the GX9 with PL12-60, plus Oly 60mm macro, PL 15mm and 8-18mm. The main visits will be Mulu NP, Kinabatangan river, Tabin and Danum valley.

Wow! Sounds like a lot of gear to schlep around... 

I found avoiding to bring a backpack very useful, since in the humid hot environment it is just not very pleasant to have something on your back and will have an impact on your endurance (don't forget you will also have to carry your drinking water...).

As some forum members did, it is easy to make a case for any of the two tele-lenses. However, I would probably go for the 100-400mm.

Anyway, to help you to decide on your own, I might just through some observations at you regarding the sites that you are going to:

Mulu NP:
The big attraction here are obviously the Mulu Caves where light is rather a scarce commodity and wide angle is the name of the game.  However, at sunset millions of bats are leaving the caves, creating a spectacle, by forming lage "clouds".  This amazing sight is being augmented by birds of prey (I think they were hawks, but don't remember anymore) attacking the bats.  In this environment a wide angle and a tele-lens (low light capabilities) is of advantage.

Kinabatang River:
It starts with how you get there.  If you go by boat, up the river, you might see birds flying over head (eagles) or waiting at the river banks for prey.  If you are really lucky, you also might also see Pygmy Elephants at the banks getting a drink.  For this you need the 100-400mm and you will have enough light.

Once you arrive at the lodge it is a mix of lower light photography in the morning and evening (birds, crocodiles and Proboscis Monkeys).  I would probably still go for the 100-400mm here, since you don't get that close.  The stars are obviously the Proboscis Monkeys and if you are lucky Orang Utans.  They are quite high up in the trees on the banks of the river, so longer reach is definitely of help, during the day you will have enough light for the 100-400mm, in the morning and evening it is of a challenge.

Danum Valley:
Around the lodge runs a river and a the edge of the rainforest you will have the chance to see birds of prey and sometimes monkeys. The opening in the forest will provide you with enough light for the 100-400mm - during the day.  Again, the early morning walks and the night drives are more challenging when it comes to light.  If you do a longer walk into the forest, lighting conditions are challenging also during the day. However, if you are lucky to see snakes or a beautiful Argus Pheasant doing its dance, I am sure you are longing for the long reach...  ...same it true when you see Orang Utans in the trees...

So, now that I have totally confused you, I leave you to make the decision..

Have lots of fun!!! I envy you, it is an epic trip!!! Show us your pics when you are back..


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