3 Week Safari with P G9, O 5MII, P 12-60F4, P 50-200, P100-400

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Bert v B Regular Member • Posts: 111
3 Week Safari with P G9, O 5MII, P 12-60F4, P 50-200, P100-400


I like to share my experiences with my Olympus OM-D5Mark II, Panasonic DC-G9, LEICA 12-60mm F4, LEICA 50-200mm F2.8-4, LEICA 100-400mm. We travelled through Tanzania (Tarengire NP, Northern Serengeti), Uganda (Bwindi NP) and Botswana (Mashatu @ Tuli Block).

I think I can be considered an experienced safari traveller. Been in Afrika many times since 1978 and until recently been a Pentax shooter. I have Oly 5MII since 2015 with a 14-150mm and a 75-300mm II with which I did a safari in 2016.

The problem I had with my Olympus setup then was the AF limitations and the sharpness of the 75-300mm at the long end. Also I wanted all the length I can get. To solve this I considered all kinds of options: bridge camera's (Sony/ Nikon has attractive options on paper but lack either length or sensor size / low light capabilities). Also considered full frame but we travelled with small planes with all kinds of size and weight restrictions. Also FF long glass of some quality is heavy, large and very expensive. Pixel peeping for hours I still decided to go for the best M43 setup available.

Besides all this there are a number of situational issues to handle:

  • Fine dust, lots of it, airborne, a real killer for your equipment.
  • Hard rain, especially in the Uganda rain forest.
  • No time for lens changes, TC's are a real problem, not enough hands/time and difficult circumstances for lens changes. Dust!
  • All kinds of AF challenges: grass, twigs, leafs in front of subject, fast movements, low light.
  • Battery life.
  • Shake reduction.

I had too many misses with my Olympus setup on safari, which did more than fine travelling through Asia, New Zealand, Fiji, Europe etc. Safari pushes the limits of what is achievable.

So, now looking at 7700 frames at home (yes, I did take a 11" laptop to look at them while travelling) I am rather pleased with the results. But...

Lessons learned:

  • Using the Panasonic lenses on Olympus with IBIS off and Lens SR on is the best option IMHO.
  • Create 3 Custom AF settings on the G9: spot, zone, area, for avoiding twigs, fine tuning of far away subjects, handling fast moving subject. Got around them twigs much much better this time. YES!
  • 100-400mm dual IS works best on G9, moved the 50-200 to the OMD5MII, otherwise the 12-60mm was on the OMD5MII.
  • Wrestling through thick rainforest requires climbing, long hours walking, thus pack light weight and moisture resistant, gorilla's come close, leave the 100-400mm at home.
  • I have never ever had to replace my batteries. Had enough of 1 battery per drive/walk, recharged the Panny (used G9 much more than OMD5MII) also during lunch hours though. Could have spared spending money on 2 extra for each body.
  • 6K function requires more skills than I prepared for. Did not get the results I hoped for. Need to find playground and exercise much more before we go next time. 
  • AFF I don't care for.
  • AFC,... well, I did get more in focus results with AFS than with AFC. Doing something wrong here?
  • I should have bought a 12-100mm instead of the 50-200. Together with the 100-400 it would have covered the whole space. 

I can show some incredible shots if you like...

A little OOF...

Hope this helps some of you...


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- Bert

Panasonic Lumix DC-G9
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