How the R5 Lightens the load for Wildlife Trips (Africa)

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
David M. Anglin
OP David M. Anglin Senior Member • Posts: 1,722
Re: How the R5 Lightens the load for Wildlife Trips (Africa)

Dan-Z wrote:

David M. Anglin wrote:

I did not buy into mirrorless for the small size, but the weight savings have created a much lighter pack for big wildlife trips. I was comparing what my bag would look like for my next trip to Africa vs my 2017 trip. I know I loose a bit of image quality and low light performance not carrying the big f4 glass, but my back appreciates the sacrifice. Now I just need a vaccine so I can return to Africa in 2021!

Africa in 2017 Before R5

  • Gura Gear 32 L
  • Canon 1dx II, Canon 5dIV
  • 24-800mm f2.8 - f8
    • TC 2x III
    • 24-70 f2.8 L II
    • 100-400 f4.5-5.6 L IS II (200-400 is heavy and sometimes you need more versatility)
    • 200-400 f4 L IS w/1.4x TC
    • Macro Extension Tubes
  • 36 lbs
    • Includes gear / bag pictured plus Memory cards batteries, power bank, chargers, AC adaptor plugs, filters, etc.
    • Does not include iPad or laptop (which I don’t normally take)
    • I do not take a tripod to Africa

Africa in 2021 After R5

  • Mindshift Backlight 26 L
  • R5 + grip (A), R5 (B) - when in stock, no grip
  • 24-700 mm f2 - f10
    • RF 85 f2 IS
    • RF 24-105 f4 L IS
    • RF 70-200 f4 L IS (Ordered)
    • RF 100-500 f4.5 - f7.1 L IS + RF 1.4x TC when needed for 420-700
  • Other Changes
    • Binoculars replaced by Leica 8x Monocular
    • Extension Tubes eliminated because of 85mm f2 Macro and close focusing RF lenses
  • 20.5 lbs. (17.5 lbs pictured + Additional R5 1.62 lbs + RF 70-200 f4 L IS 1.5 lbs)
    • Empty slots in bag for second body + RF 70-200 f4 L IS
    • Weight could be reduced 1 lb eliminating 85mm f2 Macro or 2.5 lbs eliminating the 85mm and 70-200.
    • Includes same or equivalent accessory items in Before R5 configuration
    • Eliminates the need for portable luggage cart to roll the 36lb bag around the airport

Looks like the biggest change you did was to remove the 200-400 f4 L IS w/1.4x TC from your bag. You could have done this on your previous trips too if you were willing to sacrifice "light performance" seeing as how you already had a 100-400 f5.6. Do you feel that the 100-500 f7.1 is really that much better than the 100-400 f/5.6? I'm asking because I was looking to get a 100-500 to replace my Tamron 150-600mm, but now I'm really on the fence as the lens has many downsides that really don't excite me, especially for the price they're asking.

Leaving behind the 200-400 is only 8lbs of the weight reduction. The rest comes from the the lighter bodies, lenses, and accessories of the R system. You would have still been at 28.5lbs and that is with adding additional capability with the RF 85 f2 and the RF 70-200 f4 L IS. I put the stress on the weight loss, but it is also the improved performance and characteristics of the gear. For example, I was using the 1dx II with the heavier body, batteries, battery charger, etc. The R5 delivers all of the capabilities + of my 1dx II in a smaller, lighter body and accessories. The only real loss is the "made like a tank" body which which is not critical for me (why I carry a backup). While my 200-400 has better IQ and can reach 560 mm with TC engaged, the 100-500 can get to 500mm with almost comparable IQ (still can't match f stop). I was also able to add new capability with the capability of the 85mm f2 macro and the versatility of the 70-200 f4 L IS II while still reducing overall weight. This is not only weight lost but a balancing of lens capabilities.

As to the 100-500 vs the 100-400 II, I believe the 100-500 is as good or better than the 100-400 II. In addition, you pickup an extra high quality 100mm without having to add a TC. I find that a lot of of my shots with he 200-400 were in the 400-500 mm range with the TC engaged. The 100-500 + 1.4x TC takes you to 420-700mm and seems to have IQ as good or better than the 200-400 using a 2x external TC for 400-800 @f8

The only real companies is it would be nice if the lens were a bit faster on the long end and you were limited to 420mm-700 when using the 1.4x TC - can't zoom below 420.


 David M. Anglin's gear list:David M. Anglin's gear list
Canon EOS M6 II Canon Extender EF 1.4x III Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II Canon EF-M 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM +5 more
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