Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Started Apr 23, 2012 | Discussions
Deamonllama New Member • Posts: 7
Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

I'm going to be going on my first safari to Botswana next month with the following m4/3 lenses:

Oly 14-42mm II F3.5-5.6
Panny 20mm F1.7
Oly 40-150mm F4-5.6

I have a PL1 and PM1 so I was planning on keeping the 14-42mm on one and the 40-150mm on the other during the game drives. I also have an older Panasonic FZ18 superzoom (28-504 mm 35mm equiv) that I was planning to use as a backup or if 300mm isn't enough.

I was considering possibly getting the Panasonic 45-200mm F4-5.6 to get a little more reach (and maybe as a backup to the 40-150mm). Would 300mm vs 400mm make that much of a difference?

I was also looking at front mounted teleconverters for the 40-150mm (like the TCON-17 maybe if I can find it) which would take the 40-150mm up to 255mm theoretically). Anyone have experience with these? People on the superzoom forums seem to like them.

I'm kinda leaning toward the teleconverter because it's the cheapest solution (about $130 if I can find it). But, I'm also thinking if I get the 45-200mm (since it dropped to $200), then I can bring both the 40-150mm to 45-200mm so I'll have a backup lens in case something happens to one of them.

Then there's also the 100-300mm, but that might be out of my price range.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
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hindesite Veteran Member • Posts: 3,748
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Deamonllama wrote:

I'm going to be going on my first safari to Botswana next month with the following m4/3 lenses:

Oly 14-42mm II F3.5-5.6
Panny 20mm F1.7
Oly 40-150mm F4-5.6

I have a PL1 and PM1 so I was planning on keeping the 14-42mm on one and the 40-150mm on the other during the game drives. I also have an older Panasonic FZ18 superzoom (28-504 mm 35mm equiv) that I was planning to use as a backup or if 300mm isn't enough.

I was considering possibly getting the Panasonic 45-200mm F4-5.6 to get a little more reach (and maybe as a backup to the 40-150mm). Would 300mm vs 400mm make that much of a difference?

No.

I was also looking at front mounted teleconverters for the 40-150mm (like the TCON-17 maybe if I can find it) which would take the 40-150mm up to 255mm theoretically). Anyone have experience with these? People on the superzoom forums seem to like them.

Yeah, but that's people in the superzoom forums. I don't recall seeing anything near m4/3 quality from superzooms, unless they've improved lately.

I'm kinda leaning toward the teleconverter because it's the cheapest solution (about $130 if I can find it). But, I'm also thinking if I get the 45-200mm (since it dropped to $200), then I can bring both the 40-150mm to 45-200mm so I'll have a backup lens in case something happens to one of them.

Then there's also the 100-300mm, but that might be out of my price range.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Hope you've got a good tripod or other support (bean bag). You will not get good results from the 40-150 without one.

How often are you planning on going to Botswana, and how important are the photographs to you? Because if there is any way to do it, I'd go for the 100-300, even if it meant only taking one camera.

stefano888
stefano888 Senior Member • Posts: 1,036
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

I believe the 45-200 is perfect!
Did you think to take with you also a monopod?
It is easy and it isn't heavy.
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acahaya
acahaya Senior Member • Posts: 1,174
Re: longest available lens, no TCON

have a look at the Oly 75-300 or the Panny 100-300, you will be glad for every mm at the long end. the other lenses are Ok although you don't need the 40-150 if you go for one of the longer telezooms. beanbag or ask safari provider if they have them available in their cars. Red Pod is a good alternative. tripod is OK for landscapes and lodges, but usable in the car. beanbag or pod is better than monopod. Bringing 2 cameras to avoid lens change is a good idea and allows you to react faster.

Regards, Sabine
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Condor Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

You will indeed need some 300mm (600mm equiv) reach. And 100-300 is the best option so far.

Ed

NZ Scott
NZ Scott Veteran Member • Posts: 4,754
Oly 40-150 is a great lens, but ...

The Oly 40-150 is a great lens for the price, but I find it a bit short even at the zoo. If there's any way you can afford a 300mm lens, then go for that. Otherwise you might be forced into the teleconverter option.

The Oly 40-150 isn't a very bright lens, but I think that in Africa you should get enough light for it most of the time. There aren't any bright long-telephotos for M43 anyway.

I wouldn't get the Panny 45-200. It mostly covers the same focal length as a lens you already own, so you're better off getting something entirely different (the teleconverter, or a 300mm lens if you can afford it).

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PSCL1 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,770
Re: Oly 40-150 is a great lens, but ...

Take the longest you can afford, and it sounds like 100-300 is the best bet. Idk if anyone is renting m4/3 but you could see if that is possible. Remember, travel and safari costs are probably going to way outstrip even a new 100-300. If you take that, you don't need the 40-150.

The 45-200 will not make a significant difference. It is also much bigger (2x weight and diameter) with no functional gain in FL.

Kenko/Tokina had publicized future release of a 300mm mirror lens for m4/3. These are generally poor contrast and no price has been announced. However, if available before your safari, it might be an option over the 100-300. If you got that lens, you probably would need to take the 40-150 too.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!

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Jon Schick Veteran Member • Posts: 4,224
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Botswana is wonderful - you'll have a great time.

I would buy a lens that gets you to 300mm, as others have suggested. And would also consider an EVF to be highly desirable. If you can, take either the Lumix 20 or Oly 45 for low ISO/landscape/sundown shots.

You could always sell gear you don't need upon return, and consider the depreciation as a 'rental' charge.
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azazel1024 Senior Member • Posts: 1,139
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Personally with as much money as I assume the trip is, I'd invest in a nicer lens, like the Olympus 100-300mm or Panasonic longer lens.

Alternately, I'd consider getting a nice legacy film lens. I don't have my OM-D yet to try it out on, but I have a Sigma 70-210mm f/2.8 APO that works brillantly on my OM-1 and it works decently enough on my wife's E-PL1. Fairly sharp and it gives you a 140-420mm equivelent F/2.8 lens on 4/3rds. I also have a Sigma 400mm f/5.6 APO that works okay (but hard to stabalize an 800mm equivelent lens).

The former was about $180 off Ebay around 5 years ago, the later was about $150 off Ebay and they both produce pretty sharp results. On the E-PL1, the 70-210 produces fine results at f/2.8 and very sharp ones at f/4.5 and up. The 400mm produces okay results wide open and good results from f/8.

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njlarsen Regular Member • Posts: 261
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Like others, I would go for the long lens. I went to South Africa about 1/2 year ago, bringing a GH2 w 100-300, and my wife had a second one with a 14-140. I am not sure the 14-42 came out of my camera bag during the trip, the 100-300 stayed on.

Niels

jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Deamonllama wrote:

I'm going to be going on my first safari to Botswana next month with the following m4/3 lenses:

Oly 14-42mm II F3.5-5.6
Panny 20mm F1.7
Oly 40-150mm F4-5.6

Then there's also the 100-300mm, but that might be out of my price range.

FYI: There's a good article on the Luminous Landscape web site about shooting on Safari with an M4/3 camera.

Honestly, I wouldn't waste my time with the 40-150mm. The 45-200mm wouldn't be much of an improvement, either. I have a 14-140mm and it NEVER seems to have enough reach when shooting nature stuff. And that's in North Eastern US forests, not Africa where distances are much further.

If you're going all that way, and spending all that dough to get there (!!!), get a 100-300mm. If you can't afford a new lens, look around for a used or refurbished one. Also, bring a monopod for it!

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

azazel1024 wrote:

Personally with as much money as I assume the trip is, I'd invest in a nicer lens, like the Olympus 100-300mm or Panasonic longer lens.

The Oly 75-300 is about $800, the Panasonic 100-300mm is $500.

Alternately, I'd consider getting a nice legacy film lens. I don't have my OM-D yet to try it out on, but I have a Sigma 70-210mm f/2.8 APO that works brillantly on my OM-1 and it works decently enough on my wife's E-PL1. Fairly sharp and it gives you a 140-420mm equivelent F/2.8 lens on 4/3rds.

Or just get a manual 300mm telephoto. There are some good Nikon 300mm f4.5 AI-S lenses at KEH for under $200. Add $25 for a Rainbow Imaging adaptor and get a good monopod!

When I use my 100-300mm, 90% of the time it's at 300mm, so I keep batting around the idea of getting a Nikon 300mm.

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acahaya
acahaya Senior Member • Posts: 1,174
Re: Monopod?

Where do you suggest to use it? Outside ?? In the car with running motor? A bean bag or pod dimms vibration, can be used everywhere ... i.e. is the better solution.
Plus a tripod for twilight around the lodge/camp.
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Valterj Regular Member • Posts: 268
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

You need a Nikon Coolpix P510 with 42X!

Or a Canon 800mm:

http://www.pbase.com/cameras/canon/ef_800_56l_is_usm

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C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 1,600
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

I been to Kruger park and this is before I upgraded from a compact to MFT.

On a Safari anything can happen and it best to have at least two cameras at hand with different focal lengths. One need to be Panasonic 100-300. The other lens need to be chosen carefully because there will be times a wide focal length is needed and then there are times you need to zoom in a bit more.

You need:

at least two bodies - changing lens is not an option and you need to be ready for anything to happen

Panasonic 100-300mm

A good lens around 14-50 to get good wide shots of multiple animals and any critter move close to the car. Panasonic 14-140mm is the most ideal.

micksh6
micksh6 Senior Member • Posts: 2,613
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Deamonllama wrote:

I was also looking at front mounted teleconverters for the 40-150mm (like the TCON-17 maybe if I can find it) which would take the 40-150mm up to 255mm theoretically). Anyone have experience with these? People on the superzoom forums seem to like them.

No TCON-17 on 40-150. It's too heavy for this lens. Plastic is relatively thin on this zoom and it extends too much. TCON-17 can break it.

TCON-17 is OK on 45-200 but it's difficult to use. You are likely to give up image stabilization. Neither OIS nor IBIS work well if reported focal length is wrong. Image edges will be soft with TCON, center is OK.

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Bangers and Mash
Bangers and Mash Senior Member • Posts: 2,760
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

Deamonllama wrote:

I'm going to be going on my first safari to Botswana next month with the following m4/3 lenses:

Oly 14-42mm II F3.5-5.6
Panny 20mm F1.7
Oly 40-150mm F4-5.6

I have a PL1 and PM1 so I was planning on keeping the 14-42mm on one and the 40-150mm on the other during the game drives. I also have an older Panasonic FZ18 superzoom (28-504 mm 35mm equiv) that I was planning to use as a backup or if 300mm isn't enough.

I was considering possibly getting the Panasonic 45-200mm F4-5.6 to get a little more reach (and maybe as a backup to the 40-150mm). Would 300mm vs 400mm make that much of a difference?

I was also looking at front mounted teleconverters for the 40-150mm (like the TCON-17 maybe if I can find it) which would take the 40-150mm up to 255mm theoretically). Anyone have experience with these? People on the superzoom forums seem to like them.

I'm kinda leaning toward the teleconverter because it's the cheapest solution (about $130 if I can find it). But, I'm also thinking if I get the 45-200mm (since it dropped to $200), then I can bring both the 40-150mm to 45-200mm so I'll have a backup lens in case something happens to one of them.

Then there's also the 100-300mm, but that might be out of my price range.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

If that was a trip I'm planning, it would be, for me, a trip of a lifetime. My suggestion, considering what the trip will set you back, is to invest in quality glass. Although the lenses you have listed are pretty decent, they do not match up to the optics of say the Oly 75-300. I know it's a bit on the expensive side, but would you not want to make sure the images you bring home are the best they can be. Isn't that one of the main reasons you are going there. I know it would be for me. Here's the lens I'm talking about.

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1523

Now take a look at the sample images Robin Wong made with that lens attached to the P3. That's the kind of tack shard images I would want to bring home with me, and if that's what you're after, then I would suggest a lens like the 75-300, which is the equivalent of a 150-600mm in the world of 35mm photography.

http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2011/07/olympus-e-p3-review-final-words.html

Have a great trip, and post those great pics when you get back.

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jeffharris
jeffharris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,757
Re: Monopod?

acahaya wrote:

Where do you suggest to use it? Outside ?? In the car with running motor? A bean bag or pod dimms vibration, can be used everywhere ... i.e. is the better solution.
Plus a tripod for twilight around the lodge/camp.

A monopod is lighter and easier to use than a tripod, but certainly not a replacement for one. Outside, inside, wherever. I use mine when walking, hiking, even squatting, lying prone or sitting down. I also stick it in a front pocket or my belt or my shoe for extra stability. Prop it against trees, stick it between bricks, on fences...

With an ounce of imagination, there are tons of ways you can find to use one.

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OP Deamonllama New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Safari Lens? (40-150mm + 45-200mm or 40-150mm + 1.7x teleconv)

C Sean wrote:

at least two bodies - changing lens is not an option and you need to be ready for anything to happen

I have two bodies (a PL1 and PM1) and was planning on putting the 14-42mm mk II on one and the 40-150mm on the other.

If I did get the 100-300mm, from your experience then should it be 14-42mm on one and 100-300mm on the other or 40-150mm on one and 100-300mm on the other?

OP Deamonllama New Member • Posts: 7
Re: Monopod?

I have a pocket x-shot which could be used as a monopod if we're sitting in the sfari vehicle.

http://xshot.com/products/pocket-xshot

Would that be sufficient or do you have a good recommendation? I don't want to bring lots of heavy equipment along with me. Thanks!

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