Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Started Jun 8, 2014 | Discussions
OP Rajeshb Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Hi LTZ470,

Thank you for your opinion. Image quality of your close up shots indeed looks very good. I will definitely consider the G3+100-300 combo. We will both use bean bags instead of monopods. it looks like bean bags will be more useful for the kind of vehicles they use in Tanzania.

 Rajeshb's gear list:Rajeshb's gear list
Nikon D7000 Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 (IF) DX Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF
PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 13,988
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari
1

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi everybody,

greetings. This is my first post in m4/3rd forum and I am bothering you with a question.

I will be working in Africa this summer as an intern and after my work finishes, my wife will join me in Tanzania for a safari. My wife uses a Pana G3 only when we travel (she is a casual photographer) and I use a Nikon D7000 (I am a serious landscape photographer).
I will bring my D7000+tamron 70-300 VC for the safari and I planned to rent a Panasonic 100-300 for her G3. I planned to use the G3 as a back up to my Nikon and also to use it when 450 effective focal length of the Tamron would not be sufficient.
In the mean time, I posted an ad to sell the G3 in craigslist and I am getting a good price for it, with which I can buy a Nikon D5100 and rent another 70-300 for her during the safari.
Now I am in dilemma about what to do with my G3. One reason for posting the ad was that my wife uses a 14-42 on G3 and if she wish to do some serious shooting, it will be difficult for us to buy lenses for two different systems. If I buy a Nikon D5100 she could use my lenses. I also like the idea of a back up camera from the same brand.

but if we buy the D5100 then we will loose the advantage of 600mm effective focal length of panasonic 100-300.
In this respect I would appreciate your suggestion on the panasonic combo. I am mostly interested to use it for the reach. So, please share your experience of using it at 300 mm, optical quality and autofocus speed etc. please also share if you have experience of using both the systems.

Thank you very much in advance

Rajesh

Rajesh - first - many beautiful shots you have on your flickr.
I was on a safari in Kenya a few years ago, among other places in Masai Mara which is on the border of Serengeti/Tanzania so the conditions shold be similar, if that is where you are going. I used mostly a 70-200VR + TC17 on Nikon APS-C which is 510 mm eqv. I often got very close, thanks to skilled drivers, and I think the reach of a 300 (450 eqv) often is good enough. I also used a Canon P&S, but the color rendering was so different that it is somewhat disturbing when you mix the images from the different brands - something to think about. It is also very good to have two cameras of the same brand for backup use and avoiding switching lenses in the dusty environment. I never used a bean bag or a monopod - the stabilization of the lens is good enough (or if you use a camera with IBIS).

Also think of the battery issue - there was so much wildlife to shoot on virtually every drive we made.

I wrote some about it here - http://dslr-video.com/gallery/?cat=3

LTZ470
LTZ470 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,926
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi LTZ470,

Thank you for your opinion. Image quality of your close up shots indeed looks very good. I will definitely consider the G3+100-300 combo. We will both use bean bags instead of monopods. it looks like bean bags will be more useful for the kind of vehicles they use in Tanzania.

Great idea, I have some that actually bolt onto to the Tripod Mount on the camera and they work great off of an auto window or a prop...this shows it tethered around the lens but it does have the 1/4-20 screw as well for the camera body...the Red Pod one is in center I think and Green Pod has the offset screw...

http://www.amazon.com/THE-GREEN-pod-alternative-beanbag/dp/B00649LAQ4

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hindesite Veteran Member • Posts: 3,934
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi HTH, thank you for your opinion. Those were some very good suggestions and I will try to follow them, specially the ones about dust and the binocular. The safari company we are using, will supply bean bags during the safari and I think it will be more convenient than the monopod.

Your decision and bean bags are a really good idea, but I'd still take a monopod - generally you can only use a bean bag on your side of the vehicle, I was often shooting across the vehicle, easily done with the narrow FOV of the 100-300. Often to shoot across the vehicle you need to stand up, too, especially for subjects close by.

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danieljcox
danieljcox Contributing Member • Posts: 891
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

It's my pleasure. Happy to help.

Daniel J. Cox
www.naturalexposures.com

 danieljcox's gear list:danieljcox's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic G85 Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 Panasonic GH5 Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8 +15 more
Richard Weisgrau Veteran Member • Posts: 3,530
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

While I am now a staunch Lumix G series user, I was a Nikon user for decades. I think the D7000 + D5100 is your best bet. With a maximum effective FL of 450mm you are unlikely to find it too short. You will have the advantage of a high pixel count if you shoot RAW or large Jpegs. That count will allow you to crop quite a bot before degrading the image unless you intend to be making some really large prints (over 12/18).

You will have the added advantage of a back up body. You know Murphy's law, and it can happen in the bush where you cannot get another camera.

Finally, I suggest that you consider a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x tele extender for the trip. With 2x you will have an effective maximum focal length of 600mm and a max aperture of 5.6. I do not think you will miss any photo ops with that combo.

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Richard Weisgrau
www.drawnwithlight.com

Old Listener
Old Listener Senior Member • Posts: 2,018
Re: Just one point...
1

My wife and I had been using a Nikon D5000 and a D7000 for wildflower/insect closeup photos with Tamron 90mm macro and Sigma 150mm lenses.  For wildlife we used a Sigma 150-50mm zoom and a Nikon f4 300mm telephoto with a Nikon 1.4x tele-converter.  We have switched to Panasonic G6 cameras with the Olympus 60mm macro.  Right now we have a single Panasonic 100-300mm zoom for wildlife photos.  We'll buy another as soon as a good bargain comes along.

I haven't used the Nikons for several months and don't miss them.

My reasons for switching were

- lighter weight for camera + lens + tripod.  My Nikon setup for macro photos weighted almost 10 lbs.  and was increasingly painful to carry around or even to hold for a minute or two. My G6 setup weighs 4 lbs.  I can carry it with one hand for hours without pain.  For wildlife photos from a vehicle, a small 1.2 lb. 100-300mm lens on a 1 lb. camera body is much nicer to use than a large 3.5-4 lb. lens on a 1 or 2 lb. DSLR body.

- EVF based features like focus peaking, image magnification in the viewfinder, 2 sec. review after a shot, blinkies to detect blown highlights.  The quick menu and a touch screen makes changing settings much quicker than on the Nikons.  I have a much higher keeper rate now.  Those features make macro photography a more successful and enjoyable activity for my wife.

- smaller size will make airline travel easier.

I use cropping on a regular basis for both closeups and wildlife shots.  It doesn't substitute for the right lens but it lets me get useful pictures when you need more reach or more magnification.  One thing to keep in mind: Using cropping to make an object occupy more of the image is a function of the linear dimensions of the cropped and uncropped images.  24 Mpixels / 16 Mpixels is 1.5 times as many pixels but cropping from 24 to 16 Mpixels with get you  about 1.22 times magnification.  (square root of 1.5) Cropping images makes precise focusing more critical.

Your considerations may be different from mine.  You should be clear about your own needs and preferences and try to make one round of purchases that will satisfy your needs and preferences.  Churning gear may be entertainment for gearheads but it is wasteful and plain stupid for most people.  I changed from Nikon to m43 because I had to.  I hope that I won't be changing again for years.

If I were staying with the Nikon DSLR, I'd be looking at twoi lenses: the new Nikon 80-400mm zoom and the Tamron ?-600mm zoom.

Here is a sample of results with the Panasonic 100-300mm lens on a Panasonic G6.

I've been on wildlife safaris in Africa (twice), India, Costa Rico, Alaska and all over the American west.  There will always be missed shots because the subject is too far away or the light is too dim.  However, if you miss shots because you chose not to bring a long lens, you'll regret it a lot and for a long time.

 Old Listener's gear list:Old Listener's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 Panasonic FZ1000 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro +5 more
C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 1,731
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari
1

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

While I am now a staunch Lumix G series user, I was a Nikon user for decades. I think the D7000 + D5100 is your best bet. With a maximum effective FL of 450mm you are unlikely to find it too short. You will have the advantage of a high pixel count if you shoot RAW or large Jpegs. That count will allow you to crop quite a bot before degrading the image unless you intend to be making some really large prints (over 12/18).

You will have the added advantage of a back up body. You know Murphy's law, and it can happen in the bush where you cannot get another camera.

Finally, I suggest that you consider a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x tele extender for the trip. With 2x you will have an effective maximum focal length of 600mm and a max aperture of 5.6. I do not think you will miss any photo ops with that combo.

I have to strongly disagree with you there. A lens with the maxium zoom of 450mm isn't enough for a safari. Any photographer going on safari will require a zoom lens with the reach of at least 600mm. This is why I'm taking three bodies with me.

G3+100-300

GH3+35-100

GM1+12-35

The combo I'm going to be using the least is the GM1+12-35 simply because most animals don't venture up to the road.

Michael J Davis
Michael J Davis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,494
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

hindesite wrote:

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi HTH, thank you for your opinion. Those were some very good suggestions and I will try to follow them, specially the ones about dust and the binocular. The safari company we are using, will supply bean bags during the safari and I think it will be more convenient than the monopod.

Your decision and bean bags are a really good idea, but I'd still take a monopod - generally you can only use a bean bag on your side of the vehicle, I was often shooting across the vehicle, easily done with the narrow FOV of the 100-300. Often to shoot across the vehicle you need to stand up, too, especially for subjects close by.

Bean bags have one advantage - they absorb some of the vibration from a motorised vehicle. A monopod (or tripod) will transmit engine vibrations through to the camera. Personally I find the monopod keeps mesteady and then I buffer the camera!

Mike

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Mike Davis
Photographing the public for over 50 years
www.flickr.com/photos/watchman

 Michael J Davis's gear list:Michael J Davis's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +5 more
PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 13,988
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

C Sean wrote:

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

While I am now a staunch Lumix G series user, I was a Nikon user for decades. I think the D7000 + D5100 is your best bet. With a maximum effective FL of 450mm you are unlikely to find it too short. You will have the advantage of a high pixel count if you shoot RAW or large Jpegs. That count will allow you to crop quite a bot before degrading the image unless you intend to be making some really large prints (over 12/18).

You will have the added advantage of a back up body. You know Murphy's law, and it can happen in the bush where you cannot get another camera.

Finally, I suggest that you consider a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x tele extender for the trip. With 2x you will have an effective maximum focal length of 600mm and a max aperture of 5.6. I do not think you will miss any photo ops with that combo.

I have to strongly disagree with you there. A lens with the maxium zoom of 450mm isn't enough for a safari. Any photographer going on safari will require a zoom lens with the reach of at least 600mm. This is why I'm taking three bodies with me.

I would not agree that any photographer needs at least 600mm for a safari. The animals aren't afraid of the vehicles and it is possible to get close.

Of course reach is always good, but in the various places we were in Kenya (Samburu, Mt Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara) you could get huge number of fairly close shots with less reach than 600mm eqv. I had a reach of 510 eqv, but there should be a small difference vs a 510 and a 450 eqv.

G3+100-300

GH3+35-100

GM1+12-35

The combo I'm going to be using the least is the GM1+12-35 simply because most animals don't venture up to the road.

benarden Contributing Member • Posts: 576
Re: Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari ( Yes !)

Since you will want Lighter weight AND Far Far reach, I'd take the G3 and 100-300 Panny.
Use a lens hood for glare, and ( Since you do much low light tripod photography )
A mono-pod for low low light stability for the animals.
Sequential exposure ( - always )

SPF 50 Sunblocker
30% DEET Bug repellant ( God knows whats out there !)
BIG floppy hat
Water Water everywhere.
Have a great trip !

Hi everybody,

greetings. This is my first post in m4/3rd forum and I am bothering you with a question.

I will be working in Africa this summer as an intern and after my work finishes, my wife will join me in Tanzania for a safari. My wife uses a Pana G3 only when we travel (she is a casual photographer) and I use a Nikon D7000 (I am a serious landscape photographer).

Rajesh

ekramer51 Regular Member • Posts: 105
Re: Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari ( Yes !)

My wife and I travel to Africa annually to spend five to six weeks in the bush with Kruger being our favorite destination. We prefer to self guide, self drive and self cater. My wife shoots the stills and I do the video. On our last trip (2013) I upgraded from a GH2 to a GH3. Fabulous improvement.

The kit for our return this year is quite complex and consists of the following;

Me...GH3, 100-300-video

Wife..GH3, 100-300-still

Backup...GH3, 14-140-either

No lens changing

Extended telephoto is a nice feature as well, doubling the 100-300 reach with no quality degridation

 ekramer51's gear list:ekramer51's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS40 (TZ60) Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-140mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / Power O.I.S Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 OIS
OP Rajeshb Senior Member • Posts: 1,306
Thank you

Hi everybody,

Thank you very much for all your help and advice. I am unable to answer individually the posts from yesterday. I am sorry for that. I am leaving the country to Cote d"Ivoire tomorrow and very busy with packing today. Everything just came up suddenly.

I will be working for 2 months now and then go to Tanzania in August. I do not have time anymore to meet with the buyer to sell my G3. So my wife will bring it with the rented 100-300 and meet me in Tanzania.

Thanks again for your help and so many advice. I know nikon forum would not be so active to answer a question from a newbie. It was nice to know you people.

Best

 Rajeshb's gear list:Rajeshb's gear list
Nikon D7000 Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 (IF) DX Tamron SP 70-300mm F4-5.6 Di VC USD Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF
C Sean Senior Member • Posts: 1,731
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

PerL wrote:

C Sean wrote:

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

While I am now a staunch Lumix G series user, I was a Nikon user for decades. I think the D7000 + D5100 is your best bet. With a maximum effective FL of 450mm you are unlikely to find it too short. You will have the advantage of a high pixel count if you shoot RAW or large Jpegs. That count will allow you to crop quite a bot before degrading the image unless you intend to be making some really large prints (over 12/18).

You will have the added advantage of a back up body. You know Murphy's law, and it can happen in the bush where you cannot get another camera.

Finally, I suggest that you consider a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x tele extender for the trip. With 2x you will have an effective maximum focal length of 600mm and a max aperture of 5.6. I do not think you will miss any photo ops with that combo.

I have to strongly disagree with you there. A lens with the maxium zoom of 450mm isn't enough for a safari. Any photographer going on safari will require a zoom lens with the reach of at least 600mm. This is why I'm taking three bodies with me.

I would not agree that any photographer needs at least 600mm for a safari. The animals aren't afraid of the vehicles and it is possible to get close.

Of course reach is always good, but in the various places we were in Kenya (Samburu, Mt Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara) you could get huge number of fairly close shots with less reach than 600mm eqv. I had a reach of 510 eqv, but there should be a small difference vs a 510 and a 450 eqv.

G3+100-300

GH3+35-100

GM1+12-35

The combo I'm going to be using the least is the GM1+12-35 simply because most animals don't venture up to the road.

But the original poster isn't going to Kenya. In Kenya you're allowed to drive off the road and get up close to the animals. In other safari parks in other countries this isn't allowed and why a long telephoto lens is needed especially in Kruger park.

PerL Forum Pro • Posts: 13,988
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

C Sean wrote:

PerL wrote:

C Sean wrote:

Richard Weisgrau wrote:

While I am now a staunch Lumix G series user, I was a Nikon user for decades. I think the D7000 + D5100 is your best bet. With a maximum effective FL of 450mm you are unlikely to find it too short. You will have the advantage of a high pixel count if you shoot RAW or large Jpegs. That count will allow you to crop quite a bot before degrading the image unless you intend to be making some really large prints (over 12/18).

You will have the added advantage of a back up body. You know Murphy's law, and it can happen in the bush where you cannot get another camera.

Finally, I suggest that you consider a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens with a 1.4x or 2x tele extender for the trip. With 2x you will have an effective maximum focal length of 600mm and a max aperture of 5.6. I do not think you will miss any photo ops with that combo.

I have to strongly disagree with you there. A lens with the maxium zoom of 450mm isn't enough for a safari. Any photographer going on safari will require a zoom lens with the reach of at least 600mm. This is why I'm taking three bodies with me.

I would not agree that any photographer needs at least 600mm for a safari. The animals aren't afraid of the vehicles and it is possible to get close.

Of course reach is always good, but in the various places we were in Kenya (Samburu, Mt Kenya, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara) you could get huge number of fairly close shots with less reach than 600mm eqv. I had a reach of 510 eqv, but there should be a small difference vs a 510 and a 450 eqv.

G3+100-300

GH3+35-100

GM1+12-35

The combo I'm going to be using the least is the GM1+12-35 simply because most animals don't venture up to the road.

But the original poster isn't going to Kenya. In Kenya you're allowed to drive off the road and get up close to the animals. In other safari parks in other countries this isn't allowed and why a long telephoto lens is needed especially in Kruger park.

The OP is going to Tanzania. The most well known park there is Seregeti which is on the border of Masai Mara. Are you sure its not allowed to drive off road there? BTW there was a net of very small roads, almost paths, in Masai Mara, I not sure we ever drove off those. For the OP its of course best to check out these things before deciding.

safaridon Veteran Member • Posts: 3,321
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi everybody,

greetings. This is my first post in m4/3rd forum and I am bothering you with a question.

I will be working in Africa this summer as an intern and after my work finishes, my wife will join me in Tanzania for a safari. My wife uses a Pana G3 only when we travel (she is a casual photographer) and I use a Nikon D7000 (I am a serious landscape photographer).
I will bring my D7000+tamron 70-300 VC for the safari and I planned to rent a Panasonic 100-300 for her G3. I planned to use the G3 as a back up to my Nikon and also to use it when 450 effective focal length of the Tamron would not be sufficient.
In the mean time, I posted an ad to sell the G3 in craigslist and I am getting a good price for it, with which I can buy a Nikon D5100 and rent another 70-300 for her during the safari.
Now I am in dilemma about what to do with my G3. One reason for posting the ad was that my wife uses a 14-42 on G3 and if she wish to do some serious shooting, it will be difficult for us to buy lenses for two different systems. If I buy a Nikon D5100 she could use my lenses. I also like the idea of a back up camera from the same brand.

but if we buy the D5100 then we will loose the advantage of 600mm effective focal length of panasonic 100-300.
In this respect I would appreciate your suggestion on the panasonic combo. I am mostly interested to use it for the reach. So, please share your experience of using it at 300 mm, optical quality and autofocus speed etc. please also share if you have experience of using both the systems.

Thank you very much in advance

Rajesh

Sorry for being late as just noticed your post.  I have been on 3 Tanzania safaries in last 12 years and have stayed with the DSLRs for most of my wildlife pictures.  My first advice is since there will be two of you then one should be shooting pictures and the other video.  I have primarily used Pentax KX since it has IBIS and use with very inexpensive Tamron 28-300 with effective range of 40-450mm which is adequate for most occasions unless you are a birder.  The advantage of this lens is it can be used for normal scenic shots without having to switch lenses.  I was even very surprised on my last trip to get all the pictures I wanted with only a 50-200mm lens which is very small and unobtrusive for snap shots.  I have similar setups for my Nikon DSLRs but there better to stick with lenses with IS as you have.   In fact with elephants often too chose for my tele lens. While many naturally advise to go longer on tele lens remember that the lens speed drops, usually somewhat lower resolution and heat waves destroy the picture at a distance.

The Panasonic G and GH series are very good for video especially with the swivel screen much better for video and HD video options.  Remember with these cameras you can get an additional 2x for video without loss of resolution on some models  ie the 50-200 becomes an effective 70-600mm range in video.  I personally would not be without a small travel cam like the SZ or TZ series or equivalent to cover wide angle scenery to candid teles of people even if seeing the LCD screen is difficult, chose one with the screen that is more visible in bright light or can be seen from angle.

As others mention do take plenty of batteries and means to recharge and memory chips are cheap so don't be afraid to take plenty of pictures.  Dust is a major problem so be prepared don't change lenses on the go.  There seldom is room on most safari trucks for tripod or even pod just use a faster shutter speed in the first place as usually quite bright.  Also you will miss some of the best shots if not willing to shoot while the vehicle is moving or lurching!

Just my two bits and I know I am willing to compromise some for smaller size, portability, and less cost.

hindesite Veteran Member • Posts: 3,934
Re: Opinion on Panasonic G3+100-300 for African safari

Michael J Davis wrote:

hindesite wrote:

Rajeshb wrote:

Hi HTH, thank you for your opinion. Those were some very good suggestions and I will try to follow them, specially the ones about dust and the binocular. The safari company we are using, will supply bean bags during the safari and I think it will be more convenient than the monopod.

Your decision and bean bags are a really good idea, but I'd still take a monopod - generally you can only use a bean bag on your side of the vehicle, I was often shooting across the vehicle, easily done with the narrow FOV of the 100-300. Often to shoot across the vehicle you need to stand up, too, especially for subjects close by.

Bean bags have one advantage - they absorb some of the vibration from a motorised vehicle. A monopod (or tripod) will transmit engine vibrations through to the camera. Personally I find the monopod keeps mesteady and then I buffer the camera!

True enough about the vibration, but our driver always stopped the motor if we were taking photos; well worth asking for this kind of consideration.

Besides, you can't hear the wildlife if the motor is running. Might as well watch it on TV.

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