Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti

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Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti
1

Hello everyone, let me start by saying I have read through dozens of safari lense forums, however,  each a little unique to the situation and desires of the photographer.

This decision is driving me crazy.  My trip was cancelled last year do to covid, so it's on this year at the end of July in the Serengeti. I have never been on a safari before.

My gear: (all sony)   A7r iv.   Lenses,  16-35 2.8,  24-105,  70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600 (just purchased)  I plan to rent second body.  Possibilities, rent 600 prime.

My importance:   sharp, quality  pictures, birding,  landscapes.

Reading other threads, I understand at these safaris you often get close to animals, but birds could really use the distance.   Taking all 3 telephotos would probably not be possible do to room.    The obvious telephoto range option would be 70-200 on one body and the 200-600 on the other, my 16-35  on stand-by.  However, I feel the 100-400 is a better quality lens, I would hate to leave that behind, but, then again, will I need the extra 200mm?

I have yet to try the 1.4 tc on the 200-600, but iI have on  the 100-400 and I noticed a difference in sharpness, so I figure it will be the same.

As you can see, I have a few possibilities.  Has anyone been on a safari and wished they had brought another lens or body, or 3?  3rd body? (that might be pushing it)

Thank you so much even though this topic has been mentioned  a lot.

sony 200-600,  iso 640, 441mm, 6.3,  2500

Sony 200-600,   iso 800  6.3  2000,  600 mm

Sony 100-400  iso 640, f/5.6, 1/2500 ,  345mm

Sony 100-400,  iso 640,  f/5.6, 1/2000, 135mm

ChelseaPhotographer
ChelseaPhotographer Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti

Marco1ca wrote:

Hello everyone, let me start by saying I have read through dozens of safari lense forums, however, each a little unique to the situation and desires of the photographer.

This decision is driving me crazy. My trip was cancelled last year do to covid, so it's on this year at the end of July in the Serengeti. I have never been on a safari before.

My gear: (all sony) A7r iv. Lenses, 16-35 2.8, 24-105, 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600 (just purchased) I plan to rent second body. Possibilities, rent 600 prime.

My importance: sharp, quality pictures, birding, landscapes.

Reading other threads, I understand at these safaris you often get close to animals, but birds could really use the distance. Taking all 3 telephotos would probably not be possible do to room. The obvious telephoto range option would be 70-200 on one body and the 200-600 on the other, my 16-35 on stand-by. However, I feel the 100-400 is a better quality lens, I would hate to leave that behind, but, then again, will I need the extra 200mm?

I have yet to try the 1.4 tc on the 200-600, but iI have on the 100-400 and I noticed a difference in sharpness, so I figure it will be the same.

As you can see, I have a few possibilities. Has anyone been on a safari and wished they had brought another lens or body, or 3? 3rd body? (that might be pushing it)

Thank you so much even though this topic has been mentioned a lot.

sony 200-600, iso 640, 441mm, 6.3, 2500

Sony 200-600, iso 800 6.3 2000, 600 mm

Sony 100-400 iso 640, f/5.6, 1/2500 , 345mm

Sony 100-400, iso 640, f/5.6, 1/2000, 135mm

I would just take the 24-105 and the 100-400 in two separate bodies.

If you really need the 200-600 then get a third body. You really don't want to be changing lenses when the action is happening and in a very dusty environment.

The 70-200 will not be wide enough for some situations where you are very close to certain animals.

 ChelseaPhotographer's gear list:ChelseaPhotographer's gear list
SeaLife DC2000 Ricoh GR III Pentax 645Z Canon EOS 5DS Nikon D850 +1 more
The Lamentable Lens Contributing Member • Posts: 678
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti
1

I'll preface this by saying that I went on safari before I was seriously into photography, and I don't typically shoot birds.  With those caveats, I'd strongly second ChelseaPhotographer's recommendation and take the 24-105 and the 100-400.

On my trip, at least, we definitely got closer to all the animals than I expected, and I would have had no need to lug around that 200-600.  Heck, just put the A7RIV into APS-C crop mode, and the 100-400 will still get you 26MP images out to 600mm equivalent.

I'd be tempted to take the 16-35, too, for some nice wide landscape shots, but 24mm covers you decently well on that front.  If you have the space, I'd probably include it, but a two-lens combo that covers 24-400mm (and 600mm in APS-C mode) would be a great setup.

 The Lamentable Lens's gear list:The Lamentable Lens's gear list
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OP Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti
1

Thanks, This is interesting regarding the 70-200 Being not wide  enough, Sounds like you’re really close to many animals, and the 24-105 was last on my list, glad I posted here

The Lamentable Lens Contributing Member • Posts: 678
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti
1

Marco1ca wrote:

Thanks, This is interesting regarding the 70-200 Being not wide enough, Sounds like you’re really close to many animals, and the 24-105 was last on my list, glad I posted here

At one point during our safari (Kenya), a lion walked right between two of our safari vans.  It must have been within 15-20 feet of our van.  We didn't get quite that close to any other animals, but we did get closer than I would have expected to several.  Frankly, you'd probably be fine with the 70-200 much of the time, but I still think the 24-105 and 100-400 on two bodies gives you the most versatile setup.  And of course the 24mm end of the former will be good for some nice wide landscape shots.

 The Lamentable Lens's gear list:The Lamentable Lens's gear list
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ChelseaPhotographer
ChelseaPhotographer Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti

Marco1ca wrote:

Thanks, This is interesting regarding the 70-200 Being not wide enough, Sounds like you’re really close to many animals, and the 24-105 was last on my list, glad I posted here

Pleasure. Things can happen really fast, and you want to be ready. Changing lenses not only means you are probably going to miss the shot, you are also going to get your sensor covered in dust.

With the 24-105 and 100-400 you are going to have pretty much all your bases covered. If there is a tiny bird really far away, you'll wish you had the reach of the 600mm, but 400mm will be OK... I prefer to travel on the "lighter" side and enjoy it. Having a third body with a big lens for the extra 200mm would be overkill for me...

You are going to need a lot of batteries! With a DSLR you wouldn't need as many, but the Sony goes through them fast. How many are you taking? And you also need quite a few fast cards.

Are you doing a hot air balloon ride?

You are going to have a wonderful time!

 ChelseaPhotographer's gear list:ChelseaPhotographer's gear list
SeaLife DC2000 Ricoh GR III Pentax 645Z Canon EOS 5DS Nikon D850 +1 more
OP Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti

Believe it or not, the batteries in the Sony A7r iv last a long time, much longer than other sony's i've owned.  I have 3, i'll get another one for the other body, so two each.

As far as lenses, one thing I didn't add in my post is that  i'll be going alone and have my own private jeep driver. Perhaps he can allow me the proper distance with 70-200, it's just such an awesome lens, but your suggested setup may be what I end up doing.

Never thought about a balloon ride, sounds like some good landscape shots!

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,308
Covid situation?

Here in the U.K., Kenya is currently on the Government's Covid Red List.  That means that anybody arriving in the U.K. who has visited or transited through Kenya in the previous 10 days will be refused entry.  U.K. citizens and residents can enter, but have to isolate for 10 days in designated hotels - at their cost.  At the moment there are no exemptions for travellers who have been vaccinated.

You might want to check on the situation in the US and countries that you would be transiting - you probably wouldn't be allowed off the aircraft if you transited the U.K., for example.

Of course, all this might change by the time that you travel, but it could get worse.  Personally, I would not be planning on visiting any African country in 2021, even though I have been vaccinated.

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Chris R

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ChelseaPhotographer
ChelseaPhotographer Contributing Member • Posts: 954
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti

Marco1ca wrote:

Believe it or not, the batteries in the Sony A7r iv last a long time, much longer than other sony's i've owned. I have 3, i'll get another one for the other body, so two each.

As far as lenses, one thing I didn't add in my post is that i'll be going alone and have my own private jeep driver. Perhaps he can allow me the proper distance with 70-200, it's just such an awesome lens, but your suggested setup may be what I end up doing.

Never thought about a balloon ride, sounds like some good landscape shots!

I have the A7RIV also, and compared to other mirrorless the batteries do last a lot longer, but 4 batteries for a full day of shooting might be tight. You may end up going through 3 batteries with one body and only one with the other, but I would want to have one or two more. Also think about the logistics of charging them. There were some remote places where we camped where you really couldn't plug all your electronics (laptops, etc.), so every now and then we had to rely on batteries that we charged two days prior. One single charger might not to be enough if you are charging 4 batteries every day... A power inverter may come in handy for charging in the car.

In the end, I don't think you want to end up without power after spending so much money on gear and on what could be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

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Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,308
US State Department Level 4 "do not travel"

I see that Kenya is currently Level 4 "Do Not Travel" for both the State Department and the Centre for Disease Control.

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Chris R

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OP Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: US State Department Level 4 "do not travel"
2

Thanks for the heads up, but if they allow me to enter, I will certainly go.  I have not only been vaccinated  but also got Covid last year.  Fortunately for me, it was no big deal, just had a cough a some headaches, I never lost my taste or smell.  Eating right and good vitamins paid off.

OP Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Which 2: Sony: 70-200 2.8, 100-400 gm, 200-600, Safari, Serengeti
1

got it, I will bring extra,

Chris R-UK Forum Pro • Posts: 21,308
Re: US State Department Level 4 "do not travel"

Marco1ca wrote:

Thanks for the heads up, but if they allow me to enter, I will certainly go. I have not only been vaccinated but also got Covid last year. Fortunately for me, it was no big deal, just had a cough a some headaches, I never lost my taste or smell. Eating right and good vitamins paid off.

The risk to you personally should therefore be low, but Kenya would be a very bad place to catch COVID again.

Googling seems to show that all flights from the US to Nairobi involve a change of aircraft, normally in Europe. The main risk would therefore be that you can't get back because the European country puts in place some kind of ban on flights from Kenya.

Are you going with a major travel company?

We have just cancelled a river cruise in Holland and Germany in July that we booked about 15 months ago. With three countries involved and new Covid variants spreading in Europe, the chances of something going wrong are just too high.

Best of luck with your trip and I am sure that you will love it if it goes ahead.  We have been to South Africa quite a few times, but never to East Africa.

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Chris R

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OP Marco1ca Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: US State Department Level 4 "do not travel"
2

I'm am booked with KLM airlines.  Yes,  there is always going to be risk, I just made up my mind to play this entire covid thing in the middle, meaning  cautious, but not so much  as to interfere with my life and goals.

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