Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

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ActiveChewy New Member • Posts: 19
Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

This forum is amazing! I have been reading through the threads and there is such good information, so much information that I think I'm in analysis paralysis! I'm hoping you all can help me.

I'm going on a safari soon and have a Sony a6000 with a 16-50 mm lens. I know I need a longer lens for the safari but unsure which lens would be best for me. I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch and really a beginner (I'm still learning how to use the a6000), I just want to be able to take better photos than I could with my iphone 13.

I'll be shooting fine JPEGs and doing some tweaks later on in lightroom.  I want to avoid having to change lenses if at all possible because we'll be on game drives and it gets dusty out there and I don't want to take another camera (I'll already have my iphone 13 and the a6000).

Since I would like to not change lenses I was thinking this lens would work best and would love your thoughts on it. Will it work ok in early morning game drives where there's not a ton of sun out yet? Will it be super heavy to hold (I'm a petite woman)? Is there something I'm not considering? Welcome any and all of your thoughts!

Sony - 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Compact E-Mount Standard Zoom Lens - Black

Or am I better off just getting the 55-210mm and saving some $, and just using my iphone 13 for landscapes and my a6000 for the animals on this trip.

Thank you in advance!

Sony a6000
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hode
hode Junior Member • Posts: 36
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

ActiveChewy wrote:

This forum is amazing! I have been reading through the threads and there is such good information, so much information that I think I'm in analysis paralysis! I'm hoping you all can help me.

I'm going on a safari soon and have a Sony a6000 with a 16-50 mm lens. I know I need a longer lens for the safari but unsure which lens would be best for me. I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch and really a beginner (I'm still learning how to use the a6000), I just want to be able to take better photos than I could with my iphone 13.

I'll be shooting fine JPEGs and doing some tweaks later on in lightroom. I want to avoid having to change lenses if at all possible because we'll be on game drives and it gets dusty out there and I don't want to take another camera (I'll already have my iphone 13 and the a6000).

Since I would like to not change lenses I was thinking this lens would work best and would love your thoughts on it. Will it work ok in early morning game drives where there's not a ton of sun out yet? Will it be super heavy to hold (I'm a petite woman)? Is there something I'm not considering? Welcome any and all of your thoughts!

Sony - 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Compact E-Mount Standard Zoom Lens - Black

Or am I better off just getting the 55-210mm and saving some $, and just using my iphone 13 for landscapes and my a6000 for the animals on this trip.

Thank you in advance!

Hi!

You could go for 55-210 for money saving, and also use it for landscape. Try photo-stitching?

I've been to a safari once, and never had the need for 210mm. This is because the safari-car drove us really close to the animals. What about Sony E 18-105/4.0 G PZ OSS? Excellent image quality, F/4 all over the zoom range. Not to bad when zooming and in lower light. Also, if you need more zoom, the ClearImageZoom function is not too bad.

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FrodeHode

 hode's gear list:hode's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony a6000 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS +4 more
Tenganis Regular Member • Posts: 143
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
2

ActiveChewy wrote:

This forum is amazing! I have been reading through the threads and there is such good information, so much information that I think I'm in analysis paralysis! I'm hoping you all can help me.

I'm going on a safari soon and have a Sony a6000 with a 16-50 mm lens. I know I need a longer lens for the safari but unsure which lens would be best for me. I'm not a professional photographer by any stretch and really a beginner (I'm still learning how to use the a6000), I just want to be able to take better photos than I could with my iphone 13.

I'll be shooting fine JPEGs and doing some tweaks later on in lightroom. I want to avoid having to change lenses if at all possible because we'll be on game drives and it gets dusty out there and I don't want to take another camera (I'll already have my iphone 13 and the a6000).

Since I would like to not change lenses I was thinking this lens would work best and would love your thoughts on it. Will it work ok in early morning game drives where there's not a ton of sun out yet? Will it be super heavy to hold (I'm a petite woman)? Is there something I'm not considering? Welcome any and all of your thoughts!

Sony - 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Compact E-Mount Standard Zoom Lens - Black

Or am I better off just getting the 55-210mm and saving some $, and just using my iphone 13 for landscapes and my a6000 for the animals on this trip.

Thank you in advance!

I don’t think it would be too heavy to hold (I’m a petite woman too). Though for the price of the Sony you listed, have you considered the Tamron 18-300mm? It would provide the same range in terms of wide angle but quite a bit more reach?

 Tenganis's gear list:Tenganis's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a6100 Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS Sony E 35mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 16-55mm F2.8 G +1 more
Martin_99 Senior Member • Posts: 3,221
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

Both mentioned lenses are older ones from first wave of Sony lenses. You will get much better quality and also reach when you buy a new Tamron 18-300.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1654621-REG/tamron_b016e_18_300mm_f_3_5_6_3_di_iii_a.html

Or if you want to have better image quality on long end, buy Sony 70-350 (Assume preferable option for wildlife)

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1502821-REG/sony_e_70_350mm_f_4_5_6_3_g.html

 Martin_99's gear list:Martin_99's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN | C (X-mount) Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS +2 more
OP ActiveChewy New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

Thanks FrodeHode! I was worried that the 18-200mm was even low on the zoom for the safari—great to hear I may not even need that! I’ll check out the Sony E 18-105 too.

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

Another vote for the Tamron 18-300. Reviews I've seen have been positive. While it doesn't have all the reach and perhaps not quite as good quality at the long end, as the 70-350, it covers wide and mid-range as well and would reduce or eliminate the need to swap lenses.

If concerned about low light morning and evening shots, the phone has a much smaller sensor and I'd be concerned about it's quality in lower light. That said, you have it now and could go out and make some test shots under varying conditions.

I'd also suggest shooting raw instead of jpgs. You retain the better image quality and have the opportunity to do conversions and editing after the trip. You can set up the processor with preferences (as would be done for in camera jpgs) but have the opportunity to revisit any image that might need more or different processing.

If it's a question of file size, get an additional larger memory card or several.

Since "safari" locations and conditions vary, it might be worth checking to see if they have any information specific to their location and your package as to camera gear and/or focal length choices.

georgehakim
georgehakim Regular Member • Posts: 369
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
9

Safaris are expensive and usually trips of a lifetime (as it was for me). Having the right camera and lens is important and trying to save on that doesn’t make sense here. The photo opportunities are enormous for any photographer. The A6000 is old and doesn’t focus as well as any of the newer models like A6100, A6400, A6600. Also the battery life is not great. A telezoom lens is also a must. I had the A6600 with the 70-350mm lens, and still missed some Rhinos and Leopards who tend to stay away from car paths. Some animals will come close, but most action happens at a fair distance and you will be sorry to not have a lens with a long reach. I strongly suggest getting at least A6100 (or better A6400) with the 70-350mm lens.

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~George

 georgehakim's gear list:georgehakim's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Pentax KP Sony a7 III Sony a6600 Sony a7C +19 more
RDCollins
RDCollins Senior Member • Posts: 1,172
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

I wouldn't worry about size or weight of the camera and lenses — at least not if your trip is to Tanzania. You'll be in a Land Cruiser virtually the entire time you're in any of the national parks, and you won't be allowed to get out of the vehicle except at the lodges and a couple of sites within the parks (which aren't worth photographing).

I took my a6400 with the standard 16 – 50 lens and a Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS. The telephoto was OK, but I wish I had purchased the Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS.

Send me a private message if you want more ifor about out trip in August of 2019. It was indeed one of the best trips of my lifetime!

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Doug Collins
Hermosa Beach, California

 RDCollins's gear list:RDCollins's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +2 more
Martin_99 Senior Member • Posts: 3,221
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

ActiveChewy wrote:

Thanks FrodeHode! I was worried that the 18-200mm was even low on the zoom for the safari—great to hear I may not even need that! I’ll check out the Sony E 18-105 too.

Honestly, I never been on safari, but statement that long zoom is not needed seems weird to me. I appreciated 350mm photos (and cropped them) even in local zoo.

 Martin_99's gear list:Martin_99's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN | C (X-mount) Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS +2 more
OP ActiveChewy New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

Wow thank you all so much, your insights are so helpful. Sounds like I do need the longer lens so I'm going to rent it instead of buying. Does anyone know when the new Tamron 18-300mm comes out? B&H says it's on pre-order, so does Lensrentals.com where I'm planning to rent from.

Any thoughts on the Tamron 18-300mm F3.5-6.5 vs. the Sony E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS? I've heard Sony lenses are better than Tamron, but I feel like the F3.5 might be better for low light situations on the game drives.

We're going to Kenya and on a private reserve but we'll be in the vehicle the whole time.

OP ActiveChewy New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

Craig Gillette wrote:

Another vote for the Tamron 18-300. Reviews I've seen have been positive. While it doesn't have all the reach and perhaps not quite as good quality at the long end, as the 70-350, it covers wide and mid-range as well and would reduce or eliminate the need to swap lenses.

If concerned about low light morning and evening shots, the phone has a much smaller sensor and I'd be concerned about it's quality in lower light. That said, you have it now and could go out and make some test shots under varying conditions.

I'd also suggest shooting raw instead of jpgs. You retain the better image quality and have the opportunity to do conversions and editing after the trip. You can set up the processor with preferences (as would be done for in camera jpgs) but have the opportunity to revisit any image that might need more or different processing.

If it's a question of file size, get an additional larger memory card or several.

Since "safari" locations and conditions vary, it might be worth checking to see if they have any information specific to their location and your package as to camera gear and/or focal length choices.

Thanks Craig, my reasoning for not shooting raw is more that I'm intimidated by shooting raw (if I do it I'd shoot raw & jpeg so I could share a few pics while I'm there).

REDunnLev
REDunnLev Contributing Member • Posts: 718
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

I have never been on a safari but I have been to a safari park and I believe the 18-200 is probably convenient for not changing lenses but a long lens is imperative.  I have the Sony 18-105, 18-200, and 70-300 (and also the 55-210).  I only used the 70-300 while in the vehicle at the safari park.

As a petite woman as well, I would not worry about the size of the lens.  Also, the autofocus on the a6000 is not as good as the other lenses, but it should be sufficient for the safari.  If you were going to a basketball or hockey game, or something with a lot of action, the faster autofocus of the other cameras would be important, however for a safari I would go for more reach and not autofocus.

 REDunnLev's gear list:REDunnLev's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a6500 Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake Sony E 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 30mm F3.5 Macro +9 more
OP ActiveChewy New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused

Point well taken on the telephoto George. Do you think I would be able to get by with just the 70-350mm lens? Or would I need to swap out for landscape photos to my kit lens? Thanks!

georgehakim
georgehakim Regular Member • Posts: 369
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
2

ActiveChewy wrote:

Point well taken on the telephoto George. Do you think I would be able to get by with just the 70-350mm lens? Or would I need to swap out for landscape photos to my kit lens? Thanks!

I managed with the 70-350 during the safari outings (I was in Tanzania). The interesting landscapes and the unusual looking trees were far enough. However, I also had the 18-135mm which was a kit lens for my A6600 and used it sometimes around our camps/tents. So the lens swap happened indoors. You need to be careful when you swap the lens outdoors. There is a lot of dust, so keep the camera inside a bag if you have to do it outside or in the car.

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~George

 georgehakim's gear list:georgehakim's gear list
Sony RX10 IV Pentax KP Sony a7 III Sony a6600 Sony a7C +19 more
mm Forum Member • Posts: 78
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

I did a Botswana safari in 2017--a memorable experience--with an a6000 and an FE70-300. The results were outstanding, an order of magnitude better than the E55-210 I took to India the year before. A caution, however: the plastic lens  flanges on the a6000 body aren't up to the heft of the 70-300. The solution is the Fotodiox Tough E-Mount LT, an all-metal replacement, readily available on Amazon. Enjoy and stay safe!

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MWM

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

That works.  It's really not too difficult to deal with raw.  But that's topic matter for other threads.

Craig Gillette Forum Pro • Posts: 12,117
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

I think there's another thread out there looking to those two lenses now.  The Sony is a better lens, perhaps not tremendously so, but the Tamron as that single lens - no changing in possibly adverse conditions advantage.  Without looking it up, I'd expect that over the duplicated focal length range, they are likely to be at or very close aperture wise.

RDCollins
RDCollins Senior Member • Posts: 1,172
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

If you subscribe to the National Geographic, there are a couple of really excellent articles that are both relevant to this thread and loaded with typically excellent photos. One is about the Serengeti in Kenya and Tanzania, another about the annual migration of wildebeests (gnus), and a third about the Maasai (native tribesmen of the region), Unfortunately it's behind a paywall, but access to the on-line site is only $19 a year, and for $39 you get both an annual subscription to the monthly print edition (starting in January) and access to the site. Here's a link if your interested:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/article/the-urgent-need-to-protect-the-serengetis-intricate-web-of-life-feature?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=Planet_Possible_20211130::rid=CA48CD84CA23C7D411D13FF719E940A0

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Doug Collins
Hermosa Beach, California

 RDCollins's gear list:RDCollins's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS +2 more
math guy
math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,843
new A6400 + 18-135 + rent a longer lens
1

ActiveChewy wrote:

Or am I better off just getting the 55-210mm and saving some $, and just using my iphone 13 for landscapes and my a6000 for the animals on this trip.

I've never been on a safari. But I can promise you that if I were going to take an amazing trip like that there is no way in the world I'd use a cell phone for any of the pictures. And my experience with the 16-50 wasn't much better than a cell phone, so I wouldn't be happy with that either.

Ideally, I think you'd probably want two bodies so you're always ready for any situation. If you can afford it, I'd spring for the A6400 + 18-135 kit. The 18-135 is worlds better than the 16-50. You could keep it on your existing A6000 for closer shots, and rent a longer lens like the 70-350 or 100-400 just for the trip to use with the new A6400. That would total around $1500ish depending on which lens you rented (and how long the trip is). Just be careful about getting a lens that is TOO long if you rent. At some point, it becomes difficult to keep it steady. I'm very happy with the 70-350 because the weight isn't too bad, and I doubt I could hold a lens steady if I went much beyond 350mm... at least not without a monopod.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!!!

EDIT: I re-read this and my comment about cell phones and the 16-50 sounded snooty, which is not my intent. I print a lot of my photos for hanging on walls, so I want lenses that can produce images capable of printing at 11x17 or 16x24. Sometimes cell phone pics look okay on a phone, but they just don't usually hold up well to enlargement. There's a reason good glass costs a lot - physics! And again, I found the 16-50 to be only slightly better than a cell phone. If you don't intend to print any of your images at larger sizes, then you may be fine with the 16-50 for the closer shots instead of adding the 18-135.

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-- Joe S.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein
https://www.flickr.com/photos/183511745@N03/

 math guy's gear list:math guy's gear list
Sony a6400 Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS Sony E 20mm F2.8 Sigma 30mm F1.4 (E/EF-M mounts) Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN (E/EF-M mounts) +5 more
RichardB51 Junior Member • Posts: 44
Re: Sony a6000 & Safari - Confused
1

I was on safari two months ago.  I had the same concerns about changing lenses in a dusty environment.  I was fortunate enough to have two similar bodies (a6000 and a6400). I mounted a 16-70 on the a6000 and a 70-350 on the a6400 with plans not to remove either lens from its body.

Upon returning home I checked by photo "statistics" and determined that 70% of my shots were taken with the longer lens.

I think your 55-210 idea might be your best option.  The Apple i13 is actually a pretty capable camera.

Have a great trip and post photos when you return.

 RichardB51's gear list:RichardB51's gear list
Sony a6000 Sony a6400 Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS +6 more
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