Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Kenya Safari Photo Gear?  (Read 2020 times)

maxnoy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1
    • Max Noy Photo
Kenya Safari Photo Gear?
« on: August 24, 2011, 06:28:06 pm »

I am hoping that someone can share their experience or provide some advice. We are going for our first safari trip to Kenya. It's going to be ~10 days in and between mara/amboseli/nakuru.

What photo gear would you recommend taking out of the following available:

- M9 with 15, 21, 28, 35, 50, 90/2.8, 90/4 'Macro'
- GH2 w/M adapter
- 5D (mk1) with all the usual F4L set (17-40/24-105/70-200) + 35/50 primes

As a point of reference, most of the time I use M9 with one of 28/35/50. My usual 'light travel kit' is a 28+90/4. GH2 I've only used for video so far. I've shot the canon set extensively, but it's bulkier than the other two and I like the images and feel of the M9 a lot more.

After reading the safari article here (which is, admittedly, talking about an AF-capable S2), I was thinking about M9 + 28 + 90/4 + either 35 or 50. Maybe a 21. And renting a 100-300 for the GH2 for the tele/af side. Does that sound like a reasonable set?

Is it reasonable to go with no AF capability for anything under 200mm equiv? Can anyone share their safari experience with an M?

Would it be better to go with the 45-200 (~90-400) or 100-300 (~200-600) for GH2?

Another option is to rent the 100-300 and the 7-14 for the GH2 to have the ultra wide and tele ends covered.

Yet another option is to go with the Canon setup, plus maybe rent a 300/4 + 1.4TC. The relatively compact GH2 and 100-300 seemed enticing though.

I guess most of the safari will be from a vehicle, so maybe the size/bulk doesn't matter as much?  Any recommendations from people who've done it??
« Last Edit: August 24, 2011, 06:34:47 pm by maxnoy »
Logged
-----------------
Max Noy Photo

stever

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Kenya Safari Photo Gear?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 09:03:55 pm »

it's probably worth your time to do a search and browse at least some of the safari gear posts, but here's my opinion re your particulars

i recommend taking the 5D with the 24-105 and a rented 100-400.  the 300 does not seem to work well with extenders and with a 1.4x it's worse than the 100-400 without the flexibility.  it's very dusty and you don't want to change lenses often.  the major downside of the 5D is the need for frequent sensor cleaning in dusty conditions.  i took a 5D2 to Tanzania 2 years ago and shot about 80% with the 100-400 (the rest with a 40D and 400 and 24-105 or 50 f1.4 on the 5D2).  as you know prints from full frame are nice

i have no M experience but the image quality for landscapes, animal groups, and people sounds great -- 50 and 90 sound good plus 28 or 35 (not wider)

i'd also take the GH2 and rented 100-300 for extra reach and as a backup (and maybe a medium range zoom).  i'm not at all comfortable on a trip like this without a backup body and long lens

Logged

HJW

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6
Re: Kenya Safari Photo Gear?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 04:37:52 pm »

- M9 with 15, 21, 28, 35, 50, 90/2.8, 90/4 'Macro'
- GH2 w/M adapter
- 5D (mk1) with all the usual F4L set (17-40/24-105/70-200) + 35/50 primes

I'm also going to Kenya shortly, and have similar equipment available. A number of years ago I went to South Africa with Leica M6 and M7 with 12, 21, 35 and 75mm lenses and Canon EOS3 with 100-400 and 100macro. Mostly I used the Canon 100-400, also with 1.4x and an M camera with the 35/1.4. All equipment got reasonable use and was worthwhile.

Flexibility is a must if shooting from a vehicle; zooms are very useful. How long a lens you need depends of course on personal styles and preferences, but while I took som shots of lions with the 21 and 35, most were with the 100-400 and I would not have gotten images of some animals with a shorter lens. Best would be a set of super telephotos available and handed to you on a body by an assistant, but in real life we not only don't have all those things but we wouldn't want to carry them either. I don't want to carry more than I have to since my knees aren't that good anymore and we have to cross various airports plus have additional excursions planned after.

On this trip 3 people are taking Nikon D700 cameras; 2 are taking the 200-400/4 and one the 300/2.8 as their main long lens, and also converters. For the 200-400 they are buying an extra seat on the flight, apparently. One other person is taking Panasonics and the 100-300 as his longest lens. I had a 300/2.8 Canon for a while but got rid of it as it was not convincing with teleconverters. My main options are the 5DMkII and 7D with various lenses up to the 100-400. The other option is a GH2 and G3 with various lenses up to the 100-300. In tests for detail and general image quality at longer distances the GH2 and 100-300 won out. The 5DMkII has too low a pixel density and can't deliver the detail, and the 7D combo suffers because the 100-400 (or the 70-200/2.8II with converters) is just not as good a lens as the Panasonic 100-300. I've owned two and tried 4 other 100-400 and mine is the best of those but still has obvious decentering, but at least the 7D crops out the worst. The 7D has better low light capability, but only by about 1 stop at best. The 45-200 is not nearly as good as the 100-300.

So I'm taking the GH2, G3, 7-14, 14-140, 12/2 Oly, 20/1.7, 45/2.8 and 100-300. All of this fits in a Domke 803, and is easily carried through airports. I still might replace the fixed lenses (except the macro) with an M9 and 21, 35 and 75, but that is the only thing that is still up in the air.

I use the 5DMkII with TS-E lenses for work a lot but have found the GH2 and G3 to deliver image quality which is quite acceptable once in print so don't feel I'm losing very much. It also means I can have all the lenses with me all the time.

Henning
Logged

stever

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1245
Re: Kenya Safari Photo Gear?
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2011, 08:11:51 pm »

very interesting comparison

i like my 100-400 a lot on the 5D2, but it disappoints on the 7D.  in general, resolution of 7D is down about 25% compared to the 5D2.  the only reasonable size and weight option to get to 600mm with enough resolution for 17-25 prints from the 7D is the 400 f5.6 - but lack of IS limits its use handheld

Canon has never paid much attention to making glass optimized for the APSC pixel spacing so i guess it's not surprising that Panasonic starting from scratch with a more compact image proportion can design and produce better optimized camera/lens combinations

the low noise, high frame rate and autofocus of the 7D are really nice for action, but i also find myself asking if it's worth the weight and bulk
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up