Best Bets for Cameras for Safaris?

Dec 14th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Geoff wrote "I believe that test (70-200 w/ 2x vs 100-400) was performed in 2001 and is now outdated as a newer version of the 70-200L IS USM has been released"

I have a fairly new 70-200 f/2.8 IS (2006) and have tested it carefully for resolution against my wife's 100-400 ... at 400 mm f/5.6 it's still no contest, the 100-400 is clearly sharper (even though it's not a particularly great lens compared to the non-zoom 400 f/5.6 or the super-teles).

With the 1.4x the 70-200 isn't as sharp as the 300 f/4 ... while the 70-200 is a sharper lens between 100-200 without converters, once you add the converters you lose about 10-12% rez with the 1.4x and about 25% with the 2x and the 70-200 isn't THAT much better than the 100-400.

Bill_H is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,611
Thanks for the comments re: 70-200 & 100-400. I'm still trying to decide if I "need" the 100-400.

On my trip to Bots in Oct05 I took the 70-200/f2.8 and the 300/f2.8 on two bodies. I used both cameras a lot and had a converter on both cameras most of the time. When I went to Bots in Jul07, I took the 70-200/f2.8 and the 500/f4. I hardly ever used the 70-200. I can't remember how much I used the converters. I had purchased extra converters so I didn't have to take them off of both cameras to switch them out and I didn't use them as much as I did in 2005. Maybe the difference was having the reach of the 500.

My next trip is in Jul08 and my daughter will definitely want to take pictures too. I'll dust off the 10D so we'll have 3 cameras between us and we'll have the 70-200, 300 & 500. Plus the 100-400? hmmm. Don't know. While at MalaMala in Jun06 I let another lady in our vehicle use my 70-200 on her camera at a great leopard sighting. I just had to twiddle my thumbs and wait patiently :-" while she was using it and I don't know if I can be that generous for a whole safari.
sundowner is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 79
I bought a 100-400 IS Canon just for my recent safari, and plan to resell it now - I found this route will cost me less than renting the lens.

(if interested in the lens, email me at [email protected])

wildcatzoo is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 8
I did a 2 week safari to Kenya and Tanzania last month and bought the Nikon D40x with the kit lense and also purchased the Nikon 70-300 IS lens. I had a UV filter and brought an extra battery as well as two 2 gig SD cards. What was most important was my Wolverine flaspac. It's not expensive and you can store all your photos on it. Oh, bring some type of brush to clean the glass because the dust is going to be everywhere. I bought from amazon so if and when the price goes down in 30 days (as mine did three times), they credit your credit card.
davisesq212 is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
For bang for your buck, I would look seriously at a Nikon D40, and spending the extra $ (vs. a D40x) on lenses.
Doh is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Never been on safari but recent;y upgraded from Sony P&S to an Olympus E510 two lens kit before a trip to dusty Utah and came back with this group of images.

For even more rigorous use there's the recently released Olympus E3 which is totally weather sealed and weather sealed lenses are also available. Olympus has the only dust removal system that's proven to do anything and lens quality (even the kit lenses) is supurb.

I know the photo world revolves around Canon and Nikon (fine cameras no doubt) but, if you are after a rugged system that can produce great images, at least give Oly a look. That E3 with a weatherproof articulating LCD is high on my list.

I'll have to wait a bit though since I've blown my camera budget for the year.

peterboy is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 11:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,804
thanks again everybody..

Is there a Canon equivalent to the Nikon D40? I'm not married to Canon as a brand but do have two Canon lenses.
Katie_H is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,274

Thanks for your advice. Yvonne uses mostly Sandisk and has one 4 Gb Kingston but it's handy to be warned about possible problems with Lexar.

I'm very conscious about 'issues' so gave her the Hyperdrive yesterday instead of waiting until Christmas Day. So far she's delighted with it. Me, I'm hardly likely to be concerned. My memory cards come in strip form inside small cylindrical capsules .

afrigalah is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 977
Be aware that any legacy (film camera SLR) Canon lenses will be able to be mounted on the Canon Digital Rebel (400D) for instance but will be a different focal length (more tele). Only the "full frame" (high end) Canon cameras will be able to more correctly use legacy lenses.

Canon and Nikon now make two sensor size DSLRs..."full frame" and APS-C (smaller sensor) cameras. Quite different from each other.

I'd think hard about the relevence of your old lenses. All the APS-C size cameras will require newer "made for digital" lenses to make best advantage of the camera body.

Do some research but legacy glass ISN'T what you should base your decision on unless it is high quality glass and you're willing to spring for a Full Frame DSLR.

peterboy is offline  
Dec 14th, 2007, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Is there a Canon equivalent to the Nikon D40?

The XTi, also called 400D, is the Canon entry level model and it will work with the Canon EF autofocus lenses if that's what you have (but not with the much older FD manual focus lenses).

Bill_H is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 07:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 19
I am novice with DSLR and was planning to buy one before i go to africa.
How critical is IS for 300 mm canon lenses because the price different is large between IS and non IS lenses.

Any good place to shop for lenses
crazytraveller is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 705
I find IS to be indispensable on any lens, regardless of focal length. It really comes in handy in getting pictures of non-moving subjects in low light. Especially with a telephoto lens like a 300mm, it is easy to ruin a picture by very slight movements of the camera while shooting. In addition, the IS stabilizes the view through the camera viewfinder, allowing you to concentrate on composition, etc.

I won't buy a lens without it. To me, it is certainly worth the extra cost.

I buy all my new lenses from B&H Photo & Video, They are legendary for having very competitive prices and excellent customer service. However, I also buy lenses used from other photographers on various internet photography forums -- you can save 10-15% by doing that.

Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Dec 15th, 2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 425
Just to put in another plug for Nikon-- there is a Nikon 55-200mm lens with IS (they call it VR), which lists for $250 and can be found for under $200. I think professional photographers may argue about how good a lens it is but I think most agree that it's a decent lens and a very good value (and I've been very happy with it).

Doh is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:17 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 160
I have the Nikon 18-200mm which I love but I wonder if 200 is enough for a safari. I would much rather not change lenses during the trip but I am considering getting the 80-400mm as well. Any thoughts?
lbodem is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 05:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 504
We used the Canon 20d which, I think, has been replaced with the 40d. We loved this camera and the lenses. No hesitation in recommending it.
mpkp is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
1bodem - The first question is - what are you going to do with the photos you take? If you are going to put them up on Kodakgallery or a web site or make prints no larger than 8x10 inch then read on. If you are going to make 16x20 prints or take bird photos or sell your work then get the 80-400mm lens. And still read on

The 18-200 is the 35mm equivalent of 27-300mm, you know. (On a Nikon DX type body). This compares favorably with the 36-430mm found on super zoom cameras. In fact I did indeed use the Nikon 18-200mm on my D200 for safari in 2006. For those (few) photos which I wish I had a longer lens, I simply cropped them to that degree in Photoshop. And in fact here is a sample of cropping I set up on my Smugmug page -
You could do this right? You have a program with which you can crop and manipulate your digital images, right? If you don't, get one ASAP. You are missing out on over half of the advantages of using a digital camera. I'd recommend Irfanview, It is free, easy to use, will let you crop, adjust colors, sharpen, add captions, view photos as thumbnails and much more.

regards - tom
ps - if you'd like to see about 70 safari photos taken with the D200 and 18-200VR, here they are -
cary999 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 41
I leave in January for my first safari.
I have a Canon Rebel with an 18-55, a 75-300 and a 400.
The prof photog accompanying us says not to bring the 400. Will the 75-300 be enough?
I don't want to be dragging around a big lens I'll never use but ... what if that lion at the water hole is just out of range ... ?

Also, how highly recommended is a second camera? Even a P+S? I'd have to borrow one.

mydogspud is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 41
Sorry, that should read 75 - 300 and 100 - 400. Question is, take the big one or not?
mydogspud is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,611
Not to be rude, Carol, but that recommendation doesn't sound like a professional photographer at all. Did he give any particular reason in choosing the 75-300 over the 100-400? Most people (pro and non-pro) take the biggest lens they can get their hands on. I used a 500mm on my last safari and sometimes added the 1.4 teleconverter to get even more reach (700mm). Without hearing his reason for telling you to take the 75-300, I would have to say he's nuts.

As for needing a second camera, I would take one. Even if it means borrowing a 12x P&S camera. You may not need it but if something goes wrong I wouldn't want to go home without any photos.

Have a great trip!

sundowner is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
I rather disagree about "take the biggest lens they can get their hands on" advice. It's not the arrows, it's the Indian

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:58 AM.