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Author Topic: Gear for WALKING safari in Tanzania  (Read 16325 times)
fike
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« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2009, 03:17:20 PM »
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Just one note....I realized that the 300mm lens you have is the f/4, not the f/2.8.  You can still mount the 1.4x teleconverter on it and have the autofocus work at the effective f/5.6.  On the other hand, the 300mm f/2.8 lens I mentioned is a bit larger and far higher quality.  It is still a pretty decent possibility for you, but I think that lens is somewhere around $3,000.

As for the low-light performance of the 50D versus the 5DMkII, on the 50D you will see a small amount of noise set in at around 400 ISO and it will become a bit distracting in the shadows at somewhere around 1000 or 1600 ISO while the 3200 ISO is pretty poor.  On the 5DMKII you won't notice substantial noise until closer to 800 or 1000 and it is only distracting at 3200.  These numbers are gross generalizations, but generally speaking the 5DMKII will give you about 2-3 stops better noise performance.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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TrailPixie.net

I carry an M43 ILC, a couple of good lenses, and a tripod.
Plekto
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« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2009, 05:05:19 PM »
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If you don't mind losing a couple of more stops, you can buy the 2x converter.  and even stack the two together for close to 3x. (would be like f/11 or something though...)
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MarkH
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« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2009, 06:04:45 PM »
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Quote from: fike
Just one note....I realized that the 300mm lens you have is the f/4, not the f/2.8.  You can still mount the 1.4x teleconverter on it and have the autofocus work at the effective f/5.6.  On the other hand, the 300mm f/2.8 lens I mentioned is a bit larger and far higher quality.  It is still a pretty decent possibility for you, but I think that lens is somewhere around $3,000.
Still, I can rent the f/2.8 version for about 500 bucks for the month.
I've also done some reading and it appears that both the 1.4x and 2x extenders work well with this lens.
I think I may be circling in on a solution... maybe I'll see if I can rent this lens for a day locally....
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MarkH
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« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2009, 05:26:50 PM »
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Well, my local camera shop has the "old" non-IS version of the F2.8 300MM lens and daily rental is $50
I'm thinking that the purchase of a 50D is gonna happen anyhow because we already own the F4 300MM.

I also already own a 1.4x extender so I guess I'll do a test and decide for myself if I want to schlep around the heavy fast lens or to simply bring my lighter albeit slower 300MM.
Hopefully I can catch some surf action and maybe some stuff at the local bird sanctuary.  I think I might take it to dog park to test on fast moving wildlife  Or perhaps head down to San Diego at the Wild Animal park for some pseudo-safari testing...



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MarkH
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« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2009, 02:40:29 PM »
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BTW, I'd be interested in corresponding with anyone that has been on a safari with Hoopoe.

Thanks!
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stever
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« Reply #25 on: March 04, 2009, 06:30:05 PM »
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i've used and believed that a crop-frame camera with the 100-400 is the best single camera/lens combination for wildlife- i've used it from vehicles, boats, and some walking (the problem with walking is getting even within the effective 640mm range of many animals).  i also use a better beamer and Quantum turbo compact with a 550 or 580 for fill flash and night shooting.  my 300 f4 + 1.4x is distinctly inferior to the 100-400 (although this may be the badness of my 300 rather than goodness of my 100-400.  even if the 300+1.4x were as good as the 100-400 the flexibility of the 100-400 will get a lot more shots - removing and replacing the converter in the dusty conditions of Africa is a serious issue.

i purchased a 50D at year-end hoping to improve on 40D IQ for a trip to Tanzania this year.  in testing, i found no noticeable improvement over the 40D with the 100-400 and returned the 50D (as some reviews have pointed out, the 50D demands very good glass - it did perform better with my 100 macro, but not much else).

since my trip will be vehicle-based, i'm planning to take 40D, 5dII, 50 1.4, 24-100, 100-400, rented 400DO, and 1.4x converter - and probably a monopod.  i've tried the 300 2.8 and the IQ with 2x seems to be about the same as the 400DO with 1.4x which i can hand-hold (although with a 40D and 1.4x a monopod or rest is necessary for framing)



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Steve Kerman
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« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2009, 09:46:12 PM »
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Quote from: Plekto
Good shoes.

Someone slower than you.    
A good cannon like the H&H 600 double Nitro Express.      
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reburns
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« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2009, 10:03:41 AM »
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How about a multi-socket A/C plug on a short cord?  When you get to some guest house / camping shelter, everyone will be gunning for the few available outlets.  You will win friends.  

Two sets of the travel synthetic undies is all you need for travel (exofficio).  Plus those nice (expensive) wool t-shirts from folks like Ibex which never feel dirty.  One pair of shorts.  One pair of those thin pants, and and if you want to go ugly, those zip-off ones (don't do it!).  One sweater.  No shoes.  No kidding.  The Africans do well with sandals, so will you.  There, now you don't have to wash any socks.  Alright, I'll admit that Africans wear shoes.  But bring your sense of adventure...  i.e. never refuse an offer to go to someone's house for tea or dinner.

Don't discount the monopod.  Recon it is much more useful for wildlife than a tripod.  The shorter and lighter the better.  How about a $20 Manfrotto 676B?  For a 12# lens?  It works for me.  For landscapes, I'm really impressed with the GT0541 with travel RRS ballhead (1kg total).

For the wildlife, I wouldn't be afraid to go long.  600mm equivalent plus, or maybe that 400f/2.8 +TC for versatility.  You could use the 100-400L, it's image quality is the same as the 70-200f/2.8 on FF in my tests, but neither will take the 1.4X well.  That Gura Gear backpack will hold it all just fine.  It's my guess that any walking safari doesn't have high density of big game.  You might be on one of those with a guide w/rifle.

How about buying the big lens or crop body used and sell it used?  You should take minimal depreciation hit and spend less than renting ($50 in my case, tho the economy is something to factor).  The only real risk here is the situation where you can't part with it afterwards.  Insure it all with a personal items policy, not necessarily for Africa, but for travel thru big cities in general.  

You can contact someone who went with Hoopoe here:  http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thre...sageID=15434894

Enjoy!
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MarkH
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« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2009, 10:21:16 AM »
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Thanks for all the advice.

I do indeed intend to bring a multi-plug.  I'm also considering a tripp-lite inverter that has 2 plugs for sharing in the vehicle.

Funny you mention about the clothes.  I'm joking with my wife that one really only needs 1 pair of underwear.  One day right side out, one day inside out, third day commando while in the laundry

I'm definitely bringing a monopod.  I can probably manage to prop it up somehow for the early morning sunrise photos.

I don't plan on bring a flash right now but am not sure.

The real issue right now is the 15Kg weight limit.  My camera gear weighs almost that much.
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reburns
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« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2009, 11:12:36 AM »
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OK one pair then.  One week right side out, one evening commando while it dries.  Those spendy travel undies do work pretty well, and if you get all black you'll be set for swimming at Zanzibar.

+ A big rocket blower, considering the 5DI and safari life.  The 5DII sensor stays pretty clean.
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mahleu
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« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2009, 11:51:52 AM »
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Take an empty bean bag with you and then fill it up with lentils/rice or whatever when you're there. It makes it very easy to use almost anything as a 'tripod'. I'd also take some good insect repellent, serious sunscreen, wide hat that covers your ears and neck and sunglasses.
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flash
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« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2009, 04:43:52 PM »
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Quote from: mahleu
Take an empty bean bag with you and then fill it up with lentils/rice or whatever when you're there. It makes it very easy to use almost anything as a 'tripod'. I'd also take some good insect repellent, serious sunscreen, wide hat that covers your ears and neck and sunglasses.

+1 for the beanbag. And the rest for that matter.

You must be stronger, faster and taller than me. Because as much as I love my cameras there's no way I'm walking kilometers with any of the Canon super teles. Personally, having done a few Safaris I would simplify as much as possible. Less is more when your time is limited. Shooting from a vehicle will be great but I think walking and shooting would be a pain with anything heavier than a 100-400. Carrying 15kg (34lbs) of camera gear is going to get tired really fast and will interfere with your ability to get the shot as well as your enjoyment of the trip. It's all well and good to see guys like Andy Biggs etc. and the gear they carry, but they are there for extended periods of time and often after only one subject per trip. You'll be looking to get the most variety in the shortest time frame. And unless you are on a private safari, you'll also have to move with the group. 5 hours at a single waterhole just isn't going to happen.

For a walking Safari I'd have 2 bodies (1 cropped) or 3 bodies between 2 people, 16-35 (or a Sigma 12-24), 24-105 IS, 50mm 1.8, 70-200 2.8, 100mm macro and a Sigma 50-500. I'd have UV filters on all my lenses,  polariser (77mm and 86mm), a carbon monopod with a small ball head, plenty of memory, at least 500GB of backup storage and plenty of cleaning equipment. You may still take a 500 f4 for vehicle days.

just my 0.02

Gordon
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stever
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« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2009, 07:11:40 PM »
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i mostly agree with flash except for the Sigma 50-500.  the Sigma long zooms have pretty sad IQ and are unreliable in addition (see interesting lens reliability info on lensrentals.com site).  Unfortunately there isn't a better long zoom than the Canon 100-400.

i recommend the RRS MH-01 for a monopod - works well even with quite large lenses and far superior to a ball head on a monopod
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flash
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« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2009, 09:07:56 PM »
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Quote from: stever
i mostly agree with flash except for the Sigma 50-500.  the Sigma long zooms have pretty sad IQ and are unreliable in addition (see interesting lens reliability info on lensrentals.com site).  Unfortunately there isn't a better long zoom than the Canon 100-400.

i recommend the RRS MH-01 for a monopod - works well even with quite large lenses and far superior to a ball head on a monopod

Is your judgement of the Sigma lenses based on personal experience, factual information or your opinion? My 50-500 has been to 15 countries, is at least as sharp as the 100-400L I sold to get it and has been perfectly reliable in that time. Personally I found the 100-400 quite dissapointing for an "L" lens. The reviews I have read of the "Bigma" and my own experience over the last 2 years with it would dissagree with your opinion. I also believe a review is coming from Michael, eventually. Though I'm sure he already has an opinion on the one he has for his Sony system.

Gordon
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MarkH
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« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2009, 10:43:45 PM »
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Quote from: flash
You must be stronger, faster and taller than me. Because as much as I love my cameras there's no way I'm walking kilometers with any of the Canon super teles.
Gordon,

Probably not taller, but perhaps stronger and faster;)   I'm pretty fit so the thought of carrying gear doesn't bother me too much.  I was able to go Grand Canyon rim to the River and back in 5.5 hours.
I am giving serious thought to this though.... but given the fact that I'm unlikely to do this trip again so I will probably simply suck it up !!
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 10:44:43 PM by MarkH » Logged
flash
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« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2009, 11:01:52 PM »
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Quote from: MarkH
Gordon,

Probably not taller, but perhaps stronger and faster;)   I'm pretty fit so the thought of carrying gear doesn't bother me too much.  I was able to go Grand Canyon rim to the River and back in 5.5 hours.
I am giving serious thought to this though.... but given the fact that I'm unlikely to do this trip again so I will probably simply suck it up !!

Is that good :-) . I wouldn't know. I live a loooooooong way from the Grand Canyon (other side of the world). Enjoy your trip. I'd love to be in Africa again.

Gordon

p.s. Whatever you do in Tanzania, make sure you get to the Ngorngorro Crater. One of my favourite places in the world.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 11:02:58 PM by flash » Logged
MarkH
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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2009, 11:08:26 PM »
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Quote from: flash
Is that good :-) . I wouldn't know. I live a loooooooong way from the Grand Canyon (other side of the world). Enjoy your trip. I'd love to be in Africa again.

Gordon

p.s. Whatever you do in Tanzania, make sure you get to the Ngorngorro Crater. One of my favourite places in the world.

The Bright Angel Trail at Grand Canyon begins near the main visitor complex, at the start of the Hermit's Rest road, and follows the course of Garden Creek, reaching the Colorado after 9.5 miles and a descent of over 4,500 feet. starting at 6860 feet and ending at 2400 feet it is basically a "reverse mountain climb" ...

Here is what I got from the Hoopoe folks on the trip:

The hikes on the Walk on the Wildside itinerary vary with the hikes at West
Kilimanjaro extending to 13 kms which can be done in half or full day.  The
terrain is mainly down hill through cattle grass lands and acacia woodlands.
Some parts tend to be rocky through cattle trails.  On the crater rim walk
this is from point to pain and the first day stretches 15 - 16 kms on a full
day's hike and the next day on a 3 hour stretch. The terrain is relatively
flat which takes you through Maasai trails. On the hikes you will mostly
meet small game but in the Ngorongoro crater rim walk buffalo can be spotted
and that is why you will be accompanied by an armed ranger. The most part of
the itinerary will be in a vehicle during the game drives at West
Kilimanjaro, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater & Serengeti
National Park. Charging batteries is available at West Kilimanjaro with
power supplied from a generator, Kikoti - solar power, Kirurumu - current
electricity, Ngorongoro Sopa and Serengeti Camp - generator.

Water will be supplied during the hikes and game drives and the supply track
will carry this at West Kilimanjaro and donkey in the Ngorongoro highlands.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 11:08:57 PM by MarkH » Logged
stever
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« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2009, 06:29:34 PM »
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that makes a lot more sense, i've been scratching my head imagining how much walking is practical and what you'd see on those walks

my recommendation is to take gear normally recommended for a vehicle safari and treat the walks as a pleasant bonus to absorb the atmosphere of Africa and maybe shoot some landscapes and macro while you're about it (for safety, and i believe park requirements you're going to be doing these walks in the middle of the day so the comment about seeing small game is probably optimistic).  they're not going to let you take the time to shoot serious macro, so i'd recommend a 500D rather than packing a macro lens.  if you're a serious wide-angle shooter then take the wide angle - i'm not, so planning to shoot panoramas

a monopod is a good idea for vehicles as is a bean bag (sometimes vehicles will have been bags)

no, i don't have personal experience with the Sigma, and until i see some objective evidence of satisfactory IQ it will stay that way.  i'll also admit that there has been quality variation with the Canon 100-400 (as with a lot of other lenses)
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dseelig
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« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2009, 02:23:16 PM »
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I found the 100-400 not so good on the long end and that was after it going to canon. since you have 2 bodies I would use the 70-200 f 4 lis and your 300 f4 on a 50 d that would get you through most shooting. Also the 400 5.6 is a great lens. David PS. the new 16-35 is miles aheaed of the original. David
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MarkH
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« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2009, 08:12:40 AM »
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Dangit!  You guys all mentioning long lenses have got me waffling between the Canon SuperTele 300 and 500.
If longer is better then why not?  The rental cost isn't that much more incrementally.

Were it not for the size of the 500mm as a travel consideration that'd be what I choose but it even makes the 300mm F2.8 seem light!!

I think i did decide on a 50D as my second body though.  As soon as I saw that the new 5D Mark II takes different batteries it made that decision easier.
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