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Camera Lens?

New York City, New...
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Camera Lens?

Hi,

I will be going to Tanzania next month via Access 2 Tanzania tour operator. We will be spending time in the serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro. I curious about opinions on camera equipment. I have a canon 70d and the canon IS 18-200 mm lens (only lens). I have read a lot that a 300 mm lens may be more beneficial? Also do you think I need a smaller lens as well?

Thank you!

Stanley, Falkland...
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1. Re: Camera Lens?

What do you want to photograph?

Usually, you cant take too big a lens....

Bengaluru, India
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2. Re: Camera Lens?

Our experience was that we needed lenses for landscapes and for zoomed in shots. We carried a 18-55 lens and a 70-300 lens for a Canon DSLR, and a 30x Fuji bridge camera.

18 mm or 24 mm is great for landscapes. Good for Serengeti Plains, for example, or a Lake, if you are going to one. Sometimes a 300 mm zoom lens does not seem to be enough for wildlife at a distance, so that's the minimum, and optimal. I guess 400 mm lenses for DSLRs get expensive and bulky. Here are some of our pics:

Glimpses of Serengeti Plains:

…blogspot.com/2014/05/endless-serengeti-plai…

Glimpses of Big Cats:

…blogspot.com/2014/05/big-cats-of-central-se…

Glimpses of Lake Natron:

…blogspot.com/2014/05/from-green-to-gray-sta…

There are a few more posts there if you are interested.

- Jyoti

NEW YORK
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3. Re: Camera Lens?

Definitely 300mm or longer.

I would rent the lens rather than buying one as they are expensive unless you plan to use telephoto lens regularly. Also, bring along a point and shoot camera for the closer shots and to avoid having to change the lens on the 70D.

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Camera Lens?

Hello Wiley. Long time no see ya.

Good advice too.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: Camera Lens?

Thank you for the feedback.

Okay perhaps I will invest in a wide-angle lens as this is something I have been wanting to purchase and look into renting a 300mm lens for the trip.

I do have a point and shoot (Canon g12) - do you think this will suffice the option for closer shots?

thanks again for your help!

Munich
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6. Re: Camera Lens?

But changing the lens is always a challenge, because of the dust and sand. So we do avoid this.

We have a 200 lens and that is enough. You can do a zoom in at your computer as well.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Camera Lens?

I would be wary of relying on a PC to 'improve' from a 200mm. If it is not captured on the Sensor in the Camera no amount of computer wizardry will put it there.

300mm is the accepted minimum and if you can go higher then it will bring it in closer.

Like Jyoti I use a "Bridge" Fuji and am reasonably happy with the results. OK I won't win any prizes but as I don't enter the competition I see no reason to stretch for them.

Michigan
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8. Re: Camera Lens?

I used to have the Canon 18-135 IS and the 70-300 IS. They covered most of the range I needed (along with a small point and shoot for quick grab shots). I replaced them with the 24-105 and the 100-400 because I wanted that added telephoto. I think if I were renting, I wouldn't get a 'fixed' 300 as it may be too telephoto at times. I'd be more inclined to rent the 100-400. One thing if shooting with the 100-400 (or 300 for that matter), they are heavy lenses and you will want to make sure you have a beanbag available to you - or if you prefer, I carry an empty beanbag and buy beans at the store before heading out. As ReiseBeate said, it is challenging changing lenses in the field not only because of dust, but it seems like you see something close when you have the tele lens on. I carry 2 dslr bodies for that reason and leave 1 lens on each. And yes, the camera gear can get heavy but my Kata backpack holds both lenses, both bodies, hoods, filters, memory cards and extra batteries.

Washington DC...
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9. Re: Camera Lens?

Several points:

1. Don't get just any 300mm. Make sure it's IS. The 70-300mm IS is a good lens and will give you better image quality than one without IS.

2. Having said that, many consider the 100-400L IS lens THE safari lens. That lens, however, will run 2.5X what the 70-300mm IS does. But you could 1) rent the lens, 2) buy the lens and resell at eBay (the lens has terrific resale value) or 3) keep it forever if you fall in love with both the lens and Africa (beware mal d'Afrique!). It's a heavy lens and you'll likely need some support (e.g., beanbag) but it will provide added range which comes in handy if you'd like to photograph birds. Many will say they're not into birds, only to find they are after seeing some of the brilliant species Africa offers up.

3. A second camera is a must, whether it's a second body or a P&S. Stuff happens, and you need back-up, as well as the ability to take closer shots.

4. I've found fears about dust overstated. The worst dust conditions I've found by far were in Namibia and even there changing out lenses was manageable. Just be judicious when you change lenses. If you're eating dust from a car in front of you, get the camera under a blanket (many cars have these), a towel, under your jacket, or in a bag. Likewise, you can change lenses under something if conditions are bad, but I can't recall that happening much if at all.

5. I recommend getting hoods for the lenses, which will help with the sun and also help with protecting the lens. You can get hoods very cheaply at eBay. The 100-400 comes with a hood.

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Camera Lens?

I am taking two bodies, bought one for the trip, Nikon D7100 and will sell afterwards. I also rented the 80-400vr. You certainly don't want anything less than a 300mm lens. If will also want something at the 18-55 end for landscapes and when animals are closer.