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Thread: Lens advice for Africa trip.

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    Member monty1104's Avatar
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    Lens advice for Africa trip.

    Hey guys.

    I'm heading to Africa for a couple of months and after my last holiday, I decide I needed to get a decent camera instead of just a P&S. I've invested in a Canon 1100D with a Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II lens (came with the camera). In Africa I am planning to take photos of mainly landscapes (eg, Sossusvlei Dunes and Victoria Falls) and also of animals while on game drives. My trip is long enough and varied enough that I can focus on one thing to photo per day, so getting a lens that covers all bases at once isnt a priority.

    For a wide angle lens I am deciding between the Tokina 11-16mm or the Sigma 10-20mm. Have heard great reviews on both so unsure as to which one to go for.

    As for a telephoto zoom, thats where I need help. There are a few I'm tossing up between, but I dont actually know how long the lens needs to be. I am looking at either the Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 USM or the Tamron equivalent. The other option, depending on whether or not I'll need it is the Sigma 150-500mm f4-5.6. I'm currently leaning towards the Tamron 70-300, but having no experience with DSLR's, I really am just going on reviews and recommendations.

    And yes I know it seems like I'm jumping into the deep end here, but I dont tend to do things by half measures. Once I commit to something, I fully commit, so any help will be appreciated.

    EDIT: I've also seen reviews on the Tokina 12-24mm, and it seems like a good lens in roughly the same price range as the wide angle lenses I've listed above. So many choices!!!
    Last edited by monty1104; 13-03-2012 at 1:05pm.

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    Hi mate,

    I haven't been myself, but my instinct tells me to get the longest lens you can for the money, preferably with IS. So, the 70-300 you have selected is just about bang on.

    The digital picture did a nice write-up here with some interesting conclusions. Probably worth a read http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

    For the record, I have the 70-200 f/4 L IS USM referred to in the review. It's not as long, but on a crop body still gives me 320mm equivalent, and the quality is beyond compare. If you have the cash
    Last edited by Ploddy; 13-03-2012 at 1:11pm.
    Cheers,
    Chris.

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    I think an all purpose zoom lens would go a long way for your trip.
    even just the basic 18-55 mm or something a bit more diverse but also pricer like the 15-85 or the 24-105, Unless of course you don't have a problem with changing the lens you are using several times a day whilst out and about.

    in regards to the UWA I would look at the sigma 10-20 primarily, the tokia 11-16 is a bit pricer and less flexible but offers an aperture of F2.8 something that you won't need for the out door landscapes.

    Most of all enjoy your trip and stay safe!
    Canon 60D - 24-105 F4 L - Sigma 10-20 - Kit lenses - 50mm F:1.8 - Tamron 90mm F:2.8 Macro - 430 exII _ Extension Tube Set


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    There's not a great deal of difference in price between to 70-300L and the 100-400L. Probably worth throwing the 100-400 into the mix. You'll need to be careful no matter what telephoto you buy. Hanging a big telephoto off the 1100D's mount and carrying it around will put a bit of torsional stress on the little camera's body if you don't carry it the right way.

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    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    Either the 100-400L or the 150-500 bigma. 300mm will still be a bit limiting for a safari.

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    Just been looking through prices a bit, anything over 300mm looks a bit out of my range price range tbh. I dot know why I thought I could afford the Sigma 150-500. I'll double check prices again when I get the chance. I was hoping to spend about $1200-1500 total on lenses.

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    You need to shop around or visit ebay for pre-loved lenses.

    http://www.topbuy.com.au/tbcart/pc/C...ens-p17471.htm

    Don't forget duty-free as you're actually leaving the country.

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    All lines lead to Home ... arnica's Avatar
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    As many have said, the biggest telephoto you can afford. Also bare in mind whether you will be using it afterwards. If not, maybe borrowing/renting one for your trip?
    Regards,
    Phil

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    cameras direct is having a sale at the moment and there is 15% off the sigma 150-500....making it less than 1K.
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
    Nikon: D7000, D80, 12-24 f4, 17-55 f2.8, 18-135, 70-300VR, 35f2, SB 400, SB 600, TC-201 2x converter. Tamron: 90 macro 2.8 Kenko ext. tubes. Photoshop CS2.


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    Also do note the size of the Bigma. It's called a bigma for a reason :P

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    Top Buy have the Sigma 150-500 for under $900 delivered, but it is a big and very heavy lens to carry around.
    They also have the Tokina 11-16 for just under $600 delivered, so there's your $1500!
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
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    Ausphotography Regular Brian500au's Avatar
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    It can really depend on where you are travelling in Africa and your mode of transport to what you should take with you lens wise. I have travelled in many parts of Africa and there is a big difference if you are travelling via camel and train in Egypt, or via a hire car in South Africa.

    I would suggest any of the "L" lens or the bigma is just too heavy for what you want. If you are on Safari - at times no lens is long enough, and at other times a standard 50 - 100 mm lens is all you will need (a herd of Elephants in front of your jeep). My advice is do as you had originally planned, get the wide angle (Tokina or Sigma), take the 50mm for low light and then a 70 - 300 mm (non "L") for a bit of length.

    You also need to look at your style of photography - some people like to include the environment into the shoot - others like to isolate a subject. When I travel I rarely use telephoto lens. I find them heavy and inconvenient to carry when I am travelling.
    www.kjbphotography.com.au

    1Dx, 5DsR, 200-400 f4L Ext, 100-400 f4.5-5.6L II, 70-300 f4-5.6L IS, 70-200 f2.8L IS II, 24-70 f2.8L II, 16-35 f4 IS, 11-24 f4L, 85 f1.2L II, 500 f4L IS, 300 f2.8 IS, ∑50 f1.4 A


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    Thanks for all the info everyone, it's been really helpful.

    I think I've decided in a wide angle lens (unsure which one) and also a 70-300mm lens (also unsure which one). On the trip I'm planning I will be doing enough game drives that I should get close enough to a variety of animals so the 70-30m should be enough.

    Will spend tomorrow trawling through reviews of various lenses so I can buy them soon and have time to learn how to use each lens well.

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    I'm also going to Africa on safari in the middle of the year. This is my current gear plan:

    DSLR Camera Body:
    Canon 5D mkIII

    Wide Angle:
    Canon 17-40 F4 - don't need F2.8 for wide angle landscapes

    Two primes for portraits - I can zoom with my feet easily at that range:
    Sigma 50mm F1.4 - rated better than the Canon F1.4 and F1.8 and cheaper than the Canon F1.2L
    Sigma 85mm F1.4 - ditto

    Telephoto Zoom for wildlife:
    lots of choices here, but I'm going to go with the Sigma 120-300mm OS F2.8 with a Canon 2.0x III TC. It will give me up to 300mm at F2.8 and 600mm f5.6 at the long end, as compared to say the Sigma 150-500 or 50-500 which are both F4.5 at the short end and F6.3 at the long end. Downside is that the 120-300mm is heavier than the bigma. You want at least 500mm for safari shots. The canon prime lenses at 400mm, 500mm and 600mm are massive financial investments, whereas the Sigma is under $3k (get CR Kennedy to pricematch DDP $2270).

    Support material:
    Gitzo 2541 monopod (plus a bit of rope - you can always lash it to a fencepost/tree to turn it into a tripod for a long exposure landscape shot, whereas a tripod won't work on a safari vehicle)
    Markins Q10 lever quick release ballhead
    Wimberley Sidekick
    2 beanbags (unfilled)
    600EX flash with Better Beamer
    Lee Filters kit with Big Stopper and other ND and Grad ND filters (esp useful for Vict Falls)
    Panasonic P&S DMC-TZ20 with underwater housing for Great White shark dives off the Sth African coast.

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    @anahka

    Drop an EF25 in your kit too. The 120-300 will actually do very good close-ups of plants and insects. It focuses very close without a tube to start with.

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    I have a set of Kenko extension tubes: 36mm 20mm and 12mm.

    Camerasnoop - Thanks for the suggestion - saves me carrying a 105mm macro lens.

    Anakha

    Quote Originally Posted by camerasnoop View Post
    @anahka

    Drop an EF25 in your kit too. The 120-300 will actually do very good close-ups of plants and insects. It focuses very close without a tube to start with.

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    your set of gear is cool
    Be happy, life is beautiful, even through a humble point and shoot camera
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    Minimum Focusing Distances

    Camerasnoop,

    I just checked on the Sigma website and the MFD for the 120-300 OS lens is 150cm, whereas the MFD for the 105mm macro lens is 31.2cm and the MFD for the 150mm macro lens is 38cm.

    Consequently, I don't know how well the Sigma 120-300mm would work as a macro lens. I certainly won't have to worry about shadowing from the lens!

    Quote Originally Posted by camerasnoop View Post
    @anahka

    Drop an EF25 in your kit too. The 120-300 will actually do very good close-ups of plants and insects. It focuses very close without a tube to start with.

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    I went to Africa a couple of years ago. I used the Canon 40D with the 24-70mm lens on it as a carry around proposition, but when we went to Palanisberg and Kruger National Parks you need the biggest one you can afford. Most of the animal pictures are dead easy as they are so used to cars and people that they are generally just lying around ignoring you. You will almost always have plenty of time to set up for the photo. Having said that, quite often the animals may be several hundred meters away from your vehicle (and they don't drive off the roads), soo a 70-200 will get you by, but a 100-400 would be better.

    You will not regret the trip...it should be on everyone's bucket list!!
    Canon 6D
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    24-105 L IS USM
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    Quote Originally Posted by acko View Post
    I went to Africa a couple of years ago. I used the Canon 40D with the 24-70mm lens on it as a carry around proposition, but when we went to Palanisberg and Kruger National Parks you need the biggest one you can afford. Most of the animal pictures are dead easy as they are so used to cars and people that they are generally just lying around ignoring you. You will almost always have plenty of time to set up for the photo. Having said that, quite often the animals may be several hundred meters away from your vehicle (and they don't drive off the roads), soo a 70-200 will get you by, but a 100-400 would be better.

    You will not regret the trip...it should be on everyone's bucket list!!
    Sorry, that should be "used the 24-105 lens as a carry around"

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