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Zoom lens for safari - Help needed!


sidaorb 8 3.9k 2 England
25 Jul 2009 10:00AM
If you can find one (and they do come up on ebay occasionally) have a look at the Canon 35-350mm L, I've had two of these now and swear by them, may be slightly over your budget but worth every penny of the extra stretch Smile

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28 Jul 2009 11:02PM
There seems to be a few differing opinions out there! Some of you are going for the 100-400 and others for longer ranges... Sidaorb, you mention the 35-350.....This has quite a long focal range and so is more versatile e.g. for landscapes without having the change lens (also meaning less weight as fewer lenses, less chance of dust getting in....etc). I was having a look at Sigma 28-300mm or 18-250 (with os) or Tamron 28-300mm. What are everyones thoughts on these types of lens? They have had decent reviews on this website and other places, and they will effectively be longer as I don't have a full frame sensor...but will they still be 'too short' at the longer end? I don't know how close these animals get to you (or rather you to them!) - we're going in a jeep not in one of those minivans and spending a lot of time in private conservancies...
29 Jul 2009 9:25AM
..Oh and I'm mostly interested in bigger game like Elephants, Lions etc rather than birds etc...
jdesign 5 14 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 11:41AM
Hi Little Nell,

I have recently been on a trip to the Arctic and spent a long time researching which lens I should take!
I hired a Canon 100-400mm f/4 and my partner hired a 28-300mm.
Now both of these lenses are quick heavy, and being a girl and not having used them before I was apprehensive as to how easy they were going to be to work with. The 100-400mm worked out to be a great lens for me, I got some fantastic pictures and was very happy with the choice. The 28-300mm weighed about 1.6kg and with the body of my 400D it was tiring to use after awhile of lifting and moving around. Of the two I personally preferred the 100-400mm from weight and zoom capabilities.
Regarding hiring, this is the place to hire from http://www.lensesforhire.co.uk/, highly professional company. Initially I booked 2 lenses through http://www.camerent.co.uk/ almost a month before our holiday, but a few days before we went they informed that they did not have stock of the 1 lens and that my order was not even on their system, so after a mild panic I found Lenses for Hire who had stock of the 28-300mm. So it's up to you who you chose. We rented our for 3 weeks and was between 150 - 200 each.
You won't be sorry with the 100-400mm, it's a good all-rounder lens for landscapes aswell as wildlife. If you have a wide angle lens to capture landscapes that would also be a good addition eg. 10-22mm.
Good luck!
29 Jul 2009 11:56AM
Been to Kruger 3x and just booked a 4th for Sept. Elephants won't be a problem with a 300mm but for general game, biggest is best. Go for the 100-400L 2nd hand and sell on. Renting is fine but don't break it.

Kenyan safaris are generally in a mini van, lots of bouncing around. Just be careful with spare kit and where you leave it on board.

If you love wildlife, you will return so don't be too sure you won't need it again.
pennyspike 11 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 12:17PM
You'll enjoy every minute of your trip I'm sure.

I found the 100-400 great but we were so close to the wildlife it was almost too long for the larger animals. As it's usually very dusty changing lenses is a bit prone to sensor problems so the 35-350 would cover most of of your needs. IS is very useful but I found even more useful was a pod type beanbag (relatively light) or even a bag to fill with beans or similar when you get there.

If you are using an internal flight on a small aircraft during your trip there is usually a problem with the weight allowance for bagggage so keeping the equipment extras down is a consideration. Size/weight of the camera bag is also an issue as it will be difficult if there are a lot in the mini-bus.
We'll look forward to seeing your shots
29 Jul 2009 2:30PM
Right. Thanks for all the advice guys. I have bitten the bullet and hired the canon 100-400 IS lens from lensesforhire.co.uk, who seemed excellent when I spoke to them on the phone, so hopefully, I will get the lens tomorrow and be able to practice with it for a short while before I go....

I am going to buy a longer lens than I currently have for my camera for everyday/general travel use as I currently only have a 18-55mm. Not sure which one of those I'm going to get now, so need to do a bit of research on that......

I'll let you know how my photos turn out after my trip! (I think I'm going to have to spend 2 weeks without shoes or clothes due to weight of my camera gear..... Wink )
pennyspike 11 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 6:17PM

Quote:I think I'm going to have to spend 2 weeks without shoes or clothes due to weight of my camera gear.....

The extra insect repellent will cancel out any benefit.Wink
On a serious note be very careful not to get the repellent on your camera gear, it has a tendency to eat it.
Have a great time.
rowarrior 6 4.4k 9 Scotland
29 Jul 2009 6:50PM

Quote:be very careful not to get the repellent on your camera gear, it has a tendency to eat it.


Watches too...
stevie e2
10 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
29 Jul 2009 10:11PM
Hope the 100-400 works out (I'm sure it will) and have a good time!
Consider getting a bean bag to rest it on - can be very useful from a safari vehicle.
29 Jul 2009 11:28PM
Thanks guys! I'll watch out for the insect repellent - I do worry about what it does to your skin when it erodes plastics and things!Where can you get 'pod' bean bags from? - these are supposed to be good....
rowarrior 6 4.4k 9 Scotland
30 Jul 2009 9:20PM
oh, now the POD beanbag is excellent, I was using a lot on holiday with the big lens I had with me. I sure I got mine (the red one) from WE a couple of years ago, but I can't see it there now Sad The POD's own site is here though, and they have a store and will ship internationally
31 Jul 2009 8:50AM
If you are 3 to an open topped vehicle with a bean bag IS is far from essential.
If you are 7 or 8 in a minibus and shooting through a window IS is very important.

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