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DonD49

First Safari to Namibia and Botswana - what lenses to bring

9 posts in this topic

Hello Everyone,

This is my first post here, any help would be greatly appreciated. I am a Nikon user. My friend Janet Zinn has posted here asking some of the same questions, however, my lens arsenal is a bit different. From following the replies to her post about which lenses to bring, almost everyone suggested leaving the 200-500 lens at home. My original thoughts on what to bring are this: 14-24, 24-120, 70-200, 200-500 & 600E the newer lighter one. I'd also bring a D750 and D500 bodies.

 

I'm wondering if having the 24-120 and 70-200 is overkill, should I leave the 70-200 at home? Would I miss anything by not bringing the 70-200? If I leave the 200-500 home I could bring a 300f4 fresnel, 300 on the FX body and 450 on the DX body. I'm a little concerned about weight but more concerned about not having the right lens for the shot. I tend to overpack camera gear.

 

First part of the trip is Namibia and I expect to use the 14-24 and 24-120 quite a bit. Next is Botswana and we'll on a boat on the Chobe river over a few days, do you think the 300 will be enough along with the 600, my original thought was to have the 200-500 on the D750 and the 600 on the D500. I will have gaps between the 120 and 200, nothing 200 and 300 and nothing between 300 and 600. I think I need a 14-600 f2.8-4 all in one lens and a sherpa to help carry it LOL.

 

All suggestions are welcome. Thank You,

 

Don D.

 

 

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@@DonD49 you don't say whether you are taking internal flights on small planes or not. If so, there will not be enough space in your bag for all of these lenses. Also, you want to avoid changing lenses whilst out and about, to stop the dust getting into the sensors. I would try and rationalise to a wide angle and a long prime/zoom with perhaps one other (given that you have two bodies). If you let us know exactly where you are going, people can give their opinions about the length of zoom/prime needed.

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Posted (edited)

We'll be spending 4 nights photographing the dunes and other areas near the Sossus Dune Lodge(4x4), then we drive back to Windhoek and fly to Bostwana's Kasane Airport, we'll be staying at the Chobe Bush Lodge. We'll be doing quite few days on a custom boat on the Chobe river and I expect other areas around the lodge in a 4x4. We drive to Victoria Falls and spend a night there before flying back to Windhoek. I believe the 2 internal flights, one to Bostwana and the other from Victoria Falls are charter flights. I do not know the size of the aircraft. Max size of this tour is 6 people plus 2 leaders. One leader is taking 2 bodies and the 14-24, 24-70, 70-200, 200-400 and 600, all Nikon lenses. No one has mentioned any weight restrictions, as of yet. Hope this helps.

Edited by DonD49

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Hi Don :)

If you are on all charter flights then perhaps you won't have to worry about weight restrictions for the internal flights. I know some photo tours do charter flights specifically to avoid that issue. But you still have a weight restriction even on the international flight. If you are flying South African Airways if I recall its 18 lbs although of course we all fudge that, but I just can't see all those lenses squeezing by. Heck I have my spouse to carry some of it...if you are traveling solo then its a real problem!

 

Note that in the end I took the 200-500 and did not regret leaving the 500 F4 at home, there was just so much more flexibility with the 200-500.

 

I agree that for Namibia you need the 14-24 but you could swap out the 24-120 for the 70-200.

 

Personally I love the 70-200 and use it a lot on safari; however, it may be less useful in a boat than from a vehicle, as you may tend to be further away.

 

You really need to think about lens changing, as someone pointed out. Its not only about the dust but having the right lens on at the right time, you just never know on safari what might be around the next corner or when an animal may dash right in front of the vehicle. Its especially difficult to switch out a big lens like a 600mm on the fly, its not like you can slip it in your vest pocket :) If you have the 600 on a lens, its probably going to stay there. For my last trip I had the 70-200 on the D810 and the 200-500 on the D500, sometimes I switched it up. If you really want to bring the 600mm, then I'd go with the 14-24, 24-120, 200-500, and 600. You'd be missing only 120-200 which isn't too bad.

 

But I'm still not sure how you can get even those four in carry-on with allotted weight!

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I'm not a Nikon guy (so I'm not that familiar with the qualities of the specific lenses from which you're choosing), nor am I a particularly accomplished camera pointer. I have been to both Namibia and Botswana, however, and I did carry a lot of camera gear, so I'll chime in.

 

If I understand your itinerary correctly, the Namibia portion of your trip includes just the dunes around Sossusvlei. If it were me, and if I had two bodies, the 14-24 and 24-120 would likely be on those bodies while climbing Big Daddy (or wherever you're walking/hiking). Personally, I'm not that skittish about changing lenses, nor am I hesitant to clean the glass over my sensor, but still, you have to think about how much of that you want to be doing.

 

For Botswana, if I had a 200-500 (which I don't), I definitely would take it. And if it were a choice between that and the 600, the 600 would stay at home.

 

If you still have room after packing the above, I'd take the 70-200 (it and the 200-500 likely would be on my bodies while in Botswana). However, even without it, you likely have covered just about all the focal lengths you'll need.

 

In the end, don't sweat it; one approach is just to pick three lenses and not worry about the six shots (out of 10,000) that would have been so much better if you'd just toted that extra lens 10,000 miles across the globe.

 

And while you're at it, have fun!

 

-tom a.

 

 

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If you are planning to shoot portraits of the locals (Himba/ Bushman etc) then i think you may need the 24-120.

 

If not, i would take the 70-200 instead.

 

Do take that lens to Sossus if you can, it makes for some amazing compositions there.

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Posted (edited)

#1 advice is that when leaving your cabin at Sossus Dune Lodge, don't swap your lenses until back inside the cabin!

 

#2 advice is to have extra batteries and extra memory cards. People goes beserk (27500 photos in 11 days?!) and not always there are options to recharge your empty batteries or download your full memory cards.

 

#3 advice is to have fun! Do enjoy the photography but do enjoy the special places you will travel to even more!

 

#4 advice: do not dare not to post a long and photos-full trip report when back :):) !!

 

For landscapes, and Deadvlei particulary, use D750 + 14-24 and D500 + 70-200. For wildlife job, use D500 + 200-500 and D750 + 70-200.

While 24-120 is a great street lens, there will not be much use of it in and around Sossusvlei. I assume you will go nowhere near Himba (Kaokoland)??

Our last safari was Kruger and it was D610 + 70-200 and D7200 + 200-500. For next trip to Namibia it will be D610 + 24-120 (I don7t own 14-24) when outside Etosha and D610 + 70-200 when inside Etosha. D7200 + 200-500 are "glued" (until I can spring for a D500 :) ).

Edited by xelas
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#2 advice is to have extra batteries and extra memory cards. People goes beserk (27500 photos in 11 days?!) and not always there are options to recharge your empty batteries or download your full memory cards.

 

 

 

 

:-D who are this berserk people you talk of? I`m going for 30.000 next time ;-)

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@@The_Norwegian

 

(Norse Myth & Legend) Also called: berserker a member of a class of ancient Norse warriors who worked themselves into a frenzy before battle and fought with insane fury and courage

 

 

Luckily our D7200 is only 6 fps, so 4000 / week is our average :lol: . Once you will tell me what process, hardware &software are you using for ploughing through such massive # of photos. Maybe by PM?? Because one never knows when the Norse bug might bite :D

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