View Full Version : Traveling kit......
It's the eternal question, isn't it? What camera(s) would you take on a trip?
Well, this time I've pretty much made up my mind, but I'm interested in anyone's experience and comments.
It's the missus' 40th birthday next month, and she wanted to do something special. She ended up choosing a Wildlife Safari in Kenya, something she's always wanted to do (and I'm not averse to the idea either!)
So...we're both keen photographers. What do we take????
Obviously something with a big lens for wildlife is a must. And a superwide for sweeping panoramas. Oh, and something that doesn't draw attention for use in Nairobi.
But the weight and bulk needs to be kept down.
Canon EOS 630; Canon 35-70; Canon 75-300IS; Fuji Provia 400
Leica M6; 35mm; 90mm; Fuji Velvia 100
extra lenses......will we need more? or different?
are there better options?
should I take an SLR rather than the M6?
Only thing I'm sure about is that no matter what we take, a) we'll enjoy ourselves b) we'll wish we had some different equipment with us........
Anyone been on a central African Wildlife Safari?
Looks like a nice spread of features so far, except.. no wideangle.
Get a CV25 (cheap/light) or CV21 (light). Or even a CV15 if you're brave for the M6 (what other kind of advice would you expect on RFF ?). You'll need the LTM to M adapter as well. Select the 28/90 one, it'll bring up the 28mm framelines.
I have been to Africa on three occasions. My recommendation, take an SLR with the longest lens that you have, or can afford for game viewing, and the RF for shots around camp, or in low light situations.
These safari trips follow a rather standard schedule. Up at 5:30-6:00. Game viewing from 6:30-10:30. Back to camp for breakfast/lunch/nap. Leave for a second game drive from, 3:30 to 6:30. These times will vary during the different seasons, as the sunrise, and susnset times vary.
The choice of the equipment will depend on the game that you hope to observe. Most game drives take random drives through areas with the hopes of viewing wildlife. Wildlife rarely is located just on the side of the "road". Therefore, a long lens is needed - therefore, an SLR is needed. For shots at closer distances, the RF would be perfect, lighter weight, smaller lenses etc.
If the SLR is film based, follow the cautions about carrying film on CHECK IN LUGGAGE ONLY. Ideally, the film should be hand inspected, and not scanned by those X-ray machines. Carry some high speed film (>ISO 800) to help convince the agent about hand inspection.
This hassle alone makes me use digital equipment. The idea of an RF digital body makes me think that a total digital trip might just be possible.
This choice of equipment will optimize the advantages of each type of camera for the specific goal desired.
Have a great time. Get some great shots.
P.S. Anyone with first hand experience with the Epson RD-1- please PM with your thoughts.
Thanks Martin, that's exactly what I wanted.....
Aware of the caveats with film and x-rays, i always try and get it hand checked, and carry it in a lead bag as well. I've never actually had any problems with carry on baggage; I have had film get fogged from putting it in the checked in baggage.
From your experiences, it sounds like we've got a good mix.
I may take the 21mm lens as well, it's pretty small.
I bought camera gear from a guy who had taken several photo safaris to Africa as well as India, etc. He'd decided he wanted to make a career out of this, he liked it so much. But along came wife, kids, and a more settled job.
He'd bought this gear specifically for this photo career: It was an SLR with medium telephoto + 2x telextender for those reaching-out shots, and an extreme wideangle for the expansive landscapes and near shots in the brush. And he also bought a Lowe-Pro Photo-Trekker backpack to carry the gear in. Extra batteries, extension tubes, cleaning kit, filters, lenshoods...
FWIW, his earlier experience had been with 35mm SLR, but for pro work he purchased this Pentax 67, and his lens picks were 4/300mm, Kenco 2x, and 4/45mm (for 35mm equivalent field of view cut those numbers in half).
He held onto this gear essentially unused for some 10 years before finally relinquishing that career goal and putting the stuff up on eBay. This his first auction had a number of defects that led to little bidding and I got the kit at a low price. It helped that he lives a 90-min drive away, so we completed the transaction in person.
The odd combination fit well with what I already had: non-MLU 6x7, 55, 105, 200mm.
I suspect the 70-300 IS will be very useful, and the Leica with a wide angle lens or two as well. This'll be quite a fun adventure for you I think!
It might be worthwhile renting a fast 400 or 500 lens. Who knows, the cost might not be too bad.
A fast 400 or 500 will be BIG and HEAVY! A 500mm Mirror lens will be slow at F8, but with some 400 speed film it is workable. I did a lot of photography on local wetlands with the 500 F8 Reflex-Nikkor, original 1970's version, and used a monopod for support. It is far lighter than the 300mm F4.5 Nikkor and gives the extra reach. So if size and Weight are a concern, the mirror lens gives a lot of reach. Hint: the 500mm F4 Nikkor comes in its own suitcase that "may" be suitable for carry-on.
If you want to do one better, the 600mm F8 Solid-Cat that I picked up for under $250 is an incredible optic. It is a T-Mount lens and is not "much" bigger than MY 50mm lens (the Canon 50mm F0.95).
Nikkor 500mm F8 used with a Monopod on a wetlands "boardwalk".
I also used a Meade 1000mm F11; it had reach, but requires a big tripod and luck.
At under $200 it is a bargain.
Woodpecker caught in the middle of the act; woodchips flying away. Nikon FE2 with MD12.
If it's a once in a life-time trip I'd consider looking into renting a Mamiya 7/7II. That would take care of your panoramic needs and yield wonderful large slides/negatives. It would also - gasp - eliminate the need for you to bring your Leica.
In addition to that take an SLR with long lenses. As you're not a professional I'd say a couple of zooms would do well. You already have the 75-300IS which is a great lens.
Consider getting a tele extention as well and remember that even though the big cats, etc are alluring you will see a lot of flowers, plants, bugs etc that are thrilling so make sure you bring a lens for the SLR that can do close-up focusing/macro.
Mamiya 7II is a great bet, but I have found that it is just a bit too big, a bit too slow, and uses a bit too much film (10 shots a roll) to make a great travel camera unless that is the sole purpose.
My current travel kit:
90/2.8 Tele-Elmarit M
Second body Hexar RF or AF depending on whether I will be doing a lot of night/discreet shooting (I would go for the AF in that case)
Film in order of prevalence: E100G as a base, 2-3 Velvia, 2-3 Provia 400F, HP5, Delta 100.
All gets put in a Mini-trekker AW or a Domke 803.
Wow Brian, nice shots - especially the woodpecker!
Unfortunately hiring gear does not seem to be an option - as soon as you mention "Kenya" the discussion starts turning sour :(
But travel insurance will cover all personal gear, so I dunno what the problem is.
I would LOVE a Mam 7 II, but that just isn't going to happen short of a lottery win. One of the Pro shops has a deal at the moment, Mam 7 II, 80mm lens, Nikon LS9000 MF scanner, for a tiny AUD$7500............
I'm keeping an eye out for a 1.4x convertor or a 500mm lens for the Canon, so far no luck.
Trial packed my kit last night, LowePro Nova 1 bag holds: M6, 21, 35, 90; Ultrapod & cable release; ready use film (4); Minox GTx, 8x20 binoculars. So that seems to work well. But I'll bet I change my mind a few more times yet.....
I've never gone on an African safari, but everything I've read would say "Take the SLR and your longest lens". Then as a back up would be my most reliable pocket RF, the ol' Canonet Q1.7 GIII.
I have a 500mm mirror, and man oh man is that thing tough to hand-hold. I'm pretty steady, but the image in the viewfinder just has a non-stop jiggle. And with the f/8 fixed aperture I wish the camera had 1/4000 sec shutter speed, and that would help with the jiggle too.
Like Brian's woodpecker shot, I think lenses this long are best on a tripod, focused on where the action is expected, and then wait for it to happen.
I spent a lot of time using the 500mm f8; mostly with a Nikon F Photomic (original) with its Bullseye meter. It does take some getting used to. I like the old lens as it gives more to hang on to.
Just another shot from the Bealeton Airshow in Virginia. Handheld, panned with the Stearman, Nikon F Photomic, 1/1000th.
Detail of Above shot; I know I posted it before. I do have other shots this sharp, but I just like this shot more.
I do not hunt anymore; but my Dad was a sharpshooter in the Army and taught me how to shoot a rifle. To me, it is about the same as using anything 300mm and longer.
They must have chosen this girl for the job due to her aerodynamics.
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