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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4

    Best Lens for animal safari (Africa)

    I use a D90 and want to buy a new long lens...will hope to shoot (camera only) animals in southern Africa and probably at a distance. After trip, will use for human close-ups.
    Any advice on the best for an amateur photographer who doesn't want to break the bank?
    A few issues: Weight matters...quality of detail in faces matters...won't be enlarging for posters...money matters
    Any info welcome.
    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    4,146

    Long Zoom for African Safari

    VSS-

    the Nikon 70-300mm lens should handle the task without a qualm. I have seen folks even using superzoom cameras.

    Sarah Joyce
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    x2 on what sarah said. the 70-300VR is what you need cos its cheap, has VR, offers very good quality and its comparatively light.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    6,924
    I agree the Nikon 70-300VR is probably the best overall value for money solution but I'll just offer another option seeing as you haven't had one.

    Have a look at the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 lens plus a Sigma 2x teleconverter. It will be about 1.5-2x more expensive than the Nikon suggestion but the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 is well regarded and the constant f2.8 may be better for your post Safari usage. Just a suggestion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4

    Other idea?

    All great info...thanks so much.
    I have had a bit of advice recently...one recommendation I've had is the Tamron 28-300 VC. Anyone had experience with that. The folks who recommended it said I could leave my other lenses at home if I had this one. Don't know how good the quality is but I like the idea of only one lens in the bag.
    Thoughts?
    Thanks again

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    4,146

    The African Safari Photo Experience

    VSS-

    The Tamron 28-300mm lens in question is a very average, consumer level lens that is sold as an economy lens. How do I know? I own one. I wish I had not bought it. But I purchase it when I did not know much about lenses.

    The decision is up to you, of course. If you want to save money and have a single lens solution get a super zoom camera. The Panasonic FZ-35/FZ-38 camera which will be introduced next month, September 2009 is actually better than the Tamron lens in question.

    The folks to ask for advice is the case of an African Safari, are people who have actually been on and photographed an African Safari. Check out their photos. How do they look? What is their photo experience? Do you want photos like theirs? If so, ask them for advice.

    As I see it, the African Safari is a once in a lifetime experience. You want great photos that you can be proud to show to friends and family. But like I said, it is all up to you.

    Sarah Joyce
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,424
    Quote Originally Posted by VSS View Post
    All great info...thanks so much.
    I have had a bit of advice recently...one recommendation I've had is the Tamron 28-300 VC. Anyone had experience with that. The folks who recommended it said I could leave my other lenses at home if I had this one. Don't know how good the quality is but I like the idea of only one lens in the bag.
    Thoughts?
    Thanks again
    convenience vs quality. one of them has to be sacrificed to some degree.

    a tamron 28-300 is the bottom of the food chain. yes its convenient, but this is africa, not the local kids softball game were you get another chance next week. i'd go for the 70-300 as a bare minimum.
    D800e l V3 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    2,124
    I'd also recommend the 70-300 VR very nice lens, good VR, very sharp @ 300 F8.

    If you're in USA and it's just a trip you may also consider renting a lens instead, the 80-400 VR gives you longer range though it's a beast of a lens (very big) or the even more impressive 200-400 VR but that thing is simply gigantic. (think NFL pro game size lens)

    Tim

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Provo, Utah
    Posts
    67
    I went on an African Safari in July of 2007. It was fantastic by the way. I would go with Tim's suggestion and rent the longest lens you can. My philosophy when I went was the only real thing I would be bringing back is pictures so I didn't want to be under equiped when I got there.

    You also want to buy lots of memory. I shot 3000 photos on my trip and could have easily done 6k.

    Where are you going by the way?

    Urf.

    Took this with a Sigma 300mm on a D80. He was about 30 meters away. Worth every penny it cost.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by urfslam; 08-24-2009 at 02:09 AM. Reason: Added Picture
    Urfslam

    Dubai, UAE
    _________
    Stuff I Got:
    Nikon D80; Nikkor 18-135; Sigma 300mm; SB800; Nikon 50mm 1.8; Sigma 180mm micro; Sand

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    4

    Great advice

    Thanks so much to all...great advice...saved me some heartache! THanks, too, for sharing photos...
    I'll be in the Okavango Delta area of Botswana...three different camps so slightly different opportunities with respect to wildlife varieties.

    I'm just going to bite the bullet and get a (as we say down south) big ol' high quality lens...and just keep shooting til my 16GB memory is full.

    Thanks again to all.

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