Which lenses to pack for 2 month Africa trip

protikprotik Posts: 17Member
edited June 2016 in General Discussions
Hi guys!

We will be flying out to Africa in about a week for an overland trip however I still can't decide which lenses to pack. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated specially in terms of which prime lenses you guys think might be more useful on the trip:

Countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa (location details here)

Cameras: D750, D7200
Lenses owned: 20, 24, 35, 50, 85 (all f/1.8's), 70-200 f/4

Particular interests:
- Landscape (sunrise/sunset, whenever opportunity arises)
- Astro
- Panorama (landscape and astro)
- Long exposures (seascape, falls etc.)

(We will be in a few safaris however I am not really into wildlife photography (yet) so I think I should be content with the D7200 + 70-200 f/4 combination when such opportunity arises.)

I am hoping to pack 3-4 lenses max. and at the moment leaning towards bringing:
1. 24mm (for: landscape, astro, astro pano)
2. 35mm (walkaround, landscape)
3. 70-200mm (mostly on D7200: wildlife in landscape settings, landscape, everything else)
4. I can't decide whether to bring 20mm or 85mm:
> 20mm: Backup for 24mm, astro, special purposes (e.g. Victoria Falls)
> 85mm: Backup for 70-200mm and replacing it in low light, landscape pano)

I am curious to hear if you were to recommend 3-4 lenses for this trip what those might be.

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by protik on
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Comments

  • retreadretread Posts: 522Member
    I do more wildlife and Africa is just a dream for me. It looks like you have the basics of you interest well covered.

    For wildlife I think you need something longer and maybe faster. Especially if your vehicle cannot leave the road in some places they can and in others not. I use a 70-200 2.8 with a 2x extender on a D5100 and a D500 and would like something longer often just close to home. You may want to shoot wildlife near dawn or dusk when they are often easier to find.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    I recently went on a 2-week safari to Kenya. My primary focus is wildlife so my bag may differ from yours:
    1 D800
    1 D810
    1 300 f/2.8
    1 TC20
    1 17-35 f/2.8
    1 70-200 f/2.8
    A few filters and one lightweight tripod that converted to a monopod. Pretty heavy. I see you're driving more than flying. I flew everywhere by bush plane. Weight was everything to me. Even though you're driving you'll want to be comfortable.

    I believe that your 70-200 on a DX body will serve your wildlife shooting needs, given your mild interest. But don't expect that to last; you're going to be blown away.

    I did some astrophotography with my 17-35. I think your 20mm f/1.8 would be great for that. If you're doing longer exposures and stacking images for trails, I'd say you can go with the 24mm.

    I have a 24-70 that I didn't bring, would have been nice for landscapes instead of the 17-35. I found I was shooting that one at the long end or using the 70-200 on the short end for landscapes. What I've found is that landscapes there are so "big" you almost want a longer lens. Your mileage may vary.

    I shot a lot of people in Africa, and found the 70-200 to be perfect for that. Maybe you'll like the 85, but given that you'd only use the 85 for people and the 70-200 will work for both people and landscapes I'd take that.

    Here's what I'd say:
    20/24 (depending on what kind of astrophotography you're doing)
    35 (widest end for landscapes)
    70-200 (wildlife and portraits)

    If you want, try adding a TC1.4 for the long end. There might be days you're looking at lions on a kill and you can't get closer than 50 feet and you want to get droplets of blood on their whiskers :)

    One more thing. You can't pack enough memory. Bring a boatload of cards AND a back up drive. The drive saved my butt when one of my cards failed at upload.

    Have a blast! When I went I called it a once in a lifetime trip but now I'm scheming to get back. Two months will be amazing.

    Here's a small sample from the 7,000 images I shot in just two weeks.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/gdanford/albums/72157662496169589
  • Parke1953Parke1953 Posts: 455Member
    proudgeek love looking at those photos. :)
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    Parke1953 said:

    proudgeek love looking at those photos. :)

    Thanks! It blew my mind.
  • KnockKnockKnockKnock Posts: 372Member
    20, 35, 70-200. You have enough pixels to crop the 35 to an effective 50mm (or shoot the 1.3x crop).
    D7100, D60, 35mm f/1.8 DX, 50mm f/1.4, 18-105mm DX, 18-55mm VR II, Sony RX-100 ii
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    As a side issue. Try and get your hands on a Nikon P900 24-2000. This camera will get you images no others will. I have just come back from the Farne islands, hundreds of photographers with massive lenses and tripods, My little P900 at 33 ouzes in weight was getting shots the long lens brigade could not get near. and no back ache.

    Farne Island
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 345Member
    I would look at the Nikon 80mm to 400mm F/4.5-5.6 and make sure to have a high quality polarizer for the long lens...

    Denver Shooter
  • picturetedpictureted Posts: 153Member
    You might want to think about a mid zoom like the 24-85VR. It's small, light and very versatile. Among your gear, I'd carry the 20, 35 and 70-200 and get a TC1.4 for a bit more length if needed.
    pictureted at flickr
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited June 2016
    the 20,35,70-200 looks like the best set to take. FOR BACKUP I would take a P&S.. (the P900 suggested is a good choice) OR a "do it all" lense, like the 18-300. It has reasonable IQ and you may not use it at all.. but its a light backup.

    One more idea is to take an AW1 as backup for when the weather is not so good.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • PlugPlug Posts: 3Member
    I go to Africa regularly. Your system would be useful, but remember the huge number of colourful birds. Add in a 300 f4 PF and a 1.4 converter would help considerably giving you the reach equivalent with the D7200 of 630mm and f5.6 in a quality lightweight package. Even a 3rd body would be helpful as changing lenses in the dusty conditions needs thought and great care.
  • PlugPlug Posts: 3Member
    A small flashgun for fill-in is exceptionally useful in bright light too.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Hard choice here. I just went on vacation and despite having 3 lenses I only used my 17-55. If I were going to Africa I would be worried about the long end with your current lenses. I always had my 18-200 pegged at 200 for wildlife and even now I frequently want more than my 300. Primes of what you have I would go 20, 35, 85 maybe. The 70-200 a must.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited June 2016
    I had another think about your requirements and gear.. It looks to me, if you have a 18-XXX mounted on the D7200 and have the D750 have whatever lense is required( and when you have time to swap lenses) it would seem to be a great combo.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,084Member
    I don't do wild game photography, but I think your kit lacks something in the long end of lenses. You go to places like Africa to take photos of animals from far away. Not to say that you wouldn't enjoy yourself with the lenses you have now, but I think it would be very nice to reach 300mm.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • retreadretread Posts: 522Member
    You can find some good information to get you thinking about what you may need here remember you have to carry all you take also.

    http://bythom.com/photographic-travel/africa/how-to-think-about-equipmen.html
  • proudgeekproudgeek Posts: 1,422Member
    NSXTypeR said:

    I don't do wild game photography, but I think your kit lacks something in the long end of lenses. You go to places like Africa to take photos of animals from far away. Not to say that you wouldn't enjoy yourself with the lenses you have now, but I think it would be very nice to reach 300mm.

    I would agree. You say you're not into wildlife photography, but until you see what's out there I'd hold off on that statement. You're going to see stuff in those places that's going to blow your mind. Any decent guide can get you to within a distance where 300mm can get you some good shots, although one could make the argument that 200mm on a D7000 is 300mm. Like I said, rent a TC14 (although for 2 months it may be more economical to buy one) and use it with your D7000 and 70-200. The only area where you'll really be lacking is birds.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,069Moderator
    If I were going on that trip I would take 24mm f1.4, 60mm macro, 70-200 (all of which I have), but definitely add at least 80-400 (and leave the 70-200 out), or better, add the 200-500. Grabbing a second body with a long lens is going to get you shots you will otherwise miss.
    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Most photographers who go on Safari always say, " If only I would have taken a longer lens", I think spraynpray is right 200-500 and slip a converter in the backpack.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,084Member

    If I were going on that trip I would take 24mm f1.4, 60mm macro, 70-200 (all of which I have), but definitely add at least 80-400 (and leave the 70-200 out), or better, add the 200-500. Grabbing a second body with a long lens is going to get you shots you will otherwise miss.

    paulr said:

    Most photographers who go on Safari always say, " If only I would have taken a longer lens", I think spraynpray is right 200-500 and slip a converter in the backpack.

    I was going to recommend the 200-500 because that's what makes the most sense, but then again, I thought maybe he doesn't want to blow the budget on lenses, so maybe a 70-300?

    I'm pretty sure this is one of those "once in a lifetime" trips, so it would really be worth your while to at least rent it (a little before so you can get used to the lens) and use it for just that trip.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • DenverShooterDenverShooter Posts: 345Member
    The Nikon 80mm to 400mm F/4 -F5.6 is a rocking lens when stopped down couple of F stops. On a crop frame sensor body, you have a 120mm to 600mm lens that is lightweight and won't break the bank..

    Denver Shooter
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    The 80-400 (56 oz. / 1570 g) is hand-holdable for reasonable periods of time. The 200-500 (81.2 oz. / 2300 g) is not, IMNSHO.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    " IMNSHO" lol So we are not to believe you ? :smiley:
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,043Member
    edited June 2016
    Naw, Ironheart is saying that he is one smart dude and you should believe him. And I certainly listen up when he speaks.
    Post edited by WestEndFoto on
  • MegapixelSchnitzelMegapixelSchnitzel Posts: 184Member
    The camera glass is covered! Now, for your rifle, you want some Carl Zeiss or Steiner optics for any long range shots.

    Just kidding. I'd just take the cameras.
  • WestEndFotoWestEndFoto Posts: 3,043Member
    Nikon makes excellent rifle scopes. My first Nikon, when I was 8, was a scope for my 7mm Remington Magnum. I was able to consistently hit a six inch gong at a thousand yards. I could not do that with a Bushnell scope and I have been a loyal Nikon shooter ever since.
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