I Shot My African Safari on a $200 70-300mm Lens and Loved the Benefits – VirtualWayfarer


As I ready for my nine day Tanzanian safari I languished in tormented indecision more than what gear I required for the trip. I had opted to splurge on the safari not only mainly because I had opted for the 9 day safari more than the 7 day, but mainly because I had also opted to have the car completely to myself as opposed to performing a shared expertise or price range safari.

Lions Beneath a Rainbow at Sunset

The logic was sound Safaris’ are not low-priced and it didn’t make sense for me to drastically lower what i’d finish up acquiring out of the expertise in order to spend 1/two the value. 1 of my key targets for the trip was to commit as significantly time out on game drives as feasible with the animals and to have maximum flexibility to practice and function on my photography.

The Eye of an Elephant

The conundrum that arose was that even though I had a Canon 6D and a Sigma 70-300 APO DG f4-five.six lens, I lacked a) a prime lens and b) an further lengthy lens.  The least expensive 100mm-400mm Sigma out there was about $500 utilized, which, roughly equated to about 1 day’s safari value. Ideally, primarily based on what I had study and noticed previously, I’d want at least that 400mm, potentially closer to a 600mm lens to definitely get superior shots of the animals.

Sunrise Before Ol Doinyo Lengai

The magnify my indecision, when I did my 1st safari numerous years ago, I was nevertheless shooting on my Canon 600D making use of a Canon 55-250mm lens. The Canon 600D makes use of a crop sensor, which signifies you take the 55-250mm and magnify by 1.6x for actual attain of the lens creating it an 88-400mm. My Canon 6D nonetheless was complete frame, which means that my 70-300 was just that: 70-300 and that if I didn’t upgrade my lens I’d be shooting the safari on a lens that essentially had 100mm significantly less attain than my prior trip.

The Serengeti's Tree Climbing Lions

I went back and forth on the value-attain-price range dilemma and pestered my partners for the safari endlessly with inquiries about what they think is enough, if there had been rental possibilities and almost everything in-amongst … even down to contemplating what the added weight of some thing like a 500mm lens would imply for the final 13 days of the trip as I backpacked by way of Zanzibar.

The Serengeti

Eventually? I decided that I couldn’t justify the added weight, expense, and that I’d currently place myself in a significantly superior position to get the shots I was hoping for by splurging on a private car and the further longer safari to give me extra time out with the animals.

The Cheetah

The outcome? I shot my 9 day safari by way of Tarangire National Park, Lake Natron, The Fantastic Rift Valley, The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater on a $200, 300mm non-prime sigma lens and was definitely delighted with what I got. The accurate barrier I ran into was either the camera physique or challenges with my current expertise and mixed expertise shooting wildlife.

Leopards of the Serengeti

The reality was that most of the animals that had been performing some thing fascinating had been not only inside variety of my camera, but had a tendency to finish up so close that I’d have struggled to modify lenses or missed a lot of shots had I been shooting on some thing like the Sigma 150-600mm. There had been exceptions of course and the most considerable of these had been my attempts to get a superior shot of a leopard in tree branches. With 4 days in the Serengeti and the flexibility to take our time as effectively as my great guide, we saw at least one particular leopard a day.

A Leopar'ds Perch

However, the trees exactly where the leopard’s nap and shop their kills do have a tendency to be just outdoors the variety I’d have liked from my 300mm and a pretty difficult shot due to the back-lit nature of the shot. I was in a position to capture most of these, but the shots had been wider than I would have liked. It is about the only time I definitely regretted not obtaining the further zoom and greater glass high-quality. Virtually comically, my favored leopard shots had been taken in such close proximity to the animal that I was in a position to take numerous on my 17-40mm F4 lens.

The Watchers - The Great Migration

Getting watched the other safari autos, ordinarily with groups of four-10 people today in them, I can see exactly where if I had been on a extra rushed itinerary and with no the capability to select exactly where I wanted to be for my shots and/or had a reduce high-quality guide, how a lengthy zoom lens would assist. As is, I believe the photographs from the trip speak for themselves. You are welcome to thumb by way of my flickr Albums from the trip which will show you precisely what mm variety each and every shot was taken.

Leopards of the Serengeti

So, need to you skip that safari you are dreaming of mainly because you do not have the proper lens? Completely not. Do you will need to commit $1,000-five,000 on a lens to get fantastic shots? No. Searching for tips on how to choose the proper safari corporation? Do not miss my prior weblog post.

Storks at Sunrise over Lake Natron

If you are contemplating a safari, I’d extremely recommend contemplating Tanzania and the Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater park in distinct. I’d also recommend the group at Fed Tours and Safaris who I partnered with for this trip.  They’re a Tanzanian owned and operated corporation run by two brothers and they supplied me with an definitely spectacular safari expertise. As element of our collaboration, I received a discounted price in exchange for sharing my unfiltered/totally independent expertise with them. If you are contemplating Tanzania,  I do encourage you to study Fed Safaris and mention you have study about them right here on VirtualWayfarer. They’ll make positive to take further superior care of you.


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