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02-06-2013, 03:11 PM - 1 Like   #16
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1) I'd use Exposure Plot to see what focal lengths you were using on your trip in 2012. I know you want long, but I have to believe that you will be able to use some wide shots as well.
2) I also recommend the Panasonic FZ line. My daughter went to Africa this past summer and used the FZ47 (you can do better than that now), and pics were very good. Eg., the Panasonic Lumix FZ150 gives you a 25-600mm range! And these cameras are very light. I like the Canon compact superzooms too.
3) So, how about using one of these compact superzooms and your K-r with your favorite lens/focal length. That will weigh lots less than 2 bodies.

02-06-2013, 03:18 PM - 1 Like   #17
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you could buy a DA*300 and a AFA 1.7x for 510mm f6.8 and lighter weight than the Bigma. That and a 16 or 17-50mm or the 18-135mm WR, and you have a decent lightweight setup. Otherwise the wide angle zoom and the Bigma. (the new model with OS and HSM) It will give you fine results at F8 and just short of 500mm. I find mine much better at the long end than the old EX model was.
02-06-2013, 03:31 PM   #18
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My last trip to Africa, I took 17kg of kit. I regret I didn't take a third body. If you want some good images you will need to compromise and take some reasonable lenses. Africa is warm so you don't need much in the way of clothes. (took about 12kg as hand luggage in two bags - I am 62 with some arm and back problems)

My first trip my main big lens was a sigma 50-500. I took some great shots but not sensational. My last trip, my main lenses were a sigma 500 and pentax 60-250 and got the sensational photos I wanted. The pentax 60-250 does a very credible job and is probably the way to go. You could also go for a pentax 300 and one or more zooms.

My opinion about super zooms can't be printed (I do own one, but not useful for good long end photos under most conditions). You would be better off with a sigma 15-50 and a cheap pentax 50-300.

PS - sorry read pounds as Kg - does the 35 pounds include hand luggage? First thing I would look at is the weight of your suit case.

Last edited by Bob from Aus; 02-06-2013 at 03:43 PM.
02-06-2013, 03:48 PM   #19
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One of the posts above mentioned the 150-500 from Sigma and something like the 16-50 or 17-70 etc. That seems to be a good compromise. My cousin took my 150-500 on his trip to Africa and had some wonderful shots with it. Not the fastest out at 500mm, but he said most of the time he had plenty of light and if you are able to upgrade to a K30 or K5, then you'll be able to take some higher iso shots which should help you out quite a bit

02-06-2013, 03:55 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Saxplayer1004 Quote
One of the posts above mentioned the 150-500 from Sigma and something like the 16-50 or 17-70 etc. That seems to be a good compromise. My cousin took my 150-500 on his trip to Africa and had some wonderful shots with it. Not the fastest out at 500mm, but he said most of the time he had plenty of light and if you are able to upgrade to a K30 or K5, then you'll be able to take some higher iso shots which should help you out quite a bit
I agree - sigma 17-50 is a much better lens, but the 17-70 is a great macro when you don't have a macro.
02-06-2013, 04:42 PM - 1 Like   #21
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Away from lens considerations, throw in a monopod. Best thing ever for stablising long tele shots with neglible weight/bulk. Put a head a quick release plate on it and you can pop on/take off the camera in an instant. The best lens is defeated by motion blur.

Oh, and when doing the plane legs where the weight is being measured, make sure you are wearing really heavy items rather than have them packed and counting against your weight limit (eg wear your heaviest shoes/belt). Also carry smallest tubes of shampoo/toothpaste etc that you can get away with (ie think like a hiker). Clothes designed for outdoor use can be very light and by watching the ounces, pounds can be saved. And as Bob from Aus said, find a good quality, light case/bag as these chew up a surprising part of your weight allowances even before anything goes in them.

Last edited by southlander; 02-06-2013 at 04:53 PM. Reason: Add comments re weight limits
02-06-2013, 04:45 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by southlander Quote
Away from lens considerations, throw in a monopod. Best thing ever for stablising long tele shots with neglible weight/bulk. Put a head a quick release plate on it and you can pop on/take off the camera in an instant
Or if you are mostly in vehicles buy a bag of rice when you get to Africa and use it as a disposable bean bag
02-06-2013, 08:26 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
My last trip to Africa, I took 17kg of kit. I regret I didn't take a third body. If you want some good images you will need to compromise and take some reasonable lenses. Africa is warm so you don't need much in the way of clothes. (took about 12kg as hand luggage in two bags - I am 62 with some arm and back problems)

My first trip my main big lens was a sigma 50-500. I took some great shots but not sensational. My last trip, my main lenses were a sigma 500 and pentax 60-250 and got the sensational photos I wanted. The pentax 60-250 does a very credible job and is probably the way to go. You could also go for a pentax 300 and one or more zooms.

My opinion about super zooms can't be printed (I do own one, but not useful for good long end photos under most conditions). You would be better off with a sigma 15-50 and a cheap pentax 50-300.

PS - sorry read pounds as Kg - does the 35 pounds include hand luggage? First thing I would look at is the weight of your suit case.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. I really appreciate it. Not sure that I have any better idea what I want to do. I have every range of lenses. Truly the only thing I want is greater telephoto range to get shots at greater distance. I'm leaning towards taking my 28-300 again and just looking at an extender? What do you all think of that? It sounds as though the 50-500 mm is not the most approved option. Does everyone think its worth upgrading to the k-30 or k-5 from my k-r? Will it make a significant difference? And Bob, my limit for all luggage is 35lbs I am taking small planes between locations and that is their weight limit. I managed on my last trip with 1 carry on and a backpack. With my 1 camera and 1 lens I barely made the weight restriction. You guys are great. Thanks

02-06-2013, 09:24 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiodoc Quote
I am taking small planes between locations and that is their weight limit. I managed on my last trip with 1 carry on and a backpack
I am a bad boy. I have taken 20kgs of kit as hand luggage onto a smaller aircraft. Not much choice as it was needed for a job. I had better not tell you what other things I have done to hide my weight other than pockets come in very handy until after all the checking has been done. I would stick with their limit and not take the risk. I can't speak for the K30, but the K5 will improve almost any lens you own.

I find when I tell people I am a photographer they go out of their way to accommodate me particularly in Africa.
02-07-2013, 06:15 AM   #25
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haha thanks Bob! WIsh I had that kind of clout! lol I am going to stick within my allotted budget. We met up with some people who went well over the weight restriction and they wound up paying a lot of money for the overage. I'm not doing that!
So ok, maybe I'll stick with my current lens and just upgrade my camera. Do you think the K-5 or the K-5II? ;-)
02-07-2013, 06:48 AM - 1 Like   #26
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Gear for Africa

I was in Tanzania for 16 days in January, in one of three Land Cruisers doing Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro--I had my 55-300 on my K20D most of the time, and my 16-45 on my K-01. The concern about dust is real--so much dust in the crater that nothing outside of 100 yards was any good. The point about how close the animals often are is also well taken; elephants crossed in front and behind us, and a lioness tried to find shade one time under the land Cruiser. I shot a lot fully racked out on the 55-300, but about half my shots were closer in. Didn't use the 16-45 much, but I did switch lenses when the light was low, and the K-01 performed so well i traded the K20D for a K-30 recently.
Some shots attached.
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02-07-2013, 07:25 AM   #27
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Wow Asahi, those shots are beautiful. I didn't get that close to the animals.. altho how close were you to those elephants. So, tell me what your suggestion to me would be. Are you saying that 2 camera bodies and lenses are actually unnecessary? To stick with my sigma 55-300mm and just upgrade my camera? And maybe bring a smaller Lumix or similar point and shoot for closer shots?
02-07-2013, 08:32 AM   #28
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what gear

The 55-300 worked great for me, and I think the two bodies is a necessity if you want any wider shots--the dust problem is real, so you will not want to change lenses. All of these shots except the Maasai kids were with the 55-300, but it was on the K-01 for the hippos. The 55-300 gave me plenty of reach, and the Pentax version is very sharp at a full 300, so it was the right pick. I think if you give yourself some option for wider shots, you will be in great shape with the 55-300 most of the time. The one thing i might have done differently would have been pulling the trigger on the K-30 before the trip,but the K-01 was a lifesaver in early morning low-light situations when the K20D couldn't handle the need for high ISO.

Thanks for your kind words about the pics!
02-07-2013, 08:33 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiodoc Quote
Wow Asahi, those shots are beautiful. I didn't get that close to the animals.. altho how close were you to those elephants. So, tell me what your suggestion to me would be. Are you saying that 2 camera bodies and lenses are actually unnecessary? To stick with my sigma 55-300mm and just upgrade my camera? And maybe bring a smaller Lumix or similar point and shoot for closer shots?
...and those elephants were about 100 feet away, i think.
02-07-2013, 09:08 AM   #30
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thanks Asahi!! Ok so let me make sure I understand.. my mind is addled. I mispoke.. I have a Sigma 28-300 lens.. that is what I used on my last trip. I thought it was a great lens. Are you saying that you believe the pentax 55-300 mm lens is superior to the Sigma 28-300 lens that I own? I'd hate to purchase a new lens if I don't need to. With that in mind, it doesn't sound like I'd need 2 bodies as this lens easily covered close shots. My difficulty were shots at a great distance. So what if I purchased the K-30 to mount with the 28-300 lens and then found a telephoto prime lens to go on my K-r?
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