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04-17-2013, 06:28 AM   #1
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K30 and long lens for Kruger National Park

Hi guys,

I'm heading to South Africa for a sporting event at the end of July13 and then going on a 5 day Safari tour through a couple of the national parks including Kruger. The tour includes 5 drives with an open top game viewing vehicle through the Parks.

I'll be taking my K30 and just wondering a good lens to match for this tour? The longest i currently have is my 55-300mm.

My current thought is to take my K30, DA18-135mm and my DA55-300mm and probably my two small primes DA15mm and DA40mm Ltd's. (plus my Gopro3 Hero black).

thanks


Last edited by WA-surfer; 04-17-2013 at 06:37 AM.
04-17-2013, 06:35 AM   #2
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I have a Sigma 150-500 mm. I would recommend you consider this lens.
04-17-2013, 06:50 AM   #3
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I have a safari on my bucket list.
From experience in similar dusty environments I don't think you will want to be switching lenses while out on the vehicle.
I believe this is what the Sigma 50-500 was intended for ( but the lack of WR baffles.)
I would want to take two bodies. Consider borrow or buy at least a used WR body like K-7 or ?
One would have a long zoom such as any Sigma x-500mm
The other with the 18-135 for landscape or the beast that attacks your convoy.
Perhaps it would be possible to rent a long lens for the trip?
04-17-2013, 06:51 AM   #4
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My pick from your lineup would be the 18-135, 55-300 and Tak 50/1.4, for evening around the fire kind of shots...perhaps consider a good teleconverter if you find that you need to extend the 300mm, less weight than the Bigma

EDIT: Regarding dust, crewl1 are indeed correct, you'l be in the middle of our dry winter and will see a lot of dust. Depending on the trips of the day, the guide should be able to tell you the kind of terrain you'll see most of the day, allowing you to plan your focal length for the day. Keep switching lenses to the minimum.


Last edited by altopiet; 04-17-2013 at 06:57 AM.
04-17-2013, 07:01 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
or the beast that attacks your convoy.


Thanks guys, some good suggestions and food for thought.
The Bigma looks good, but weight is going to start becoming an issue I reckon by the time I start adding in a spare body for the trip. But I certainly take on board the issues re dust which I hadn't really thought about.
A teleconvertor was mentioned, does one match the 55-300mm?

Keep the suggestions coming and I will do some more follow up reading on your suggestions to date. thanks.
04-17-2013, 08:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by WA-surfer Quote
A teleconvertor was mentioned, does one match the 55-300mm?
AFAIK there is not one that is matched to the DA55-300, but since it is a screw drive I would expect the Kenko 1.5 or Tamron 1.4 would work.

I tested the Kenko with my Tamron 70-300 and it would AF fast and accurately in good light on my K-5. The IQ hit was minimal.

You can also try one of the older manual teleconverters just be sure it has pass through contacts or you will lose aperture control on your DA lens.

You will lose some light to the teleconverter so it will probably work best on sunny days outdoors.
04-17-2013, 08:05 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
sunny days outdoors.
Kruger falls in the summer rainfall area of our country, so sunny days should be plenty
04-17-2013, 08:43 AM   #8
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I'd try to get hold of the longest lens possible, I mean kinda 500 mm +, even explore trying to hire one just for the trip, two advantages, it brings those often far away beasts a bit nearer and it also stops you getting eaten.

04-17-2013, 08:47 AM   #9
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The DA55-300 is OK, I used on my safari my F70-210 with a Canon 1.6x front extender so I did not need to unmount the lens. It did work out rather well.

Bigma was on my list before the trip. I bought a new body instead.

The 55mm end will be handy if you see big animals close, like an elephant.

Seb
04-17-2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by WA-surfer Quote

A teleconvertor was mentioned, does one match the 55-300mm?
No

Although it's ages ago that I did the Kruger Park (with a Minolta SLR and 70-210 zoom), I think that the DA55-300 is sufficient for most situations where a longer lens is needed. Guided game drives usually will get you very close to the wildlife.

From a recent trip to a local game reserve (non guided)
04-17-2013, 09:12 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
AFAIK there is not one that is matched to the DA55-300, but since it is a screw drive I would expect the Kenko 1.5 or Tamron 1.4 would work.

I tested the Kenko with my Tamron 70-300 and it would AF fast and accurately in good light on my K-5. The IQ hit was minimal.

You can also try one of the older manual teleconverters just be sure it has pass through contacts or you will lose aperture control on your DA lens.

You will lose some light to the teleconverter so it will probably work best on sunny days outdoors.
Also, the Vivitar 1.4xTC is $99 and works a treat (it also comes in the Pro-Optic flavor) on the 55-300 with just a minimal contrast hit (what TC doesn't give you some contrast hit?).
04-17-2013, 09:21 AM   #12
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I went to Kruger 15 years ago with an Olympus film P&S. Got some good photos out of the trip but if I ever go back I'll get better ones!

If it's a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you I would definitely recommend you either splurge on a good, long lens or maybe rent one as has been previously suggested here. There will be some amazing photo opportunities...
04-17-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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IMHO 300mm is generally long enough for large animals, and you will generally be able to get fairly close to the animals in an open game vehicle. Unless you are into birds, or need to get that ellusive leopard in the distant tree shot. And a zoom is essential unless you have a second body for flexibility as the vehicle will go as close as reasonably possible and you cannot move around. If you go long with a Sigma x-500, you should go for the 50-500 or else you will be changing down often. Or else you will again need a second body. A game vehicle is also not the easiest environment to handle a heavy super-long telephoto.

I support Christo's (@altopiet) recommendation of 18-135, 55-300, and 50-f/1.4 with the K-30 would be a good selection from you current kit and should cover most game requirements. I would also throw in the 10-20 UWA for other parts and sites, but that is perhaps just my personal taste.

One recommendation that I would throw in as well is to perhaps get a good ultra-zoom P&S with a x30-x36 zoom as a complement to the DSLR. These would give you reach out to 600-850mm (effective) with decent image quality, fairly good optical image stability, and total FL flexibility.
04-17-2013, 06:48 PM   #14
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I'm going to be heading over to Kruger the last week of august.
Right now I'm looking at the sigma 18-250 macro or sigma 70-200 2.8 to be paired to the k-30.
Its going to be one lens, keep the dust out. Wife will have the olympus tg-1 p&s.
Please post some after thoughts after you get back!
04-17-2013, 09:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by WA-surfer Quote
K30, DA18-135mm and my DA55-300mm and probably my two small primes DA15mm and DA40mm Ltd's. (plus my Gopro3 Hero black). thanks
Hi WA-surfer - your suggested kit is excellent. The DA 55-300 is a great lens, light and compact with quickshift focus, but it can be noisy and distracting in the quiet hush (when your open top 4x4 is parked and everyone's peering silently at the bull elephant 100m away). Just get to know how to work round its noisy AF using quickshift to prefocus before locking focus using AF. I own the 55-300 and have no hesitation in recommending it (although it doesn't get much use now after I bought the 60-250 for all weather seascape work).

The DA*60-250 and Sigma 50-500 HSM are excellent too, great IQ, quiet AF but heavy and expensive. Personally I use the Sigma for game viewing (with a monopod) BUT that's because I live in South Africa and am able to travel with it from home by car. (I use the 60-250 for landscapes/seascapes). In your position, I wouldn't spend $1000 and more replacing my 55-300 with a much heaver lens that I would have to lug around the world.

Have a great trip.

Last edited by Gray; 04-17-2013 at 09:20 PM.
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