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05-13-2017, 03:49 PM   #1
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Africa trip with 645

I am planning a trip in 2018 through Africa, with some possible Safari and other things.

I will be taking a Canon 5Dmk4 with 100-400, plus my 645z with most likely a wide-normal lens for the rest of the shooting.

I have a 28-45 and was waiting for a weather sealed replacement for the FA45-85. It looks like that new lens is not coming so I am thinking that I may get a used FA45-85.

My question is, will the FA lens hold up to the dust and sand of the environment? I am hoping to leave it on the camera for the duration of the trip, maybe swap it occasionally with the 80-160.

I doubt I will take the 28-45 just because of the weight and I can easily pack a 16-35 for the canon.

05-13-2017, 05:33 PM   #2
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it may depend on where you will be traveling in Africa and the time of year.

If you can be more specific perhaps members of the forum can be of help.

i know of several members who have traveled in Africa on many occasions and of some who live in South Africa.

i have only been once in June/July of 2016 in Tanzania
05-13-2017, 06:02 PM   #3
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The point I was trying to ask about was with regards to the fact I will be using the gear in heavy dust and sand environment, and am keen to know how the FA lenses will fare in that environment.
05-13-2017, 07:48 PM   #4
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Never taken it to Africa but my Pentax 645Nii and a number of lenses have dealt with Nevada dust and sand just fine over the years. This includes my FA 45-80 which is one of my favorite lenses for this system. During the middle of the summer our back roads and trails will deteriorate into what we lovingly refer to as "bug dust." This is a very fine, sandy dust that actually seems to flow out in front of your vehicle as you drive along the road. Even driving slow will cause huge clouds to billow up around your Jeep or truck. Among other problems you can plug off an air filter with dust in just a couple of hours of driving.

I do not ride on top of the Jeep, and I typically wait a bit after stopping before getting out with my camera equipment. But just walking around will create floating dust that pretty much settles on everything. I typically clean everything off once I get back home but none of my equipment has had any problems so far. I use film cameras so exactly how well the lenses will prevent dust from settling on your digital sensor is another story of course.

You may consider saving the zoom for less dusty conditions and using a sealed lens for other photography but I doubt you will have any problems. I would be more concerned with that Canon then the Pentax.

05-13-2017, 09:46 PM   #5

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I don't own a medium format camera but I took a K3 with a 16-85 out to some of the badlands of Kenya out near Tanzania during dry season.

My black camera wasn't black anymore after that. It was covered in really fine powdery sand.

I never had any issues at all.

The trick is keeping the front element clean. I was also very mindful of really quickly zooming.

I wouldn't even consider taking a non WR lens out there. All that said I had no issues but that dust could kill a normal camera given some time.
05-21-2017, 09:41 PM   #6
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I've been to Morocco five times and you'll definitely want to protect your gear, primarily when driving. The ground turns to brown baby powder. That stuff gets into everything.
05-24-2017, 03:22 AM   #7
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take whatever you need for regular cleanings. try a changing bag for lens swopping.
05-24-2017, 03:52 AM   #8
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The guy who owns | Mike Muizebelt Photography took a Z to africa he might be able to help. I plan on taking my Z and K1 to namibia when I eventually make my 3rs trip ther but I will be using the 28-45 and 55 which should be fairly well sealed.

05-24-2017, 04:38 AM   #9
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All great advice, thanks.

My friend is taking an A7rII and I said "I hope you don't plan on changing lenses for the duration of the trip"
05-29-2017, 06:35 PM   #10
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Your key lens would be the 600mm A, and you'd need a rail to get perfectly sharp images. That rail takes some space and also comes in at some weight. In addition I'd take a 200mm FA for portraits, and a 75mm and a 35mm A as lightweight standard and wide angle lenses, and a set of extension tubes for macro. All fits into one of those Thinktank backpacks (Streetwalker?). This way you can use the 645Z (fairly robust), get great images, and don't need to have a second system. If you have doubts about your 645Z and you are willing to carry a little bit more, you can use a K1 as a second body and a 15-30mm lens and an adapter for the 645 system.

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