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01-21-2013, 03:33 PM   #1
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African Safari

I am going on a Safari in July, and I am trying to plan which equipment to take along with my cameras (K5 and K20d) I have a few questions:
-Is the video quality on the K5 good enough, or will I need to bring an HD camcorder?
-Is a battery grip useful, or is it just unnecessary weight?
-Should I even bother with prime lenses, or should I just bring several good multifocal lenses?
-Should I shoot raw, or jpeg?
-How much memory should I have at minium (12 day safari)?
Thanks in advance.

01-21-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Congratulations on the trip, I am very jealous.

1. Video is not the K5's strong area. Depending on how good you want the video to be... I would probably just bring an HD recorder.
2. I personally would bring the grip if I were bringing some heavy lenses. I.E. DA*'s, large zooms, etc. But if you have lighter lenses, then I think I would leave it at home and pack other items.
3. A couple zooms completely do away with primes.... but depending on what you want to shoot, primes might be the best option
4. I always shoot JPEG
5. I would personally bring what I have for memory, 4 16Gb cards. Ideally, for myself, I would buy some fancy 8Gb cards, probably 6 of those and be happy.... but then I would have to buy new cards. But I would make sure to back them up on a computer every night if possibly.

I think what we need to know from you though is: What lenses do you currently have/plan on taking? What animals are you going to be seeing? Are you in a vehicle all day?
01-21-2013, 05:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ufale Quote
I am going on a Safari in July, and I am trying to plan which equipment to take along with my cameras (K5 and K20d) I have a few questions:
-Is the video quality on the K5 good enough, or will I need to bring an HD camcorder?
-Is a battery grip useful, or is it just unnecessary weight?
-Should I even bother with prime lenses, or should I just bring several good multifocal lenses?
-Should I shoot raw, or jpeg?
-How much memory should I have at minium (12 day safari)?
Thanks in advance.
1. Bring a dedicated camcorder
2. Yes, the battery grip is useful. Having twice the battery life is handy, and it makes the camera easier to hold.
3. Well, that's up to you. I usually shoot with primes. I would certainly only shoot with primes or F2.8 zooms on a once-in-a-lifetime trip
4/5. I'd say RAW+ as it gives you the best of both worlds. Just make sure you bring 2x 32gb cards and you should be set for the whole trip.

Adam
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01-21-2013, 06:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
Congratulations on the trip, I am very jealous.

1. Video is not the K5's strong area. Depending on how good you want the video to be... I would probably just bring an HD recorder.
2. I personally would bring the grip if I were bringing some heavy lenses. I.E. DA*'s, large zooms, etc. But if you have lighter lenses, then I think I would leave it at home and pack other items.
3. A couple zooms completely do away with primes.... but depending on what you want to shoot, primes might be the best option
4. I always shoot JPEG
5. I would personally bring what I have for memory, 4 16Gb cards. Ideally, for myself, I would buy some fancy 8Gb cards, probably 6 of those and be happy.... but then I would have to buy new cards. But I would make sure to back them up on a computer every night if possibly.

I think what we need to know from you though is: What lenses do you currently have/plan on taking? What animals are you going to be seeing? Are you in a vehicle all day?
As I have stated, I will be taking two camera bodies: K5 and K20d. My current lenses are: Pentax 16-50mm *DA 2.8 ED, 55 - 300mm DA 1.4 to 5.8, Pentax 50mm 1.4, Pentax 50 - 200mm DA 4 to 5.6. Obviously, I will need to make a few purchases before departure. We will be traveling mostly in open top vehicles in Kenya, and closed vehicles in Tanzania. This is during the time of the migration, so we can expect wildebeest, numerous species of gazelles, lions, rhinos, cheetahs, etc. We have one balloon ride scheduled, and one night in a tented camp. The real challenge is that we are only allowed to carry 30lbs of luggage for a two week safari. And, I am not sure of what my back-up capabilities will be each night. It is entirely possible that I will have only my memory cards to store my photos.

01-21-2013, 10:23 PM   #5
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I say it all depends on what you want to capture. If you want shots of the wildlife yes that is noble and good and all... but then again you can approach this in an entirely different way.... tell the story of your journey so people get the essence of an album of what its like to take the trip, not merely what a X animal looks like...

Tell a story! That would be my approach. The journey is the epic part. BTW I safari'ed for about 3 months or so and it all depends on which animals and where and how you are going to be interacting with those animals. Some places have it set up so that you simply can't miss seeing animals....sort of like an open zoo where you just drive around and see stuff...

It all depends on what kind of safari you're wanting to take
01-23-2013, 04:04 AM   #6
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Two things to consider: dust and lack of power. You don't want to be changing your lens while driving. You will probably not be able to recharge your battery if you are camping.

I would shoot RAW as you will probably need to PP your photos as the range of lighting in Africa is different to most of the rest of the world (just my experience: there is something magical about the African sun).
01-23-2013, 04:26 AM   #7
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16-50 on one camera and 55-300 on the other, with the 50 1.4 as spare. Shoot RAW+ with 5 or 6x 16Gb cards. Take some time before you go to bed at night, to go through the photos and delete the obviously bad ones and decide which of the better ones to keep, especially RAW files that you might want to work on once back home. Enjoy the trip!
01-23-2013, 04:31 AM   #8
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Heh, I am jealous, and I live in Africa!

The sun does lend a certain element here, where you don't see anywhere else. But, I can say the same in other parts of the world, it all looks interesting!

As to power, it all depends where you're going on safari, for the most part you should be ok (even the campsites are often powered, but again, depends on where). Just get the adapter for whatever country/ies you are going to.

B

01-23-2013, 10:25 PM   #9
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Your distance from the animals is the major factor. I would bring the 55 - 300 and 50 - 200mm and purchase a 2x teleconverter for your lens. You might consider a 500mm manual mirror lens for the Pentax.

From what I have been told, bring a good tripod.
01-23-2013, 11:33 PM   #10
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Hi!

I'm just back from a safari trip in Africa.

I did have my 2 bodies, the K-x was with a F35-105 attached. The K-30 was with the F70-210, occasionally I put on a Canon front mounted 1.6x extender using a 49-52 step up ring.

You need wide (like the 35-105) for a giraffe or an elephant outside your vechicle. And a super tele for a lion if you see one. There is always enough light, unless heavy clouds. And in the car, you don't need a tripod, use your backpack as a bean bag on the top of the roof. You are all right with the DA55-300 on one body and the DA*16-50 on the other. In the camp you need the FA50 (I had my A50 1.7) for low light.

Use hoods, at least for protection! And you do not need the battery grip, I did not need the extra battery on my k-30 while taking 4GB of pics and one video clip.

I had 3 8GB cards, but I was only 2 days on safari during my week in Kenya, I have not looked through my pics yet. But the AWB on the K-30 was not perfect.

Seb
01-24-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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I could probably do an entire post on my lens choices alone. For sure, I am going to bring the 16-55 *DA, and my 50 1.4 prime. However, I am very conflicted about my long range lens choices. I do have a Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED. I like this lens, but I am concerned that it is not up to a 'trip of a lifetime.' I am considering the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma). I like what I read about this lens, and I like the fact that I can use it without a tripod. What does concern me is that it is not weather resistant. As an alternative, I am considering the Pentax 300mm smc P-DA* F4 ED(IF) SDM Lens. This lens does not have the telephoto capability of the 'Bigma,' but it does have outstanding IQ, and it is water resistant.
01-24-2013, 10:52 PM   #12
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I would also get a pentax Q - you can't beat the 5.5 crop factor if you use your existing glass. It's small enough that it won't make too much of a dent, but just make sure you buy (literally) 5 extra batteries. And a good tripod or monopod.
01-25-2013, 12:20 AM   #13
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The Pentax Q is an interesting recommendation. I am not sure why I would need one for the Safari. Are you recommending it for HD video?
01-25-2013, 05:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ufale Quote
I could probably do an entire post on my lens choices alone. For sure, I am going to bring the 16-55 *DA, and my 50 1.4 prime. However, I am very conflicted about my long range lens choices. I do have a Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED. I like this lens, but I am concerned that it is not up to a 'trip of a lifetime.' I am considering the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma). I like what I read about this lens, and I like the fact that I can use it without a tripod. What does concern me is that it is not weather resistant. As an alternative, I am considering the Pentax 300mm smc P-DA* F4 ED(IF) SDM Lens. This lens does not have the telephoto capability of the 'Bigma,' but it does have outstanding IQ, and it is water resistant.
I almost got the Bigma, but opted for another body instead. Could have been useful since the lions were 100m away. Depends on the car, you might have cramped space to use your Bigma. I opted for low weight. I am a prime person, but on a safari the tele prime is not optimal. I'm not that obsessed with WR, some cars have a rain/sun cover. The dust is the major problem.

But this is a solution that worked for me, I got the Canon TC-DC52B.

which tele-converter lens is good ?

Happy shooting!

Seb

Last edited by bassek; 01-25-2013 at 05:53 AM. Reason: forgot to mention TC
01-25-2013, 07:05 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ufale Quote
The Pentax Q is an interesting recommendation. I am not sure why I would need one for the Safari. Are you recommending it for HD video?
Because when you put a 100mm 2.8 lens, it has an equivalent field of view as a 550mm f2.8 lens. Or if you had a 300mm f4, that would be like having a 1600mm lens w/ an f4 aperture. Now the pic quality won't be as good as a full DSLR, but it will be better than cropping a lot. I would use it in conjunction to your DSLR set up. Just get another tripod plate for the different bodies... Take a look at the q forum and find the thread that's called "reach of the Q" or something like that to see what a K mount lens can do on a Q with a converter.
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