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Old Jul 17, 2005, 8:46 PM   #1
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I know I read some advice on this topic on this forum before, but I can't find it now.* I have about 6 weeks left until I go to South Africa and Namibia for a three week trip that will included several wildlife parks as well as the Namib desert.* *What lenses should I buy for the best wildlife photography and the best desert landscape photography. *Okay, here's the embarrasing part:* Although I am putting a lot of time into these days, I really don't know much about photography yet (not from lack of enthusiasm!).* I bought the 20D a month ago just for this trip and have gotten comfortable with it, bu am by no means an expert.**To set a price range, for the zoom lens, I am prepared to pay ~1500 USD.For the landscape shots, a friend has loaned me a Sigma 17 - 35.* Is this sufficient?* I am getting close to tapped on funds, but don't want to have spent all the money on the camera and the trip and then end up a few hundred dollars short of the photograhs I hope will last a lifetime.Final question:* Other than reading the photography magazines and taking shots and seeing how they come out when I download them, is there a better way to get up to speed on truly understanding how to get the most out of the camera?* I am starting to get anxious that I am going to somehow blow this once in a lifetime chance.[img]/forums/images/emoticons/icon_sad.gif[/img]T TrrThTH
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 9:06 PM   #2
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Yes, for landscape shots the 17-35 should be quite sufficient. As for the other safari shots, am I correct in the assumption that you will be shooting wildlife?

If so, then you may want to consider the Sigma 50-500mm Bigma. It will give you quite a bit of range to work with, for about $1000. The downside to this lens is its size, it's about 14 inches long and weighs in around 5lbs. It will get rather heavy.
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Old Jul 17, 2005, 11:53 PM   #3
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you may also want to consider a sigma 80-400 OS.. i have one of these.. and the image stabilizer really helps out when handholding long tele shots..

the bigma (50-500)is a great choice too.. just make sure you have a tripod/monopod at all times..

both can be had for around 950-1000USD..
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Old Jul 18, 2005, 12:02 AM   #4
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You should also consider Canon's own 100-400L with image stabilization.

Here's a review of the 100-400L IS, posted on photographyreview.com by someone who took it for something just like you are about to do. This lens now costs a little less than you say you are willing to pay. Also consider renting.

Reviewed by:TwoBoy,Professional
Price Paid:$2000 at South Africa
Photography Experience:
21+ years, Outdoor
I rate it the BEST LENS currently made for photographing wildlife from a car or 4x4 in AFRICA'S GAME PARKS where leaving a vehicle is not permitted due to wild animals.

Incredibly good when hand held even at 640mm equivelent with Canon 10D. Sharp, clear images with true colour. By changing ISO Rating I can use this lens in the very worst of light. I don't believe people who say the push/pull zoom is an issue or that dust is a problem - it might be if you do not look after your gear but assuming you do I don't see any problem. The lens is heavy but does not give a heavy feel when using it - on the contrary it feels lighter than it is and well balanced on a 10D with extra battery grip. This lens is particularly suited to people who lack a bit of steadiness like myself (injury) or plain old age.

The flexibility makes using primes under these conditions a no-no unless you have lots of bodies (there is too much dust and you get no time to change lenses when photographing wildlife), not to mention lots of money also. If I only had one lens this would be it. I cannot recommend it highly enough, GET YOURS NOW before Canon decide the price is too low!!!! Having thoroughly tested this lens from a vehicle and on foot there is really no need for the tripod mount - mine has been removed permanently and stored away. This lens seems to be an oddity in the L range - very reasonably priced. SUPERB LENS - MY BEST BUY RATING. IT'S SO GOOD IT IS ALMOST UNBELIEVEABLE. It also works very well with my 1.4x II tele-convertor with bird shots with no apparent loss of sharpness.

Took lens to Kruger Park - used on birds and game. I have now decided to use this lens with the 1.4x II converter and this makes it an effective 224~896 lens with a 10D. A 2nd camera (20D - on order) with a 28~300L IS lens (see my review) gives an effective total range from 44-896 on just 2 bodies with 2 lenses which means you never need miss a shot, keeps the dust out of lens changing and you then have the best of everything. Wildlife does not pose and is difficult at best so this combination should prove ideal. The only improvement I would like would be to have AF with the 1.4x II tele-converter when used with this lens. Canon should change this. There is a way to overcome this by taping contacts, I have not done this.

PEOPLE moan about WEIGHT, and also say its not as sharp as PRIMES but FLEXIBILITY is what is needed for WILDLIFE and GOOD SHARP ZOOMS are the ONLY SOLUTION. Just remember to switch your vehicles engine OFF before you shoot. The IS does not seem to like it RUNNING.
1. Sharpness throughout the range
2. IS is great and once you have used it it will be IS for ever.
3. Push/pull allows very quick subject framing
4. Ease of use
1. No AF with 1.4x II tele-converter
2. There do appear to be differences between individual lenses, I tried 2 when buying and the one I took was definitely sharper. Quality control?
Similar Products Used:
Sigma 50~500
Canon 28~300L IS USM
Customer Service:
None needed

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Old Jul 18, 2005, 12:19 AM   #5
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i considered the 100-400L when i got my 80-400 sigma.. but image quality is equal between these two lenses.. the only thing that made me want to go canon was the USM, but i can still track birds with my sigma as its motor is still quite fast.. for me it wasn't worth the extra money.. but either way you go, you will be well served as i think they are very much competitive products..
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Old Jul 18, 2005, 4:18 AM   #6
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This is is no way a disagreement with the advice Greg has given you, it is however a different way to go.

If you think the wildlife shots are the main thing for you the the 100-400 might well be the thing to go for. However if the whole experience is something you want to capture then there is another way although ithas to be a compromise on the length you get with the 100-400.

My suggestion as it often is, would be the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS. And if you can manage a set of converters then good. Actually this suggestion is only worth anything if you are able to stretch to the converter also. (for the wildlife)

Now while you wont beat the 100-400 at the long end with a 70-200 and the 2x converter, there is very little difference between the two at f8. However for all other times you will have a lens from 70 -200 (effective 112 - 320 on 20d) with a straight through f2.8. This will be fantastic and much more manageable for daily shooting. (If you add the 1.4 x you will see very little difference in quality.)

I have been to S.Africa, (my sister was married there- Cape Town), and it is a fantastic place. There is lots to photograph and your whole time will not be on the nature reserves. If you want to bring back only nature shots of the highest quality then get the 100-400. But know that the only advantage is the ability to shot at f5.6 at 400 and get a slightly sharper shot than you would with the 200 and 2x converter. I would not advise adding converters to the 100-400 lens.However the advantages at any other time is with the 70-200, its f2.8 and more manageable size.

Whatever you decide, have a great time. You will love it.

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Old Jul 18, 2005, 3:10 PM   #7
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HWTP - Itrust you'll have a wonderfull time in South(ern) Africa and its game reserves -its beautiful.

My 2c's worth comes from recent experiences... get to know your 20D well - exposure locks, using selective focus points, etc.. so that you can switch to these without hesitation the moment a 'photo opp' presents itself. - and hopefully you wont have some of the regrets i had recently :roll:- missingthat "perfectshot"... (see my comment dated 13 July in http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=11)

The one other comment I'll add is that Imore than once wished i had f2.8 rather than f4.0-f5.6 available to me. (particularly on my non IS lense as well)

Next time I go - I really hope i can do it with a 80-200 2.8L IS as well as a 100-400 and some TC's. (or any oftheir equivalents) - its ok to dream..:G

Enjoy - and please post pics when you return

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Old Jul 27, 2005, 11:27 AM   #8
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You might want to email the guy who took these:

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