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Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?

rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sat 04-Apr-09 01:57 PM | edited Sat 04-Apr-09 04:09 PM by rwhitaker

12 day trip in Sept. to Cape Town, wine country to the north, Victoria Falls and Kruger National Park. I'm hoping for advice from those who have been-there-done-that, as to what equipment listed:

D200, D700
Three 4gb flashcards, (Shoot RAW, 14bit, will add additional 4 or 8 gb cards)
18-200DX, 50f1.4, 24-70, 70-200, 105macro, 200-400, TC1.4EII
SB800
Tripods - Gitzo GT5540LS(hugh), Bogan Pro(smaller), Gitzo GM5540 mono
Wimberly WH200 Gimble hd, RRS BH-55LR ball hd
Think Tank Urban Disguise 50 bag
Sager8661 Lap top and portable Hard drive

Concidering 14-24mm. If 200-400 goes, I will need a roller board or backpack, I like Think Tank.

I am a gearhead and want all my goodies. I need rational guidance.

Thanks so much
Robert

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mhofman

Rotterdam e.o., NL
264 posts

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#1. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

mhofman Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2006
Sat 04-Apr-09 04:11 PM

Hi Robert,

I have been there in 2006. I went to Capetown, the winecountry at the south (Stellenbos I believe) and Kruger NP. At that time I took a D100, a D200, a 17-35, a Sigma 24-70, a 60 mm macro and a 80-400. For macroshots I used mainly the 17-35 because of the close focussing range. It's a bit odd but it worked fine for my needs.

Looking at your impressive list of equipment I would at least take te 24-70, 70-200 and the TC1.4. I don't know how much you are planning to shoot in Kruger and how much you have to carry your gear around yourself. If Kruger is an important part of the trip and carrying gear isn't a big problem, I would take the 200-400 as well.

And then you need something at the wideangle end. 14-24 would be great on your D700. But it's pretty huge. So maybe the 18-200 would be better. In that case you also have a nice and light walkaround kit with the D200 for city trips.

Tip for Cape Town: visit the Waterfront in Cape Town. Lots of restaurants and shops. And there are open top bus tours where you can get on and off wherever you want. These busses stop at the Waterfront, the Table Mountain and lots of other interesting places. You can take nice pictures from the open top of the bus during the trip too.

Regarding legs: I took a Manfrotto tripod which I put in the checked luguage. At that time I didn't need a bigger tripod for my equipment. And wildlife pictures in Kruger are all done from a car. With the 200-400 you maybe best with a beanbag or a monopod. And if you decide to bring only the 70-200, that would do handheld. If you are planning a lot of landscape in low light situations, I would take a light tripod with me if I were you.

I hope I helped you bringing some guidance with this. For myself I usually don't manage to that (planning for Namibia in september).

Regards, Marco

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#2. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 1

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sat 04-Apr-09 06:18 PM

Thanks Marco,
All points you mention are on my itenery. Open air bus sounds good.
My "impressive" kit was purchased BC (Before crash). Future items must be much more scrutinized. The 14-24 is tempting but will wait, I may rather put that money towards a D400 if it comes out in time. I dearly love all my pro lens but the 200-400 takes me where I really like to be. Kruger NP is what I'm going for, wine country is a consession to the other party.

Kruger is done by 4 wheel landrover, I doubt much hiking. Beanbag and mono most likely unless I find space for Bogan tripod.

Did you do much macro? I didn't realy consider taking the 105.

Thanks again,

Robert

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mhofman

Rotterdam e.o., NL
264 posts

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#3. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 2

mhofman Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Jun 2006
Sun 05-Apr-09 02:39 AM

Hi Robert,

14-24 is a lovely lens. I used one for a few days on a FX-body. But since I've got the 17-35 I'm not in a big hurry to buy one. And the difference in size and the absence of a filter thread is also a factor.

If you're going for Kruger NP, take that 200-400 with you. I used a 80-400 on one camera and on the other I used mostly the 17-35. I used focal lengths up to 400 for close-ups and birds. Both camera's are DX. In your case maybe the 18-200 on a D200 and a 200-400 on the D700 would do for most shots. And maybe you can add your TC1.4 in case you have enough light and need more reach. In that way you have a smooth focal length range of 18-400 in DX terms or 27-560 in FX terms. I believe that would do the trick.

Winecountry can be nice too. The farmbuildings are nice to photograph.

I took separated the head of my tripod. That made it all a little smaller and more able to get in our suitcases.

I didn't do much macro. But we visited two botanical gardens and since I have a 105, I borrowed a smal 60 mm of a friend to reduce weight and size. I indeed only used it at the botanical gardens. I never used it in Kruger NP. And the 200-400 has a very close focussing range. You can have a lot of fun with that one too

I wish you two a lot of fun in South Africe. My wife and I loved it.

Regards, Marco

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Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
12722 posts

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#4. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Sun 05-Apr-09 10:41 AM

Having done 6 trips to Africa (Cape Town no - Vic Falls yes) I would not be concerned about anything wider than 24mm.
A lot depends on the vehicle in Kruger.
If you will be standing up through the roof of an open topped Land Cruiser or Land Rover TWO bean bags are what you need, resting on the flat level surface of the outer roof.
If you are in an open sided vehicle with round hand rails bean bags do not work well - and you need a tripod.
If you are 8-12 in a mini bus there is no space to use much more than a compact - so up grade the vehicle.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#5. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 05-Apr-09 11:39 AM

I think the 200-400 is a boat anchor unless you're on a real safari trip (which you're not - you're on a general tour, which is great too). If you ever go on safari, bring the 200-400.

Having two bodies is highly recommended. On my last (research) trip to Capetown and Pretoria (2006), I traveled with a D70s and a D200. The D70s died after, ahem, impacting a stone wall. I did the rest of the trip with the D200 alone.

You'll enjoy the city sights with the D700 and the 24-70 (or the D200 and 18-200 - but I now much prefer the D700/24-70).

In the Rover, run the D200 + 70-200 and you'll be very happy with the reach. Keep the TC1.4EII handy. No room in a Rover for a tripod. Frankly, while a monopod is useful from time to time, both the 18-200 and 70-200 have excellent, dual mode VR. Bring a couple of large POD bean bags instead of tripod or monopod for general use without VR. The POD devices are much easier to pack and carry and will be also be much easier and faster to deploy and use.

A 50 f/1.4 should, I think, always be part of everyone's shooting kit especially for FX bodies.

Take the TC1.4EII because it works so well on the 70-200 and because it doesn't really take up any space in your bag.

Macro? Again, unless you're doing an extended walkabout (e.g., while on safari), you'll not encounter very many macro shooting opportunities. Leave it at home. If you're worried about missing something, bring an extension tube for the the 24-70 and 18-200.

That's it: D700, D200, 24-70, 50, 70-200, 18-200, TC1.4EII, extension tube, lots of CF cards (at least 12 x 4GB), 2 x POD screw-on bean bags, and all the other junk (chargers, plug adapters, cleaning cloths, lenspens, rocket blower, sensor cleaning kit, etc). It will all fit nicely in the Urban Disguise 50. The Sager (15"?) laptop should fit end-first in the rear slot pocket of the Urban Disguise 50. The portable HD should probably go into your luggage.

To avoid potential over-weight issues with your carry-on, prior to entering security, put the 24-70 and the 18-200 (without hoods) in your vest pockets. Keep all your CF cards in a Think Tank Pixel Pocket Rocket, stuff it into another vest pocket and keep it there.

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#6. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 5

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sun 05-Apr-09 03:23 PM

Great stuff, guys, very helpful. The wheels are spinning and I am re-thinking things. I have difficulty concidering my beloved 2-4, as a "boat anchor", but I do drag it many places and find the combination DX, TC1.4 and 70-200 does the job.

I find it interesting both you and Marco bring up the 18-200. Frankly that got thrown into the back seat, when I took my first shot with a pro lens. I keep it attached to the D200 in my truck as a "always handy" camera. The image quality cannot compare. I normally have D200/70-200 and D700/24-70 hanging off each shoulder.

If I pass on the 14-24, I may shoot panos with the 24-70, for the landscape shots.

As for CF cards, I was thinking of going 8GB. I know in the near future a 20+MP body waits for me...

Glad you mentioned the screw-on beanbag, I looked at them but didn't see the value of screw-on. I'd love to see some shots. Robert

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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#7. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 6

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 05-Apr-09 04:08 PM


>Glad you mentioned the screw-on beanbag, I looked at them but
>didn't see the value of screw-on. I'd love to see some shots.

Sorry for asking . . but . . . shots of what?

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migpower

Cartaxo, PT
598 posts

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#8. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

migpower Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning a Nikonians Annual Photo Contest Registered since 18th Jul 2004
Sun 05-Apr-09 09:21 PM


Robert,

Keep it simple. Don't get me wrong, being on Kruger and Cape Town as well.
My advice is d700+24-70 and the d200 + 70-200 & TC1.4
The 50. and that's it.
Oh and a SB800 for the d200/70-200 for Kruger at night or dawn sorties.
Plus, multiple 4 GB cards (DVD size) and and a portable storage disk (80G) with CF support, no need to have a display, just a simple storage without needing the PC to download.
6 batt's for the D's (yes Six)and two chargers.
Swab Sensor cleaners and a blower.(Kruger special)
Two or three towels to cover the gear and one specific for cleaning your hands of the Anti-Mosquito chemicals BEFORE handle the gear.
Avoid changing lens due the dust (hence this config).
Forget the tripods... Mono at best.

my 2 cents

Enjoy the trip!

S, S Brass, S2,S2 BD, F, F Black, FTn, F36, F250 Black, F2 Black, F2A, F2AS Black, F3/T Champagne, F3/T Black, F3P, FG Black, F4e, F5, D2H, D200... Two Bessa R2S NHS!

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#9. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 7

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Mon 06-Apr-09 12:22 AM | edited Mon 06-Apr-09 12:25 AM by rwhitaker

Sorry, ran out of space. Shots of Capetown/Wine country/ Victoria Falls and or Kruger. Does anybody have a collection of their trip in a gallery they would share?
The screw on POD support seems to be the simplest support system. For the 70-200 and 200-400, I assume the large center post black pod is the most suitable.
Thanks again,
Robert

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agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#10. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 9

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Mon 06-Apr-09 09:46 AM


>The screw on POD support seems to be the simplest support
>system. For the 70-200 and 200-400, I assume the large center
>post black pod is the most suitable.

The black Pro POD is quite big - 7.5" in diameter. The center post is the same size as the one on other PODs, but it comes with a keeper nut which makes it look larger. It works quite well when screwed to the tripod foot on the 200-400. I use the Red POD for anything smaller, either on the lens tripod foot (e.g., on my 70-200) or, more often, on the camera body.

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migpower

Cartaxo, PT
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#11. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 9

migpower Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning a Nikonians Annual Photo Contest Registered since 18th Jul 2004
Mon 06-Apr-09 01:23 PM | edited Mon 06-Apr-09 01:25 PM by migpower

As requested!

RSA
Kruger

Have a great trip

S, S Brass, S2,S2 BD, F, F Black, FTn, F36, F250 Black, F2 Black, F2A, F2AS Black, F3/T Champagne, F3/T Black, F3P, FG Black, F4e, F5, D2H, D200... Two Bessa R2S NHS!

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yesimdave

US
224 posts

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#12. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 9

yesimdave Registered since 29th Nov 2006
Tue 21-Apr-09 08:58 PM

A few V Falls shots are in here; the rest are from Namibia, Botswana, and other parts of Zambia:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33689859@N04/sets/72157612952416946/


http://www.flickr.com/photos/33689859@N04/sets/72157611702881645/

I broght:

d40, D80
Nikon 12-24, 18-200vr, and 80-400 vr lenses
One old, kind of light gitzo tripod.

Here's my $.02: The best piece of equipment I brought, by far, was the 80-400vr lens.

Why?

Because it freed me from ever needing to bring a tripod for shooting critters. All the critter shots were taken handheld, and because of the VR feature and the relative light weight of the lens I never ever ever had to use a tripod, bean bag, or other device to support the lens. I really think this is a huge key to my enjoyment of the trip. Granted, the 80-400 has a crappy autofocus but I just used the manual focus. I would bring it again for a similar trip.

KMaurer

DE
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#13. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Sun 03-May-09 09:55 AM | edited Sun 03-May-09 12:51 PM by KMaurer

Hi,

I am pretty much in the same situation (19-day family trip to SA in July, Cape Town, Garden Route, Amakalah & Madikwe game reserves).

This is what I intended to bring and how to use it:

D700 + 24-70 (for every day)
+ 80-400VR (for game drives)
D200 + 18-200 (as backup and as all purpose camera during game drives)

In addition to the standard accessories (chargers, batteries, etc) I also intend to bring my Asus EEEPC plus external hard drive.

I thought I was already economical in gear choice but still need to reduce weight; everything in my Thinktank Airport Acceleration weighs about 11kg (i.e. about 3kg of overweight). I do not bring any printed documentation, all manuals are on the netbook.

I could swap the 24-70 for the 28-105 which I recently acquired used (and therefore does not have my full trust yet). Remaining gear includes 50/1.8, 70-200VR (out due to quality issues with D700 and shorter range compared to 80-400), 17-35.

I want to avoid lens changes during game drives and thought the D700 should take the telephoto lens due to its low light capabilities.

Any thoughts or advice?

Thanks!

Oliver

agitater

Toronto, CA
4527 posts

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#14. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 13

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 03-May-09 11:58 AM

The D200 + 18-200 are not really a backup solution if they're lost or damaged or stolen along with your other gear in the carry-on TT. The logical place for any backup solution of any kind is always someplace other than the place you're storing your main gear. Put the D200 + 18-200 in the carry-on of another person in the family. Same thing goes for the Eee PC and the external HD.

You'll love the 24-70 when you're walking in Capetown.

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KMaurer

DE
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#15. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 14

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Sun 03-May-09 12:54 PM

Howard,

a valid point. I was more thinking of a technical backup - shifting the load to my wife might even allow me to take the 17-35 as well

Regards,

Oliver

agitater

Toronto, CA
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#16. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 15

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 03-May-09 02:26 PM


>a valid point. I was more thinking of a technical backup -
>shifting the load to my wife might even allow me to take the
>17-35 as well

The 17-35 will never come out of the bag, unless you're a true ultra wide angle hound (in which case you should bring it and leave the 24-70 at home instead). However, and keeping differences in taste and style in mind, my own experiences in Capetown and SA showed that the 24-70 is more than wide enough to help you capture the vast expanses in the parks, and long enough to give you the tightness you need to isolate subjects on the streets of Capetown (a remarkable place, by the way).

I believe in traveling as light as possible. The best gear to carry is the gear you're actually going to use. Years ago I made many research trips carrying gear I never used. I always said to myself, "I'll bring it just in case." I was an idiot. Took a while, but I finally smartened up. After you've packed such excellent selections - D700, 24-70, 80-400, D200 and 18-200 - anything more is just decoration and gilding too heavy to carry while walking, a worry in the hotel room if it's left behind while you're out for the day, and more weight to distribute among other members of the family. Trust me when I tell you that the last question you want to hear, mid-trip, from the Memsahib is, "Why did you bring all this stuff that you haven't even touched?"

Anyway, my point is that the weather in July is very temperate - quite cool actually. Why load yourself with enough gear to make you tired and possibly less interested in photography as a result? Meh!

Forgive a bit of assumption. If the trip to SA is in some respects the trip of a lifetime - or at least the only chance you feel you'll likely ever get to travel there - by all means don't hesitate to pack the D200. If you're a frequent traveler, on the other hand, who feels he'll be back to SA again (if you like the place), I'd bring a Nikon Coolpix P90 as a backup instead of the bulkier, heavier D200 + 18-200. I've tested the P90 recently and found it to be terrific. It's admittedly not quite a D200/18-200, but it's darn close enough for most purposes and it's certainly capable, in the right hands, of capturing gorgeous shots. Drop it in a vest pocket or jacket pocket along with a spare battery, charger and some SD cards and away you go - it'll never see the inside of a camera bag. I travel with either a G10 or an LX3 as a backup, but I'm tempted now to sell the G10 and pick up a P90.

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KMaurer

DE
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#17. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 16

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Tue 05-May-09 03:24 AM

Howard,

Thanks again for your extensive reply. Since it is the first vacation that we are planning as a family where photography will have its explicit place I would still prefer taking the D200 as a backup. A light-weight alternative could be my wife's D40 + 18-55 kit lens but that would mean that I would lose AF on the 80-400 should I want/need to use that combination.

You are also right about the 17-35.

Regards,

Oliver

KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
4954 posts

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#18. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Tue 05-May-09 03:34 AM

Hi Robert,

Owning the 200-400 and not bringing it on safari? Am not sure about that proposition - only you can decide based on the parameters of your trip. I.e. family trip trade off vs. maximizing photographic potential.

I have been to Namibia/Botswana, but all I had at the time was a CoolPix 5000 and a 3 x teleconverter so I can't say for SURE, but I like the idea of having the 24-70, 70-200 and the 200-400 and TC14E. The rest of your lenses may have less usage (and macro maybe optional if you have a tube or close-up filter).

I'm sure there are some 200-400 owners that can chime in on luggability and security. Africa is amazing, am sure you will enjoy it, regardless of how you kit out!

Best regards, SteveK
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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#19. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 18

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Tue 05-May-09 12:23 PM | edited Tue 05-May-09 05:04 PM by rwhitaker

Really appreciate the responce.

I have added the ROVOS train from Pretoria to Cape town, to the agenda. Open balcony last car for photos, windows open also.

I purchased TT airport international, it will accept 200-400 and most all other gear. Along with TT urban disguise 50, and "rented mule", should have space and flexibility to manage all.

I hear you "pack lite/ k-i-s-s", guys but I can't separate myself from my 2-4 and if it goes well...

I went to St. Augustine Alligator Farm rookery (http://www.alligatorfarm.us/)last week, incredible birding, and had the opportunity to speak with Chas Glatzer, http://www.shootthelight.com/ his suggested kit:D700/200,24-70,70-200,200-400,TC1.4,SB800/BetterBeamer,no tripod/monopod, no 50f1.4.

Thanks again for feedback, Robert

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mbpics

Victoria, CA
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#20. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 16

mbpics Registered since 20th Apr 2008
Fri 08-May-09 05:00 PM

Howard,

My question is a bit off the topic of this discussion, but I am wondering what specifically you like about the P90?

Admittedly, I have not used the P&S cameras for a couple of years, mainly because it was so difficult to use manual controls, so I am not aware how the most recent P&S perform. These days my replacement for the P&S is either the D700 with one or more light lenses, or the D200 with the 18-200 VR, when I need the 300mm (FF) reach, but want to travel light.

However, I am still looking for a digital camera with decent manual controls & image quality for the situations when using a DSLR is unwise (the shutter noise in quiet places, singling myself out as a "professional" in a crowd of P&S shooters, etc).

Thom Hogan's review (http://www.bythom.com/compactchallenge.htm) suggests that the G10 is the best camera in the advanced P&S category. However, he has compared it with the P6000, not with the P90.

For instance, I believe the P90 has an electronic viewfinder. Is it good enough to replace the traditional optical one? The Canon S2, my last P&S, also has an electronic viewfinder, pretty useless for most of my applications.

Since you are suggesting the P90 as a backup on safari and considering it as a replacement for the G10, it certainly deserves a closer look.

Thank you in advance for your feedback. Are you planning to post a P90 review on your website, by the way?

Mikhail

agitater

Toronto, CA
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#21. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 20

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Fri 08-May-09 10:52 PM

We've requested a P90 review unit from our Nikon PR rep. They send what they send however - we're never quite sure what will show up in the courier box.

I like the P90 for several reasons. Size/bulk is one thing. I have never gotten used to anything smaller than a G9/G10 type of body - a small rangefinder in other words. The P90 is bulky without doubt (compared to its brethren) but fits just fine in every photo vest I own. The P90 also harks back to the excellent Nikon prosumer cameras of the early part of the decade - the Coolpix 5700 in particular. All of those cameras were very competent and the P90 is better still. I have little use for the slow refresh tracking of video viewfinders (except for the new Panasonic GH-1 which is essentially live and quite remarkable). But cameras as small as the P90 require that you peer through tiny viewfinder windows - so for that reason alone, IMO, they're a compositional aid only in situations which wash out the rear LCD. That said, the rear LCD is a thing of beauty on the P90 - hi res, anti-glare coating, lots of brightness and excellent color depth.

The technical differences between the P90 and the G10 and LX3 reveal that the LX3 is capable of producing cleaner files in many situations. Practical application during real photo ops however, seems to show quite clearly that the P90 runs head to head with all of the competition. None of the small format sensors are capable of producing clean files above ISO800 unless you're in a lab.

The LX3 is hard for me to hold. It's thin oblong thing, well built and sturdy enough for lots and lots and lots of use. But there's not enough to hang onto - the right hand grip has a noticeable purchase, but it's just not big enough for secure handling in a variety of shooting situations IMO. The G10, on the other hand, is a brick. It's got a bigger right hand grip, offers more weight - perhaps too much for its size - and a few additional curves which aid handling. The P90 features a more prominent right hand grip, a size-to-weight ratio which makes sense, and Nikon's usual excellent handling and ergonomics. One of the biggest factors for me, when deciding which camera to pick up, is the ease with which a particular body can be handled. As usual again, the camera you're looking forward to using because it doesn't tire you out with poor ergonomics and unbalanced handling is the camera with which you're bound to take more and better photos.

I've been using a G10 since the day after it hit stores. Ditto for the LX3. I've only used a borrowed P90 for a single weekend, but I like it better.

There's more. LX3 flash performance is quite good; the G10 flash performance is curiously variable in quality. The P90 pop-up flash does as good a job as the pop-up flashes in the D40/D60 as far as I'm concerned. Nikon really knows this stuff and its programming is a cut above the rest of the industry.

Lenses are all good. The P90 clearly has the longest zoom range by a long shot. Sharp shots depend much more on the photographer than the lens with all three cameras. Technically, the LX3 has the best lens of the bunch. Again though, outside the lab, the differences between the lenses essentially disappear.

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mbpics

Victoria, CA
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#22. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 21

mbpics Registered since 20th Apr 2008
Sat 09-May-09 02:00 AM

Howard,

Thank you -- this is a very comprehensive feedback. You have certainly persuaded me to check the P90 out at a local store. Please do let us know once you post a review on your website!

Mikhail

Safariman

UK
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#23. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 19

Safariman Basic Member
Sun 10-May-09 12:09 AM

Listen to Chas, the man knows Africa like the back of his hand.

As an ex South African who travels back as often as I can (Kruger in August hopefully ) I fully concur with his recomendations.

On my last kruger trip 3 long years ago I found that the 200-400 was the lens I reached for most of the time, followed by the 70-200, with the other lenses relegated to occasional use.

As someone said before 'you have the 200-400 & don't take it to Africa?!?!' Why own the Best of the Best & then leave it at home for that once in a lifetime trip?

My packing list (so far) looks like this

D700
D200 (or D300 if I can justify it & sell the 200)
F6 (For Velvia, Infrared EIR film & an analogue backup)
Xpan II + 2 lenses(If I can justify the weight)
200-400 - IMHO the Ultimate safari lens
70-200 - questionable IQ on FX, but F2.8 + VR are hard to beat on DX or film
24-70 - should be more than adequate as a wide lens unless you are a real Wide Freak
90mm Macro Tamron - Usefull if you have a good eye for the small stuff around Kruger & especially for the flowers around Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens & Table Mountain
TC-1.4
TC-1.7 - slight drop in IQ over 1.4, but sometimes with wildlife you just NEED that extra few mm. Forget the 2x, it sucks.
SB-800 + SD-8A
Binocs
Beanbag

If I have the spare weight in my suitcase I schlep the tripod, wimberley head & monopod, but to be fair they only get occasional use & I have had very few occasions where I would have been stuck without them. They are the first things to get chucked when we are tight on space.

For Cape Town the D700 + 24-70 should be more than adequate for the majority of your shots. The 70-200 & macro should fill all gaps.

I must admit that I'm a belts & braces type of guy & never like to think 'if only I'd not left that at home...' On the other hand there is alot to be said for travelling light, I guess it all comes down to personal choice. I guess it also depends if this is a once in a lifetime trip & how understanding your other half/family is of your photography. These are all factors to throw into the equation, so there is no right or wrong answer, it is a very individual thing.

Here is a link to my trip report from my last Kruger trip.

Check out my Kruger photos in my gallery link at the bottom of the page. You will see that my photographic style is very much for tight portraits, hence my love of the 200-400 which to my mind is the ultimate safari lens.

Hope this has been of some help. Please feel free to post or PM any further questions you may have.

Safariman
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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#24. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 23

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sun 10-May-09 07:11 PM

Thanks Safariman,
Your journal/gallery has me sooo siked!! The "Safari" I will be going on is long on creature comforts and with luck some ceatures.
I read the extent you and your family went to so as to capture those images and having viewed others who captured only brief glempse of Rino rumps and partial elephants behind trees. I am more than a little concerned about the photo opportunities to capture quality shots such as yours, and with the D200! The D700 has spoiled me from shooting any medium/low light with my D200 which I used to be so happy.

You mentioned a bean bag, are you referring to a full "Y" shaped bag http://essentialphotogear.com/proddetail.php?prod=ApexBeanBag or something like the "POD"? http://thepod.ca/ The Apex bag is promoted and designed by Chas so is probably the ultimate, but is a hand full to lug around when full. Shakey shots can't be fixed!

You mentioned going back in August, I will be watching for your new pictures. Do you have imput as to weather/game around end of Sept. beginning of Oct.?

Thanks for your time,

Robert

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Safariman

UK
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#25. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 24

Safariman Basic Member
Tue 12-May-09 01:30 AM

Hi Robert

To tell you the truth we didn't have to go to any major lengths to get some good shots. A bit of luck & a lots of patience, as well as the ability to keep calm & put all your skills into practice at those vital times. Remember that I am only showing the creme-de-le-creme of what I shot & 90% of it will never see the light of day.

I was thrilled with the D200 on my last trip, with the exception of the one cloudy day where I struggled to find a perfect balance between low noise & high shutter speed. Hence my purchase of the D700 for my upcoming trip.

As far as beanbags go, my better half very kindly bought me some heavyweight fabric & sewed a very basic beanbag together with a simple zip opening. I travel with it empty & buy a 5kg bag of rice at destination. At the end of the trip the rice goes on the stove. Cost of beanbag - £4.75 & 20 minutes on the sewing machine.

As for weather & game; the winter dry season (June-August) is prime game viewing time as game tends to concentrate around the dwindling water supplies. Remember that in the bush water = life. Obviously the predators tend to hang out near water as well, as the meal comes to them rather than them having to go 'fetch' it. The grass has also been cropped closer to the ground by now, making game viewing that much easier. The days vary between a cool 15 celsius up to a balmy 30 celsius probably averaging out in the low 20's, but the nights can get chilly with a wind chill sometimes dropping into the single digits.

The first rains tend to come sometime between September & November, & the veld is soon covered in a new lush green carpet of succulent grass as well as an abundance of ground water, so the game disperses & many of the expectant mothers drop their young. This provides another bounty to the predators as the new born calves can't always keep up with the herds.

Within a few weeks the grass gets so high that it makes game viewing in the summer months (November/December - April/May) much more difficult, and with the temperature reaching as high as 45 celsius with high humidity, I would not recommend visiting the Kruger in summer, unless you are a keen birder, being that many migrant species arrive in the park, especially the northern sectors, during the summer months.

The answer to your question is that it really depends when the rains come as to what the game viewing will be like in September/October.

You do not say if the safari you are on is a self-drive safari or with an organised tour operator, & if so whether it is a photography themed tour. Much of your photo opportunities will depend on this.

My personal preference is to self-drive, as this leaves me free to leave as early as I want to capture that sweet morning light, to stay with an animal as long as I want and to micro-position the car for that one key ingredient which can make or break a great shot - the background.

On a photography orientated safari the tour guide will have all this in mind as well as taking the hassle of driving off of your hands, leaving you free to concentrate wholely on your photography. You will also share the vehicle with fewer people typically four to a van. The downside is the much higher price.

In my view the regular organised safaris are the worst of everything. You may get held up in the morning waiting for the last guest who has overslept or is feeling the effects of last nights curry. When you find the animals, the rest of the participants will be more than happy to have a quick look and move on just as you are getting ready to start the serious shooting. As you line up the perfect shot in the viwfinder you are more than likely to get an elbow in the ribs from the oversized lady squashed in next to you who is wearing a perfume with a best before date in the last millenium, or the whole van will rock as someone in the back seat starts rummaging underneath the seats for their sandwiches. The tour operator will try to keep everyone happy, but with 15 people of varying ages, races , religions, creeds & tastes it can be a mighty difficult job. You may be very limited in space on the vehicle and holding a 25kg camera bag on your lap the whole day is not much fun, never mind trying to juggle a D700/200-400 combo whilst squashed in the middle seat between the aforementioned frangrant lady & her hairy travelling companion. The one mitigating factor is that these safaris are much cheaper than a specialist safari.

To be fair I have painted a worst case scenario above, and I know some people who have come back with some nice shots & had a good time, but in general those types of safaris are honestly not suited to serious photography.

Hope this has been helpfull.

Safariman
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Gator Bob

SANTA FE, US
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#26. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 25

Gator Bob Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Jul 2006
Tue 12-May-09 07:12 PM

>As for weather & game; the winter dry season (June-August)
>is prime game viewing time ... The first rains tend to come sometime between September & >November, & the veld is soon covered in a new lush green >carpet ... so the game disperses ...

So ...what four-week period provides the best balance between a lot of game around water holes and the least dust?

Gator Bob Santa Fe New Mexico
My Faves: D800E 14-24 PC-E 85 80-400 VRII & Tamron 90 macro

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Safariman

UK
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#27. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 26

Safariman Basic Member
Wed 13-May-09 12:13 AM

I personally have not found dust to be a big problem because i drive myself, so when I get onto a dirt road the windows go up. This is more of a problem on the open safari vehicles. However it is not limited to the time of year. All you need is a couple of weeks without rain & you have a dust problem if you are in an open vehicle on a dirt road, no matter what time of year it is.

I have tended to go in July/August & have always had excellent game viewing. I have also gone in November just after the first rains & found the game somewhat less concentrated, but the impala lambs, the increased birdlife & the carpet of bright green grass carpeting the veld gave those trips a totally different perspective. The short mid-summer (Dec-Feb) trips have been somewhat disappointing & uncomfortable in the heat & humidity. Feb to May is a toss-up as to what you will get.

My first choice is July/August as water is scarce enough by then that the animals are concentrated close by, the grass is low enough for good viewing, but the animals are still in nice condition from the summer months & not yet looking slightly shabby as they sometimes can when the rains are late.

Just my opinion, others may differ.

Safariman
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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
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#28. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 27

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Wed 13-May-09 12:33 PM

The morning & evening tours will be two couples plus driver/guide in open Range Rover. The other couple we vacation often, he boast "Some take a camera, I take a photographer". I will have no competition for photo moments.

I shoot in South Florida Everglades National Park, and use plastic garbage bags for rain/dirt protection. I plan to keep all equipment covered when not in use. I should not need to swap lens much with both bodies. I assume the D700/70-200 will be primery dureing low light and swap to D700/200-400 when light is good. I too like up close and personal images, so the TC-1.4 will go where needed. Will the SB-800/Better Beamer be of much use? It makes the SB-800 effect
out 10 meters. I use it often in "command mode" off camera.

I am mostly a bird/G-kid photographer. I do not recognize a lot of the birds I see photos of in Kruger. Can someone recommened a S. Africa/Kuger game & bird field guide?

Hopefully this will be a scouting trip for many trips to Kruger. I would much prefer a self directed tour, maybe next year.

Thanks

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Safariman

UK
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#29. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 28

Safariman Basic Member
Thu 14-May-09 10:36 PM

Your tour sounds great. Four to a car is perfect.

You may find yourself reaching for the D200+200-400 combo more often than you realise. The DX 1.5 crop factor is great for wildlife. I am trying to justify upgrading my D200 to a D300 before I go.

Take the better beamer, but be aware that it only works on long focal lengths - I think over 200mm but it may be over 300 mm, otherwise you get a spotlight effect in your photos

The first trip that I started taking an interest in birds & not only mammals, was one of the most enjoyable, as Kruger has a great variety of birdlife. The summer months are best as many migrant species flock over, especially in the north of the park, but there are plenty of endemic species to see in winter.

The definitive bird guide is Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, which can be found in any half decent bookstore or newsagent throughout South Africa. I use 'Southern Africa's Mammals - a field guide' by Robin Frandsen which I picked up a few years ago, but I am not sure what is on the market at the moment. Do a google search. You will find a decent selection of bird & mammal guides at the stores located in the camps throughout the park.

As for the Africa bug...once you've been bitten it's almost guaranteed that you'll be back!

Hope this helps.

Safariman
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KMaurer

DE
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#30. "Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 0

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Sun 02-Aug-09 03:46 PM

I have just returned from our vacation to South Africa (see my older message in this thread) and here is what I actually took:

D700, 24-70, 80-400
D200, 18-200

4 batteries, 2 chargers, 5 4GB CF-Cards, Solmeta N1 Geotagger, Netbook with Lightroom plus external hard drive

I took the D700 with either 24-70 (city, landscape) or the 80-400 (game reserves), my wife shot with the D200, mainly during game drives. During game drives the D700 + 80-400 with lens hood in shooting position + Solmeta unit attached to strap stayed in a Think Tank digital holster 50, the D200 in a smaller holster. My trusted LowePro Minitrekker carried most of the stuff while traveling.

I was pretty happy with what I took and never missed e.g. my 17-35 as Howard already predicted.

We returned with just below 4000 shots (NEF). We greatly enjoyed our stay in this beautiful country and will definitely return.

Some observations:

- During game drives I set the D700 to auto ISO with a max. ISO of 3200 and minimum shutter speed of 1/400. I should have been even more restrictive as regards shutter speed (motion blur) but I was able to cover most of the drive - at this time of the year it got dark around 5:30 pm.

- In some situations the auto focus of the 80-400 was rather slow and/or hunting but overall I am satisfied with the lens.

- A longer reach would have been handy in some occasions (especially if you are interested in birds, which I am not).

- In Madikwe we shared the car with a nice couple from the US. He shot a Canon D50 mainly with a 300/2.8 IS + TC1.4, sometimes on a tripod, she also used the backup camera with a 70(80)-200. I felt that I was traveling much lighter and did not have to fiddle around with my equipment in the field as much and he was lucky that the car was not fully occupied.

- I actually never had to rely on the backup batteries in the field, especially the D700 once again proved that it is very energy efficient.

- Nevertheless, charging all your equipment (incl. mobiles, mp3-players, etc for a party of four) can create some problems due to the small number of wall plugs usually available/accessible in hotel rooms. I took two adapters, one multi-plug (2x, hope that is the correct term) plus a Kensington 4x USB charger (very helpful for the mobile, ipods plus the Solmeta unit).

- The 8inch-screen of the Netbook was too small to actually review the pictures so nothing was deleted.

I will update as necessary.

Regards,

Oliver

agitater

Toronto, CA
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#31. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 30

agitater Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007
Sun 02-Aug-09 07:55 PM

Sounds like a great trip! Post some images as soon as you can. Inquiring minds would like to see.

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Howard Carson

Bronson123

SG
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#32. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 31

Bronson123 Registered since 15th Mar 2009
Fri 07-Aug-09 12:10 PM

You got some great advice. I would add from my recent safari trip to South Africa it can be a bit dusty and used a small towel over my camera until i was ready to shoot. Just a thought as the trails can be a bit dusty.

regards
John

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#33. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 32

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Mon 10-Aug-09 01:20 PM

Since my original post, I have added: Apex bean bag, Think Tank Airport Int'l, PacSafe 55, three 4 GB cards(total of 6), LaCie 250 GB ext. HD, and assorted cleaning gear.

I have resolved making room for: D200, D700, 24-70, 70-200, 200-400, TC1.4, SB800, Better beamer, Mono pod, Ball head and Wimberly, Lap top, ext. drive. It all fits in my two carry on bags but some will be checked. I do not have rain gear, have had success with plastic trash bags (Contractor size) here in rainy S. Florida, will pack several bags for dust/rain protection. As for the bags I clip off one corner and slip lens hood in and secure with rubber band, pull bag over lens, body (camera and me) and can keep shooting. If only they came in camo.

I know you "Pack lite" pros are shaking your head but my paranoia's are equipment security and the best chance at a good stable photo given the opportunity. This is a dedicated photo vacation for only one in a party of four (I know you have been there) and will take flack from the others until they are home and can share the photos with friends. That's OK, I just want the best photo I can capture for me.

Thanks all, for the great advice. What am I missing/forgetting? I am getting more hyped by the day.

Robert

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KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
4954 posts

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#34. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 33

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Fri 14-Aug-09 01:44 AM

>Thanks all, for the great advice. What am I
>missing/forgetting? I am getting more hyped by the day.
>
>Robert

Now a good mammal filed-guide and a bird-guide! Actually, be careful these can add significant weight! Maybe just one of each.

I think you are making a good choice on lenses, hope you will find it so!

Best regards, SteveK
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mbpics

Victoria, CA
103 posts

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#35. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 33

mbpics Registered since 20th Apr 2008
Fri 14-Aug-09 02:47 PM

Robert,

If you are not taking a full size tripod, I would pack in a table pod. Combined with a ball head (even a large one -- whatever you are packing as your main ball head), it is very handy for a variety of situations, from sunset photos to taking pictures in a city at night. And it is more convenient for composing than a bean bag. I have been successfully using Manfrotto/Bogen 209 tabletop tripod legs with a small ball head for many years when traveling light. In fact, I take this combination with me even on casual photo walks at home, when I don't carry a larger tripod.

Regarding rain/dust protection using trash bags, when it is not convenient to get inside the bag, I have had success with also making a small hole for the viewfinder, in addition to the hole for the lens, as you have described. A slip-on eye relief on the D200 keeps the bag attached in the viewfinder area. This is a convenient configuration for shooting from a tripod/monopod and for hand-held shooting -- just tie the bag opening and excess material up in a knot. The bag should be transparent to see the screens and the dials, that can be adjusted through the bag. Have not tried this setup with round viewfinders, like on the D700, assume it should work as well, as this is a well-known approach used for many years, probably even before the square viewfinders existed!

Enjoy your trip!

Mikhail

rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#36. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 34

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sun 16-Aug-09 04:53 PM | edited Sun 16-Aug-09 05:09 PM by rwhitaker

Yes Steve, I have been scouting the library and book stores and found several I like. Have decided to wait and check the books available locally when I get there. Mainly for the birds.

Mikhail, I don’t know if the 209 will do the job, the D700/24-70 is several pounds over the 4.5# limit. What kind of weight have put to it? It looks well built. I do have a light weight mini ball head.

Robert

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mbpics

Victoria, CA
103 posts

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#37. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 36

mbpics Registered since 20th Apr 2008
Sun 16-Aug-09 09:49 PM

Robert,

I have been using this table top tripod with the ultra-light Really Right Stuff BH-25 ballhead. I have not put on this combination anything heavier than the Nikon D200 with the 18-200 VR. This tripod + ballhead combination is part of my travel light setup and I don't pack anything heavier when traveling light. The results were good, subject to using the usual precautions at low shutter speeds and especially when the lens was fully extended to 200 mm, i.e. self timer/remote release/mirror lock-up.

Regards,

Mikhail

rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#38. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 35

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Wed 19-Aug-09 12:57 PM | edited Wed 19-Aug-09 01:00 PM by rwhitaker

I am undecided about the Apex Bean Bag. The Rovers we will be in are completely open. No top, no sides, there is a bar around the back of each row (3) of seats. I will have my mono pod.

I filled the bag with crushed corn cob (bird cage media), it works great and same or slightly lighter than sunflower seed. It takes a lot to fill completely and weighs in at 13 lbs. with plate, and no head attached. If I do take it I will of course fill at destination.

The bag is very stable and rubber coating sticks well to what ever you lay it over. I would have preferred the straps be reinforced at there attach points. I am concerned about carrying the bag by the straps.

The side pocket is great idea, I had hoped to keep polarizing filter readily available but with bag full pocket is too tight. A stretch pocket would have been better. Velcro closer is noisy.

They have reduced price to $99.

Sorry, did not mean to get off on a testimonial.

Robert

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KMaurer

DE
13 posts

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#39. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 38

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Wed 19-Aug-09 02:50 PM

Indeed I immediately thought that the bean bag would not be of great help given the typical vehicle. The exception is the seat next to the driver where you have better opportunities to use the bean bag. However, that seat also is the lowest one and you are usually not allowed to stand up in the vehicle.

I have found the Land Rovers to offer less space than the Toyota Landcruiser, for example. Another problem of the Land Rover we rode in was the fact that it did not have any additional floor under the seats. In the first row you had the spare wheel providing some basis for the feet (or a monopod), the third row was rather high above the floor of the vehicle so that a monopod probably would need to be fully extended in order to have a sound base. Also bad, if something falls down because you cannot pick it up yourself - apart from the damage risk. I am not sure if this is a general problem of the Land Rover.

The Landcruiser was much better since it had an additional floor (as you would expect).

Regards,

Oliver


rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#40. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 39

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Wed 19-Aug-09 03:42 PM

The lodge has some great photos on flickr,

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25265971@N03/

On page 4 are some shots of the vehicle. That is the Land Rover right? You can see depending on the angle the bean bag may or may not be of use. With the Wimberley, it does make for a very stable/versatile platform. It may come down to packing time to make the decision.

Robert

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KMaurer

DE
13 posts

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#41. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 40

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Wed 19-Aug-09 05:01 PM

My guess is that this a Landcruiser.

Regards,

Oliver

rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#42. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 41

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Tue 25-Aug-09 07:09 PM

I have resolved to hiring a day guide to see Cape Town. Does anybody have a recommendation or what are the six best things to see/do/photo in and around Cape Town? We plan on a Table Mountain tour and trips to wine country. Outside of that we are up for any suggestions.

I have seen some great panorama and wide-angle shots from the vantage point of Table Mountain. I plan to take the 24-70 & 70-200 and decide which offers the best view for a pano.

How about a Balloon trip in South Kruger? Has anybody beentheredonethat? What is a good lens selection?

Thanks,
Robert

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frarig

Helston, UK
175 posts

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#43. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 42

frarig Registered since 05th Jun 2006
Wed 26-Aug-09 04:09 AM

Hi Robert

As an ex-Capetonian, here's a list of the places I'd want to go:

1)Definitely a day-tour around the peninsula, starting in CT city and heading along the Atlantic seaboard, returning via the False Bay coastal drive. There should be time for a trip to Cape Point Nature Reserve and a stop at Boulders beach to see the penguins. There are stunning views around the entire route and it can be comfortably done in a day if you're pressed for time.

2) For that classic Table Mountain shot, head for Blouberg/Tableview beaches either early morning or in the evening.

3) As another poster already mentioned, the V&A Waterfront is well worth a visit. It's very much a working harbour as well as a major shopping/eating/tourist attraction, so you could easily spend a whole day there taking all sorts of different shots. The Two Oceans Aquarium (in the Waterfront)is great too, and your D700 will show its true worth in the dim lighting.

4)Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is beautiful, with an amazing range of plants and some decent birds. It lies at the foot of the 'back' of Table Mountain, so there are spectacular sheer cliffs rising up from the gardens.

5) A boat trip from Hout Bay to Seal Island is a great way to get some different angles of the Cape coast and, as the name suggests, get up close and personal with a large seal colony.

6)The city centre itself could keep you busy for a month. The blend of cultures, architecture, people and colours has to be experienced to be appreciated.

Kalk Bay Harbour, Kommetjie, Chapman's Peak, Stellenbosch, Franschoek, the West Coast drive up to Paternoster...the list is pretty much endless (and has just brought on a bout of acute homesickness!) but the 6 above are what I'd call must-do's, both from a family and photographic viewpoint.

Hope this helps you decide, and I hope you have a great holiday.
Fraser

Gator Bob

SANTA FE, US
582 posts

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#44. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 42

Gator Bob Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Jul 2006
Wed 26-Aug-09 11:04 AM

>I have resolved to hiring a day guide to see Cape Town.

Cape Town and all of SA is multi-lingual but is generally an English speaking nation. It is remarkably like the USA in many ways. IMHO, you might do just fine taking a one day bus tour of the city to provide a perspective view then tour on your own. One caveat: South Africa has a very serious crime problem so always be very prudent. Especially in Johannesburg I would not leave my hotel on foot after dark.

Gator Bob Santa Fe New Mexico
My Faves: D800E 14-24 PC-E 85 80-400 VRII & Tamron 90 macro

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#45. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 43

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Wed 26-Aug-09 03:28 PM

Thanks Fraser, I waste so much of a vacation seeing all the spots the tour guide gets a “kickback”. Having a local point out the best sights to see, cuts right to the chase and leaves time to visit other points of a more personal preference.

Reading your post it is very apparent you have a passion and longing to return. Hope it is in the near future for you.

Robert

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Tongariro

London, UK
404 posts

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#46. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 0

Tongariro Registered since 14th Jul 2007
Sat 29-Aug-09 06:50 AM

You've had copious advice already, all very valid in my experience.

Having just come back from South Africa, I've just one thing to add. Much of the game shooting is early in the morning/late at night. Lovely light, but requires high ISO to get decent shutter speeds. Like you, I took both the D700 and D200. Initially for long reach I used the D200, but then I switched to the D700 for the superior ISO performance. On game drives, I took the D700 with the 1.7 TC & 70-200mm mounted, and the D200 with the 24-70mm. In one of the reserves, the game was sometimes too close for the longer lenses & the short lens was necessary. In such situations, there is little time for changing lenses. I have to say that I chuckled when a bunch of pros (each with massive 500mm or so lenses) became very flustered when a leopard walked right next to their vehicle and they couldn't take any shots because their lenses were too long.

One further thought - you might need to think about hand-baggage limits. I had to get my kids to carry the odd lens to get the kit through.

Have fun!

Bridget

KMaurer

DE
13 posts

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#47. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 31

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Sun 30-Aug-09 11:29 AM

Finally managed to post some photos in my gallery at

https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/showgallery.php/ppuser/94587/cat/500

Regards,

Oliver

>Sounds like a great trip! Post some images as soon as you
>can. Inquiring minds would like to see.
>

rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#48. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 47

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sun 30-Aug-09 04:44 PM

Great photos Oliver, I enjoyed them all. What camera were you useing? Also what lens for the landscapes and long shots? Did you use a monopod? All very sharp.

Thanks for posting them.

Robert

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rwhitaker

Pinecrest, US
50 posts

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#49. "RE: Trip to S. Africa, what to wear...around my neck?" | In response to Reply # 46

rwhitaker Registered since 19th Jan 2009
Sun 30-Aug-09 04:52 PM

Oh great Bridget, now you've got me thinking third body for the 24-70! Wait a minute, a D300s!! Video would be good right! Yea, that's the ticket...I am a very sick man.

Robert

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KMaurer

DE
13 posts

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#50. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 48

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Sun 30-Aug-09 05:23 PM | edited Sun 30-Aug-09 05:24 PM by KMaurer

Robert,

Thanks for the compliment.

On the equipment: as outlined above

I mainly used my D700 with the 24-70, in Hermanus (Whales), Amakhala and Madikwe with the 80-400. I also took a D200 with the 18-200. It was mainly used for the whale shots in Plettenberg Bay and as second camera in Boulders Beach, Betty's Bay, Amakhala and Madikwe.

Everything was handheld. The low light ability of the D700 was very important in early mornings and late afternoons in Amakhala and Madikwe.

Greatest challenge was to shoot the whales while being on the boat and using VR and not to get sick

Regards,

Oliver

KMaurer

DE
13 posts

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#51. "RE: Trip to S. Africa - what I have worn around my neck" | In response to Reply # 50

KMaurer Registered since 19th May 2006
Mon 31-Aug-09 04:28 PM

Robert,

sorry, just realized afterwards that you might have referred to specific images - so I added the information to the pictures where you left a comment (also by means of a comment). I just felt better purging the metadata before posting the images to the net.

Regards,

Oliver

G