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Shooting an African Safari with film?

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I must be doing something wrong then 

- I've been shooting African Safaris on a yearly basis with Leica since 1988...

Started out with an M3, Visoflex and "trombone" 400, later with a series of R cameras and all kinds of long lenses, finally a 280/4.0 APO, then a few years to Canon 10D and 1D , as Leica didn't offer anything digital, jumped back to the DMR, M8+Visoflex + Noflexar 400+ extender, M9+Visoflex etc , M240 (finally a versatile M !), Monochrom+ Visoflex ,   and only moved to Panasonic last year (like quite a few wildlife photographers did - Canon and Nikon are losing ground). With the advent of CL the Panasonic is relegated to extremely long and stabilized and backup, I am in the process of integrating the 105-280 Vario-Elmar into the mix, very happy that it did not sell last year


I can easily see myself doing a Safari using a couple of SLs, Vario-Elmar 105-280,  APO 180/3.4  

+ extenders and some other lenses, It is just that I don't like the camera for the rest of the year.


I do wish that Leica had a 1.4x APO-extender L. It would put a whole different perspective on gear choice.


As for dust - unless you are in the Namib or Kalahari in a storm, it never becomes a real problem. The photographer suffers more than the camera. Minimize lens changes by using two bodies and use the bathroom after running the shower for the humans, it will get the dust out of the air, to blow off / clean the sensor as needed - which is surprisingly rare.


Actually, the cameras suffer more mechanically. It is inevitable that cameras get dropped on scrambling through the bush. Sometimes a 4WD drive can give photographer plus gear a hefty slam, vibrations from older small aircraft would dislodge rangefinder adjustment on Ms before the M240 unless the camera is cushioned well, etc. Fortunately, Leicas are well built. 


Yes, all points excellently made. I failed to indicate Leica M which is what I was thinking of when I posted. 

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Agree with a lot in this post, especially the book recommendations. However, bear in mind that the Masai Mara and Kruger are well-groomed and touristy places, with graded (in the Kruger even tarmacked) roads, no off-road driving and limited walking opportunities. If one considers going to wilder places, those videos will give a wrong impression.


BTW, North Luangwa is a wonderful place to go for walking Safaris, South Luanga specializes as well and is a bit more comfortable.


And do consider the ultimate experience in Safaris: Gorilla trekking in the Congo, Rwanda or Uganda, or a Chimpanzee Safari in Mahale, Tanzania. Those are trips that will change your life.


Jaap's advise is the best there is. And do consider Gorilla trekking if you have the option ...

Edited by Bateleur

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