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Telephoto for Safari? Panasonic 70-200 w 2x vs. Leica 90-280


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Thoughts on the Panasonic 70-200 with 2x extender versus the Leica 90-280 on the SL?  I'm in the midst of planning a trip to Africa and was wondering:

1, Would 400 mm.suffice on the long end?  

2. Panasonic with the 2x extender on the SL601 vs. the Leica 90-280 on the apsc sized Leica CL . . . image degradation with the Panasonic extender but full frame, or settle for APSC sized prints?

3. Or, better to buy into a Sony or Canon with  full frame with their 100-400mm options?

Thanks for comments and thoughts - on this topic, or any other related thoughts to consider.  Rob

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Nonsense. The only thing you will do is increase the weight and make the rig more unwieldy. Full Frame is a handicap, not an advantage. A good MFT camera with the DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 is fantastic as well, but the CL with a long zoom and handgrip will beat any FF offering in practicality of use and IQ. (The latter if you you use the 90-280 (or 105-280). Forget about tripods. I do use a chest pod (an old Rowi one) It is very handy to keep your camera aimed. If the Safari vehicle is suita

To Jaap's point,  M8 & 135 Elmar f4 1965 vers. This image has been printed to 1.5m x .75m   Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!  

Well , as the lions will often be at less than 10 m, I wonder where that leaves your calculation... I have been doing this for over thirty years, and I fear that reality beats your theories.   From a fortnight ago Cl with 280 mm 5.6 Note that the fur on the body is already OOF No beanbag, handheld.       Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

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Rob- Your option 2 is the best combination-

"2. Panasonic with the 2x extender on the SL601 vs. the Leica 90-280 on the apsc sized Leica CL . . . image degradation with the Panasonic extender but full frame, or settle for APSC sized prints?"

Some comments:

IMO 400mm should suffice. Some will tell you that for birds you need to go longer - to a large degree this depends on the area where you're going on safari. For example in the Okavango Delta on a boat, you're more than OK with up to 400mm.

There's not that much image degradation with the 2x extender. 

Nothing wrong with APSC sized prints. I've recently printed 24 of my best images for a wildlife exhibition, several images were taken with my Fuji XT-2 (see image below). Prints have been enlarged up to 2m X 1m.

Take a wide angle as well for landscapes.

Please feel free to PM me if you would like some input about your safari, very happy to assist.

Best,

Mike

 

 

 

 

Edited by michali
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 In Tansania 2015 I had lenses from 12mm up to 180mm with me. Also the Ricoh M-mount (APS) and the R APO extender. Manually equipped!

Most used were the 50 (Summicron R) and 135mm (Elmar R) with and without extender. My tripod was not used.

The other voyagers had much longer lenses with them. It depends on what you like to take photos. I don't need photos, that I can take in the zoo of Nuremberg also.

One becomes more from the environment with wider lenses.

In the car one stands to take photos, leaning on the car with the bean bag as tripod. But the equipment lies on the floor of the car. Primes are somewhat difficult, sometimes one needs the other lens (near one's feet).

 

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1 hour ago, lykaman said:

Rent a FF camera and appropriate lenses..   L

Nonsense. The only thing you will do is increase the weight and make the rig more unwieldy. Full Frame is a handicap, not an advantage.
A good MFT camera with the DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 is fantastic as well, but the CL with a long zoom and handgrip will beat any FF offering in practicality of use and IQ. (The latter if you you use the 90-280 (or 105-280).

Forget about tripods. I do use a chest pod (an old Rowi one) It is very handy to keep your camera aimed. If the Safari vehicle is suitable, a bean-bag is handy. Take it empty and fill on location, or use a Polistyrene filling for weight.

I am just back from Tanzania - Selous and the only lens I  used was a Vario-Elmar-R 105-280. The focal length was ample, the image quality stunning. Actually my 55-135 stayed in the bag - I didn't use it once in the bush.

Don't get hung up on AF. With wildlife and birds MF is often better. As critical focus is essential. (eyes and beaks) AF often struggles with fur and twigs will mess up the system. IS is useful, but, in the end, light will be good, Go to ISO 400 or 800 and your shutterspeed will be well above 1/1000th.Happy to answer any questions about destinations, camps, companies, places to go, etc. PM me if needed (and Mike, he is a pro, gave me some very good advice as well)

 

CL + Vario-Elmar-R 105-280

 

 

 

 

For the rest of your trip, the CL with one or two zooms is a fantastic travel camera. Once again, a big DSLR is a handicap. It will be a barrier between you and your subjects and do you really want to carry all that in 30º+ ? Think street and people.
But for Africa, do take a fast shortish prime. Africa after sunset is umm... dark and a flash is an atmosphere-killer.

Another thought, be careful when you go. The seasons appear to be shifting. This year the rainy season was six weeks early and violent all around the equator. I can assure you that 50mm/hour for four days is no fun on a holiday. On the other hand, the light can be beautiful and the colours vibrant as soon as the sky breaks.

 

Stone Town, Zanzibar

 

 

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On my experience, we’ve seen most activity (hunting eating etc) on early or late of the day where light wasn’t so great. During the day, animals sleep due to heat etc.

so my recommendation is get the widest aperture lens, for capturing light reason and for shallow DOF reason as there are lots of vegatation etc. Anything 300 above is good for animal portraits. Depending on the company you go, if they have license to leave the tracks, you can get away with 200 but still drivers are not keen to get that close to animal not to disturb them.

 Went with Nikon, and my setup was 70-200 on one, 300 2.8 on another with extender sometimes. A MFT camera might struggle with ISO and DOF. I’d say APC minimum. 

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42 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Nonsense. The only thing you will do is increase the weight and make the rig more unwieldy. Full Frame is a handicap, not an advantage.
A good MFT camera with the DG Vario-Elmar 100-400 is fantastic as well, but the CL with a long zoom and handgrip will beat any FF offering in practicality of use and IQ. (The latter if you you use the 90-280 (or 105-280).

Forget about tripods. I do use a chest pod (an old Rowi one) It is very handy to keep your camera aimed. If the Safari vehicle is suitable, a bean-bag is handy. Take it empty and fill on location, or use a Polistyrene filling for weight.

I am just back from Tanzania - Selous and the only lens I  used was a Vario-Elmar-R 105-280. The focal length was ample, the image quality stunning. Actually my 55-135 stayed in the bag - I didn't use it once in the bush.

Don't get hung up on AF. With wildlife and birds MF is often better. As critical focus is essential. (eyes and beaks) AF often struggles with fur and twigs will mess up the system. IS is useful, but, in the end, light will be good, Go to ISO 400 or 800 and your shutterspeed will be well above 1/1000th.Happy to answer any questions about destinations, camps, companies, places to go, etc. PM me if needed (and Mike, he is a pro, gave me some very good advice as well)

 

CL + Vario-Elmar-R 105-280

 

 

 

 

For the rest of your trip, the CL with one or two zooms is a fantastic travel camera. Once again, a big DSLR is a handicap. It will be a barrier between you and your subjects and do you really want to carry all that in 30º+ ? Think street and people.
But for Africa, do take a fast shortish prime. Africa after sunset is umm... dark and a flash is an atmosphere-killer.

Another thought, be careful when you go. The seasons appear to be shifting. This year the rainy season was six weeks early and violent all around the equator. I can assure you that 50mm/hour for four days is no fun on a holiday. On the other hand, the light can be beautiful and the colours vibrant as soon as the sky breaks.

Whilst I respect your views, "Nonsense" was uncalled for..IMHO would have been more appropriate... L

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9 minutes ago, lykaman said:

Whilst I respect your views, "Nonsense" was uncalled for..IMHO would have been more appropriate... L

Sorry, my friend. I see this advice often and it is really 100% wrong. I have seen to many people trying to use a 400 or 600 mm fullframe rig on cramped safari vehicles and missing their shots, too many attempting to hike in the heat with a 600 "for birds" and ending up with the ranger carrying their camera, to let this one go. If you want to use full-professional gear, you are best advised to hire a private vehicle, a private guide, and an assistant, or book a specialized photographic Safari, like Pangolin in Botswana or Peter Shenton in Zambia.

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26 minutes ago, fatihayoglu said:

On my experience, we’ve seen most activity (hunting eating etc) on early or late of the day where light wasn’t so great. During the day, animals sleep due to heat etc.

so my recommendation is get the widest aperture lens, for capturing light reason and for shallow DOF reason as there are lots of vegatation etc. Anything 300 above is good for animal portraits. Depending on the company you go, if they have license to leave the tracks, you can get away with 200 but still drivers are not keen to get that close to animal not to disturb them.

 Went with Nikon, and my setup was 70-200 on one, 300 2.8 on another with extender sometimes. A MFT camera might struggle with ISO and DOF. I’d say APC minimum. 

Not my experience. MFT offers the best image stabilization in the industry. I can shoot my GX8 with 100-400 @ 800 mm equivalent @ 1/125th if I put my mind to it. Add a bean-bag and you can easily get down to 1/60th or slower.

DOF is better than larger format. With long lenses you want more, not less.

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3 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Sorry, my friend. I see this advice often and it is really 100% wrong. I have seen to many people trying to use a 400 or 600 mm fullframe rig on cramped safari vehicles and missing their shots, too many attempting to hike in the heat with a 600 "for birds" and ending up with the ranger carrying their camera, to let this one go. If you want to use full-professional gear, you are best advised to hire a private vehicle, a private guide, and an assistant, or book a specialized photographic Safari, like Pangolin in Botswana or Peter Shenton in Zambia.

So how did we manage before APC-C?   Or the exotic Zooms of to-day?   L

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Fully agree with Jaap about the bean bag. Can't remember the last time I used a tripod or monopod on safari, I always carry a bean bag with my kit. He's also right about AF, I've found it more of a hinderance more often than not. The lens tends to hunt or focus off the animal,  especially when you're trying to shoot through grass or foliage.

Edited by michali
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I was younger and stronger :lol: 135 was the most practical back then. Cameras and lenses were lighter and smaller too. Compare an R4 or Olympus OM with a full-frame  DSLR like the big Nikons. And we had no choice. I learnt my lesson the hard way. I once took a Mamiya 645 set on Safari.The longest lens was the 500 with 2xTEX. The few shots I got were brilliant. With the emphasis on few; never again.

My favoured gear was a Leica R4 (5,7),  Apo-Telyt 280/4.0 and the Apo-extenders. Before that? M3 or M4 with Visoflex3  and Telyt 400-V

The Safari experience has changed beyond recognition too. Whilst we went to simple, personal and bush-oriented camps, it is all about top-end tourist pampering now, or mass tourism, with nature only the backdrop.  Money speaks. It is really hard to find Safaris which  immerse you into the bush. Many places are becoming overrun. Night drives in South Luangwa for instance? A laser show of spotlight beams nowadays. And the animals are hassled and hide away. We had more than fifteen vehicles in the end on a Wild Dog sighting last week. In the Selous! 😲 Unheard of. They moved into the mud in the end, bogging down a fair number of Landcruisers :lol:

21 minutes ago, lykaman said:

So how did we manage before APC-C?   Or the exotic Zooms of to-day?   L

 

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35 minutes ago, meerec said:

This would be my bag ...

  1. SL
  2. CL
  3. 16-35 SL
  4. 75 Summicron SL
  5. 90-280 SL
  6. Canon 1DX with 500, 600 or 800
  7. light tripod
  8. bean bag

Forget about 6 and 7 or hire a Donkey :lol:

Don't forget that the light aircraft used to get into the Safari areas have a luggage limit of 12 or 15 kg - including hand luggage and camera gear. You can only carry more if you fly to touristy venues that are served by Caravans or larger. And yes, they are wise to stuffing your photo vest with your heaviest gear, nowadays ;)

Fortunately the pilots are often quite accommodating - if you carry a reasonable camera bag, say up to 9 kg and your other luggage is light. Last year in Botswana, when a couple of Americans showed up with about 35 kgs each for a six-seater, the pilot of Blue air not only arranged for one bag to be carried on a half-empty flight the next day, he even left his personal overnight bag, taking only his toothbrush and some undeerwear.

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15 minutes ago, jaapv said:

I was younger and stronger :lol: 135 was the most practical back then. Cameras and lenses were lighter and smaller too. Compare an R4 or Olympus OM with a full-frame  DSLR like the big Nikons. And we had no choice. I learnt my lesson the hard way. I once took a Mamiya 645 set on Safari.The longest lens was the 500 with 2xTEX. The few shots I got were brilliant. With the emphasis on few; never again.

My favoured gear was a Leica R4 (5,7),  Apo-Telyt 280/4.0 and the Apo-extenders. Before that? M3 or M4 with Visoflex3  and Telyt 400-V

The Safari experience has changed beyond recognition too. Whilst we went to simple, personal and bush-oriented camps, it is all about top-end tourist pampering now, or mass tourism, with nature only the backdrop.  Money speaks. It is really hard to find Safaris which  immerse you into the bush. Many places are becoming overrun. Night drives in South Luangwa for instance? A laser show of spotlight beams nowadays. And the animals are hassled and hide away. We had more than fifteen vehicles in the end on a Wild Dog sighting last week. In the Selous! 😲 Unheard of. They moved into the mud in the end, bogging down a fair number of Landcruisers :lol:

 

To Jaap's point,  M8 & 135 Elmar f4 1965 vers. This image has been printed to 1.5m x .75m

 

 

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43 minutes ago, jaapv said:

Not my experience. MFT offers the best image stabilization in the industry. I can shoot my GX8 with 100-400 @ 800 mm equivalent @ 1/125th if I put my mind to it. Add a bean-bag and you can easily get down to 1/60th or slower.

DOF is better than larger format. With long lenses you want more, not less.

Well definitely we have different experiences. I was discussing with Nikon UK wildlife ambassador, discussing 400 2.8 vs 180-400 f4 and his preferences. Both he and his other friends from other manufacturers clearly said, widest aperture is always better. So with MFT camera you lose DOF for sure as even a f2.8 lens will behave like a f5.6 in terms of DOF. For portraits or where animals are around vegetation m, for subject separation, you need shallow DOF not more. I’m yet to see a wildlife photographer to use a MFT camera. IBIS is not important as the vehicles are stationary and one should rest the lens on a bean bag always (IBIS is 5 stops, VR is 4 stops benefit). Get a FF camera, down to easily 1/180 with 2.8 400mm lens in a bean bag for minimum ISO. Don’t need to push the physics here. 

Edited by fatihayoglu
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That was a great lens, Mike. In the grey past, when I was in South Africa beforre my Safari years, I got an unecpected special offer to go to Londolozi (1980-ies, Lex Hess days ;) ) I was my  only long lens on my M4 and the RF had been knocked out of kilter too. My second Safari experience, I got some decent shots, and was hooked for life.

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I appreciate everyone's feedback, so thank you.

Just a clarification: either option in #2 above  will suffice?  No preference between the SL 601 w Panasonic 70-200 and 2x, or the Leica 90-280 on the CL?  

I'm also thinking to bring a Leica S007 - optional lenses to tote: S24, S35, S70, S100, S120mm.  (They also can be used on the SL).

Also, Victoria Falls will be on the trip.

Rob

 

Edited by ropo54
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