Are you thinking of what lenses you need for your wildlife photography? Now here is where you really should start paying attention. The driver guides that Katikati Tours & Safaris employs are experts at driving you close wild animals in Tanzania Photographic areas. Being three meters from a big cats like lion and leopard, surprising baboons on top of your vehicle or an elephant jutting his trunk into jeep window are not unheard of. But most of the time, you’re listing the long telephoto lens with when packing for your photographic safari. Not all animals are as sociable as the ones I mentioned above. Most they live shy and warried far from the jeep and you want to pull these creatures close. I’ve heard no one say “I wish I didn’t bring this long lens with me”.
So, What Do You Need?
Forget about weight for now but am sure you’re going to make one of the most useful decisions for successful wildlife photography. From my experience and references from photographers I’ve been with on photographic tours, I will suggest to you some of the lenses.
16-35mm zoom lens, this is among the perfect for landscapes, sunsets and people shots in and around the lodges, the vehicles, and places like a Maasai village.
Next, when it comes to wildlife photography lenses, is a 100-400 zoom is most useful. You can take two cameras with you so this stays on one of them all of the time. But even if I just took one camera this lens would be on it most of the time. If you come for a photo safari in Tanzania with a 200 or even a 300 as your longest lens you are going to want more. For real. Then, 600 mm lense is very important. Yes, it’s one of those big white lenses you see on the NFL sidelines. It’s a monster but it pays dividends.
We don’t have a good camera and lens shops in Tanzania, but browsing online is sometimes horrific to see over $11,000 stands for a 600mm lens, or a couple of thousands of dollars for 100-400mm lens. Plus, photographic safari costs over $3,500, plus flight to Tanzania, daily expenses during the safari, it’s a lot of money.
Don’t fret… Online, I found companies in the United States that rent lens. These companies stock and rent cameras and lenses per day, week, or month and they are pretty reasonable. You can also ensure the gear through them. Companies come and go, but lensrentals.com, borrowlenses.com, and lensprotogo.com are all companies I found online for US photographers. This is probably the trip of a lifetime for you. Why not show up looking like a photographer from National Geographic? This is a great way to give yourself what it takes to come back with pictures not everyone has… and not break the bank.
A lot of photographers also use a teleconverter or two as well. These insert between your camera and your lens (they are camera specific) and add the magnification of a given lens. They usually come in two tastes… 1.4 and 2.0. Basically a 1.4 turns a 400 mm lens into 560mm lens (1.4 X 400 = 560) A 2.0 turns a 400 mm lens into an 800 mm lens. But some don’t use a 2.0 because I think it degrades the images too much. But most wildlife photographers don’t mind this for the extra reach it provides. Better to have 1.4×400, you just never know what chance you may run into. You can rent these as well.
And don’t forget those bond cameras I mentioned before!! Even though you can’t change the lenses on them, the Sony we took had a zoom range of 24-600MM!! And Nikon currently has one with a zoom range of 24-2000mm!! There are some compromises to these cameras… but hey… 2000mm?!! Yes!