Lens choice is one of the most important factors. Keep in mind that one cannot do off-road driving everywhere in the Mara, only on certain areas. For this, you need a long telephoto lens.
It is always advisable to take two camera bodies to such a trip. This will give you flexibility to attach a fixed telephoto on one body, and a wider angle zoom on the other:
- BODY 1: Attach a fixed telephoto lens, for example a 400mm, 500mm, 600mm or a 800mm on a body shooting at a high frame rate, such as a Canon 1Dx or Canon 7DII. A very popular lens these days is the 200-400mm, which gives one even more flexibility, noted that this lens is equipped with a converter. This body can be used for animals in the distance, bird photography or close-up portrait photography.
- BODY 2: Attach a wider angle zoom on this body to allow some opportunity to photograph animals in the environment, even landscapes. These wider angle zoom lenses are perfect for animals close to the vehicle. Lenses to consider are: 100-400mm (Canon), 80-400mm (Nikon), 70-200mm (Maybe the preferred option). My personal configuration is a Canon 5DIII and a Canon 70-200 f/2.8. This is one of the most versatile lenses on the market with beautiful detail.
- If you are really keen on some landscape photography, you can add a wide angle lens such as a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, but if you are hardcore wildlife focused, it's not that critical. In cases where I needed really wide angles, I shot three/four images to be merged as a panoramic photo, which worked wonders.
- Remember your IPhone! It's a perfect contender for videos!
The bodies mentioned above are great in low-light conditions. I would say this is an important point to mention, since so many great sightings happen late afternoon; for this you need the hardware to get these moments in great quality. If you have an entry-level/semi-professional camera, try to get a high quality lens to allow for good light to enter.
This, in short, will be my lens/body configuration for a trip to East Africa.
Hope this article was helpful!
Please comment and share ideas!
Until next time,