which lens to add on D500 in addition to 200-500 for safari

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by didier, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Dear all,
    I am still looking for my safari equipment, now I have the D500.
    To go with the 200-500 I'd like a shorter lens. I also think something more useable in low light could be fine.
    What do you think of the 132/2 DC (makes a 200mm on the cropped sensor) or 180/2.8.
    From what I read they are maybe a bit slow, and I'd like to have your feedback from using those lenses for safari
    thanks
    Didier
     
  2. The older lenses which use the motor in the body have a mechanical control system between the body and lens and it is less precise than the motor in the lens (SWM in AF-S lenses). I would recommend the 70-200/2.8 either first or second version as a better option for a DX camera that requires precise focusing to make the most out of a lower light situation.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Didier, it highly depends on what the long-term purpose for this second lens is. When I was in Botswana a couple of weeks ago, besides the D500 and 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR, I also had FX bodies and the 80-400mm/f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR. Those two super tele zooms captured more than 95% of the images I photographed in Botswana, and I used the 80-400 a bit more than 200-500, mainly because of its wider, more versatile zoom range.
    Clearly there is a lot of overlap between those two lenses, and in my case that was by design such that I would have a backup super tele in case one of them fails in the field, which fortunately didn't happen on that trip.
    If the 80-400 represents way too much overlap with the 200-500mm and/or it is too expensive, unfortunately I don't know what other lenses you already have. If you can let us know what you already have and what other photo subjects you are into in the longer run after the safari, we can provide better, more informed suggestions.
    For example, if you don't already have a 70-200mm AF-S VR, either f2.8 or f4, a possibility is to get the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR. That is a versatile lens which is not too heavy and has a zoom range that complements the 200-500mm/f5.6 quite well. However, it also represents a lens change every time you cross the 200mm boundary, an issue the 80-400 AF-S VR doesn't have.
     
  4. Shun,
    I only have a 200-500 and 16-80 with the D500 right now.
    I will take my Leica M with me, with a 50/1.4 and 135/4.
    Didier
     
  5. I have the 180/2.8AFD, 70-200/(2.8 VR1 & f/4VR), and had the 135/2. Of the 4, the zooms are excellent and obviously more versatile. Having said that, the 180 is my favorite FX portrait lens, though, over the zooms and 105/2 DC that I have. For a safari, I would take the f/4 VR zoom for its portability and excellent image quality.
    I had both the 105/2 and 135/2 DC lenses at the same time. My 105 was more consistent with AF accuracy, and seemed a little sharper and less LOCA when used near open, so I kept the 105 over the 135 even though the 135 rendered people very nicely at around 2.8. Also, the 105 length seemed a little more appropriate on the DX cameras I was using at the time.
    I would not worry about "slow" AF with either the 180 or DC lenses. While they are not as fast as say the 70-200/2.8 AFS, the lenses work well on modern bodies. Maybe they would not track a closely approaching Cheetah, though!
     
  6. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I have not been to Africa, but out here in rural Montana, the range of the 80-400 is extremely useful. It is on one of my camera bodies all of the time. I have considered buying a 200-500, and may do so at some time, but both the limited zoom range and overlap with the 80-400 are holding me back. Best of luck with your eventual choice, and have a wonderful time in Africa!
     
  7. Cider, if your Leica m is your second body, and if you will be bringing your 50mm and 135mm lenses for it, I think you
    have everything covered. When I was in Botswana I used my 20mm prime lens on my d800 or d810 when I wanted to
    capture the beauty of the whole scene. I think your 16-80mm for your d500 covers that. Another alternative would to bring
    a second d500 and another zoom tele to give you backup in case you experience any camera body problems or long lens
    issues.

    Joe
     
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Hi Joe, what kind of focal lengths were you using in Botswana for lions, elephants? What surprised me was that there are a lot of bird photo opportunities in Botswana, and Didier's 200-500mm will work quite well for smaller birds. (Would be nice to have 800mm for small birds too, but difficult to use from a safari SUV/trunk, in addition to cost.)
    IMO, the problem is that Didier lacks anything between 80-200mm, on DX. That focal length range can be very useful for the African safari "big 5" animals, especially elephants, for which I use the short end of a 70-200mm lens a lot.
    For the purpose of a safari, IMO the 80-400 would be a great lens to have. Whether it makes sense to own both a 80-400 and a 200-500 in the long run is a different issue. I do own both of those lenses, among other long teles, but I capture a lot of wildlife regularly.
    If the OP is not getting a 80-400, IMO a 70-200 zoom would make a lot of sense both for the up-coming safari as well as in the longer run. However, with just one Nikon body, Didier will likely be changing lenses often every time he crosses the 70-80mm boundary as well as the 200mm boundary. Some people don't mind doing that, but some don't like to change lenses much during a dusty safari. Concerning f2.8 vs. f4, unless you shoot indoor parties, weddings, or indoor/night sports a lot, I would just get the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR instead of the f2.8 version.
     
  9. I think Joseph has a good point. You can use Leica for the intermediate angle (135mm) and the 200-500 should cover you for linger distance. If I was doing safari, I'd also bring 1.4 TC....even if I had to focus manually. Whatever you do take, do test everything....and enjoy the trip.
    Les
     
  10. I've been to Africa several times, and I, too, agree with Joe's thoughts for a couple of reasons. Africa is a very dusty place, making lens changes problematic. Also, when photographing wildlife, things tend to happen quickly, and you don't want to be caught with the "wrong" lens on your D500 in such an instance. If it were me, I'd pick up a second DSLR body and keep your 16-80 on it with the 200-500 on your D500. This makes for the optimum "fast draw" when conditions change quickly.
    I agree that the 70-200 f4 is a terrific lens if you're feeling naked in that range. If you go that route, having a second body with lens in place becomes even more important, IMHO.
    Your Leica will serve you well in many instances. Most people concentrate on the wildlife opportunities in Africa, with good reason, but the people and villages you will encounter offer fantastic photo ops. You will probably spend at least some time in cities and/or villages, and your Leica with 50mm would be an ideal "street photography" setup, giving you many opportunities and not being as intrusive as a DSLR with massive lens. You would be wise to avoid carrying a large, expensive camera in more urban environments for both safety and cultural reasons.
    Have a great trip!
    Tom
     
  11. I would not worry about "slow" AF with either the 180 or DC lenses
    MM Noticed that the D500 (mine anyways) is a lot slower with "D"lenses than the D300 / D300S were...
    (sigh... should have kept the D300S when trading for the D500 .... :-( )
    For the rest of it i'm with Tom, a second body with a 70-200 f\4 would be ideal, since changing lenses in this dusty environment is a thing to avoid if possible...
     
  12. the people and villages you will encounter offer fantastic photo ops. You will probably spend at least some time in cities and/or villages, and your Leica with 50mm would be an ideal "street photography" setup, giving you many opportunities and not being as intrusive as a DSLR with massive lens. You would be wise to avoid carrying a large, expensive camera in more urban environments for both safety and cultural reasons.​
    Exactly the reason I now have a D5300 as a back up camera. Not only is it light & compact, but it's also less $$ tied up if it gets stolen while in dodgy places. All in all, the people and towns I visit while on trips are generally more interesting than the critters. If going to a poor place like Africa, I'd bring a bunch of small gifts to give to those I photo. Something as simple as a pencil or butane lighter will bring you much good will.
    Kent in SD
     
  13. Shun and others, here is what I took for my Botswana trip in Nov 2015. We stayed at two & Beyond camps, Sandibe and Nxabega, where the vehicles could go off road to get close to the animals. I made a conscious choice not the bring my 500mm f4.0 as I did not think I would have that many opportunities for small birds. Also I wanted to make sure I could capture animals within their environment as opposed to just portrait type shots.
    I brought two FX bodies, my D810 and D800E. My long lens was a Nikon 300mm f2.8 used mostly without a Nikon 1.4x tc which I had with me. it was attached to one body. My second most used lens was my Nikon 70-200mm f4.0 and it was attached to my second FX body. I used these two lenses and cameras for about 90% of my shots, about evenly split between the two. For many opportunities, I used both at the same time. I kept the 70-200mm on my lap. My 300mm f2.8 was attached to my Black Rapid shoulder strap to make sure it did not fall off me or the seat, something that could easily happen as we bounced around off road.
    On some late afternoon, early evening shoots, I used my 20mm when I had female lions looking into the distance with clouds getting last light. The same type of shots could apply for elephants and elephant herds.
    I use my 24-85mm lens for shots at the camps and for some early morning sunrise shots and some sunset shots when we were driving to or from game areas. it also got use in the Okavanga Delta boat trip one afternoon at Nxaabega.
    The 300mm f2.8 worked well for larger birds like yellow billed kites, eagles, storks, etc. I did not get one good picture of a lilac breasted roller. Their perching places were too far away and they were not cooperating in staying placed.
    In some of the JPEGS I made, I did have the option of heavy cropping to "get closer". That is one big benefit of FX bodies with large sensors.
    We had no rain, but the trip the next week did and those photographers made good use of the large garbage bags they brought with them to protect their gear.
    Many of the other photographers (this was a photo safari) had a dedicated camera (third body) for wider angle scenic shots. The cameras were small portable high quality point and shoots with a fixed zoom lens. Many used these for grab shots while the vehicles were moving, stopped for bathroom breaks, campshots, etc. And they also used their cell phones for videos. My estimate is that 90% had four cameras: cell phone, point and shoot and two DSLRs. Everyone had at a minimum two DSLRs. The most popular long lens was a 200-400mm f4.0, canon or nikon. There were two or three 500mm f4.0. There were some 300mms, mostly f4.0. And some canon 100-400mms. A few had the nikon 80-400mm (this was before the 200-500mm was announced.) The most popular and shared images were cell phone videos!
    Make sure you know what mounting system you will have or not have in your camp vehicles so you can plan accordingly. We all had bean bags that we used with the L brackets provided by the safari leader. Just google "botswana safari photo rigs" and see what shows up.
    Joe
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Joe, thanks for the info. Just a bit of nit pick, Nikon started shipping the 200-500mm/f5.6 AF-S VR in mid September 2015. Since I had a trip to the Galapagos scheduled for October to November last year, I pre-ordered one and had the 200-500 as well as 80-400 for the Galapagos trip. I also brought the 70-200mm/f4, but since the 80-400 pretty much covers that range already at f4.5, I didn't use the 70-200 much and decided not to bring it to Botswana this year.
    Previously I have been to Kenya (1997) and Tanzania (year 2000). Those were my African safari experiences prior to the Botswana trip from last month to earlier this month. As I said, very much to my surprise, there are a lot of bird photo opportunities in Botswana, both large and small birds. If I could do it over, I would bring a 500mm/f4 AF-S, which is a lot more teleconverter friendly than the 200-500mm I had with me. I still managed to get a lot of bird images, but it involves far more extreme crops to my liking.
    I see you have a 300mm/f2.8 + TC as your long lens, whose equivalent for Didier would be his 200-500mm/f5.6. And you have a 70-200mm/f4 for the larger, near-by mammals. In my case I had the 80-400mm AF-S VR as well as the 300mm/f4 PF on my trip. IMO the short tele is precisely the lens Didier is currently missing.
    For example, I captured the following elephant image with the D500 with the 80-400mm set to 110mm. That is a fairly common focal length for larger animals that are not far from the vehicle.
    BTW, a lot of Africans in the villages do not like to be photographed. I would check with your guide first. I know in some cases they let you photograph children with a promise to send them prints. During my trip, my guide delivered prints from images captured by an earlier group last year.
    00e3U2-564382284.jpg
     
  15. Shun, your comments are spot on.
    I will try and attach one of the images taken with a 20mm lens. Lens was a Nikon 20mm f1.8 G on a Nikon D 800E. Picture taken at 18:34. ISO 2500, f5.6 at 1/1000. Bean bag in Toyota Land cruiser.
    Joe
    00e3WK-564386484.jpg
     
  16. BTW, a lot of Africans in the villages do not like to be photographed. ​
    Which is why I suggested small inexpensive gifts (such as pencils) for their trouble. Hey, it worked well with the Canadians on our last vacation!

    Kent in SD
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thanks Joe Smith. The obvious gap in Didier's lenses is the hole between his two current lenses: 16-80mm DX AF-S VR and 200-500mm AF-S VR, namely between 80 to 200mm. And that gap represents focal lengths that are useful to photograph the African safari "big 5" large mammals when they are not far from your safari vehicle.
    Getting a 70-200mm zoom, either f2.8 or f4, is the obvious solution and has already been discussed earlier on this thread. There are alternatives such as the less-expensive 70-300mm AF-S VR or you can compromise with a 135mm or whatever. To me, a 180mm/f2.8, although 2 stops faster than the f5.6 from the 200-500mm zoom, is too close to 200mm.
    Several people have brought up the point to add a second DSLR body to minimize lens change. That is something Didier the OP hasn't discussed himself. If he is opened to that addition, other than getting a second D500, maybe add some D7100 or D7200, which use the same EN-EL15 battery as the D500 and can share SD memory cards.
     
  18. To belatedly agree with everyone... under the circumstances, I'd certainly go 70-200. Whether you value (lack of) weight more than the extra stop of isolation/illumination around dawn/dusk would decide between the f/2.8 and f/4 for me - in direct sun, obviously the f/2.8 isn't so critical.

    I had a really bad experience with the 135 f/2 DC, mostly regarding the amount of LoCA around the transition zone. It produces a beautifully smooth background, but when the subject lit up like traffic lights that didn't help me much. Others seem to have had less trouble, even though Nikon UK checked out my lens - the 1001 nights discussion of the lens suggests that the LoCA was deliberate to affect bokeh. Yes, it's better at f/4-f/5.6, but it's awfully big and heavy for an f/5.6 135mm lens; I ditched mine and kept my 135 f/2.8 AI. I'd take the 70-200 any day (or a 150mm f/2.8 Sigma - which is a little weaker at range - or my 200 f/2). Neither the 135 f/2 nor the 180mm f/2.8 are, I believe, especially sharp on modern sensor resolutions at wide apertures - the zooms outperform them.

    With the 200-500 available, I'd not take the 200-400 f/4 on safari just because of the (alleged) long distance performance. (I do have some recent poor long-range images from the 200-500, but I'm putting them down to atmospherics). Nikon could do with catching up to Canon on this one. Good luck!
     
  19. I agree that a 70-200mm lens is a needed focal length on a safari. I took my Nikon 70-200mm f4.0. I left my heavier f2.8 version at home.
    Attached is a picture taken with it on a Nikon D 800E at Sandibe Camp: 5:53 am, focal length 70mm, ISO 2000, f 5.6, 1/250, Exp comp +.3, matrix metering, aperture priority.
    Joe
    00e3a4-564398084.jpg
     
  20. the obvious lens choice here is the 70-200/4. great shot Joe, btw.
     
  21. Dear all,
    thank you very much for all those very valuable comments, advice and examples.
    Shun and Joe, yes, there is a gap between 120 and 300 (DX equivalent) and that was the main reason of my posting. I wonder if I have done right buying the 200-500 : had I better bought the 80-400 ? That's probably a bit too late :)
    I understand the lens changing problem in a dusty environment, and at key moments where there is no time to lose.
    Buying a second Nikon body with the 70-200 sounds very interesting, but for me it may be a bit too much, as I will bring my Leica M already (I could attach the 135 which would be a kind of intermediate, but with no flexibility), and probably my ricoh GR to have a fast wide angle.
    I am so used to my Leica I can't imagine travelling without it !
    That's the problem with those once in a lifetime trips, you want everything to be at its place and waste no opportunity :))
    Still thinking... and interested in your comments
    Didier
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    First, I am merely paraphrasing what several of us have already pointed out on this thread. During my recent trip to Botswana, the 200-500mm is my second most-used lens, right behind the 80-400mm. Clearly, the 200-500mm or a fixed 500mm/f4 is very useful on such safari trips. However, it is a major problem when that is the only tele you have. If one is taking only a single tele zoom, the 80-400 is far more versatile than the 200-500, which is great for birds. My trip involved several walking safari sessions. While I can hike with the 200-500mm, the smaller 80-400 is a lot more convenient to walk with.
    In other words, you need to add something like a 70-200mm, perhaps f4, or a 70-300mm to fill the gap for a short tele. That is the message we keep on repeating. My solution was the 80-400, partly as a backup in case the 200-500mm failed in the field.
    If you can afford it, I would definitely add a D7200 or D7100, or even a second D500, depending on how much money you are willing to spend, which is small compared to the cost of such safari. I have had DSLR failed in the field, although only once in over 20 years. On my trips, I bring a lot of redundant equipment to a point that it is clearly excessive, but I take my photography extremely seriously, much more so than most photographers.
    While I know the OP likes the Leica M. However, with only the 50mm and 135mm lenses, its usefulness on safari is somewhat limited. Also keep in mind that if you are going to the Victoria Falls, a wide-angle is useful for the landscape, but that could be the 16mm end of the 16-80 DX. I used my 18-35mm on FX a lot for that purpose.
    Attached is another sample image of a large mammal, captured at 165mm on FX. Keep in mind that this giraffe was bending down. I would have used an even shorter focal length at full height, but that would have been in range for your 16-80mm DX.
    00e3eJ-564413784.jpg
     
  23. How do 200-500 + D500 users find the autofocus speed with that combination? With the D810 I felt the AF of the 200-500 was ok at mid to longer distances but I had problems with focus acquisition in the near range (both speed and finding the subject). Is the D500 AF appreciably faster with this lens? Thanks.
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Both the 80-400 and 200-500 are f5.6 on their long end. There is less light entering the AF module compared to f4 and
    f2.8 lenses. Additionally, the 200-500 is more a consumer lens; I don't think it has a first-class AF motor.

    I used the 200-500 + D500 combo extensively for two weeks in Botswana. Currently it is their dry season and it was
    sunny every day when I was there recently. AF speed was not an issue, even for birds in flight, but I am sure it is a different story when it is overcast. For dawn and dusk, I switched to the 300mm f4 PF lens to gain one stop. I have some examples of that combo in this week's Nikon Wednesday thread.

    Last year, I also used the 200-500mm/f5.6 with the D750 and D7200 in the Galapagos for two weeks. Those combos also work well under good light. A couple of years back, once I was in San Diego with the 80-400 AF-S in an overcast day that was also foggy. AF on the 80-400 really struggled due to the low contrast, to a point that it was pretty much useless. Any f5.6 super tele is going to have that kind of problem when lighting is not ideal.
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Related to this whole discussion, at the end of my safari, we went to the Victoria Falls for just one day.
    I captured the attached image with an FX body and the 18mm end of the 18-35mm AF-S. In early July, the was a lot of water in the river and the falls was strong. The entire area was misty and you needed to wear a raincoat to keep try. Needless to say, that environment is a bit challenging for camera equipment.
    I was trying to AF on the far side, but all the mist generated very low contrast, and my D750's AF kept on hunting. For a brief moment I was wondering whether the camera was malfunctioning due to the mist. Fortunately, it is merely the lack of contrast.
    Hopefully that gives you an example where AF can fail. Moreover, you probably want some wide-angle lens if you visit the Victoria Falls. IMO, the best way to view and photograph it is from the air, but my wife didn't want a helicopter ride, which she did a few years ago when we visited the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina.
    00e3pE-564444984.jpg
     
  26. Dear all,
    after some thinking, I asked my dealer if he would take the 200-500 I bought 10 days ago, and used for less than 50 shots back and only from indoor. I got the 80-400 instead, which will be more versatile.
    I will certainly get a D5500 + 18-300 for my wife. She wants a relatively small camera (otherwise I would have been thinking about a 7200 that shares the same batteries as the D500). We'll try tomorrow the combo and get one for her if ok. That'll give us a kind of back-up in case...
    Shun, amazing pictures !
    I'll take the wide-angle add-on for the Ricoh GR which gives quite good results with equivalent of 21mm.
    Thanks a lot to you all for your useful advice, I'll come probably back to all of you within days with other questions...
    Didier
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Very well, Didier. A couple of months ago, I was benefiting from your earlier thread about your up-coming trip to Botswana and Namibia. Now that I was literally just there earlier this month, hopefully I manage to provide your some first-hand information. Please keep in mind that everybody's situation is a bit different, and there is no one right answer.
    However, if your wife can bring a camera that uses the same type of memory cards, same batteries and of course the same lens mount, it would make things easier.
    Have a great trip. I am sure you'll end up with some amazing images as well.
     
  28. Didier - apologies if I am too late with this comment, but I have only just picked up the thread.
    As someone who lives in South Africa and travels to, and photographs in, game reserves frequently and has also been to Botswana, may I suggest that the key thing is not so much this-lens or that-lens, but to have two bodies fired up and ready to roll?
    You now have an 80-400 and a 16-80, if I have read your post correctly? I'll guarantee that your guide will swing you round a corner in Botswana (you didn't say where you are going - Moremi? Savuti? Chobe?) and whatever you have on your camera body will be wrong. Too short or too long. You have to have the ability to put one camera down and pick up the other to shoot immediately.
    I think Shun has alluded to this in his comparison between his 200-500 and 80-400.
    Be careful with the the latter - it has picked up some very poor reviews in this part of the world as a dust 'vacuum-cleaner' and on the local second-hand market there are several for sale. (The new one, not the old one.)
    If you're not able/willing to stump up for a second body, then definitely set your Leica up as that second body - but just make sure it has a lens on it that can capture a beast quite close to your vehicle. I can't tell you the number of times small, very cute and, of course, very photogenic pups,cubs, etc., completely unafraid babies, have abled up to vehicles I've been in - and usually with something like a 300 f4 on the camera!!! Shot missed! I don't know Leica, sadly, but 20mm sounds too short.
    Anyway - Botswana is truly terrific and whatever you decide to take, have a great trip.
    Best Wishes
    Chris
     
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I think Shun has alluded to this in his comparison between his 200-500 and 80-400.

    Be careful with the the latter - it has picked up some very poor reviews in this part of the world as a dust 'vacuum-cleaner' and on the local second-hand market there are several for sale. (The new one, not the old one.)​
    I am afraid that such issue is not limited to the 80-400mm AF-S VR. The 200-500mm/f5.6 and the 18-300mm DX Didier mentioned all have a barrel that extends and contracts quite a bit when you zoom. Inevitably, it can easily suck dust, etc. into the lens. (In comparison, a zoom whose zoom action is all internal such that the overall barrel doesn't extend/contract will probably fare better, e.g. the 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR. However, that is only a 2x zoom and is very heavy. A barrel that contracts makes it much easier to travel with.)
    Recall that I also took both the 80-400 AF-S and 200-500mm/f5.6 to the Galapagos last October. For the second time our tour leader at the Galapagos was Tui De Roy. Last year she was mainly using a D4 + the 80-400mm AF-S, leaving the 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR she had back in 2011 behind. She told me that once the rangers chopped some leaves into fine pieces to feed baby tortoises, and she used the 80-400 AF-S to photograph that process. Later on she found one tiny piece of leaf got sucked inside her lens and remained.
    My guess is that if the 80-400 AF-S has developed the reputation for being a "vacuum cleaner" in southern Africa, it is a matter of time that the 200-500 will do so as well. The 200-500 is a much newer lens introduced less than a year ago so that perhaps such reputation hasn't formed yet.
    Having said that, I have had my 80-400 AF-S since 2013, and I have taken it to New Zealand twice, including once to the sub-Antarctic islands, the Galapagos and recently South Africa and Botswana for 3 weeks, where I went through Moremi, Savuti, and Chobe for 2 full weeks. Dust hasn't affected that lens too much so far. One trick I learned back in my 1997 Kenya trip was to carry a pillow case or two. When you are not shooting, use the pillow case to cover the camera + long lens set up. When photo ops occur, it is quick to remove the pillow case.
     
  30. Shun, an eminently sensible response, thank you, and I'm pleased your 80-400 is fine.
    I've just acquired my 200-500 and am about to head up to South Africa's Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reserve, in Kwa Zulu Natal province, which is in the middle of a very tough drought. We'll be in a place called St. Lucia, a World Heritage Site wetland, on Friday and in Hluhluwe sometime shortly thereafter, depending on weather.
    My son's partner is there at the moment, working on her PhD on tuberculosis in the Cape Buffalo - but her off-time seems to be spent with a pair of baby rhino orphans. (Like quite large, scared, grey puppies in a way! She's sent us some very short videos but, sadly, you can sense their isolation and bewilderment. Don't fret too much, though - they're being well cared-for and will be reared to the point of reintroduction into the wild. After all, this is the reserve that brought the white rhino back from near-extinction.)
    All the cellphone pics she's sending back indicate huge amounts of dust as a result of the drought - so let's see what happens. We're going to be up there for about a fortnight - I don't know if that's really going to be long enough to give the lens a full test, but I'd suggest it's also fairly typical of how most of us use these tools. We will be in our own vehicle, with the camera/lens in a camera bag, unless it's in use, and that's slightly different, perhaps, from being on the back of a game drive vehicle. For example, when we drive, it's windows closed and aircon on, to maintain a positive interior air pressure and prevent dust from getting into the car, let alone the lens. Of course, when we stop to take a picture - engine off, aircon off, windows down and dust can sometimes flood up from the road. I suspect an old pillow-case might well find its way into the mix - thanks for the tip.
    I'll report in due course - and hopefully provide some decent pictures, which is, after all, what this hobby/profession/obsession is all about. My personal passion is birds but I'll certainly try for the baby rhinos if we're allowed to sneak in to where the professionals work. I somehow don't think the 200-500 will be on the camera at that point!
    Best Wishes
    Chris
     

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