camera lens help please..

Travel Forums Travel Photography camera lens help please..

1. Posted by SheIsFree (Full Member 24 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I'm leaving for Tanzania in about 6 weeks (I'll be there for a year, then hopefully travelling in other parts of Africa afterwards), and I'm planning on doing some safaris and maybe a Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro trek, so I need some advice on which lenses would be best to take. I have a Nikon D60 which I love to use because of its size, but I'm not sure I really need the 55-200mm lens it came with. I don't really want to be weighed down with different lenses, so I thought of maybe just taking the 18-55mm, and selling the 55-200mm on ebay for some much needed extra funds.

Can anyone give me some advice on if I should take both, considering the type of photography I'll be doing on safari, or just the smaller one? Would it be worth the extra weight in my bag to take the 55-200? Or should I sell both lenses and get another one with a higher range? thanks :)

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 6, 2008, at 8:14 PM by SheIsFree ]

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5701 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I don't have personal experience, but I'd imagine that on Safari you would want the longest lens you could get your hands on, to actually be able to take photos of the wildlife where they're more than just dots off in the distance. (e.g. if you'd have the funds for a 70-300mm VR, you should get that (no matter that it weighs 50% more again; the 55-200 is an extremely lightweight lens)).

Selling both lenses and getting an 18-200 VR is also an option. (Or maybe the Tamron 18-270, which is significantly cheaper and a bit more lightweight (build quality not nearly as good) without (reportedly) too much loss of optical quality.) You'll loose money on it, but I personally would consider it worth it for not needing to change lenses all the time (higher convenience and reducing the chance of dust on the sensor). But you effectively can't get cheaper or more lightweight than the lens combination you have right now.

Anyway, yes, I expect you'll very much want to have more zoom than the "2.35x" maximum that the 18-55 gives you, so if nothing else, bring the 55-200.

3. Posted by Schof26 (Budding Member 20 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


This is the sentence that jumped out at me: "I don't really want to be weighed down with different lenses"

Therefore, you may want to consider a teleconverter.

If you don't know, teleconverters are like magnifying glasses which go between the camera and the lens. They increase the focal length of the lens (some by 1.5X, some by 2X). They are smaller, lighter and generally less expensive than carrying another lens.

However, you have to make some sacrifices if you want to use a teleconverter. And that sacrifice is speed. You'll lose something; one of my books says, "With a 2X converter, your 70-210mm f3.5/5.6 suddenly becomes a painfully slow f8/11."

That won't bother you much if you're shooting in bright conditions, like on a safari. You'll experience more of a problem in lower light.

With teleconverters, like all things photography, you get what you pay for, so don't scrimp. You're probably going on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so do your images justice.

Based on the type of traveling and photography you are doing, where you'll likely be taking pictures of far-off subjects in bright light, where weight is a concern and where you need a temporary option (rather than a giant lens to lug around), I think a teleconverter is a good fit for you.

Be sure to go to your local camera store for more information and better advice.

Also, for the sake of reference, here are the links to B&H Photo's teleconverters pages:

I hope this helps!


4. Posted by SheIsFree (Full Member 24 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

thanks for all the info, it looks like I might be better off money wise to just keep the two lenses I already have.. Hopefully I'll still get some great shots without having to lose money by selling and buying something else! Thanks :)

5. Posted by gandk (Full Member 100 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

hi there, i travelled for 7 month using just one lense for my canon 400d which was a sigma 18-200 which was great - granted not the best quality lens out there but a huge improvment on the standard kit for the canon and a huge range which was really valuble when travelling as you really dont want to change lenses all the time. it cost me abotu 150 for the lens brand new nikon version is about 250 i think but very similar lens, probably a bit better than the sigma.

6. Posted by Aplmac (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I too have a Nikon D60.
Sold the kit lens(very good quality,actually!) and replaced it with the 18-105 zoom.
I don't do wildlife, but do take lots ship-pics, so the 105 end appealed.

I also have the Sigma 10-20 mm. wide-angle zoom,
and feel I don't need much else, but then I'm not doing Wildlife in East Africa!

KEEP the long tele. You're a photographer...they lug along lenses.
Best you can hope for is two or three well-thought-out zooms of overlapping ranges.