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A camera for safari. 1/2.3" or 1" ?

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by David W, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. David W

    David W Member

    Many thanks Chester AP.
    The safari is a honeymoon trip so I expect he will want to make A4 enlargements of the best, either for a wall picture or album/photo book and yes, the camera is likely to be a bridge style camera and likely to have a 1" sensor. Given the cost of most such cameras new, it may well be second hand, purchased from a reputable source with guarantee and definitely some months before the trip.

    Was the lens that your friend used a 400mm equivalent, that is around 260mm in reality, given the APS-C sized sensor? Did he feel that was long enough and was he happy with the results?
  2. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I suspect the lens Chester refers to is the Canon 400mm lens, so on an APS-C DSLR it'll give you more like 600-640mm.

  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Almost certainly - 640 mm equivalent focal length on a Canon APS-C, it won’t fit any other make.

    Don’t get distracted by it David, it has a specific purpose, it is not a general purpose lens. I have one, bought for birding on a x1.3 crop camera (effective focal length 520 mm) but it is too long for general use.
  4. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    A4 isn't a very big enlargement - I've had some decent 50 x 75 cm prints done from a 10 megapixel APS-C camera body. However, a print this size does show the different optical quality of lenses. When I later got a 16 megapixel body, this became more obvious. But on an A4 print even my 'worst' lens gives prints that look fine, which is why I asked about what he plans to do with his images. He could probably get a print that size from a body with a 1 inch 20 megapixel sensor that will look fine at a sensible viewing distance, but only if the image is technically perfect because enlargements like this show up all the faults that you never notice on a PC screen. It would be a shame to go all that way and not manage to return home with at least one image that deserves to be printed and put on display.

    My friend used a twenty year old Tamron or Sigma (I can't recall which) 400 mm F 5.6 on an APS-C body, so the equivalent was 600 mm on a full-frame. The lens had autofocus, but did not have the latest 'must have' feature of expensive built-in image stabilisation. So he used 1/1250 or 1/1500 second shutter speed for hand-held shots, and sometimes had to use a high ISO setting to allow these shutter speeds. For early morning or evening shots he had a tripod and remote release. The images he had printed needed a little work to remove colour fringes and increase the contrast, but this was not difficult, and he worked from the RAW file. Some modern bridge camera probably automatically correct colour fringes when the JPG file is created.

    He told me that if he had purchased a modern state-of-the-art 400 mm image stabilised lens he wouldn't have had any funds left to pay for the trip. He did look at the cost of hiring a modern 400 mm lens, but for two weeks the cost (and insurance) was beyond his budget.
  5. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Do try not to get fixated on really long lenses, when I went to Tanzania I used a 200mm lens most of the time, I had a 400 but often it was too long. A good driver will get as close as safely possible to the animals, birds excepted, and really long lenses just won't be necessary. That said if you have a zoom lens that goes to the equivalent of 400mm it doesn't have to be used at that focal length. I had primes, at that time a 70-200 zoom wasn't common, and I recall they were 135, 200 and 400 on an OM1. I got plenty close enough with the 135 and 200.
  6. David W

    David W Member

    Many thanks guys. Even though the lenses that you are talking about are beyond the budget for this camera, I take on board your comments re the likely focal length actually needed and enlargements. The eventual choice is likely to be a bridge camera and the lens will therefore be a zoom. I'm aiming for a 1" sensor and am certainly not seduced by the 3,000mm of the Nikon P1000 !!! Current favourites, probably second hand, are the Sony RX10 Mk3 or Panasonic Lumix FZ2000, plus bean bag :)
  7. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    I've done some research, and the lens my friend used was probably one of these (this is from the PentaxForums website lens review section, which I have found very useful):


    He went on his trip 3 or 4 years ago, so his comment about it being 20 years old sounds right (he had purchased it secondhand for £200).

    There is also a thread on this website about using old lenses like this, which might be helpful to somebody:


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