I am by no means a professional photographer but it is something that I have grown to love since starting off as a guide. I recently had the privilege of taking the Nikkor 200-400mm lens into the bush for a few days while out on safari. I have been fond of it since the first time I had used one and I was keen on the opportunity which lay ahead. In my amateur opinion I will briefly comment on the use of the lens over the couple of days I had it with me, baring in mind the following comments apply to Londolozi and the area in which it is situated.
I found the versatility of the lens incredibly useful. It came into its own with one or two situations where the subject was slightly further off. These situations may have been tricky to capture if it weren’t for the ability of the lens to get to 400mm. In saying that there were sightings when the animals/subject were well within reach of the lens and its capabilities but having the ability to zoom in slightly gave me the opportunity to get in on the action and capture the moment without much distraction from unwanted extra space in the frame. Close up shots were also achievable thanks to the combination of habituated wildlife and the lens. Portraits and coats were something I had hoped to capture and found it possible with this lens. It also opened up a few opportunities at photographing birds. The longer reach of the lens allowed for the opportunity to capture a decent bird image, a small subject that is often too far away to capture effectively.
The quality of the lens still blows me away. The sharpness the lens is able to produce is spectacular, crystal clear images were the norm and the ability of the lens to focus quickly was a huge advantage. The relatively wide aperture of f4 allows a shallow depth of field all the way through the focal range of the lens and this can be a massive help in low light situations. All in all a lens that I would choose to have with me a vast majority of the time in the field.
The quality images and incredibly fast reaction time of 200-400 make it a lens I would not want to be without given the choice. There is a small down side but not a terrible one at that. In this area the wildlife is sometimes too close and capturing the scene as a whole or bigger picture can be difficult, like I said not a bad problem but keep in mind that you made need a slightly more wide angled lens. If you are coming to visit us and are thinking of hiring photographic equipment this lens is available through the Londolozi Creative Hub. The ability to travel without the the extra effort of carrying bulky gear is a huge advantage and this is not the only piece of photographic equipment available, so click the link above and start planning your trip to Londolozi.
What do you think the benefits are of being able to hire photographic equipment and would you make use of it if you could?
Written and photographed by Simon Smit