What’s In My Bag? Africa Edition

It’s (finally) time for another edition of “What’s In My Bag?” This time, we’ll look at the kit I just took to Africa. I’ll show you what bag I chose, what accessories I had along, and, of course, which cameras and lenses I used.

PS – Even if you’re not planning a trip to Africa, you’ll probably find some helpful insights for your next wildlife photography adventure!

.

Update:

Just a quick update. There are some questions that keep popping up so I thought I’d address ’em:

1. Did you switch to Sony?

Nope, just added it – I shoot Nikon, Canon and Sony. I was using Sony this time since I’m working on a review for the a1.

2. Did you take a tripod?

Nope – we shoot exclusively from vehicles on this trip, so no need for a tripod or monopod.

3. What did your bag weigh?

It was just over 8Kg (about 17~18 pounds)

Related:

8 Awesome Accessories For Wildlife Photographers
My Travel Backup

PS – If you enjoyed this post, I think you’ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content! Check ’em out – click here (hey, it’s free to look).

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Barrie Meyer
Barrie Meyer
5 months ago

I really wish that you shot Pentax or Panasonic. I am finding your tips for wildlife invaluable and though they mostly apply to any camera, I do shoot with the G9, K-1, or the K3 Mark3 and I am sure that you would have a lot of advice for these cameras.

Thomas E. Roberts
Thomas E. Roberts
7 months ago

What bag do you use for your computer?

John Stewart
John Stewart
8 months ago

Steve: I also just returned from a southern africa safari and sightseeing trip. I am sharing a photo I took at Chobe National Park of what appears to be a photo safari group (taken on Thu Aug 26, 2021). I don’t know if this was your trip or not but I thought I would share the photo in case this was your trip (I was on a different boat). here is the link to the photo: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jtBKFZ2jga1912kb7

thanks for your comments and education tips – always great info. John

Pete Baum
Pete Baum
8 months ago

Thanks for another fine education ! I assume you are using your laptop to transfer your day’s shoot to the Samsung t7 . Don’t you need a card reader to do so , or are you transferring directly from camera to t7 ?

Bruce
Bruce
8 months ago

Having a different body as with the Sony means not having a true backup as it needs its own set of lenses. I realized on a trip with the DX D500 that it was not a true backup for the FX D850. When I got home I sold the D500 and bought a second D850. In actual use having the 500mm PF on one body and 80-400mm on second body makes it easy to shift back and forth without changing lenses and letting dust inside the camera.

Otto
8 months ago

Hi Steve, great reavealig video on this trip’s gear. I have your BIF book and I’m finally (seriously) considering getting a ‘better’ body for my lenses. Here is my dilemma. I’m currently shooting with a Sony A6600 and a Nikon Z6ii. My lenses are the Sony FE 100-400GM lens and the Canon 600mm F4 (first version) which I use with both the Sony and the Nikon bodies through an adapter. I’m torn between getting a Sony A9II to use with the FE 100-400 and slap on the Canon with an adapter or get the R5 for the Canon 600mm F4.… Read more »

Otto Astorga
Otto Astorga
8 months ago
Reply to  Otto

I’m answering my own question. I’m renting the Canon and the Sony and we shall see!

Mark
Mark
8 months ago
Reply to  Otto Astorga

I can’t comment on the Sony gear as I’ve been canon for very long and all my glass is canon..but there is a photographer named Jan Wegener that has an excellent set of YouTube videos on the R5 (I just bought an R5 a few weeks ago and love it). Reason I mention him is he has a video for the most important settings for the R5 for bird photography. Could fast track you to getting good use on a rented camera and hopefully a more useful comparison

David Sneddon
David Sneddon
8 months ago

Fantastic video and casually delivered Steve as always. I would some day love to get to Africa but we can always dream. Thanks Steve for sharing.

Dale Elliott
Dale Elliott
8 months ago

Really great information as always Steve!! Thank You

Mark
Mark
9 months ago

Thank you so much for posting this…a really huge help. Got two questions. First, I notice no macro lens (bugs, beetles, flowers, etc), or mid range lens (people and landscapes)…is this for weight or that those opportunities seldom exist and we want to keep the weight down ? Secondly, it takes a laptop to move images to SSD drives…do you pack yours with bubble wrap on your checked luggage or what do you do ?

Dave Womack
Dave Womack
9 months ago

in the market for a good backpack camera bag. Got 1 FF camera and 2 crop bodies and 70-200mmm 200-500mm, 24-70mm Nikor lenses and the usual small primes. Longest lens is the Nikor 200-500 w/hood. What do you recommend?

Dave Womack
Dave Womack
9 months ago
Reply to  Dave Womack

thanks so much. Will look a the Kiboko. Finally got my RRS 55-1 ball head tks to your recommendation Steve. Can’t wait to use it.

Jan L. Mundorff
Jan L. Mundorff
9 months ago

Thanks Steve for all of the good information, as always

Stephen Berger
Stephen Berger
9 months ago

Excellent! Thank you. Great to know that bag holds the Sony 600. May i ask… if you were only able to go tp Africa once and only to one place where would it be?

Donald Linn
Donald Linn
9 months ago

Great video and excellent tips. Thanks.

Janet Ogren
9 months ago

What re the advantages of using the card readers vs just uploading via the Sony camera cord to computer which is what I do that gives me less equipment to pack.

juan_uy
juan_uy
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Test transfer speeds, generally the card reader is much faster than using the cable.

Janet Ogren
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

I was the same, having used the readers so long with my Nikon gear, but was having trouble using a brand new reader with my new Sony A1 so started using the cable and am not going back, the less gear needed, the better. Also there is a 2 battery charger sold on Amazon for Sony that works well, adding a power cable for backup, again less gear. I’ve been to Africa 5 times and your choice of cameras and lenses were spot on!!!

jbd713@pacbell.net
9 months ago

Steve,
I am planning a trip to Costa Rica. I do not have the steadiest hands and regularly use a Gitzo tripod with a Wimberly gimbal head and a Gitzo monopod with Wimberly gimbal head. I have a Nikon D5 and D850, Nikon’s “Holy Trinity,” 105mm macro and the 200-500mm f5.6. What do you recommend taking?
Thank you!

Barry
Barry
9 months ago

I’ve been there 3 times and yes, you need the 200-500 as sloths, macaws, parrots and the like are usually way up in the trees. I would use the 850 on crop to get that extra reach also, I got some good pics with mt 500 of sloths 100′ off the ground (if you can find them that is). A good pair of binoculars wouldn’t hurt either.

KenT
KenT
9 months ago

Hi Steve,

Can you talk a bit about the logistics of traveling?

How did you handle the COVID requirements to travel to Botswana & coming home? COVID requirement at transit (at European hub airport I assume)?
What precautions did you take during traveling/flying & while at camp in Botswana? Were the other travelers required to be masked?
Were the camp workers & fellow travelers vaccinated?

April Campbell
April Campbell
7 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Steve what outfit did you use for Botswana?

KenT
KenT
9 months ago
Reply to  KenT

I am glad you made it back without incidents. The State Department currently rates Botswana as a Level 4 COVID which means Do Not Travel.

John Tentler
John Tentler
9 months ago

Steve, are your 3 external drives loaded with all the same photos? Do you cull before off-loading to them? Do you find that 2TB are sufficient for a ~10 day trip? Sorry for all the questions!

Rodger Israel
Rodger Israel
9 months ago

Hi Steve,

Great video. What do you use for camera support in Africa? Tripod? Monopod? bean bag? Gimbal head? etc.

Robert Pitt
Robert Pitt
9 months ago

also, what was the total weight of the loaded bag?

Robert Pitt
Robert Pitt
9 months ago

tripod?

Cookie Segelstein
Cookie Segelstein
9 months ago

Hey Steve, Great video as usual. I am struggling with the temptation to get a Sony mirrorless outfit. I have a pretty good Nikon set of equipment (D6, D850, 70-200mm, 180-400mm and 600mm). I have been mostly taking car trips where the weight does not matter, but I keep seeing folks in the field with the Sony stuff. Are you finding that you are bringing the Sony setup more on long trips? Of course, how much do I REALLY want to test my marriage? 😉

Jeff Levine
Jeff Levine
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

I have a similar set of Nikon lenses. I hope to go to Africa soon and would certainly take the 600/4. I would lover to take the 180-400 as well but as with CS I have taken both on domestic trips but never overseas. Do you think that taking the 180-400 would be too heavy, cumbersome or just impossible with the weight limitations on a safari. Thanks.

Jeff Levine
Jeff Levine
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Kind of what I thought. I leaning towards taking my 70-200, and 300PF. With the 1.4TC that should give enough flexibility, but certainly not as convenient as the Sony 100-400

Curtis Andersen
Curtis Andersen
9 months ago

If the Guru bag will not hold the Nikon 600mm lens what bag do you use if you are taking Nikon gear instead of Sony?