On the second safari we saw 41 lions, 5 rhinos, 7 cheetah and a stunning 5 leopards. With the exception of the rhinos, all of the above sightings occured during our 4 days in the Serengeti. Truly amazing.
I had the chance to shoot with both my 400mm f/4 DO and 500mm f/4 lenses, and I have some thoughts about traveling and shooting with both. First of all, the 400mm f/4 DO is an amazing little lens. It works beautifully well with teleconverters. It weighs less than the 300mm f/2.8 L IS. It is easy to hand hold. All in all I can only say great things about the lens. However, on Canon 35mm full frame digital cameras, like my 5D, I needed to use a 2x teleconverter for our leopard shots and the smaller bird opportunities. Well, the 5D won't autofocus (I knew this already) with f/8 lenses (the f/4 plus 2x teleconverter results in a maximum aperture of f/8). Not that big of a deal, but it made me rethink what cameras will work best with the 400mm DO.
My test to shoot with both the 5D and 20D came up short in a few ways. I found that I really missed autofocusing with a 2x teleconverter, as well as the quicker autofocus acquisition and accuracy of a 1-series Canon EOS camera. My plan is to return to the land of the 1-series, and will probably end up purchasing a 1DMkII (used) and a 1DsMKxxx this fall. I was hoping that I could travel with smaller, more compact cameras to Africa, but I am afraid that my plans didn't work out. Not a big deal, but I am more aware of the limitations of the 20D/30D and 5D cameras for wildlife at this moment.
I will be posting images from my safaris shortly. Time to process over 57GB of images, which will take a few days.
Glad to be back home.