Helena and Grant shoot mostly with Canon cameras and lenses, which they have found are exceptionally reliable despite the hot, harsh and dusty conditions they sometimes work in. Although Grant uses a wide variety of Canon gear, he does most of his shooting with his Canon 1Dx, Canon 5Dmk3 or 5Dmk4 and 7Dmk2. However, for gear reviewing purposes and assisting guests on safari, he also familiarises himself with all levels of Canon and Nikon camera equipment.
When it comes to lenses and focal length, he finds that in most of the places that he visits focal lengths of around 300mm to 500mm are ideal. This is especially true in the private concession areas in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa where he travels and photographs most often and where off-road driving is permitted. This means that it is often possible to make very close approaches to some of the wildlife which is of great benefit for wildlife photography.
For parks and reserves where no off-road driving is allowed, focal lengths from about 400mm and upward come in useful.
Patience is of course another important piece of photographic equipment, and an under-rated one at that!
He usually travels with two, sometimes three, camera bodies, as this limits how many times he needs to change lenses in the field. He seldom travels with f2.8 lenses as they are very heavy and weight is often a serious consideration.
The three Canon DSLR bodies that he uses the most, Canon 1DX, Canon 5Dmk4 and Canon 7dmk2, have excellent autofocus, decent buffer capacity, and are fast enough for action photography.
Both the full-frame 1DX and 5Dmk4, perform very well in low light, and their high iso performance makes it possible to still attain fast shutter speeds even when paired with the ‘moderate’ light gathering capability of the f5.6 aperture lenses. The crop-sensor 7dmk2 offers extra fine resolution and is at its best in good light. All three of these bodies have enough megapixels to create fantastic prints, as well as allowing for some cropping, with the 5Dmk4 the best in this regard. The two smaller form-factor cameras, that is the 5Dmk4, and 7Dmk2 share batteries and charger, which saves weight in travel bags.
- Canon EOS 1DX
- Canon 5Dmk4
- Canon EOS 7Dmk2
Most of Grant’s images are taken using the following lenses:
- Canon EF 16-35 L f4 IS
- Canon EF 100-400 L f4.5-5.6 IS II
- Canon EF 500 L f4 IS II
- Canon EF 1.4xiii Extender
Helena shoots with two Canon camera bodies – a 1DX and a 5Dmk3. The 1DX and 5dmk3 allow her to shoot in low light, while the 1DX offers very rapid response as well as a fast frame rate, which is ideal for action photography.
- Canon 1DX
- Canon 5Dmk3
Most of Helena’s images are taken using the following lenses:
- Canon EF 24-70 L f2.8
- Canon EF 100-400 L f4.5/5.6 IS II
- Canon EF 400 DO f4 IS ii
Grant and Helena also own the following additional lenses, which they use depending on their main shooting requirements at any given time:
- Canon EF-S 10-18 f3.5/5.6 IS STM
- Canon EF 70-200 L f2.8 IS II
- Canon EF 70-300 L f4/5.6 L IS
- Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
For data capture they use only Sandisk CF cards which have proved to be most reliable. They process their images using Adobe’s Camera Raw, Photoshop Creative Cloud, and Lightroom.
They have two Slik tripods between them: one a lightweight carbon fibre Slik fitted with a Slik SBH 550 ball-head, the other an alloy Pro 580DXm fitted with a Gimpro precision alloy gimbal head.
The lightweight tripod is especially useful when photographing landscapes, nightscapes or camps and room interiors, and for travelling.
The Pro 580DXm with gimbal head is ideal for shooting wildlife with long telephoto lenses, particularly from photographic hides.
They use quick-release brackets and lens mount plates made by Really Right Stuff.
For traveling, they use a variety of camera bags, including two Tamrac Expedition series bags, and a pair of Lowepro Pro Runner 450 AW bags.