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Wildlife with 503CW, advice?


I'm off to Africa in a few weeks, and I'll be bringing along my 503CW and 350mm SA.

I have not done "real" wildlife (outside animal parks) with MF yet and was wondering if anyone has any tips?

Since I like to do my own prints now, I prefer B&W but I am afraid that you won't be able to see the animals at all, if there are no colors. Does someone have experience with B&W wildlife photography? I was thinking of using a yellow filter to dim down the greens, but I have yet to come across any ø93mm b&w filters.

I assume a high speed color neg would objectively be best for the job? I'll be shooting ISO 400 film at least, maybe pushing one stop. I like to keep the shutter at 1/250 or 1/500 with the 350mm.

In addition, does anyone have experience with the 1.4X APO converter?

Any help is much appreciated. Thanks.

Have you thought of a one leg support for the camera?
It takes a lot of weight of your hands and will improve stability as well without the limitations of a tripod.

Maybe reconsider the choice of B/W? At least take some colour negative film with you as well as B/W.

There are some 93 mm filters in my camera bag. Send me a pm if you need any of those.
You know, there's probably a good reason why you don't too many Hasselblads used for wildlife photography. It's not very fast for one thing, and even with a motor drive, it is slow compared to higher end DSLR's. Animals and birds don't pose. You will often shoot hundreds of shots for one keeper. Add to that that the 350 is really not very long. Only wildlife that's fairly close will do. With your rig, you may sit there while others with DSLR's and longer lenses are shooting away because the wildlife is out of your range. Now that would be a real bummer.
As someone stated - "horses for courses" is the rule to follow here. I'd take a good DSLR and some long lenses in the 200-600mm range. How often do you get to Africa?

I've done some wildlife with Hasselblad gear. I believe that in Africa you'll get fairly close to some of the game and therefore don't always (observe always) need the longest lenses at least on some of the occasions. A lot of the larger wildlife is not as fast as birds and many times a slower camera than a Nikon F5 (read Hasselblad e.g.) is usable. True is that you'll get more keepers with 35mm but those you get with MF - resolution of fur and environment blows away the smaller format.

Another advantage of using MF is that you can get environmental photos with a lot of detail that a 35mm simply cannot give (resolution).

If you can get a 1.4 extender or 2x for support would be great. For birds 35 mm is still (due to speed) far better - easier to get keepers. With a digital SLR you'll be able to get decent photos at higher ASA - which many times is necessary with rapid moving objects. Here a cheetah hunt also would come into play - question is the probability of observing one.

Don't forget a wildangle (read wide) or a normal lens since you might want that if you are close to some of the larger animals. Elephants and giraffes tend to make northern moose and bears to look like mice.

As Paul said a one legged support is a real necessity - tripods don't always work quickly enough. If you'll be mostly in the car you need a car-window mounted thing or a big and thick beanbag.

WHen I firstly started out with Hasselblad I did some photographing of wildlife with only the WLF - couldn't afford a prism - and I find afterwards that I had far better support in that position than when using a 90 degree prism. I also find that its easier to see where the focus is with the WLF or even the 45 degree prism than PM90. However its much more convenient in finding the object with the 90 degree prism.

For film even if I shoot 100 ASA I always bring some 400 ASA - now the new Fuji 400X is for me a necessity - previously a 400 ASA negative.

Always bring some warming filters if you use color.

Have fun and enjoy Africa,

I will be bringing a monopod as well.

I do not have a 35mm camera (other than a rangefinder) so it's either the Hasselblad or nothing. I am aware that a 35mm dslr would be a much better idea, but this is not an option.

I'll take an 80mm or 50mm, or maybe my SWC also.
Don't forget to have a 45-degree viewfinder with you as shooting out of a car with WLF may be troublesome. A winder could also be convenient.

10 years ago I went to Kenya as tourist and spent 3 days for "safari tourist tour" in a Park. I was surprised how close it was possible to take pictures of lions, elefants and zebras.

With my 60mm and 150mm 4.0 I could have a lot of fun. Of course no bird and other speedy animals. (Lot of pictures were made with the 60mm)

My dificulties were strong vibrations of the old diesel car (not recomended to stop the engin every 5 minutes to take a picture), big contraste by day (next time I will use flash !) and poor light at the end of the day with a 100 asa film (BTW with 800 asa I should gain only 15 minutes of day light).
Perhaps important to try his gear in a local zoo first.
500 series + 350mm lens- wildlife

Hi, I have used this combination for shooting deer; let me say right away, you definitely need colour for this combo. secondly, you will need a support of some sort. Apart from this, you will need to get CLOSE ! How are your tracking skills ? Animals will scent you long before you reach an acceptible distance to have a reasonable image size.
I spent two hours crawling downwind from a herd of deer to get within an acceptible range- spent ages setting up, only to find the herd moved 100 yards ! It is a frustrating exercise, but if you have the patience, you MIGHT get some keepers. That 350 only equates to at most a 1/4 of the frame. Best of luck though !
I will be bringing a monopod as well.

I do not have a 35mm camera (other than a rangefinder) so it's either the Hasselblad or nothing. I am aware that a 35mm dslr would be a much better idea, but this is not an option.

I'll take an 80mm or 50mm, or maybe my SWC also.

You won't regret any of these lenses. Landscapes are also a very crucial thing with these trips. Personally I'm very fond of a wide angle MF photo with landscape and a herd of animals which I hope you'll get to see.

Here is an example from my childhoods home. Forgot lense but think it was a 150 but could equally well have used a 50 mm. The reindeers have passed here since my family came more than 200 years ago as farmers and hunters. Today's reindeers are moved from forest to mountin's with the help of snow mobiles and trucks. A fully modern business. Location is Sweden, southern Lappland county, mid April when the herds are moved from forest to high mountains. Spring is yet to wait until may sometime.




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Thanks for the input everyone. It is really a lot of help!
It's funny, I can't seem to travel outside the country without my SWC.

So this is what I decided:

503CW + 80mm (or 100mm) + 350 SA.
Film will be 160S and 400H, as well as Pan F for B&W landscapes.