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I registered my gear with Customs back in the day, but I never had any Customs agent ask to see the registration or have any concerns about my gear. I haven't registered anything in years and have never had any issues. I don't know if they still offer the service even. Just my opinion, but I don't think the average tourist bringing back untaxed items is something Customs is too concerned with these days.
I have traveled quite a bit internationally and never had a problem with my Lowepro backpack being challenged, Even when overly stuffed. Don't ask them to measure it at the airport, just assume it is OK until challenged. I've been amazed at what has been allowed as carry-on in some airports. If they do ask to weigh it and it is over weight you can take something out and carry it on your person until you get on the plane. They don't weigh people. You might think about what you will be wearing and what you can pull out ahead of time. Again, I've never had a problem with size or weight.
I usually try to board as soon as I can to get my carry-on into an overhead bin, before they fill up due to other travelers taking liberties with the carry-on rules. My backpack fits under the seat in front of me, and I've had to do that on some regional airlines, but that would get old on a long flight.
I tend to bring too many lenses, but I'd rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them. You might consider putting your 85 and 50 in your checked baggage if they won't go in your carry-on. That way you will have them if needed.
I've been to Etosha in Namibia and several places in Botswana. I found that I used my 200-500mm and 24-70mm lenses a lot more than the 70-200mm. I could have gotten along just fine without the 70-200mm. I would be inclined to replace the 70-200 with a second much smaller fast lens. You will have some great low light opportunities that you won't want to miss.
The weight limits on airlines are the limiting factor on what to bring. Once you are at the parks you will probably be in vehicles so the backpack full of gear will be sitting in the seat beside you. Dust will be a very real concern, especially in Namibia. You will want to minimize lens changes while out in the parks. Change lenses in the lodge to set yourself up for whatever is planned for the day if possible.
It changed two weeks ago in the US. It seems to be starting earlier and ending later every year. There is more and more talk of just staying on it year round. We are about the only place that doesn't use the metric system, so we may as well be out of whack with time, too.
I agree. KEH is a good place for used equipment. They typically under grade their used items from what I've seen. Sounds like a new tripod needs to be on your shopping list, too. There are lots of them out there, from really cheap to OMG expensive, and you usually get what you pay for.
I doubt that Nikon's intent is to have everyone interested in their entire product line. Rather they would want to provide a wide range of products in order to have something for everyone, at multiple monetary and ability/skill levels. The fact that you are interested in the D500 and D850 indicates they are succeeding.
On your DX body the DX lens gives the field of view of a 27-450mm lens. Your FX lens will give the field of view of a 42-450 lens. The smaller DX sensor doesn't change the focal length of the lens, but due to it's smaller size gives the smaller field of view. You can look at it as the DX sensor cropping the center out of an FX sensor's image.