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  • Best camera to take on a safari?

    Hi

    I'm spending 2 weeks on a game reserve next year and want to buy the best camera that will allow me to take photos from a distance.

    Can anyone recommend one please?

    Thanks

    Michelle

  • #2
    Will you need the camera for anything afterwards, or are you buying one just for the trip? Keep in mind that you'll likely be dropping about $1000 on a body and then additional for lenses.

    If you just need the camera for that one trip, I'd be tempted to suggest renting a body and lenses instead.
    I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
      Will you need the camera for anything afterwards, or are you buying one just for the trip? Keep in mind that you'll likely be dropping about $1000 on a body and then additional for lenses.

      If you just need the camera for that one trip, I'd be tempted to suggest renting a body and lenses instead.
      with insurance.
      -When confronted by a difficult problem, you can solve it more easily by reducing it to the question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
      -I'm a vessel of useless information; just ask my wife.

      -Critiques and editing of my pics for DPS always welcome-

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      • #4
        Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
        Will you need the camera for anything afterwards, or are you buying one just for the trip? Keep in mind that you'll likely be dropping about $1000 on a body and then additional for lenses.

        If you just need the camera for that one trip, I'd be tempted to suggest renting a body and lenses instead.
        absolutely, the problem though is that you will not know how to use it in time to make it work for you on tour.

        My suggestion, unless you want to start a photo expedition - get something that you can use easily, that carries and packs easily AND you can get charged. That way you can be sure to collect great memories of your trip.

        For pictures of the animals, but a coffee table book. Most reserves have books of the area done by people who spent months working on them.

        You will get home and have 1000 pictures of whatever animal and none will be as good as the book.

        Apologies if this sounds negative... but I do a heap of safaris and unless you have really good kit and know how to use it, it is not worth the hassle of carrying it all.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by gturner View Post
          absolutely, the problem though is that you will not know how to use it in time to make it work for you on tour.
          The tour is 2 weeks; even renting the gear for an additional week or two would allow for at least effective general use. User just needs to know to set the ISO to a reasonable level for the light conditions, set the aperture in A, and set the camera to continuous.

          Let's assume you're going with the basics: 2 bodies, a few basic safari lenses (24-70, 70-200, 200-400).

          D700: $2700
          D300s: $1700
          24-70: $1900
          70-200: $2400
          200-400: $7000

          Even cutting that down to a D300s, 16-85, and 70-300 VR you still have a tab of almost $3k, you lose out on the long end and low-light, have to swap lenses a LOT more often (not a good idea on safari) and are STILL costing a helluva lot more than a rental:

          30 Day Rental: (Lensrentals.com)
          D700: $560
          D300s: $370
          24-70: $230
          70-200: $280
          200-400: $970

          $2410

          Include a fairly comprehensive insurance rider for a month, and you're probably still under $3k, and if not, you're not off by much. This is, of course, also for top-end gear: switch it up to a lower-rent version and you're really saving.

          That allows for 2 weeks of learning and practice and 2 weeks of use. Pretty much a slam dunk if you ask me.

          Buying a coffee table book is all fine and good, but I'd feel much more accomplished showing off a book of my OWN more mediocre photos than having guests come over and go "Oh, look at the animals some other guy saw in the same park!"
          Last edited by OsmosisStudios; 12-12-2011, 02:42 PM.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by OsmosisStudios View Post
            Buying a coffee table book is all fine and good, but I'd feel much more accomplished showing off a book of my OWN more mediocre photos than having guests come over and go "Oh, look at the animals some other guy saw in the same park!"
            Buying or renting top line equipment still wont make person a better photographer, especially in 2 weeks. A valid option is take a superzoom point and shoot - easy to carry etc, cheap, and will get photos, certainly good enough to show your friends. If its a tour, there will likely be someone along with a good kit. Befriend them, get copies :-) Buy the book as well, good for local economy.
            Digital SLR vs Digital Super-Zoom Cameras on Safari

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            • #7
              Originally posted by wildbird View Post
              Buying or renting top line equipment still wont make person a better photographer, especially in 2 weeks.
              Perhaps not, but if someone is coming here asking for that kind of information, I assume they at least have an eye for composition and are willing to learn the camera.
              I am responsible for what I say; not what you understand.
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              • #8
                To me it looks like the OP has zero idea, just by the general nature of the post.

                I move hundreds of people on safari every year... I stand by what I wrote.
                Get the easiest camera to use (at your comfort level) to capture the human moments and landscapes. The coffee table book is the best way to get great animal shots.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wildbird View Post
                  Buying or renting top line equipment still wont make person a better photographer, especially in 2 weeks. A valid option is take a superzoom point and shoot - easy to carry etc, cheap, and will get photos, certainly good enough to show your friends. If its a tour, there will likely be someone along with a good kit. Befriend them, get copies :-) Buy the book as well, good for local economy.
                  Digital SLR vs Digital Super-Zoom Cameras on Safari
                  Exactly my thoughts - interesting to see another safari spe******t with the same opinion.

                  Of course if the OP is competent, then you can ignore our suggestion and go with OS... because he is correct on that end of the debate.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gturner View Post
                    get something that you can use easily, that carries and packs easily AND you can get charged. That way you can be sure to collect great memories of your trip.
                    My point and shoots used AA batteries, which were great for travelling, can buy them almost anywhere and cheaply. Carrying spares is good, but when you are in a foreign place, last thing you need is running out and having nowhere to charge batteries.

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                    • #11
                      Two scenarios:- a) you either want to get into photography as a serious hobby for the long term, or (b) you want a reasonable camera to do the job while on safari;

                      a) get the best DSLR you can afford, with the best lenses available, along with all the other kit you require for such an excursion, but my advice would be;

                      b) get a decent point-n-shoot with a decent zoom and use that.you can easily use while on safari and ENJOY THE MOMENTS as they happen.

                      Justifcation for my view: Unless you have the skill and experience with your equipment such that the camera almost becomes an extension of your arm, you will spend much of your time fiddling around and probably miss the fleeting, never-to-be repeated moments. A point-n-shoot will allow for the enjoyment of the environment and also provide an opportunity to take some pictures for your memories. Focus on the experience and maximise the memories by absorbing what is going on around you. To be distracted by photographic equipment and trying to think about how best to digitally capture that elusive animal will certainly detract from the opportuniy of experiencing nature as many have before you have.....

                      Note that all too often, the light will be on the "wrong" side of the animal, you will be on the wrong side of the vehicle, the light will be just too low, or the sighting will be just too fleeting for any decent picture to be captured anyway. AND you will simply just get frustrated with possible lack of results and not enjoy the safari as much as you could.

                      Such a trip is often a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience nature at its most raw, and I would certainly advise you to allow yourself to be absorbed into the moment rather than focusing on trying to capture all the memories on a camera.... there is so much more than just pictures.... expolit ALL you sensors to the maximum....

                      Will you remenber the call of the Fish Eagle? or the sound of a warthog escaping the clutches of a leopard (so what does fear sound like?), or the smell of the stomach contents of a buffalo as it is being eaten by a pride of lions, or the smell/taste of a thunder storm the moment after it arrives..... Capture all the memories as best you can, but do not waste other fleeting opportnities by doing so.

                      Africa runs in my veins........I am, after all, a child of Africa
                      Take nothing but memories and leave nothing but footprints

                      A Child of Africa

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                      • #12
                        ..my thoughts exactly, maybe along the lines of a Nikon P7100, has 28-200mm.. with decent IQ. You could always go with something like a Fuji HS10 or 20, but they have such small sensor, unless you are in a bright sunny locale all the time the photos will suffer in low light....grainy and noisy..
                        Nikon D7000-AA filter removed, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, Sigma 50-150 OS f/2.8, Nikkor 300mm f/4, 2x SB600, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.

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