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DSLR for African Safari - Thoughts?

DSLR for African Safari - Thoughts?

Old Dec 31, 16, 11:17 am
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DSLR for African Safari - Thoughts?

Hey folks,


Going to climb Kilimanjaro and then do an African Safari in roughly 4 weeks. For all my previous trips, I've always just used my cam phone which sufficed. But for this trip, would really love to have something stronger, mostly for the animal part of it.


So I'm thinking about a DSLR camera. Any suggestions? Someone mentioned a Canon EOS 70D.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 11:21 am
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Don't bother unless you also buy/rent a decent lens (a good quality telezoom and some support device)... and this would not be the trip to start using a DSLR.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 11:24 am
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I'm going to look ridiculous with a point and click, and everyone else has their fancy cameras.

I also don't want to spend money on the best point and shoot camera now, and then later on buy a DSLR. Kind of a waste of money to do that.

So hopefully someone can suggest a good body and a quality lens or two.

Last edited by Jeffmiyagi; Dec 31, 16 at 11:53 am
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Old Dec 31, 16, 12:15 pm
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Better ask on HHH. web site,
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Old Dec 31, 16, 12:33 pm
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If you buy a new camera, be sure to get it far enough in advance to use it a lot and learn it inside out. Otherwise, it will just get in your way.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 12:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Jeffmiyagi View Post
So hopefully someone can suggest a good body and a quality lens or two.
Camera's are all about how much you are willing to spend... none of the major brands are bad, people just have personal preferences.

You will need at least a telezoom in the 300-400mm range (old 35mm measurement) to get decent close up shots. And at those lengths you will need lens support or your images will be blurred.

So unless you know what you are doing and have used the equipment before you go don't do it. Use what you have and enjoy the trip, even without the pictures.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 1:11 pm
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Bridge Camera

The DSLR gear will quickly become quite bulky for you to cover both landscape and wild life scenarios and also various lighting situations.

Have you considered one of the superzoom bridge cameras?
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Old Dec 31, 16, 1:53 pm
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pns, I've heard of them but I've read they don't get the same picture quality as the DSLR.

Have looked at the RX10 III but at $1,600, it costs more than a lot of very good DSLR's. I guess the good thing here is that it has a zoom range of 24-600m.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 1:58 pm
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Most wildlife needs fast autofocus, something most smaller cameras (like the Rx10) have difficulty with. Its a great option for landscapes and more static objects...

And you need to look at price of the body AND lens(es) for a DSLR. And changing lenses is a no-no on safari due to the dust.

Last edited by RTW1; Dec 31, 16 at 2:03 pm
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Old Dec 31, 16, 2:05 pm
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So let's ignore price. I'm going on a safari so I'm not going to penny pinch when it comes to a good camera. So let's move past that point please and focus on some recommendations. I don't want to sound like a jerk but if you're not going to offer up suggestions (I don't want a point and click cam) and are just going to crap on everything, please bow out of the thread.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 2:14 pm
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I love my Sony A7R, BUT Sony doesn't make a long enough lens for wildlife.

I'd buy the best full size sensor DSLR Nikon makes (I'm a Canon user, but I think Nikon is making better cameras right now, at least the sensor).

I'd buy two lenses: a long zoom (at least a max of 400 mm) and a wide-normal, say 24-70.

You'll get a faster (i.e. better low light performance) lens in a prime, but they are pricey and heavy.

You might be able to make do with a good 50mm (normal) lens instead of the 28-70. The 40-60 range is about what the eye sees.

At this, you're talking $5000 more or less (probably more). If you think you'll be taking up photography as a hobby, then go with the good stuff. Otherwise, you'll be upgrading because the the lenses aren't as sharp and the sensor isn't as good as you'd like and you'll be spending a lot of money.

And as someone said, get it early so you know how they work.

An alternative (but not cheap if you're going to be away for a long time) is to rent. I use LenRentals in Memphis. They are great. I'm renting two lenses right now to see if I want to buy them. I've decided no on one and maybe on the other. The 5 day rental and shipping is costing me $160, but I'm saving over $2000 because I'm just not thrilled with the one lens I'm negative on.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 2:14 pm
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There is no simple answer. A simple google will help you...numerous items on just this, but unless you use the combo extensivly before you go you won't be happy with the results.

It's not (all) about the money you spend or how you look.... it's about knowing stuff and having experience that gets you good to great photo's. Plus having access to good seats on a vehicle.

Otherwise take something simple that you at least know how to operate and enjoy the trip.

Last edited by RTW1; Dec 31, 16 at 2:19 pm
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Old Dec 31, 16, 2:50 pm
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Canon

I'm a Canon shooter and so am more familiar with the gear and options. If cost were not an issue within reason (replace Sigma with Canon equivalents if you have more purchasing power), then I'd go with something like:

Canon 7D Mk II
Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 APO EX DG HSM OS (for Canon EF mount)
Sigma APO Teleconverter 2x EX DG (for Canon EF mount)

Pick one or both of these based on your shooting style and preference:
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM (for Canon EF mount) (*)
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC (OS)* HSM (for Canon EF mount) (**)



(*) This lens can't be used on a FF camera if you wish to upgrade to one in the future. If it were me, I'd lean towards the Sigma 12-24 f/4 DG though this is considerably more expensive.

(**) This lens can't be used on a FF camera either. This is optional for my shooting style and preference.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 2:54 pm
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A 70-200 is way too short for most wildlife..... maybe with a 2x and a bean bag. And a 10-22 might be usefull for a handfull of shots when at your lodge.
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Old Dec 31, 16, 3:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Jeffmiyagi View Post
pns, I've heard of them but I've read they don't get the same picture quality as the DSLR.
It depends on how you plan to display your pics. I've been able to get very decent 8x10 prints from my FZ200, but I mostly display and enjoy my pics on the web. However, the bigger issues are going to be fast continuous autofocus as the other poster mentioned, shutter lag, EVF, and startup time. That said, folks have been able to click quite a few amazing wild life, bird, and macro pictures from bridge cameras. There's a lot to be said about knowing the limitations of the gear and adjusting shooting style and discipline accordingly.

Originally Posted by Jeffmiyagi View Post
Have looked at the RX10 III but at $1,600, it costs more than a lot of very good DSLR's. I guess the good thing here is that it has a zoom range of 24-600m.
You also need to factor in the cost of lenses to go with the DSLR.
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