What gear should I use on safaris? How much is too much equipment? How do we get photo's Like on this site?
I'll do my best to make this simple, so you can walk away with a clear understand of what you need to take great safari photo's. Let's face it, most people only do one safari in there lifetime. Would Like Great Photo's Of South Africa's Big 5, Your Phone won't cut it for that...Sorry !
It's all about the Lens.
The best Glass you can afford is the way to go ,
You can skimp on the camera, most things you dont/won't need, but good glass gives sharp pictures .....
The Aperture ( how much Light comes into the lens) Of at least 4.5, 2.8 is better..
In tech terms,they call it the speed of the lens. But you can, With newer cameras, Get away with faster film speed, like asa 400 without suffering sharpness.So then you can use cheaper Lens.
Like 4.5 app..
Zooms are best,
you get more for your money & you will not have to change lens while on safari in the open game 4x4, DUST IS THE KILLER....
Open your camera as little as possible. ALWAYS .
So 35 /300mm Zoom is a great lens , best of both worlds....If your budget is tight look at after market lens, Like Sigma they make some great lenses now days.
BOTTOM Line it's all about the lens / more important the glass in the lens and the drive for auto focus. It's the old saying you get what you pay for. That's why I love Sony I can by old used lens in great shape and they work on my new camera bodys. I think Canon still makes the fastest quietest auto focus in the game..
There are so many great camera brands now days for great price range.But the things you are going to want most are , as many mega p as you can buy for your budget, and camera shake technology.
So what you are looking for is :
Like I was saying in today's world most top brand ( Nikon / Canon / Sony ) have this for budget entry photography. Starting at around $700/1200 for the body.And you can get great kits for say around $2000 with all you need for travel photography. I switched from Nikon to Sony for few good reasons.
But end of the day, it come down to the old, BMW vs Mercedes argument, both great just different ..
So do your research find what fits your budget, but the top 5 above are what you're shooting for..
1st on Video , I would say try to buy a DSLR that does both many do nowadays . But for me I love GOPro, the sliver is great value, no need for the Black model. Another model I like , might even be better than Gopro is the, DRIFTER – GHOST-S HD cool camera. For me I want something that can do it all water dust and general adventur.
But the same apply as DSLR cameras as i've said on the left. The main thing is most of the entry level Video DO NOT HAVE a external mic jack, so you have to rely on the on-board camera microphone , not good. I mean you come all thsi way to see the great animals of Africa and spend a lot of money , for few more bucks , you could have fantastic video.
You will not get fantastic sound with a on-board video camera microphone, they are easy to plug in and cheapish, but what you end up with is night and day.nothing worse that getting great footage of a Elliphant charge, then play it back and all you can here are people next to you with some elliphant.
In Africa, south African Bush, the animals rest when its hot like we do.
So the best game viewing is when it's cool , most of the time that's in low light , early morning or late evening. To get sharp photos you need to keep the camera still and more so when your in low light.So you will need a way to do that. Tripods are for that sharp pictures, problem is there is no room in a car/4x4 to use a full tripod. So you have a few choices.
Monopod are really great, just one leg instead of 3 like a tripod.
You can put them between your feet in back of a game drive truck and the fold up really small and light.
Sand bag , use any strong clean bag to fill up with red beans , rice , clean sand, so you would put them against the seat in front of you in a 4x4 game view truck or drape them over the door sill of your car , be creative. But the photos you will get are going to be 200x better that free holding the camera depending on the light availability.
Some cameras are great at low light at say 400asa speed, but when in doubt you only have few days make it count when out on safari. The animals are not always there to try again.
Take deep breaths, like you going to dive under the water and as you exhale fire the trigger, on the exhale not at the end of it. that calm period just before your lungs are empty...Most people who shoot regularly can get away without a tripod at 60th of a sec, but that's years of practice make your shots count....