Best Camera For Safari: What Camera Is Best For You?

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Best Camera For Safari Featured Image

What’s the best camera for safari? It’s likely one of the first questions every traveler coming to Africa asks after booking a safari. Having a decent camera for safari is on the top of our recommendation list. While it’s not a necessity and we’re big believers in making sure to put the camera down and actually save some photos in your memory there is thrill in grabbing that perfect safari photo.

There are a number of aspects to consider when looking for the best safari camera possible. This post is not meant for professional photographers. If you’re likely at that level you have your own idea of what the perfect safari camera for you is.

Best Camera For Safari

Basics Of A Safari Camera

There are several criteria that make a great camera for safari. A lot also depends on the cameras intended use. Not everyone is in it for the photos and not everyone wants the same kind of photos. There is no clear cut answer here for what the best camera is for Safari, but there is a best camera for a specific person.

Cost

This one is an obvious criterion. Not everyone has the budget to spend thousands of dollars on a camera, nor should they. There is no point in spending lots of money on something that will just collect dust or confound the user. There is also that best bang for buck aspect. While a high-end professional camera goes for lots of money the escalation of price makes pointless for anyone, but a professional. Even some professionals see the additional cost as a waste!

FPS (Frames per second)

This is a very important aspect for many. It refers to how quickly a camera can shoot a burst of photos. With fast moving subjects on safari, you’ll want to capture that perfect moment. This may require a burst and a fast fps. This refers to how many photos the camera can take in the period of one second. This is not the most important aspect it something to consider when comparing similar cameras.

Zebras in Tanzania Shot With Camera For Safari

Sensor

The sensor refers to the light sensitive chip in every digital camera that interprets how light is perceived to create a digital image. Sensors come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have the most direct impact on image quality. When it comes to wildlife photography every inch counts. This is why I’ve chosen to pick only cropped sensors that will give an added boost to any lens. All lenses are measured mathematically for a full frame sensor – the same size as a 35mm film camera. So, when cameras employ a smaller sensor this results in a cropped effect on lens focal length. This means 100mm on a Canon 80D is really the focal length of a 160mm lens.

Best Camera For Safari Lions

Lens

The lens is the most important aspect when shooting wildlife photography. You can have the best camera money can buy, but if you have a wide angle lens you aren’t going to get those stellar close-up wildlife shots. Many cameras opt for interchangeable lenses which allow for a wide range of focal lengths to get wide landscape shots and tight close-ups. When shooting wildlife the far-reaching lens, or zoom is important.

Lens distance is referred to as focal length. Focal length is measured in millimeters with a short focal length (<5omm) creating a wide angle image and a long focal length (135mm<) creating a tight/zoomed image.

The two images above were taken from the same distance.

Build

The African bush can be brutal on just about everything. Safari lodges and vehicles are constantly fighting the elements of dust, dirt, humidity, heat, wind, rain, and even wild animals. Although it’s unlikely your camera will have to survive an elephant the environment should be taken into consideration.

Professional cameras are built to be weatherproof meaning they can handle the dust, dirt, and rain directly on the camera. I’ve personally carried my Canon camera through rainstorms without fear of it being ruined. There are also a number of cameras that are purpose built to hold up to the elements.

Best Camera For Safari Dust Zebra

Comfort

How does the camera feel in your hands? Are you going to drop it? Is it heavy? Or does it feel like an extension of your arms and eyes? A camera with a solid grip is a life saver when shooting photos while walking in the bush, from a moving boat, or the game viewer.

Best Camera For Safari

This is my current camera. I spent some time deliberating what camera would be best for me and I couldn’t be happier. The camera has a number of strong suits that make it exceptional for a safari camera. It’s weatherproof meaning those dusty roads and African thunderstorms won’t take your camera by surprise.

It has a cropped sensor that still shoots 24mp stills with a high dynamic range. The cropped sensor gives a greater focal length, combined with high processing power of the latest Canon cameras means it shoots rock star photos. Also, as an EF mount Canon it comes with a massive selection of lenses to put on the camera. With a vast selection of quality and price points.

The camera has wifi connection so users can shoot from their phone. A sweet flip screen great for low angle ground shots and shooting video. The touch screen LCD makes live video focusing and tracking a breeze. It’s far superior in my opinion to the 7D mkii that is now three years old and needs an update! So, it’s arguably one of the best cameras for safari on the market.

Click image for current pricing

This camera is referred to as a bridge camera. It means that it fills the gap between the old school point and shoot cameras and the DSLR. A bridge camera has a fixed lens with an optical and digital zoom. It offers the simplicity of a point and shoot with superior image quality. For the price point, it’s a hard camera to compete with!

The advantages of this camera include a larger sensor than most bridge cameras and it shoots 4k video. While the lens is not interchangeable it has a wide range from 25mm to 400mm. The sensor is larger than most of it’s competitors at almost 1″ which means it is one of the best in a bridge camera. The body is well built and feels natural in your hands.

Click image for current pricing

This is Tasha’s camera and she has loved it after upgrading from her clunky DSLR. The camera is super stylish and looks great. If you’re looking for a camera that matches your chic safari clothes this is the one. It has a retro feel with dials, a popup flash, and metal body.

Fuji’s sensor has some of the best jpegs out of the camera I have seen. It has an excellent color representation and photos require little editing, which is perfect for those who just want a great overall camera. In fact, I might say it’s the perfect travel blogging camera where the image is important, but so is time.

The camera also has the latest bells and whistles with wifi, tracking autofocus, and even cool effects like film simulation modes that emulate old cameras. This combined with a lightweight build that is slim, ergonomic, and fun makes it a real stand out in the world of mirrorless cameras.

The only drawback on the camera for safari is the fact is the limited lens offering. They have some wonderful lenses with great build quality. However, the only long lens on the market currently is the 100-400mmthat has a high price tag.

Click image for current pricing

 

For coming in under $500 this is one of the best cameras. It has a quick auto focus with both stills and video. It has a great face detection program that is effective at finding and tracking. Sony is quickly emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the photography world, with it’s class leading A7II.  It should be no surprise that they have also brought some exciting cameras to the consumer market as well. The 5100 offers interchangeable lenses which are helpful when shooting in various safari environments. It’s super compact size also makes it a rockstar to hold in your hand.

Click image for current pricing

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