What camera to use on safari

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May 23rd, 2014, 04:01 AM
  #1
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What camera to use on safari

We have a trip planned the end of June with 18 days in Kenya and Tanzania on a safari. I love photography and want to be able to take some awesome pictures but undecided as to what camera and lenses to get as the ones I have has become a little outdated especially for taking pictures in this environment. Can anyone give some suggestions as to what to use or what really worked for them. My maximum budget would be $3000. Thanks in advance.
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May 23rd, 2014, 05:12 PM
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Can you give us a bit more information so we can give some focused advice? For example, do you intend to use the photo gear afterwards, are you interested in SLR, simple P&S, or bridge camera, are you a Nikon or Canon fan?
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May 24th, 2014, 03:32 AM
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Or a Pentax, Sony or Olympus, Panasonic, etc, etc fan?
DSLR, system, bridge or simple P&S?
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May 24th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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More info would be welcomed. In one sense taking pictures in K/T may be no different than trip to local park, zoo or one's backyard. So, your current gear might still be okay. But, for feedback to inquiry need to know a bit more as to your interest, experience, etc.
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May 24th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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I have taken a mid-range superzoom P&S (Lumix DMC) on a couple of safaris, and a Nikon SLR with a Tamron superzoon (18-270) on one, and frankly I think the Lumix was a better experience overall.

You need several things (and this is somewhat dependent on your safari specifics - evening drives? any walking?

The first thing is you need is a killer-quick and accurate autofocus, particularly in low light. You also need plenty of zoom, but sometimes not; you also need a lot of megapixels, and you REALLY need the ability to adjust ISO settings easily.

The reason being, many of the best safari moments (in my experience - YMMV) occur in tough lighting situations, or when the subject is moving, or both. Having to change lenses in these conditions is pointless - the cheetah has long since vanished into the bush. Having a slow-to-set ISO function means you're challenging the lens to shoot wide open with a moving subject and/or one requiring a moderately long lens. Autofocus balks, shutter can't cope, result - blurry cheetah.

The weight of a honking SLR is also an issue, again, especially in low light. You can't pack a tripod into the jeep, and holding the beast steady is a pain for you and your seatmates. Vibration damping only works to a point (not very well in my experience) so you need all those megapixels so that even if you have to pump the ISO you're still going to get something decent for an image, unless you're printing billboards.

So I'd shop for the best combo of lens opening, zoom range, megapixel rating, manual override options, sensitivity adjusting... (I know, I know, and a pony.) Then THE MOST important thing is... learn the bejeezus out of your camera before you land in Nairobi or Dar. DON'T try to learn on the fly; it's bound to leave you disappointed.

www.dpreview.com
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May 26th, 2014, 06:57 PM
  #6
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Yes I plan to use my camera and lense afterwards. I knew a lot more about the equipment years ago but haven't kept up as much as I would like to. I ve been trying get back up to speed but it takes time. I don't feel any particular preference to any manufacture.
We will be mostly riding on safaris, but also hiking 1/2 day on Mt Kilo, spending time with several tribes, spending time with the fishermen at Lake Victoria, etc. since we be 18 days a safari.
I have been looking at the Nikon D7100 which seems to have pretty good reviews. Any suggestions or ideas will be appreciated along with suggestions on a good lense. I m with you Gsrdyloo about all the attributes especially being able to shoot in low light and be able to zoom the subjects in. Thanks for all the help
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May 27th, 2014, 03:30 AM
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I'm a Canon man so can't help with specifics about Nikon products. I'm sure, though, that the 7100 body will serve you well. I'd suggest a lens ranging to 300mm, perhaps a 70-300 or 75-300. With the crop factor the lens effectively will cover you to 450mm. Make sure the lens is image stabilized as many opportunities come at lower light times (not long after dawn or before dusk). The fastest lens that's affordable for you would help too. If you buy the body as a kit with a shorter lens, i.e., a 18-55 or so, you'll be fully covered together with the longer lens. I'm betting you'll take >90% of your shots with the long lens. I always bring a beanbag to stabilize the lens, especially for the low light times.

I suggest you bring along another camera as a backup, whether it's a p&s or older body. You never know, even with a new body (my new one got slightly wet and shorted out). Other than that,make sure to bring an extra battery and plenty of memory cards....over 2 weeks many will shoot 2000-5000 images. I don't worry about changing out lenses but am careful to pick my times/places to exclude dust.
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May 27th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Thanks for the info sdb2. I plan on taking an extra camera and we have made arrangements for our TO to provide beans bags. Im looking at the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3G ED VR. AF-S. Its really new with good reviews.
Can anyone give any advice on either the lens or the camera (Nikon D7100) that I m looking at getting. Thanks in advance
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May 29th, 2014, 05:43 PM
  #9
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Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts about the camera/lens I mentioned or any others?
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May 30th, 2014, 04:12 AM
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If you don't get more input, I'd suggest looking at a photo site to see reviews. B&H is a good one, used by many pros and advanced amateurs.
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May 30th, 2014, 06:18 AM
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Camera review - http://www.dpreview.com/articles/422...2013-roundup/2

The lens appears too new to have been reviewed, but it ought to be fine for your purposes.

I will maintain my strong feelings that the test you must make (and the training you need to undertake) is how to handle a long lens in low light conditions, especially the autofocus' quickness and ability to adjust ISO quickly. The camera has 24mp, so even at high ISO you should have more than acceptable detail in the images, allowing you to capture some depth of field and/or zoom out even though the aperture gets tight at extreme zoom. In bright daylight, no problemo; at dusk, more difficult.

Consider a lightweight quick-collapse monopod as well as a beanbag.
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May 31st, 2014, 08:43 PM
  #12
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Thanks for all the info. I ve had a change of direction and am considering Canon due to some problems with dealers in my area. I prefer to buy with some local where I can touch and play with the cameras. and both dealers in my area have just changed owners and Nikon isn't presently replenishing their inventory. I visited a Canon dealer that is awesome and now I looking at the Canon 70D with the 80-135 lens. Also the 70-300 EF lens. sdb2, know your a Canon man. What do u think of the canon camera and lens.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 04:33 AM
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I think you'll be very satisfied with the body and two lenses. I believe you meant the 18-135 lens. It is one of Canon's best consumer lenses and a great walkaround lens. The 70-300 will serve you well but make sure it's IS. You know what they say about the worth of a picture, so here are a couple samples:

Canon's first version 75-300 IS, taken in Kruger

http://thesafariadvisor.com/linked/leopardlounging.jpg

Canon 18-135, taken in camp in Mara

http://thesafariadvisor.com/linked/b...sai%20mara.jpg
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Jun 1st, 2014, 05:29 AM
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P.S. I suggest you get hoods for each lens. They of course help with the sun and also with protecting the glass. No need to go original equipment on the hoods....you can buy at eBay at much less cost.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 08:55 AM
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I would suggest the 100-400 IS lens, especially if you are at all interested in birds. I love mine and 300 would be too short for me.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 09:35 AM
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There's no question that the 100-400 is THE Canon safari lens. After several years with the 75-300 IS, I upgraded to the 100-400 after using a rental to try it out. I primarily went to the longer lens because my interest in birds increased and the extra reach helps big time.

The 100-400 is significantly heavier than the 75-300. I found that hand-holding the 75-300 was much easier than the 100-400, which I try to use almost always with a bean bag.

It is obviously up to the OP on how to proceed. Cost-wise the 70-300 will save ~$1000 vs the 100-400. If there's little anticipated use for the 100-400 in the future, the big investment is questionable and a rental makes sense. Also, if a newcomer to longer lenses it's easier to adapt to the lighter and easier-to-handle 70-300 lens.

Unless an avid birder, I don't think much will be missed with the 70-300. With the 1.6 crop factor the 300 lens effectively gives 480 mm. If extra reach is a priority, the 100-400 is indeed a terrific option.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 06:21 PM
  #17
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sdb2. awesome pics. thanks for all the info and suggestions.
I ve been looking primarily at both of the lenses that both sdb2 and kellye21 have suggested. I m going back to the dealer tomorrow and will have to play and experiment with both lenses. Thanks again.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 11:12 AM
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We use Sony DSLR900 with a Sony telephoto lens 70-200 & had excellent results! You can also rent here in USA from Borrow Lenses who will ship equipment to you & you may be able to save some money!
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Jun 5th, 2014, 05:31 AM
  #19
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Thanks everyone for all your help. I purchased a Canon 70D with 18-135 and 100-300 mm lenses. Along with it comes tutorial for as long as I have the camera. I m now practicing with it to be ready for the cats and others that will pass our way. Just 19 days to go....
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Jun 5th, 2014, 08:07 AM
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My husband is taking a Sony A6000 and a70-200 lens and wonders: does anyone have an opinion or comment on the mirror less cameras, and is it really worth taking a monopod with this lens as long as you have a beabbag?
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