Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

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Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by HappyGoLucky @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:40 am

Looks like I've got at least 3 more trips to Johannesburg this year and I'm determined to see more than Tambo Int, the hotel and the client site on at least one of them.

The sad reality is that due to workload here, I'll probably only manage a 1 day safari. I've found a guy that does one on one tours that isn't afraid of starting early and ending late, so I should be able to pack a lot in to a day trip - a colleague did a 6 hour tour with him and saw everything except lions.

Obvs I want to get lots of Nat Geo worthy pictures, but I'm definitely in the point & shoot camp; so don't have a scooby what sort of kit I'd need. I'm guessing most of it will be hanging out of the window or shooting through the sunroof of the guides Landcruiser, so lens selection will be a factor. I've found a few companies over here that rent kit and may go that route over buying.

Do I need filters?

Just need to know, what I need to know.

Thanks
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Disastrous @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:59 am

Animals and landscapes will be quite different kit. It sounds like you want animals though?

If so, long, fast lenses (kerching!) and probably a crop sensor camera with a fast drive/burst mode will be what you’re after.

If you’re shooting out a car window there’s probably not much point fcuking around with filters and tripods tbh.

I can’t really recommend a point and shoot but the key thing for me would be reach, given you probably can’t get too close, and speed, given animals are shit at posing.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Turntable @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:31 am

Ill reiterate what I have said before. After spending years trying to photograph animals with a digital SLR with 500mm lens, being persuaded to bin it in favour of a compact with a good zoom lens was a revelation as they tend to have several times the zoom capabilities of an slr
Of course you wont get national geo quality pictures but youll get a decent picture of an animal that is a fair distance away.
With the better camera, for me and my amateurness, unless an animal is 5 metres away and stationary I never got a decent picture at all.

I bought a Panasonic lumix tz80 and am pretty sure I will never use my DSLR again.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:40 am

I'm going to have to disagree with TT on this. If you just want a picture of an animal, a point and shoot is fine, if you want a picture good enough to print/frame etc then you need a decent sized sensor and a mirrorless compact or DSLR is essential.

It doesn't have to be expensive though - this (Award winning!) pic was taken with a fairly low end SLR and basic 300mm kit lens (TT's ironically).

Image
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Paul H @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:56 am

Definitely time to break out one of these bad boys:

Image

or maybe a Go-Pro on a stick.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 9:22 am

What's the budget? Several Bridge Cameras might offer what you need (big zooms, easy to use but better quality ((larger sensors)) than actual compacts).
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Turntable @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:13 am

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:Image


Agree that you wont get a picture that good with he point and click, but it is not often you get close enough to most of the animals to take a photo that well with the DSLR. PLus, presumably you know at least a little more about photography than me because depiste always having a DSLR I have never taken a wildlife photo remotely as good as your lion. My own photos from Kenya with the same kit are the most disappointing set of photos of my life. I just didn't get that close to lions or anything else to take the decent shots.
So youll get decent pictures of a lot more animals but admittedly without that single 'wow' picture.

In Guyana my sister had her DSLR plus 300mm and because most of the wildlife tended to be at a distance and/or small she got literally zero decent pictures. It was a huge frustration for her.
I got plenty that were fine for the memories that I would never have got otherwise.
My opinion is just based on GHL also being a rank amateur.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Strawman @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:19 am

Turntable wrote:My opinion is just based on GHL also being a rank amateur.


GoHappyLucky?
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by ttwiggy @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:26 am

I'm just going to suggest the Canon Powershot SX60 HS – assuming budget isn't limitless.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:08 am

Turntable wrote:Agree that you wont get a picture that good with he point and click, but it is not often you get close enough to most of the animals to take a photo that well with the DSLR. PLus, presumably you know at least a little more about photography than me because depiste always having a DSLR I have never taken a wildlife photo remotely as good as your lion. My own photos from Kenya with the same kit are the most disappointing set of photos of my life. I just didn't get that close to lions or anything else to take the decent shots.
So youll get decent pictures of a lot more animals but admittedly without that single 'wow' picture.

In Guyana my sister had her DSLR plus 300mm and because most of the wildlife tended to be at a distance and/or small she got literally zero decent pictures. It was a huge frustration for her.
I got plenty that were fine for the memories that I would never have got otherwise.
My opinion is just based on GHL also being a rank amateur.


You do need to know the basics of photography but I'm definitely not that knowledgeable - just understanding the relationship between shutter, aperture and what different lens do should be enough to generate half decent pics. If you really want to take good pics* then knowing the basics seems a reasonable investment of time/brain power. Having a quality picture (through a decent lens onto a large sensor) gives you a lot of picture to crop and play with remember, whereas a poorer quality lens/sensor just looks silly zoomed in. So taking the clearest pic you can, at a distance, can sometimes give superb results after a bit of playing on a PC afterwards which may look a little underwhelming on the camera screen.

This was taken a fair distance away for example:
Image
but a great lens (entry level DSLR) meant I could crop to get that which I love.

I get what you mean about your fishing trip but I don't think it proves that a point and shoot is better than a DSLR - I think it's just that the Lumix is better suited to you. 300mm should really be enough reach if you've got a steady hand and know your way around the camera a bit.

*I've only got a handful of good pics but better photographers than me take amazing pics on cheap but good kit.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by manfromdelmonte @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:13 am

I'm going to suggest not bothering with the camera. For me, photography is a thing you need to do at the expense of everything else. When you take photographs whist doing something else (e.g. enjoying a safari), you always end up disappointed.

If you're determined, rent something like a Canon 7D MkII or Nikon D500 and a 300mm f2.8 lens. Even on the auto or semi-auto modes you should get something half decent.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by tanglerat @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:24 am

Well, it's pretty obvious why TT failed and TS succeeded in photography in Kenya, using the same kit. Take that Lion photo forex.

TT stayed well back the fcuk away from fcukers like lions and tigers and other dangerous beasts out there. Sensible, but no pics.

TS just strode up to the lion and booted him in the bollox, snapping the reaction.

Thus the lion photo.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by DI Burnside @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:40 am

tanglerat wrote:Well, it's pretty obvious why TT failed and TS succeeded in photography in Kenya, using the same kit. Take that Lion photo forex.

TT stayed well back the fcuk away from fcukers like lions and tigers and other dangerous beasts out there. Sensible, but no pics.

TS just strode up to the lion and booted him in the bollox, snapping the reaction.

Thus the lion photo.


Rubbish, TS would never kick such a magnificent beast in the balls, he would tickle them lovingly and gently.

That's the lion's cum face.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Turntable @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:31 pm

Tokyo Sexwale wrote:You do need to know the basics of photography but I'm definitely not that knowledgeable - just understanding the relationship between shutter, aperture and what different lens do should be enough to generate half decent pics. If you really want to take good pics* then knowing the basics seems a reasonable investment of time/brain power. .



I definitely agree with you in a sense, its just too much hassle for me. Every time I have tried to learn, I take a few pictures and then two weeks later have forgotten it all and am back to square one.
So I think the answer to HGL is whether he wants to learn the relationship between shutter, aperture and different lenses.
I also stubbornly maintain my stance about the zoom. A 300mm lens only has about a 4x zoom whilst a compact camera has a 30x+. This is worlds apart in practicality for smaller animals. (even thought I take your point about cropping pictures, the further away the animal is, the less I have it perfectly in focus when I do crop things so it never really helped me).
Admittedly I am fcuking useless though so
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by Tokyo Sexwale @ Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:28 pm

Turntable wrote:
Tokyo Sexwale wrote:You do need to know the basics of photography but I'm definitely not that knowledgeable - just understanding the relationship between shutter, aperture and what different lens do should be enough to generate half decent pics. If you really want to take good pics* then knowing the basics seems a reasonable investment of time/brain power. .



I definitely agree with you in a sense, its just too much hassle for me. Every time I have tried to learn, I take a few pictures and then two weeks later have forgotten it all and am back to square one.
So I think the answer to HGL is whether he wants to learn the relationship between shutter, aperture and different lenses.
I also stubbornly maintain my stance about the zoom. A 300mm lens only has about a 4x zoom whilst a compact camera has a 30x+. This is worlds apart in practicality for smaller animals. (even thought I take your point about cropping pictures, the further away the animal is, the less I have it perfectly in focus when I do crop things so it never really helped me).
Admittedly I am fcuking useless though so

I can't argue that your zoom is much longer and I bet when you look at the preview on the back of the camera it looks amazing. The downside, which I'm talking about, is that the sensor size (the quality of the eye looking down that lens) is about the same as a iPhone's which is 4 or 5 times smaller than a DSLR and also not all lenses are equal (which is why DSLR lenses are fcuking huge and yet not as zoomy as yours). This means that at full zoom, your pics will be fairly 'noisy' and slow which manifests itself as difficult to get a sharp image.

I suspect your camera is awesome for 99% of the time - going on safari is definitely a 1% thing though that I would want some specific kit for.
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Re: Best camera for a complete beginner on safari

Post by HappyGoLucky @ Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:48 am

Turntable wrote: am pretty sure I will never use my DSLR again.


Tokyo Sexwale wrote: this (Award winning!) pic was taken with a fairly low end SLR and basic 300mm kit lens (TT's ironically).

Image


Wanna sell your camera TT? I'd love to take a picture like that!

manfromdelmonte wrote:I'm going to suggest not bothering with the camera. For me, photography is a thing you need to do at the expense of everything else. When you take photographs whist doing something else (e.g. enjoying a safari), you always end up disappointed.


I know what you mean Manfro, when I dive without the gopro it's almost like I'm more relaxed because I'm not looking to get a perfect shot of a dancing shrimp or whale shark and can just chill n enjoy the dive.

manfromdelmonte wrote:If you're determined, rent something like a Canon 7D MkII or Nikon D500 and a 300mm f2.8 lens. Even on the auto or semi-auto modes you should get something half decent.


I did look a renting - a D6 is about 35 quid a day + 75 for lens you mentioned on top so I could get this lot for 110 per day...
Image
Image

The trouble is that although I'm only looking at one day safari, I'll be travelling for up to 10 days meaning I'll essentially be dropping over a bag to borrow someone's' kit for a day. By my logic, I might as well spend that and more to have my on for when those 1% days as TS calls them crop up. Yes I know I can probably rent in SA, but I'll be short on time and don't want to end up without.

I guess I need to get my Garmin purchase out of the way PDQ to clear the decks for Project Rouse to begin.
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