Best Camera for a Safari

So you’re off on a trip of a lifetime to a safari. Wherever it is that you’re going for your safari, it’s only natural that you’ll want to snap some sweet shots of all of the animals and environments that you encounter.

For such a momentous occasion, you don’t want to be taking pictures on your phone camera, you’ll want to be getting a good quality camera that can help you to relive the precious moments on your safari every time you look at your pictures, or scroll through your instagram feed for the weeks to come.

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Of course, with so many cameras out on the market, it can sometimes be a little tricky to know exactly what to look out of when trying to find a camera for a safari.

There are so many aspects to consider that it can get confusing very quickly. Thankfully, we’re here to lend a helping hand.

Read on to find out some of our favorite cameras for a safari and take a look at our handy buyer’s guide at the end to help you make the best possible decision for you.

In a hurry? This is our winner!

Our rating:
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Body - with Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip
57 Reviews
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Body - with Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip
  • 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor DIGIC 6+ Image Processor
  • 3.2" 1.62m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor DCI 4K Video at 30 fps; 8.8MP Still Grab
  • 61-Point High Density Reticular AF Native ISO 32000, Expanded to ISO 102400
  • Dual Pixel RAW; AF Area Select Button Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Movie Servo AF
  • 7 fps Shooting; CF & SD Card Slots Built-In GPS and Wi-Fi with NFC

Best Camera for a Safari – Comparison Table

Best Camera for a Safari – Reviews

Our Pick
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR Body - with Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip
Our rating:

A premium performer offered for a premium price, the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV will provide you with crisp, stunning images that you can treasure for years to come.

The camera comes with a 30.4 megapixel sensor, and focus shifting Dual Pixel RAW technology that will give you a clear image even when you’re off focus.

The camera has WiFi and GPS connectivity, and it will feel comfortable and safe in your hand due to the deep grip. If you want to change any options, there are buttons on the camera to do so, and it comes with a sizable LCD screen that will allow you to view your images as you take them.

One noteworthy feature in this camera is the ability to ‘rate’ your images. This will allow you to easily be able to go back and find particular images later on and it can transfer onto software like Adobe Bridge, so you don’t have to spend hours trawling through images to find your favorites.

Speaking of the screen, it’s also touch sensitive, so you can easily autofocus on points and do a whole range of additional useful things to really enhance your image quality.

For those people out there that don’t like using touch sensitive screens then you can use buttons instead – there’s also an option to turn off the touch sensitivity.

If you want to take videos, you can also do so with the 4K video recording feature. Overall it’s the perfect choice for any African safari, and well worth the price tag.

Pros
  • Good performance
  • Full frame sensor
  • Touchscreen
  • 4K video recording
  • Built in GPS and WiFi
Cons
  • Expensive

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only), Base
Our rating:

You’re getting good value for money with the Nikon D500 camera. As one of the leading camera makers, Nikon provides fantastic quality camera equipment and the Nikon D500 maintains that quality standard we’ve come to expect from them.

The camera over delivers on so many accounts.

The camera comes with the ability to shoot 4K video for up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds total, so if you want to use it after your safari to record something else then there is no problem with you doing so.

With the camera’s SnapBridge technology, the camera can stay linked to any smart device through a Bluetooth connection, so you can transfer the images quickly to your phone even when out and about, for those moments when you’re just itching to get your latest pic up on Insta!

The D500 comes with a durable metal chassis that has a good degree of sealing which is perfect for more adverse weather conditions. It’s also removed a pop-up flash and the hotshoe is completely weatherproof with a seal added for protection.

The camera isn’t quite as heavy as it’s predecessor, the Nikon D300S, and it has a good grip and a thumb rest for extra comfort and useability.

The camera comes with a touch sensitive, 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot screen. It’s not as useful as the Canon mentioned above, but it has high resolution so you can see the previews with good quality.

The camera also has very quick autofocus, ideal for the fast running zebras that you’re trying to capture.

Pros
  • 10fps
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Durable
  • Comfortable to use
  • High resolution screen
Cons
  • A little expensive

Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera w/ 15-45mm Lens - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC enabled (Black)
Our rating:

The Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera is a great choice for those out there on a bit more of a budget that don’t want to splash thousands on a new camera for their safari adventure.
The camera is high quality and provides a very fast autofocus that’s ideal for capturing animals on the move.

Measuring only 2.6 by 4.3 by 1.4 inches, the Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera is quite lightweight so it can easily fit in a bag and won’t weigh you down. It’s very easy with a minimal amount of controls, and comes with integrated EVF and a hot shoe.

The camera can be connected to wifi fairly easily, and it has a 3 inch LCD screen that’s on a hinge so if you want to take a selfie you can move the screen to face in your direction.

You can shoot in bursts as the camera has 6.2fps speed, and it has good quality sensors. If you’re trying to shoot an animal close by it’s also quiet when you shoot JPG images.

Pros
  • 6.1fps burst shooting
  • Hinged lcd screen that can be moved.
  • Flash built-in
  • WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
Cons
  • Only 1080p video

Sony Alpha A7 II Digital Camera & 28-70mm FE OSS Lens with 64GB Card + Backpack + Battery + Tripod + Tele/Wide Lens Kit
Our rating:

The Sony Alpha a7 II is the perfect travel companion due to its ability to shoot pictures and autofocus in a snap. It has programmable buttons too that you can assign functions to on the main menu. It also has an image stabilization feature, if you have slightly shaky hands.

The camera is a little bit heavy, so there is a deep grip that’s quite large so that you can still comfortably hold the camera. It comes with a fantastic image quality so you can capture the images with no problem and they’ll look stunning.

You have the ability to shoot full HD videos with this camera and you can shoot 14-bit raw images. It comes with the ability to connect with WiFi and has a 5fps photo rate for when you need to take multiple photos at once.

The camera is on the more affordable end of the spectrum but it’s still a little expensive. Nevertheless for what it offers it’s a solid option for your African adventure.

Pros
  • Programmable options
  • Deep grip
  • Full HD video
  • 5fps still image
Cons
  • Record button is positioned awkwardly

Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black
Our rating:

If you’re a big fan of Nikon cameras and don’t want to spend too much, the Nikon D3500 is probably the best pick for you. The camera is fairly lightweight and is simple to use, so you don’t need to be a photography expert to get some serious snaps done on this bad boy.

The camera is fairly fast, and is designed with a beginner budding photographer in mind. The camera has very easy controls and even has a Guide Mode built in to show you the ropes. The camera is able to connect to bluetooth for easy image transference, and it has a decent 24.2-megapizel APS-C sensor.

The camera is easy to grip and has an easy to use button layout that makes it overall easier to use, so you don’t need to worry too much about dropping it. The screen on the rear isn’t touch sensitive and it is fixed in place, and has a very good quality display.

The camera is incredibly responsive and very fast despite it’s lower price tag. The lens is an AF-P 18-55mm lens and it can retract too so it’s more compact when you’re putting it in your bag.

It’s a fantastic choice for a beginner’s safari and it thankfully doesn’t break the bank.

Pros
  • Friendly for beginners
  • Good image quality
  • Good grip
  • Guide mode for beginners
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Rear screen is fixed

Best Camera for a Safari – Buyers Guide

There are a few different things to keep in mind when it comes to selecting the right camera for a safari. Here are a few:

Durability

If you’re spending a lot of money on a camera, you’ll want to make sure you’re paying for quality. Ensuring that your camera can withstand a lot of different scenarios is important as you don’t want a camera that will fall apart in mere minutes. Not only this, but the safari environment can be quite harsh, especially with weather.

You should try to find a camera that has good levels of waterproofing, as even during the dry season you could get caught in a period of heavy rain, and without proper waterproofing on your camera it could stop working, which will cause a lot of heartache on your safari that could have otherwise been avoided.

Moisture will also factor into this if you’re going on a gorilla safari.

Another factor with durability is dust. This is especially important if you’re touring on a vehicle – dust proof cameras are important to protect the camera as dirt can blow around in the wind.

Shock proofing is always an important thing to consider when you purchase a camera. Whether you have butter fingers and things fall out of your hands easily or not, there’s always the chance that you or someone else could drop your camera.

The chances of this are reduced if you have a neck strap, but this is still something you should consider.

Size and Weight

There are a few weight and size limitations in place when you’re travelling around for a safari. Suitcases usually need to weigh no more than 33 pounds if you’re taking bushcraft, so you won’t have a lot of room for anything extra if you have a humongous camera.

Ideally in this case you should try to be getting a lightweight camera, which will also put less strain on your neck to carry. Safaris can last a few days sometimes so the less pressure there is on your body the better.

Usually, lighter cameras are also smaller so you have more room in your suitcase, and it helps because nobody will know that you have a camera to steal it when you’re not with your bags.

With that being said, smaller cameras do lack some functions you may find in larger cameras. In this case you’ll need to find a camera that’s a good middle ground between being light and high quality.

Ease of Use

Some cameras can be harder to use than others. With some settings, especially manual photography settings, it can take a number of weeks to fully learn how to use them. You should try to get a camera that’s easy to use especially if you’re new to photography.

The only issue is that the harder to use cameras can often be the better ones when it comes to photography for safaris.

Not being able to properly use the camera can unfortunately cause the images to come out badly. It’s worth considering an automatic camera if you are completely new to the activity.

Some additional features worth considering are:

  • ISO ratings
  • Image stabilization
  • Burst mode
  • Connectivity
  • Lens availability
  • Shoot in raw and jpg
  • Preset modes
  • Time lapse
  • Touch screen auto focus
  • Lcd size
  • Creative auto settings

Lens

When you’re on a safari, you’re likely to be taking pictures both of the environment and of the animals. There are factors to consider in relation to this. The more zoom you have the better your animal shots will be, so it’s worth looking for a camera that allows you to take close up shots of animals you can’t approach like a lion.

A good camera should allow you to pick out extra little details that you won’t be able to see naturally.

With the landscape, wide angle lenses are ideal so you can get more of the landscape in the image. Sadly, this also means you’ll have less zoom. Thankfully, your solution is to get a camera that has multiple different lenses so that you can swap and change when need be.

Frames per Second

This is important when considering what camera to get. If your camera has more frames per second you’ll be able to take more photos in one second. For anything that’s slow moving or stable like landscapes, this isn’t all that important but since you’re going to find a lot of animals on a safari that are incredibly fast such as antelopes, it’s good to have more frames per second.

Connectivity

Once you’re done with your safari, you’re going to want to render your images and get them up on social media for everyone to see, or to put them up in a photo frame in your home. With this in mind, you’ll need a way to get your images off the camera and onto the selected medium.

Here are some features you could consider for file transferring:

Control

Wifi control from inside your smartphone or computer will let you adjust all camera settings from your pocket!

File transferring

A good camera should allow you to wirelessly transfer photos from your camera and onto your designated device. There should be the ability to connect with either WiFi, Bluetooth or both. Bluetooth cameras usually preserve a little more energy than a wifi connected camera will.

Battery Life

As safaris can last a few days and you may not be able to get to charge your camera for a while, it’s imperative that your camera has a long battery life that can last at least the majority of the duration of your safari.

Before buying your camera you should also try to ensure that the camera has additional batteries available to buy online, and check if there are any power banks online that you can use to easily charge up the camera, even when you’re on the go.

Sensor Size

How large the camera’s sensor is will determine how much light it can capture. A lot of photographers prefer a cropped sensor for more accuracy on a safari, and sensor sizes can all vary. It’s possible to get a good image with a variety of sensor sizes so it’s worth looking into this aspect of your camera before you buy.

Cost

Nobody wants to spend more money than they strictly need to on any product, but if you’re going on a safari then you want the best equipment possible to get your full enjoyment out of it. These are the photos that you’re going to use in future to remember your trip, and you don’t want them to be awful.

With that being said, you also don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a good quality camera for your trip.

Last Updated on 2020-08-09 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates

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