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First camera for first safari


I am planning to buy a camera for my husband and one for me with different lenses and both of us will take classes before our trip. We have 3 months so we have to start quickly!!

But we are starting from zero…

I have looked at a million cameras and this is what I am thinking. 

One R7 body with a Sigma 150-600 lens for my husband.

One R100 or R50 body with a Sigma 24-70 lens for me.

These are my questions:

1. How hard will it be to learn to use these cameras. Should I start with something more basic like a Rebel T7i instead? 
2. I read that there are issues with the R7 and Sigma150-600 lens. Should I consider another lens? (Similar price please)

We don’t want to rent. We want to buy and learn! 





“ 1. How hard will it be to learn to use these cameras. Should I start with something more basic like a Rebel T7i instead? 
2. I read that there are issues with the R7 and Sigma150-600 lens. Should I consider another lens? (Similar price please). “

First and foremost, you should plan on purchasing accessories like memory cards and spare batteries.  You will also need a camera bag, most likely one for each camera.

  1. If you have never used a “real” camera before, learning how to use one effectively will not be a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon.  Just like so many other things, learning can be a never ending process.
  2. You have two learning curves ahead of you.  First and foremost is learning about photography.  I would compare it to learning music theory as you learn how to play a piano or a guitar.
  3. The second learning curve is using a “rea” camera.  This is not as bad as it might sound.  I would compare it to learning how to operate a motor vehicle.  They all have a steering wheel, a gas pedal, and a brake pedal.  The biggest difference from one car to the next is what the dashboard might look like.  Cameras are the same way.  Learn how to use one, and you can probably operate any camera.
  4. I definitely recommend an R series camera over an older DSLR like a T7i, which isn’’t sold anywhere that I know about in new condition.  There may be stragglers out there,though.
  5. The R7 is a great camera for amateur wildlife photographers.  Despite what you may have read about the Sigma 150-600 “C” lens, it works well with the R7.  There are a lot of honest, inexperienced people with loud voices out there that do not know what they are talking about.  And even more honest, inexperienced people eager to agree with them.
  6. The Sigma 150-600mm “C” lens is a beast of a super telephoto lens.  It is big, long, and heavy.  Most super telephoto lenses can be big and heavy.  
  7. Super telephoto lenses are not made for absolute beginners.  You will definitely need to know the basics of photography.  They do require some practice.  Just like learning to play a piano or a guitar effectively.  Using one is like looking at the world through a straw.
  8. They say the R50 is with the extra cost for an entry camera.  I think the regular kit lens could be better suited for it.  The Sigma is a great lens that would work well with the R50 or R7.

Hope this helps. 

"The right mouse button is your friend."



I owned both of these lenses and still have my 150-600 (now retired).  Please be sure you purchase and use Canon brand adapters regardless of the lenses you choose.  Camera wise, the R7 is good.  If you are choosing between the R100 and R50, get the R50.  Its well worth the additional expense.  If you could swing an R8, that would be a great compliment to the R7 and pair nicely with the Sigma 24 - 70 f2.8.  However, the R50 will work.  I'm just mentioning it because having an option between APS-C and FF is always nice.

I'd also recommend Canon glass too, but I don't see you being able to buy an RF 200-800 (limited availability), and become proficient with it before you leave.  The RF 100-500 is substantially more than the Sigma or Tamron 150-600 G2, but you won't go wrong if you can stick with Canon glass.  Paired with the R7, you'll have plenty of reach and resolution to play with in post.  I'm just throwing some ideas out there.  I have no idea about your budget or what your longer term photography goals are.  Lenses are the real investment.  Body's will come and go.  If done wisely, they will last you.  

For new purchases, I'd be looking at RF glass if its within reach.  If I was buying EF, I'd buy used from KEH, B&H or Adorama.  Make sure you have plenty of extra memory cards and batteries.  These are often overlooked but should be factored in to the budget.  A good monopod for the zoom can also make extended stretches of time with a long lens more comfortable. 

Bay Area - CA

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Hi and welcome to the forum:
The first step I would recommend is to learn how to used a dedicated camera.  Doing so is a significant step up from a cell phone, or a point and shoot camera.  The kind of camera  you are considering, an Interchangeable Lens Camera, is capable of taking excellent images across a lot of conditions and genres, but doing so requires an understanding of the principles of exposure and composition, and a good level of familiarity with the controls of whatever unit you choose to get. It's a journey - after over 40 years working in the business I am still learning.

To me, the first step is to upgrade your knowledge of the principles of photography, which is often called the 'Holy Trinity' of exposure evaluation and control - Shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Like any other specific skillset, photography involves its own set of terms, acronyms and relationships.
The first step might be to watch the following video from Australian National Geographic Photographer Chris Bray:

As regards equipment, if you have already booked your safari, I would take into account the advice of the people who run the activity and see what they say.

Can I suggest that you consider the following document that offers a guide to questions one should consider when purchasing camera equipment.  Answering those questions will give you a clearer path to getting value for your investment, and assist those from whom you may be seeking advice to understand your needs and provide effective options: A guide to buying camera gear .

So far, there has been absolutely no mention of budget for either of you and that should be clearly defined.  So far, the concentration has been on one camera body and a couple of lenses but it would help us significantly to know how much you are prepared to invest, given this is a serious endeavour, and potentially long-term commitment.

Furthermore, since each of you is taking photographs, and assumedly want to do so at the same time, you may not choose to get the same equipment.  I don't know your ages and physical condition, but your individual abilities to heft a leavy lens and camera body for long periods could be quite different.   
One of the other critical considerations is what you will produce - the investment in funds, weight, bulk and complexity is different for creating images for social media, digital display devices and moderate prints, compared to producing extremely large, finely detailed images.

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

We are both in our early 50s.

We have always wanted to learn photography as a hobby. We travel a lot and would love to be able to take better pictures. We also have a 14 year old that plays soccer and we would love to be able to take better pictures of him playing. 
Our joint budget is between 4K and 5K. That’s why I thought of Sigma lenses. 
my husband is ok carrying heavier lenses, not me. That’s why for me I wanted the wide angle one. 


If I could just throw a suggestion out there.

How about an R10 with an RF18-150mm lens?

It's lightweight and runs about $1,379 right now. That would give you some extra money for a camera bag, an extra battery and a memory card or two, and maybe a tripod too..

I do not own one and have never used one, but from everything I've read, it just works. People have said that it's the kind of camera that you can just pick it up and go.

Supposedly, it's tailored for video, and you get the Digic X processor.

Steve Thomas

Hi Steve,

are you suggesting the R10 with the RF18-150 instead of the R50 with the sigma 24-70 wide len?

is the RF18-150 a Canon lens?

for the other one would you still go with the R7 with the Sigma 150-600? 



It was just a suggestion, but yes, and yes, the 18-150 is a Canon lens. You can buy them together as a kit. Canon currently has them in stock.

As far as the R7 and the Sigma 150-500,  I don't have experience with either one, so it would be hard for me to say.

I have a T8i and like it very much. I will tell you though, that if it ever got lost or broken, I would probably replace it with an R7.

When I got my T8i, I had set myself a firm limit of $1,000, and even at that, I had to save for a year and a half; so an R7 would be a little down the road.

Steve Thomas

I think that you are on to something there Steve with the EOS R10 and RF-S 18-150mm lens. I do own that exact combination of camera and lens and they are a great lightweight combination with a lot of flexibility. The RF-S 18-150mm lens is also usable on the EOS R7, plus the focus setup and the menu system of the EOS R10 and EOS R7 are almost identical.

Taking the Canon USA online store as a guide…

The RF-S 18-150mm is a Canon lens, and would give you both a wider angle and longer telephoto than the Sigma 24-70m in a lot smaller and lighter combination. The EOS R7 is also available with the same RF-S 18-150mm lens as a kit, and might also be a good general purpose combination to learn the basics with before your go on safari. You could then add the long RF 100-500mm lens to the EOS R7 for the safari. EOS R7 + RF-S 18-150mm lens is $1799. You might even want to consider the lightweight but very good RF 100-400mm lens at $649 as a second lens for the EOS R10. 

For both cameras make sure to get at least one extra battery, preferably two and multiple SD cards. I would advise 128GB UHS-II cards as a good choice. This will be large enough for around 4000 RAW images or more than 10,000 JPG images on each card for the EOS R10.

While it might seem a little odd to recommend two cameras each with two lenses, you would both have a camera with a lens for all kinds of general photography use and for learning. Then be able to fit the longer lenses for safari where a little more reach is helpful.

In the past I have used cameras with 100-400mm lenses on safari in the Masai Mara and in the foothills of Mount Kenya and this was mostly all I needed.

Brian - Canon specialist trainer, author and photographer
I use British not American English, so my spellings may be a little different to yours


You are wise beyond my years. 😀

Steve Thomas