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used camera recommendation for africa safari

dmercer
Apprentice

Hello,  I'd like a recommendation for a used camera that is simple for relative beginner to take photos on an african safari.  I'll purchase a zoom lens but main keys I'm looking for are:

  • best clarity when enlarging the photos
  • clear focus on moving animals
  • low light ability

 Thanks!

5 REPLIES 5

Waddizzle
Legend
Legend

Your choice of lens is just as important as your choice of camera body, if not more so.   You have not stated a budget.  Your performance requirements would imply that you need professional grade gear, which can come at a high price.

You will not find one lens that meets all of your requirements, and same pretty much holds true for a camera body.  Your request for used gear makes the assumption that “the best gear” is up for sale somewhere, preferably somewhere near you.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thoughts were budget for used Canon Rebel T5 or T7.  

In response to your post: Thoughts were budget for used Canon Rebel T5 or T7.  

This would indicate a fairly miniscule budget and will not be a great performer in supporting your criteria.  It reinforces my response to rent instead of own - those cameras you mention will not do justice to the outlay you are prepared to invest to get to Africa and pay for a safari.   This kind of thing is a normally a once in a lifetime experience, so you don't want to regret that you didn't get the shots you wanted.   

The cameras you quote are the cheapest, but also the least capable cameras that Canon make, and no mention of lenses, yet that is a critical element .  The DSLR range, of which these are examples, is no longer being developed, but if you have no long-term plans to take photography seriously that may not be an issue.  If you do, then the R7 is the way to go. If you are limited in budget, then just get the RF 100-400 lens for this trip.  The eye tracking of the R7 will make a huge difference to the quality of the images you will cherish for  the rest of your life - think about that...  The T#-series DSLRs do not have this capability.

However.. with the renting experience in mind, for a camera you can afford to own and upskill on, get the T7 but get the EF 70-300 IS USM MkII lens for it (avoid any EF 75-300 lens - they are awful).  If you can't afford that lens, then get the EF-S 55-250 STM lens - it's a kit lens with good optics.  That is a capable lens that has good optics, seriously fast focus and great optics.  You may be able to pick one up second-hand or via Canon's Refurb Lens Site.  Their lenses are cheaper but as new and come with a six-month warranty.  They also sell Refurbished Cameras.  There is nothing on these sites right now that I would recommend but the stock changes constantly.


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

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

Waddizzle is quite correct that a safari demands some serious gear to do it justice, and to purchase such, unless you are going to make long-term use out of it, is of dubious value.

Given you are a 'relative beginner' and that you are unlikely to be doing safaris on a regular basis, I recommend two things:

1.  Look to see if you can rent the equipment:  Check with the safari people to see if they rent equipment, or they might know of a relatively local rental agency.  This has several advantages - it will be much cheaper than owning it outright, you don't have to take the risks associated with travelling with it (gear can disappear or get damaged on flights), and they will have the right gear for the job.

2. DO get a camera, but the kind of camera that you can practise photographic skills on and use in the future.  That, however, can be a much cheaper outlay and will give you better value in the future.  You want something that is able to use Av, Tv and M modes, and has some telephoto capability.  You can take that unit with you on the safari as a backup / second unit - they can come in very handy.

PRACTISE and LEARN - with your new camera, go to the zoo and shoot the animals there.  Intensely get used to using Av mode in particular, but use all three I mentioned. Getting a good shot is far more than just using a camera, it involves learning about your subjects and understanding how they behave to be ready for the critical moment when you will get the shot you will love forever. Get used to working with animals - and getting the eyes sharp - that above all, matters.  Study the behaviour of the kinds of animals you will be likely to see so you can anticipate their moves - watch videos from Attenborough for example.  

As Bill said you have not mentioned a budget, so we have no idea about this most fundamental of constraints.  However, for the gear you will own, I would recommend the Canon EOS R7 with the following two lenses: RF24-105 STM and the RF100-400 as your units to learn on and use in the long term. If you change lenses in the field turn the camera off first as you will get dirt on the sensor and that will impact your images.  Don't forget to get lots of good quality, full-size cards and some camera cleaning gear.

Devour the manual and You Tube videos on how to set up and use the camera and lenses. Download the PDF of the Advanced User Guide and use the search feature to find specific elements after your first reading. Get to know the layout of the controls so well you don't have to think about them - you will lose many moments of great images if you have to keep looking for buttons or dials.  Get used to the focus system and animal eye tracking.


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

Tronhard
Elite
Elite

Whatever your camera choice, videos such as THIS ONE may be of some help.


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
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