Our group planned the safari two years in advance, so we had ample time to think about what camera we would take with us. We planned to do a walking safari (best to have a lightweight camera), but we would also do game driving (where a telephoto lens would take the best animal photos). What to do? This was the trip-of-a-lifetime for us, and we really did want good photos.
When we all arrived in Tanzania, we compared the cameras we had chosen for the safari. What a surprise! Two of us had compact cameras (Ellen brought a Canon SX700HS, Beth used a Sony RX100), 4 used cellphone cameras (Betsy had an iPhone 4, Jack and Joe each had an iPhone 4s, Jo used a Samsung Galaxy 5), and Craig didn’t bringing a camera. Not one person had a DSLR. No long or wide angle lenses for this group.
We believe we might be at the very lowest end of the spectrum for choice of photographic equipment to take on an African safari, where telephotos appear to be the norm.
We thought you might be interested to see how our minimal photography equipment worked out on the safari, so below are images from each photographer in the group.
We agreed at the end of the trip to share our photos on a Shutterfly group site – a bounty for everyone to see and have access to others’ photos . (Unfortunately for some of us the learning curve was steep and the process tedious.)
Understanding what a camera does well and treating light and subject matter to advantage can produce a very nice photograph. In the end, all of us seemed happy with her or his choice of camera and had fine photos to share (some even had a video or two). Proving, we believe, that, while the bigger and higher quality cameras get the pictures at higher quality, the little packable cameras can be a good choice too. They were for us.