The Best Cameras & Binoculars To Bring On Your African Safari
While going on safari in Africa, every tour operator / agent will tell you that one of the important items you should carry with you include a camera and a binoculars, however some people do not find enough reason as to why they should carry these item. Well in this article we are going to discuss why you really need them, give you the best tips to follow when choosing one as well as give you the best binoculars and cameras you should take on safari as well as how to care for them.
Do I need binoculars on an Africa Safari?
The question that every tourist asks when they are preparing for a safari in Africa is ‘do I really need binoculars’. And the answer is yes. You will need binoculars on your safari even if you are not going to do Bird watching. Binoculars help you see all those animals like the big five that don’t normally walk to the road sides of the different parks and for those who want to do birding; it is a necessity for you to carry binoculars as they help you see all those birds that have camouflaged within the surrounding areas.
Do I need a Camera on an Africa Safari?
And as you head for your safari in Africa besides binoculars, you also need cameras on this wonderful journey in order to capture the best photos of the different animals that you get to see and the birds. You should however note that it is a bit hard to take clear photos as the animals are always on the move. We are going to look at the best cameras one can use on their safaris and what to consider when purchasing them.
Now before we look at the different binoculars you need and the factors that you need to know before purchasing them, we need to look at what the different parts of the binoculars mean and why they are important in the purchase of binoculars.
Top Factors to consider when choosing Safari Binoculars
- A prism
A prism acts like a lens as it helps in magnifying images instead of carrying different lens types for one camera. These also help in reducing the weight of the binoculars and enabling them to be carried around during the safari.
A prism is in two forms that is the roof prism and porro prism and it is said that the best prism is the roof prism since it is streamlined and makes the binoculars easy to carry although they are a bit expensive but if you are less on your binoculars budget, you can carry the porro prism although these are always heavy to carry around.
- Binoculars have numbers but what do they mean?
The numbers represent magnification and size of the lens of those specific binoculars that you want to buy for example a 10×50 figure means that the animals you will be viewing be ten times bigger with your binoculars and the size of the lens is 50mm. And you should note that more light will be let in of you are using a bigger lens.
- The eye relief factor
The eye relief refers to the distance that is between the eye piece and the eyes. If you put on spectacles the best is 16mm and if you do not put on spectacles, then 12mm is good for you and note that the more eye relief, the less the strain.
- The lens coating
The lens coating helps to keep them durable and the best would be multi coated lenses although they are expensive but worth the money.
Magnification depends on the size of the lens but that does not mean that the bigger the magnification, the better the view you will get. The best magnifications 10 or 8 because if the magnification is high mostly 12and above, you will need to narrow the field of viewing.
- The size and weight of the binoculars
You will need to get binoculars that you are able to carry around on your safari.
- The size of the lens
It is important to let light into the binoculars and high lens sizes are always better for low light binoculars. Most game is best watched at dawn and dusk and therefore if you get lenses that small size lenses, you will not be able to see the animals properly and therefore, you need high lens sized binoculars.
- Fog proof and water proof
You should get binoculars that have a less splash and can withstand the morning fog experienced in most of the African countries.
Top 5 Best types of binoculars for an African safari
We have looked at what you need to consider when choosing the best binoculars for a safari and it is time to look at the binoculars themselves. The best binoculars to travel with when it comes to safaris in Africa for bird watching and game watching include the following listed below.
- The Bunshell H20 Waterproof 10×42
These are known to be the most durable binoculars for a safari. They are known to be waterproof and are of high quality. They have a Bak-4 prism which ensures clear and crisp viewing. They are very ideal for Bird watching and they are very good especially during low light conditions because of their 42mm lens diameter. They so have a soft grip texture which will help you hold them even when they are wet in your hands and very light to carry. Considered as one of the most top binoculars on the market at almost 100 dollars, this is the right pair to own on an African safari.
- The Celestron 72347 Outlandx 10×25
These are pocket friendly compact lens binoculars which are water and fog proof. They have a Bak-4 prism and have a 25mm lens. They are also protected with an armor which is rubber in nature and this protects it from any harm to it. It is easily carried in your pocket and very light to be carried around.
- The Prostaff 3s binoculars 8x 42
The Prostaff 3s binoculars are extremely good when it comes to low light areas. They have a lens of 42mm which let in plenty of light and when using them will not let in any glare or reflections and this is due to the multi coated optics that comes with the Prostaff. They are light and compact and can easily be carried around the necks when one is on their safari but note that they cannot be carried in pockets.
- The Wingspan Optics Spectator 8×32
These are very good for Bird watching and are small although known to be strong and powerful binoculars. They have the following that makes them good for a safari in Africa
They have a 14.8mm which reduces relief to the eyes because when you use them, you do not strain.
They are very good for distance viewing and they are very light to carry with just 15.2 ounces around on a safari.
They have a non sling grip which makes them easy to carry for abrupt and surprise game viewing.
- The BRY&BVL Bingo 8×22
These are very good if you are taking your children along for the safari. They are extremely strong and we’re designed to fit into small hands of children and with their 8×22 magnification, children are able to view third favorite animals from a distance but feel as if they are right next to them. They are also not as expensive as the rest of the binoculars so grab them for your children and safari with them for good family bonding.
Cameras for your African safari
The tips you should follow when choosing cameras
You will need to get a camera that is portable enough for you to carry without it feeling like a burden.
Follow your budget when getting a camera. Good ones come in at an expensive price but you can still get one that can work for you cheaply.
You need to get a camera that takes photos the instant you press the shutter and focuses fast. This way you will be able to get more photos of the wild life in Africa and the best is the digital SRL.
The best lens camera to get is the telephoto zoom lens which will easily enable you to take photos of the wild life that is a bit far away from you and make it seem like they are near you.
Get a camera that has wider lens allowing you to take photos for landscapes since they also have some fascinating animals to see.
Top 12 best Safaris cameras for an Africa Safari
There are a variety of cameras that one can get for your safaris but I have listed down the top twelve (12) choices that will not disappoint you on your African Safari.
- The Canon 80D
This waterproof camera is the ideal choice to use when an African Wildlife safari as you explore this beautiful country that experiences rains and has dusty roads in the remote countryside. It possesses a crop sensor with a dynamic range that offers very good focal length as well as high powerful processing to offer a good output of photographs. Being an EF-mount Canon you will be able to use a great variety of lenses on it. It has a flip screen for shooting videos and ground shoots or those at low angle. Users can take shots directly from their phone since the camera has Wi-Fi. Its touch screen makes it possible to easily change the settings as well as alter the focus. On Amazon as well as on B&H Photo, it costs about $890.
- The Sony RX10 IV
The Sony RX10 IV is considered to be the best camera to take eon your safari. It is weather sealed in that even if you change your lens, the photos turn out to still be a good and has a 25xzoom camera which means you get to take clear pictures. They are a bit expensive but they are worth the money.
- The Nikon D7500
The D7500 Nikon series offers high speed image shooting with 8 frames per second, with a very responsive autofocus property as well as a touch-screen, not to forget the tilt screen (a feature that differentiates it from other D7000 models. its video shooting is in 4k high definitions with a video stability of 1080p. this mirrorless camera is really loved among bloggers and its fairly cost friendly being priced at around $1,199. 0n the downside it only has one slot for its SD card.
- The Panasonic Linux DMC F1000
This amazing camera has a digital and optical zoom while it’s fixed lens which makes it able to offer top quality images. This bridge camera has a large sensor compared to other bridge cameras and shoots 4K videos with its in-built lens ranging from 25mm up to 400mm. Its body is hard and nice making it easy to hold in your hands. The Panasonic Lumix DMC F1000 is one of the best bridge cameras and is the best choice regardless of whether you are an expert photographer or a novice with exceptionally high-quality images and easy to use functionalities. This camera can easily be bought from B&Hphotovideo.com or Amazon and costs about $499.
- The Canon 1dx MkIII
This all-round, super fast, and full-frame camera offers a very beautiful image quality and can output as many as 20 frames per second of Raw images. It’s because of its exceptional qualities that many people recording wildlife documentaries like the National Geographic use this camera today. It has a touch screen where all setting can be adjusted including altering the focus while videoing. In addition, its rear LCD is very making it possible to view the shots you have made even under the African bright sun. It can shoot up to 60 frames per second of 5.5k Raw with 1080 at 120-fps making it possible to capture images in slow motion as well as make high definition shoots. This amazing camera however is extremely costly and may go for as much as $6,500 on some online stores. Check out Amazon and B&H Photo for comparable prices
- The Fujifilm X-T3
This mirrorless camera is the best ASP-C camera available on the market, and it is weather resistant. It is fairly priced costing about US $1700 on B&H Photo, Amazon as well as other online stores. Has a high sensitive auto focus function thanks to its X Processor and advanced CMOS 4 sensor. It has an electronic shutter making as many as thirty frames in just one second (30 fps), while it’s videos shooting is 4K 200mbps (120fps video- at 1080p).
- The Sony Alpha a6000
This auto-focus camera is good for video and still photography, as it has a nice face detection feature that helps in finding objects. It has a BIONZ X image-processor as well as 24.3 MP sensors. The advantage with this camera is that its lenses can be changed which makes it possible to shoot in different environments. The camera is very convenient to handle and all you need is come with a series of lenses and you will be ready for your Africa Safari as you take a series of photos and videos. Ready available on B&P Photo as well as Amazon, the Sony Alpha a6000 goes for about $499.
- The Sony Rx100 III – VA
The Sony camera comes in various versions and your choice will depend on your budget now focusing on the RX100 version, it offers one of the world’s fastest frames per second for still images with an output of 24 images per second, shoots 4K videos and has a 1-inch sensor. The Rx100 offers image stabilization especially for videos and has an in-built lens. It does not require much to be accessorized however you will need some memory cards and depending on the nature of photography you might need a lightweight tripod. This version costs about $350 to $1,200 from the different online trusted stores like Amazon or B&H photo. Looking at its downsides, because of its size you may not be comfortable using it the entire day, it has a limited zoom of 70mm and it’s battery life cannot last you an entire day while
- The Panasonic Lumix LX10 II
This point and shoot compact camera is a great option for both experienced and novice photographers. Its multi-purpose interface is straightforward to enable inexperienced photographers to use, while its advanced manual setting enable the experienced to manipulate their shoots in whichever way they wish. It shoots with the 4k high definition and its lens has a 1.7 to 2.8 aperture ideal or macro-photography or while working in low light. It has the Electronic view-finder function however I should warn you that this will drain the battery very fast. This costs about $750 – $819
- Fuji X-T30
For the fashionable holidaymakers going on an African Safari and would love to uphold their fashionable style, this is the perfect camera for you. It is a classy beautiful model with a metallic body, retro feel as well as a pop up flash. Outputting some of the finest jpeg files, the Fuji X-T30 offers perfect color output which means that its images need very minimal editing. So or bloggers with limited time to spare for editing, this is the perfect camera to work with. The downside on this camera is that it is not waterproof, it has a limited lens and has a limited battery life (a thing perhaps caused by the great inbuilt power it has) however, carrying some pairs of extra batteries will surely be helpful.
- Sony A7 III
This amazing camera has an exceptional high ISO-quality, full screen autofocus and a full-frame sensor making it one of the leading professional cameras. It shoots 4k full-frame videos which however give a cropped sensor output. Nonetheless I should point out that its focus feature needs upgrading just as its unreliable battery life. This amazing beauty comes at a price range of approximately US $2,000 which may be a pretty high budget for an ordinary safari-goer wishing to take basic wildlife photos.
- The bridge cameras
Bridge cameras are quite heavy but they work best for those who do not want to carry extra equipment like extra lenses and a camera body. These have longer lenses and different shooting modes all in one body smaller than the DSLR and if you don’t mind the weight, these can do for you on your safari.
How to protect the camera & Binoculars while traveling?
- Pack them in well padded casings
- Use a Shoulder bag rather than a backpack and while on the plain, let them be in your hand luggage
- Hide the brand of your camera or binoculars; that way you will not give thieves and easy pass to know the cost of you camera / binocular
- Always wear the camera strap not only to avoid instances of it falling but also to give you a tight grip in case of snatchers
- Avoid exposing your camera and other related gear especially in public. Only retrieve it where there is need. In instances where you may be exploring the crowded ‘down town’ or other crowned areas in large cities, it’s better not to go with your camera but rather leave it locked safely in your hotel room.
How to maintain your camera & Binoculars on an Africa Safari
- Avoid sand and dirt
Because most of Africa’s safari destinations are located in the remote parts of the country which are normally dusty or while on the breezy airy sand beaches avoid using your camera in very dusty areas and ensure that your case locks well. In instances where your equipment has come in contact with dirt or sand, simply gently blow it away rather than using pressurized air.
- Do not touch the LCD and Lens;
Continues touching of the lens and the LCD will lead to permanent damage from the oil on your skin which marks these items. Always clean your finger prints on the lens and LCD with a clean microfiber cloth
- Avoid any liquid;
As a finger tip rule, never put your binoculars or camera next to any kind of liquids unless it is housed in a case that is waterproof.
- Avoid exposure of the lens to direct sunshine:
It is when known that the lens and camera never meet, with the DSLR cameras in particular being very sensitive. The sun may not only damage the image sensor but also case an internal fire
- Use a vacuum bag;
It is a very good tip to keep your gear in a vacuum bag. This will keep out even the naughty sand ans dit that would have made its way into the case.