Safari Photography - Lens guide - Which lens to take!?

A short guide to help you choose the correct lenses to take on your next safari!

Overview

Setting the stage for a successful video production begins long before the cameras start rolling. Pre-production is a crucial phase laying the foundation for your shoot, and helps ensure a smooth and efficient filming process. In this article, we delve into the importance of pre-production and explore the key steps involved in this vital stage of video production.

If you have any questions on this article or want us to help plan your next shoot feel free to reach out below!

The Ultimate Camera Gear Guide for Your Next Safari photography trip

Introduction

Planning a safari is an exhilarating experience, but knowing what camera gear to pack can be a bit daunting. With weight restrictions on flights and the unpredictability of wildlife, selecting the right equipment is crucial. Having recently returned from an unforgettable safari adventure, I’m here to share my insights on what gear you need, what you can leave behind, and some handy tips to ensure you capture every moment beautifully.

Essential Camera Gear for Safari photgraphy

When it comes to camera gear for a safari, less is often more. The key is to pack versatile equipment that can handle various shooting scenarios without overburdening yourself. Here are my top recommendations:

1. Telephoto Zoom Lens

Recommendation: 100-400mm Zoom Lens

A telephoto zoom lens is indispensable for capturing wildlife. On my safari, I used the Fuji 100-400mm lens on my XT3 camera for about 90% of my shots. This lens offers the perfect range, allowing you to photograph animals from a distance without disturbing them.

  • Why a Telephoto Zoom?: Animals can be surprisingly close, but often you’ll be photographing from afar to respect their space.
  • Alternatives: If you’re on a Sony system, consider the Sigma 60-600mm lens, which provides even more flexibility.

2. Standard Kit Lens

Recommendation: 18-55mm Lens

A standard kit lens, like the 18-55mm on my Fuji, is great for more general shots. It’s perfect for capturing wide-angle landscapes or moments at the camp.

  • Versatility: This lens can handle a range of scenarios, from landscapes to casual portraits.
  • Use Case: Ideal for when you can step out of the vehicle during sundowners or around your accommodation.

3. Manual Portrait Lens

Recommendation: Helios 44-II (or equivalent 50mm lens)

Bringing a manual portrait lens can add a creative touch to your safari photography. I used the Helios 44-II for intimate, slowed-down shots during downtime.

  • Benefits: Encourages you to take your time and appreciate the scene.
  • Portability: Compact and easy to pack, even with an adapter.

Gear You Can Skip

Based on my experience, some lenses just didn’t get used and took up valuable space:

  • Viltrox 85mm: Equivalent to a 120mm portrait lens, it stayed in my bag the entire trip.
  • 50mm Prime Lens: Also went unused.

Additional Tips

  1. Dust Management: Bring a squeezy dust blower to keep your gear clean. The environment can get very dusty.
  2. Lens Changes: Avoid changing lenses during game drives to prevent dust from entering your camera.
  3. Camera Strap: Ensure you have a secure camera strap. It’s crucial for keeping your camera safe from falls, especially on bumpy rides.

Shooting Stability

Bean Bags and Monopods

While I packed a monopod, I found it more practical to rest my camera on the vehicle. Bean bags can help, but they’re not essential.

  • Mobility: Being able to quickly adjust your position is more important than setting up stable shots with additional gear.
  • Improvise: Use your jumper as a makeshift cushion for added stability when needed.

Conclusion – ready to take some amazing photos!

Packing for a safari doesn’t have to be stressful. Focus on versatile, essential gear that allows you to be agile and ready for any photographic opportunity. With the right preparation, you’ll be able to capture stunning images without the hassle of excessive equipment.

Enjoy your safari, and happy shooting! If you have any questions or need further advice, feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to subscribe for more tips and adventures!

Cheers!