Safari Photo Equipment:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
– T. Roosevelt.
Honestly? It’s been the story of my life: Looking for the perfect safari photo equipment, buying and -reselling several different cameras because I never managed to find exactly what I felt comfortable using. I’m not gonna lie: What I’m using now is still not my dream-equipment, but I simply cannot afford that one yet. 😉 But I guess a girl can dream, can’t she? So in today’s post not only will I share my current equipment with you, but also what I would like to own one day.
What I currently use:
Canon Eos 600 D
I have always been a Canon-girl. My very first analogue camera was a Canon and I just took it from there, because I got used to the way these cameras work. I love using the 600 D because it has a rotatable display that allows me to turn it up or down when I’m filming in very sunny conditions or even when I’m filming myself. One day, I would love to invest in a full frame camera, but I do believe in the quote at the top: Until I fully understand what I’m doing here, this lovely camera is enough!
I did drop it about a dozen times as well actually, one of them being from a two story high balcony where it landed 10 cm (!!!) next to a swimming pool – and it’s still going strong. This camera and me belong together, I know it
Canon EF 35mm 1:2 IS USM I love, love, love this lens! It has a build-in image-stabilizer (that’s what the “IS” stands for) which makes it perfect for filming purposes. Beautiful depth-of-field. I use this for portrait shots and interviews.
Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 II I hardly use this one anymore because I now own the 35mm lens. BUT for every DSLR-beginner this is the perfect value for the price! You will love taking your first photos with this lens. And even though I have a better lens now, I still hold on to this one because I love it!
Sigma 18-250 mm F3,5-6,3 DC Macro OS HSM What I was looking for was a lens I could go on safari with and not having to worry about changing lenses every so often. This is my “always-on” lens. No matter if the action is close-by or far-away – I can just shoot away. There are compromises to be made and this is not a lens for professional photographers. But I am very happy with it and get the results I’m happy with.
Don’t forget the UV-Filter! The always-blue African skies may make your images look a bit “boring”. A UV-Filter can help you shoot more stunning pictures.
My “Backpocket-Camera”: Canon Powershot G7 x
For my safari photo equipment, in addition to my 600D I was looking for a little camera I can put in my pocket on bush walks or in places where I don’t want to be seen with a big camera. And I also wanted to have the option to get good filming results. The Powershot G7 has a very good build-in image-stabilizer and is actually really great for filming! It also has build-in HDR and a nice landscape-pre-setting that I use a lot! Pretty good zoom as well and again with a turnable display to have more control of what your are taking pictures of. I was told that this camera is actually used by a lot of bloggers to film their vlogs and although I have not used it in this fashion yet, I agree that it is perfect for filming yourself or just to carry it around everywhere and still get great film-footage out of it!
What I don’t like about this camera is the fact that it is not as robust as I’d hoped. As you read earlier on, I am a clumpsy person okay? I’m sorry. But my number one requirement for technical equipment is its durability because I’m not too good at looking after material things. After I was carrying the Powershot G7 around in my backpack ( in a simple little camera-bag) I noticed that the screen broke. Also, the fins to protect the lens itself don’t close properly anymore. I do realize that this is entirely my fault and I would still highly recommend this camera, BUT: If you’re a little clumsy like myself or out’n about in basic and rough conditions, this might not be the best choice for you.
Sennheiser MKE 400 This is a directional microphone you can mount on your DSLR-camera. Nice to capture sound during conversations or in the field, but for a proper interview, this is not good enough. For an interview, you want a microphone that is closer to the mouth. (see my solution below). With a directional microphone, don’t forget to purchase a “Cat” as well to do something about the wind.
iPhone 5 + Walimex Pro Lavalier Microphone for Smartphones:
This is my current safari photo equipment solution for decent audio during interviews: A lavalier-mic I can clip onto the persons clothes close to the mouth and my iPhone 5 with a free audio-recording app. Sure, this is not ideal, because I have to sync the audio-files with the video-footage later, but it is a cheap version that creates surprisingly good audio. Those lavalier-mics for smartphones are actually a really nice thing to have for bloggers who are filming themselves with their iPhones a lot. It just gives that little bit of extra to your voice!
Stabilizers & Tripods:
Velbon DV-7000 Tripod: Short and sweet – this is the tripod I’m using. It is a good value for the price, however I hardly ever use it because I don’t want to carry it with me when I’m traveling. It’s just too big and won’T fit in my backpack.
Walimex Monopod (177 cm) I cannot believe I have been using this Monopod for as long as I have been using it! When I’m traveling I can fit this on the side of my pack and when I’m out on bush walks I can also use it as a walking stick. We’ve been going a long way and I managed to film a lot of things with this little guy, but the footage is still too shaky overall and I’m looking for a replacement.
And the replacement will most likely be one of these two:
I haven’t decided yet, but I will let you know as soon as I’ve purchased one of the two.
Oh, and of course I also have a camera bag:
So you see, the safari photo equipment I’m using is a compromise so far, because, clearly, I cannot afford the high-end-version of photography and filming equipment. However, I do not believe it is necessary or even recommended to start off with the most expensive gear anyway. I actually enjoy working my way around the little problems and I reckon in the long run this will only make me better – or at least that’s what I’m telling myself 😉
But just for the fun of it, I listed my dream equipment here as well. Please, Santa… please…
Wishlist safari photo equipment:
Canon Eos 5D Mark iii:
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM :
Canon EF 70-200mm 1:2,8L IS II USM: