Digital Wildlife Photography
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Growing up in Zimbabwe I spent a lot of time in the bush, around wildlife and with people associated within the safari and tourist industry. Some of those people were inevitably hunters and I never understood why tourists and some of my friends enjoyed hunting. Then as a teenager I got my first camera, an old Pentax SLR, this combined with my interest in wildlife and the outdoors meant that I began the wonderful hobby of photographing the wildlife and around me.
It was soon after my first few attempts at wildlife photography that I began to understand the thrill of "the hunt" to get in as close to an animal as possible and then to get the "best shot" as possible. For me hunting with the camera is every bit as exciting, if not more exciting than with a weapon (Photographing dangerous game means getting in as close as possible, without any weapon for protection, which from experience, I can tell you really gets your heart racing).
To this day I still don't really understand why you would want to kill something so beautiful (unless you plan to eat it), when you could instead take an image of it that will remind you of that incredible experience forever. In my wildlife photography guides below, I won't pretend to be the world best photographer (far from it) nor will I pretend to know everything about photography, but I do think I can pass on my experience of working in the bush as a safari guide and from the many years of being a keen amateur wildlife photographer.
Obviously the most important piece of equipment for any type of photography is the camera. When it comes to wildlife photography and especially safari photography, there are some features that you should look out for when choosing the best digital camera for this purpose.
Due to their popularity, the amount of compact superzoom cameras on the market has dramatically increased of the past few years. Great news in that the competition has driven on innovations and improvements from camera manufacturers at an incredible rate. But it does make it harder to choose the right camera for your needs. To help I have included all the main features of all the best superzooms in an easy to compare format.
Deciding wheather to choose a digital SLR camera (DSLR) or go for a compact superzoom camera for wildlife photography can be tricky. Both have advantages and disadvantages over each other, knowing these can help you decide which is best suits your needs.
If you do decide that a superzoom compact camera, rather than a digital SLR, here is our guide to the best compact super zoom safari cameras. Includes features to look out for and review of the top two cameras with a side by side comparison.
>> Best Safari Camera (compact superzooms)
Turn your Turn your SuperZoom Camera into a MegaZoom Camera, a guide to Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ100, DMC-FZ38 (FZ35), DMC-FZ28 & DMC-FZ18 Digital Cameras. Including what telephoto lenses fit the Panasonic cameras, which ones to get and example photographs
With a super powerful 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 600mm), much higher 14.1 MP image resolution, rotating LCD screen, movie recording in full HD and a 25mm ultra wide angle lens, this is the best superzoom compact digital camera on the market and an ideal safari holiday companion.
The successor to the very popular FinePix HS10 from Fujifilm, comes very powerful Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR with it's 30x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 720mm), much higher 16 MP image resolution, faster auto focus and movie recording in full 1080p HD. This camera has to be one of the very best for taking with you on any safari holiday.
This superzoom bridge camera from Canon, the PowerShot SX30 IS features a massive 35x zoom (35mm equivalent of a 24-840mm lens) and loads of other features including full 720p HD video recording, excellent image stabilization and a vari-angle 2.7 inch LCD display.
The successor to the very popular FZ38 (FZ35) from Panasonic, comes with a more powerful 24x optical zoom (35mm camera equivalent 600mm), much higher 14.1 MP image resolution, faster auto focus and movie recording in full HD. Cheaper than the FZ100, yet with many of it's features it makes the ideal superzoom camera for those on a budget.
I take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38, the successor to the very popular FZ28. Still will the excellent 18x optically stabilised lens (27-486mm, 35mm equivalent) and an increased resolution of 12.1 Megapixels, could this be the perfect compact superzoom camera to take on safari?
Advice on some of the best photography accessories for travel and safari.Best Tripods for Travel & Safari
The Safari Guide to the best compact and lightweight tripods for travel & safaris. Includes sections on vehicle window mounts and hide clamps that are worth considering as an alternative to the standard travel tripod. >> more
Advice and some pointers to taking better wildlife, safari and landscape photographs.
Bird photography offers it's own uniqe challenges and in this article and video, I pass on a few tips that have really helped me in the past.
I also take a look at the equipment that I used on my last safari trip to take photos of birds.
An article that includes some general advice on how to take better photographs when on safari, including where is the best place to sit in the vehicle, camera shake, thinking about the background and what shooting mode you should set on your digital camera.
Advice on choosing the right safari holiday for you if you are a keen photographer and want to get some really stunning wildlife photos. This article includes information on when is the best time to go on safari, where to go on safari, making sure your safari lodge has the right vehicles, communicating with your guide and lodge to ensure that you get what you want out of your photographic safari.
Most of the photographs used on this website were take by myself, unless stated otherwise. Below are a few galleries that I have decided to put together, If you would like to use any of my images, please just contact me first. I will usually let you use them and send you high res versions so long as you credit me with the photograph.
African Elephant Photographs
Kariba, Wildlife Photography
Example photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
Example photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 and the Olympus TCON-17 Tele Converter lens.
What to Take on Safari
This page is part of a series of posts on what to take on safari, for further reading try:
Search the Safari Holiday Guide
Best Cameras for Safari
My guide to the best digital cameras for travel and wildlife photography. Including the best camera to take on Safari, bird photography and where you can buy cheap digital cameras >> more
Telephoto Conversion Lenses
Guide to Telephoto Conversion Lenses like the 2.2x Raynox DCR-2025PRO for superzoom bridge cameras like the Fujifilm FinePix HS20EXR and the Panasonic DMC-FZ100, FZ45 (FZ40), & FZ38 Digital Cameras. Learn how a telephoto lense can turn your SuperZoom camera into a MegaZoom camera, bringing the action ever closer to you. >> more
Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Review
The very powerful Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR with it's 42x optical zoom (1000mm equivalent), very high quality 16 MP image resolution, super fast auto focus and movie recording in full 1080p HD at 60fps. This camera has to be one of the very best safari holiday cameras on the market.
For more information read the full review of the Fujifilm FinePix HS50EXR Bridge Camera >>
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After your camera, a good pair of binoculars is crucial in getting the most out of your Safari Holiday. So what is a good pair of binoculars? Here is my binocular guide and recommendations >> Binocular Reviews
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