Click for the homepage of The Safari Guide, your resource to a safari holiday in Africa

If you are thinking of getting a new digital camera, the first question you need to answer is weather to get a Digital SLR Camera (DSLR) or a Digital Compact Camera (Bridge Camera).

If you are wanting to take decent photographs of wildlife, you are going to need a decent zoom and so realistically the choice is then between a DSLR and a Compact Superzoom camera (also known as superzoom bridge cameras). The important point to remember that there is no right choice for everyone, the two types of camera have different advantages and disadvantages over each other and once you know these you can then make the right choice for your needs.

DSLR and Superzoom Compact Cameras

Advantages and Disadvantages

Canon EOS 1000D / Rebel XS Digital SLR Camera Panasonic Lumix FZ28 SuperZoom Camera
Digital SLR Camera
SuperZoom Bridge Camera

No Shutter Lag
High ISO Levels with Low Noise
Wide Range of Lens Choices
Big Sensor (better quality images)

Smaller and Lighter
Low Cost (in comparison)
One Lense with Long Zoom Range
Image Stabilization
Easier to use (less to learn)
Video Recording

High Cost
Heavy & Bulky
Steep Learning Curve
Having to Change Lenses

Shutter release time lag
Noise at higher ISO Levels
Small sensor (poorer quality images)

Differences Between DSLR and Compact Cameras

Not taking into account the way they capture images, the main differences between the two types of camera to the user are price, size, weight and image quality. Compact SuperZoom cameras are smaller, lighter and cost a lot less, so why would you choose a digital SLR?

The main reasons to choose a SLR over a Compact digital camera are image quality and versatility.

DSLR Image Quality

In bright sunny conditions (which you often find on safari) the quality difference between a good compact camera and a digital SLR is minima as both types of camera will produce sharp, colorful photographs. It is when you are shooting in low light conditions or attempting to capture fast moving sports action or wildlife, the advantage of a digital SLR's larger sensor and higher sensitivity start to make a big difference.

Camera Versatility

The versatility comes with the ability to change lenses, the creative versatility offered by the more advanced controls and higher quality components and then the wide range of accessories that includes flashguns, remote controls to the more specialized equipment that allow SLRs to capture anything from the tiniest bug to the most distant stars.

Below is a video that explains pretty well the main differences between a DSLR camera and a compact camera, as well as a DSLR camera and a compact superzoom camera.

Best Camera for Wildlife Photography

If money is no issue, there is no doubt that the best type of camera for wildlife photography would be a Digital SLR camera. The higher quality of the image created from the larger sensor and improved optics make it the better camera.

This is not to say that the new Superzoom cameras do not create quality images. There are some fantastic compacts with huge 20x zooms on the market that are more than adequate for wildlife photography and should you feel that the cost of a DSLR with a good quality telephoto lens is too much, I don't think you will be too dissapointed with a SuperZoom.

Recommended DSLR Cameras
  • Canon EOS 450D/Rebel Xsi
  • Canon EOS 500D (Digital Rebel T1i / Kiss X3 Digital)
  • Canon EOS 1000D/Rebel XS

Best Camera for Travel (Safari Photography)

Again if the cost of your camera and lenses is not an issue, the DSLR would be the better camera, but I feel that for travel (safari), the issue of size also comes into the equation and this is when a compact superzoom really starts to look like the better option.

A good quality DSLR, with a decent size telephoto lens (minimum 200mm) takes up a lot of hand luggage space and can weigh what feels like a ton after a long journey. There is also the issue, if you plan to do a lot of traveling within a country, because of it's size, it is far more conspicuous making you much more of a target for theft. Also If you were to have your camera stolen or broken whilst traveling, would you not much rather it be a cheaper camera than a very expensive one?

I think the main choice to make here is cost and size, if these do not worry you, I would go for the DSLR, if they do, go for a good quality Digital SuperZoom camera.

Highly Recommended SuperZoom Cameras


Related Articles

Below are some more articles that you may also find useful:

Best Superzoom cameras 2021Best Superzoom Cameras 2021

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.

>> Compare the Best Super Zoom Cameras 2021

The Best Digital Superzoom cameras for SafarisThe Best Compact Superzoom Cameras for Safari

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)

Telephoto Conversion LensesTelephoto Conversion Lenses

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

>> Telephoto Conversion Lenses for the Panasonic DMC-FZ

Visit The Africa Guide for desert, dune, wildlife, people and culture photography


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 Digital 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 Telephoto Lenses for Panasonic Digital Cameras

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 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 >>

Safari Photography

Steiner Safari BinocularsAfter 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



Back to Top

Home | Contact Us | Sitemap

The African Holiday and Travel Resource