Going on safari is often a once-in-a-lifetime trip, and if there’s one thing everyone would like after some amazing animal encounters, it’s a photo album full of sensational shots to remind you of your trip forever. That’s all well and good if you’re an experienced photographer but what about the novices amongst us? Snapping pretty pictures for Instagram is one thing, getting up close and personal with a lion – and coming away with a photo to show for it – is quite another. We take a look at the best options available for the snap happy amateur!
Two handsome lions taken with a Sony RX10
Sony DSC-RX10 III RRP £1,400
Top of our list for the eager amateur is Sony’s amazing RX10 mark 3. This is a serious bit of kit (and it’s not inexpensive) but if jaw-dropping mementos of a safari with point-and-shoot simplicity is your aim, then this camera delivers on all counts. Incredibly simple to use, there are various automatic programs that allow you to do little more than zoom in on your subject and click away. The zoom is incredible – a 24-600mm (which is 25x zoom) with just the tap of a finger - and the difference in sharpness and clarity of photograph that the zoom makes is utterly stunning.
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Other guests on your safari will be asking for a nose through your lens to have a clear view of the cheetah or elephant cunningly camouflaged in the bush. And while the zoom is fantastic to use, the fact that it’s fixed on the body of the camera means it never feels cumbersome. It is heavier than a conventional point-and-shoot camera (just over a kilogram), but it’s not too heavy to wear round your neck for a day of non-safari sightseeing. And once you’ve spent some time shooting not only wildlife, but cities and tourist sights with your super-flexible equipement, the idea of going back to camera phones will be unthinkable.
Sony α6300 E-mount camera with APS-C Sensor RRP £1159
A moon rise taken with a Sony α6300 Photo: Lottie Gross
This versatile camera is a best-of-both worlds kind of scenario, which will allow you to not only guarantee an array of fabulous safai pictures, but also have a light, compact and very portable professional-quality camera for any future trips (or special family moments closer to home). It has the world's fasted autofocus, which is great for speedy animals (or children!) and has amazing capabilities for low light photography - making dusk videos and photos (when animals are most active) very easy.
Weighing just 400g, you hardly notice the a6300 around your neck or in your pocket, yet its ability to shoot stunning photographs like this moonrise photo in South Africa’s Pilanesberg National Park will make your photographs stand out from the rest.
Taking photos from the safari vehicle in Pilanesberg National Park. Photo: Alex Jordan
Nikon D3300 RRP £599
A pretty impala taken with a Nikon D3300 Photo: Penny Walker
The Nikon D3300 is a great entry level DSLR camera. It produces fab pictures, is easy to use, has a great battery life and an array of lenses. This means you can have a telephoto lens for safari, a normal lens for family snaps, a wide-angle for landscapes. This does also mean you’ve stepped up a level in terms of kit you have to carry. At 460g, the body of this camera is not heavy, but adding multiple lenses means a significant increase in weight. The flexibility may just be worth it though and if you’re starting to get a taste for photography and feel you might be ready for the next step up, you can’t really go wrong with this camera.RE
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iPhone 6S RRP £449-£649
Impressively sharp shot of lions stalking taken on a iPhone Photo: Minty Woolgar
If your budget has all been spent on getting yourself out on safari in the first place, don’t panic that your i-Phone camera will let you down. There’s definitely more left to chance when you don’t have a zoom to take you closer to the animals than your vehicle can do. But phone cameras can – and do – take some amazing photographs when you manage to get within bare-eye spotting distance of some of the big 5. This stunning pictures of two male lions stalking a group of zebras was snapped with an iPhone 6S. Plus – uploading onto Instagram is faster than with any other camera!