Equipment

Obviously if you have to bring just one item on a photo trip around South Africa, it has to be the camera. If you are inclined towards quality shots, avoid the cheaper, less reliable cameras. An attractive design and unreasonably low price won’t give you anything but grainy shots.

The SLR (which means Single Lens Reflex) digital camera is a great piece of equipment. You can even take some videos, albeit short ones, to capture unforgettable moments that a picture can’t exactly capture. The downside to the SLR is its size and bulk, and it would not be a good idea to bump it around or toss it to your back seat when you don’t need it. A good alternative would be an all-in-one camera, the kind that has fixed lenses. It’s convenient, compact, light, and takes clear still shots.

How About Two Cameras?

Two cameras would make you look very professional but you should only do this if you really need two cameras, or would like a back-up camera in case your preferred one decides to malfunction. This would also be an excellent idea if you plan to go anywhere near water or enjoy some water sports. If this is the case, one camera should be waterproof or even able to take shots underwater. Now, wouldn’t that be something special?

Black and White Photograph of an Island
Black and White Photograph of an Island
What about Different Lenses?

The lenses of a camera allow you to have some control over depth of field and focus, and further permit the photographer to manipulate distance and the relative size of subject matter. With wildlife, this is pertinent because you don’t want to spook the animals. The best lens length would be 600 mm, but that’s what professionals use and they are extremely expensive. For a hobby photographer, a 300 mm to 400 mm would be perfect. The minimum is an 18 to 200 mm lens, which essentially gives you up to a 35% zoom (from wide angle to telephoto). With the 300 to 400 mm, you get even closer at 25%. If you’re not planning on making photography a hobby, the lens on the camera you buy should be good enough.

Tips on Buying Photography Equipment

The best way to get tips on buying photography equipment is to ask an expert. They have an idea of what kind of pictures you can take, your level of exposure to photography, sense of security in taking care of your equipment, and your budget.

However, the basic tips on buying photography equipment can be summarized below:

Buy branded cameras and think of it as an investment
If you have to choose between an expensive camera and good lenses, prioritize your lens. This is something you can use on your next camera purchase as compared to a camera that will be outdated in 2 years. A high end lens will upgrade a cheap $300 camera by incredible proportions
Speaking about upgrading, remember that for on-the-spot emailing of photos/ uploading photos to social networking sites, you’ll have to buy a computer, if you don’t already have one, that is portable. If you want widespread internet connectivity, then you should also consider a 3G or 4G modem.
Try to include a clear filter in your budget to protect your lens and a sturdy, heavy-duty strap to hold your camera
Professionals have taken out the tripod for moving shots and have turned to the beanbag. Using this helps them steady their hands even in a moving vehicle. Of course, buy a bean bag that does not have filling so you don’t struggle lugging it around. Once you get to your destination, you’re sure to find sand with which to fill it up.
Finally, don’t forget to buy extra batteries and chargers. If you’re not using a camera with a rechargeable battery, then be sure to bring plenty of battery supplies.