The Sabi Sands Game Reserve, is an area that is teaming with wildlife, and MalaMala and Londolozi are certainly no different.
Both of these iconic photographic safari destinations are famous for a diversity of wildlife, landscape, and a variety of unique photographic opportunities.
However, with all these opportunities on offer, it may be confusing as to what photographic gear to make use of on safari.
The following lens and body recommendations should help when choosing what to bring with you on safari:
- Full Frame – A full frame camera body typically boasts better image quality, and works extremely well in low light conditions
- Crop Sensor – A crop sensor body allows for that little bit of extra reach, without having to worry about cropping an image too much
- Camera Frame Rate – A camera body with a fast frame rate is ideal for capturing fast moving subjects (birds in flight, animals on the move, fast action scenes etc), but you should not feel limited by a camera body with medium frame rates as they are equally as capable of capturing amazing images
Lens choice is arguably far more important when planning for a safari than your choice of camera body. It is important to be familiar with the area you are going to be traveling to, and what kind of photographic opportunities may be on offer. I’ve put a list of lens options together to assist with your lens choice for the Sabi Sands.
Wide Angle: 12-24mm / 24-70mm
A wide angle lens is always useful to have in your camera bag to capture beautiful landscape shots, star photography, or animals that may be closer to the vehicle. It is always useful to capture images of a wider nature that include the animal(s) in their natural environment.
Medium Zoom: 70-200mm
A 70-200mm lens is a very popular lens amongst wildlife photographers and probably the most versatile of lenses to have with you on safari. Ideal for flexible portrait type shots, the 70-200 f2.8 results in dramatic background isolation, adding huge artistic value to your photographs. Covering a large range of focal lengths, its versatility also allows you to capture wider landscape shots ion addition to portraits. Its small, lightweight size makes it easy to shoot free-hand.
Telephoto Zoom: 200-400mm / Fixed 300mm f2.8 / Fixed 400mm f2.8 / 150-600mm
Given the proximity with which you can view animals at MalaMala and Londolozi, I would not suggest telephoto focal lengths of anything much more than 400mm, particularly not in the range of prime lenses (fixed 500mm or fixed 600mm). Although these longer zoom fixed focal lengths have massive value under certain conditions (bird photography in particular), they are all too often limiting when it comes to photographing wildlife in the Sabi Sands given the proximity to wildlife.
The lenses listed above (200-400mm / fixed 300mm / fixed 400mm / 150-600mm) are ideal lenses for capturing opportunities which may happen a little further away from the vehicle without having to worry about cropping an image too much after the fact, ensuring that you capture greater close-up detail.
The 200-400mm lens offers huge variation at longer focal lengths, allowing for close up, tight portrait shots, as well as the ability to pull back and capture slightly wider scenes.
The range of fixed focal lengths of 300mm f2.8, or 400mm f2.8 are lenses that offer superior image quality, coping particularly well under low light conditions as a result of the wide apertures.
- A good wide angle lens (24-70mm)
- A medium zoom lens (70-200mm)
- Maximum focal length (200-400mm)
Having these lenses in the bag will ensure that you are well equipped to capture the multitude of photographic opportunities on offer.
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