Looking for a great camera for safari? We have ten awesome options for you – from professional-grade DSLRs to superzoom cameras everyone can easily use!
We’ve also included mirrorless cameras, digital cameras, entry-level DSLRs, and even the best smartphone camera for safari! Taking outstanding wildlife photographs should be simple and enjoyable – and with these best cameras for safari, it definitely will be!
At A Glance: Best Cameras For Safari
Oh, and all of the cameras featured here are just excellent cameras overall. No matter which one you get, you will be able to use it for any occasion you want – from commemorating hikes to documenting your travel through Europe!
Best Nikon DSLR Camera
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Best Canon DSLR Camera
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Best Mirrorless Camera
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Best Smartphone Camera
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Best Affordable Camera
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The D5 has been Nikon’s best DSLR camera for a while. It is not just a great camera for a safari, it is one of the best DLRs in existence overall. The D5 is used by professional photographers, and it truly has amazing capabilities. From ISO sensitivity that goes up to whooping 3,280,00 to 4K UHD video capabilities.
It is compatible with all FX mount lenses from Nikkor, Sigma, Kenko, Tamron, and Tokina, so you have plenty of options there. I’d recommend having at least two types of lenses handy on the safari trip – something with a low f-stop and a high zoom, so that you can get amazing portrait-like snaps of the animals, and something with a higher f-stop, for awesome landscape photographs.
The obvious downside to this amazing camera is the price point. It’s a professional camera, and it will set you back thousands of dollars. And that’s just for the body – you will have to buy any lenses separately since the D5 isn’t available with many kit options.
The Nikon D5 is an expensive investment, but it’s a camera that can be used for so many different things. If you’re already into photography, it’s worth it to splurge on this amazing DSLR. But if you’re looking just for a great camera for a safari, then it’s probably better that you check out other more affordable options. The D5 requires years of experience in photography, and it’s best for people who are already skilled in manual settings.
It has a touchscreen LCD that is fairly simple to use, as well as built in WiFi and Bluetooth that let you instantly share your photos.
Canon EOS-1DX Mark II is a well-known DSLR camera, often used among pros who make their living by taking photographs. It is an amazing camera suitable for any task you have for it – safari trips included!
This camera is capable of continuous shooting at 14 fps RAW or JPEG images, and up to 16 fps in live view mode. It features a 20.2MP full frame sensor, as well as ISO sensitivity range of 50-409,600. And it is capable of shooting 4k video at 60 fps, so it’s not just great for photos.
The downside of this Canon DSLR is the same as the downside of the Nikon D5 – it is very expensive, and it’s hard to justify spending that amount of money on a camera. But if you already have your eye on it and are just looking for an excuse to get it, then the safari trip is more than enough of an excuse – go for it, you will undoubtedly get some amazing shots on the trip!
The camera has a touchscreen interface that is fairly intuitive to use, but it’s still not a beginner-friendly camera. It is designed for people who are well versed in adjusting aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and all those other details, in order to get the perfect shot every time. If you just want to put it in auto mode and shoot, then this is definitely not the camera for you.
But if you’re looking to get top-of-the-line photography gear that just so happens to be amazing for a safari trip, then you’re looking at one of the best options out there.
The EOS-1Dx Mark II is available with a lens kit – you can get it with Canon’s EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens. The aperture range is pretty good – you can take some decent close-ups as well as awesome landscape photos – but the zoom is not that great for safari.
DSLR cameras have dominated the wildlife photography game for decades, but mirrorless cameras are catching up fast. And Fujifilm was always at top of the photography game, so it’s no surprise that they manufacture one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market.
The main advantage of their X-T30 is the price point – it’s about $1,000 cheaper than its Nikon and Sony counterparts, making it a great option for people who aren’t really looking to spend too much money on a camera for safari.
And it’s a really good camera; it has an APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor with 26.1MP and ISO sensitivity range of 80 – 51,200. This camera is capable of 4k video at 30fps, and it has built in WiFi and Bluetooth that let you edit and share your photos instantly.
On top of that, the Fujifilm mirrorless camera features an LCD touchscreen display, and an OLED viewfinder. It has all the modern necessities, but it still retains that vintage Fujifilm exterior that we all know and love.
This camera is available in a kit, but I wouldn’t recommend getting it – at least not for safari. It’s a very basic kit with an 18-55mm lens, which doesn’t zoom in that much. Pick up instead, for amazing close up of all the wildlife.
Hear me out – Huawei P30 Pro had the best smartphone camera in 2019. Whether you’re an iPhone user or a hardcore Android user, there’s no denying that this phone wiped out the competition with the optical zoom and night vision features of its camera. Plus, it’s without a doubt the most portable option that exists.
And that’s what makes it perfect for a safari – you have the power of a full-sized DSLR in your pocket. The P30 Pro performs incredibly well in low light conditions even without the flash, so it’s a great option for evening safari. You don’t have to think about visibility, or whether or not the images you see in your safari binoculars will translate to the camera – you just point and shoot.
The P30 Pro has 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom. Optical zoom is achieved with the lens of the camera, while the digital zoom is phone software cropping up and enhancing the image. To put things in perspective, Apple and Samsung’s 2019 flagships topped out at 2x optical zoom.
Another reason to pick up the P30 Pro over a full-sized camera is money. Its price has gone down significantly over the past year, and it’s currently a lot cheaper than quality DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Oh, and you get a lot of storage – the P30 Pro base version has 128GB of storage, with the option to put in a nano SD card.
Additionally, the P30 Pro has insane battery life – in tests, it performed better than the newer iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, with only the Pro Max beating the 2019’s flagship. It’s a great phone to get, with a camera that’s more or less perfect for a safari trip!
If you’re not looking to spend several thousand dollars on a camera for a safari, then consider picking up the Panasonic Lumix FZ300. It’s a really good option for people who are just getting into photography, and who want to pick up something affordable. It’s under $400, so it is more than ten times cheaper than the best DSLRs in the game!
This is a digital camera, and it comes with an insanely good lens. Actually, the lens on the Lumix is perfect for safari – with 24x zoom option, you can easily capture all of those animals that are far away. The lens is actually 25-600mm, with full range F2.8 – perfect for both close-up shots of the animals, and wide shots of the gorgeous safari landscapes.
The Panasonic camera is also capable of 4K video, and of post focus. The latter is a really cool, beginner-friendly feature; after you’ve taken a photo, you can choose which section of it you want to be focused on. The software will blur out the rest of the image, giving your photos that pro look and feel.
Another thing that makes this a great camera for safari is the dust-proof exterior. The rugged design ensures that the camera doesn’t get damaged easily and that it’s suitable for use in all sorts of weather conditions.
On top of all that, it weighs merely 1.5 lbs! It won’t weigh you down as much as a bulky DSLR would, so you will actually be able to have fun while shooting!
A safari trip is the perfect occasion to start getting into photography. And this Canon bundle is amazing for people who want to get into photography, but don’t know where to start. The EOS 80D is a great mid-range camera, and it is very beginner friendly.
This camera has a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, and max ISO sensitivity of 16,000 when taking photos. When filming videos, the max ISO sensitivity is slightly lower, at 12,800. It is capable of filming in 1080p (Full HD), and it has a touchscreen LCD, as well as built-in WiFi for easy photo transferring
So, what’s in this bundle? Apart from the EOS 80D body, you get four lenses. There’s the standard 18-55mm lens, which is great for beginners and people who want something lightweight and reliable that’s good for taking landscape photos. But you will also get a lens that’s awesome for safari – the 75-300mm III Canon lens has an aperture range of f/4 to f/45, and it’s great for shooting objects that are very far away.
Then you also get a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens – this one is a must for taking beautiful portraits with a blurry background. And there’s also the 500mm Preset Telephoto Lens; this one is actually the best for capturing animals on a safari, but it is very heavy and bulky. You will need to mount it on a tripod if you want to get a decent shot, so maybe stick with the 75-300mm one if you don’t experience telephoto lenses.
You’ll also get a monopod, a tripod, some filters, memory cards, extra batteries and pretty much everything you might need for the camera – definitely the best value for money you can find!
The a6000 is an amazing mirrorless camera from Sony. It has a 24MP APS-C sensor, with 179 autofocus points. That’s actually why it’s amazing for a safari – the fast autofocus means you will never miss a moment, and that you’ll always get amazing sharp images. Additionally, this mirrorless camera can shoot at 11 fps in continuous mode – perfect for capturing moving animals.
This is a very beginner-friendly camera, so it’s perfect for people who are just getting into photography. Especially if you get the bundle – you will have more than enough equipment to get you started!
The LCD screen is easy to use, while the built-in WiFi lets you transfer the photos to your phone and edit them instantly. The only downside is that the screen is not touch-sensitive – you have to use old-school controls to work the camera. But that shouldn’t be a problem, since the menu navigation and controls are very intuitive.
You can get just the camera body for a lot less money, but if you want to value this bundle is the best thing you can get. It includes a standard 16-50mm lens, as well as a more versatile 55-210mm option, which is actually an awesome lens for a safari. It lets you zoom in quite a lot, allowing you to quickly capture all that wildlife that’s far away.
On top of that, the bundle includes a 128GB memory card, which is more than enough storage for all those awesome wildlife photos. You will also get a spider tripod, a dual battery pack, a filter kit and some really great photo editing software for free!
Pentax has always been among the top camera brands, and they are still one of the leaders of the market. The K-1 Mark II is an outstanding DSLR camera, great for any task you have for it – including safari trips.
It has a 34.6 MP APS-C sensor, with max ISO sensitivity of 819,200. This camera also has a fast autofocus – 33-point phase detect AF ensures that you don’t ever miss out on a moment you wanted to capture. And it is capable of filming Full HD video at 60fps – decent, but not as great as you would expect from a DSLR with such a high price point.
One awesome thing about this camera is that the body has a shake reduction mechanism. This ensures better image stabilization, and less blurry photos even if you move slightly while taking a shot.
Another thing that makes it great for a safari is that the body of the camera is dustproof and weatherproof. So, regardless of the weather conditions outside, you can continue shooting without worrying that you’ll damage the DSLR.
The Pentax K-1 Mark II has built-in WiFi and GPS that let you transfer images wirelessly. It also has two SD card slots, so that you never run out of memory while shooting. On top of that, this features an adjustable LCD screen that tilts upwards and downwards, allowing you to always see the image you’re about to take regardless of your own body position.
Canon PowerShot SX70 is a superzoom camera – a great alternative to heavy and bulky DSLRs. It is portable and lightweight, making it a great travel companion no matter where you are headed. The camera has a built-in lens with 65x optical zoom, which promises amazing photos of objects that are miles away.
And that 65x zoom is the reason why this is a great camera for safari. You will be able to take shots of animals that are very far away, but bear in mind that each time you zoom in, the image quality deteriorates slightly.
This is fine – you can’t expect the image quality of a $7000 telephoto lens from a $500 camera. And I seriously doubt you would need to bump up the zoom all the way on a safari.
This Canon camera is also capable of filming 4k video, which is pretty good for the price point. It has built-in image stabilization, which ensures your photos and videos are smooth, sharp, and not blurry. On top of that, this camera has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth – a great feature that lets you instantly transfer photos to your Android or iOS device.
The PowerShot SX70 is a very small camera, so it’s super comfortable to hold in your hands. And it has a deep grip, which ensures you stay comfortable even if you’re holding it for hours on end.
A great thing about this particular camera kit is that you’ll get a tripod, a monopod, and a 64GB memory card along with the camera. That’s pretty good value for money, especially if you want to be able to film some cool videos on the safari.
If you want a DSLR but can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars, consider getting the Nikon D3500. Their entire D3XXX series is budget-friendly, and it is great for people who are just getting into photography. The cameras are incredibly simple to use – it’s as easy as putting it in auto mode and just pressing a button.
And you have several manual modes to play with if you want to start learning. Another great thing about the D3500 is it’s pretty lightweight, and a lot lighter than bigger, professional-grade DSLRs. The camera body weighs a mere 0.86 lbs, which is definitely travel-friendly.
The D3500 is available in two kits, and I would recommend the one with two lenses for the safari. You will get the standard 18-55mm VR Nikon lens, as well as a 70-300mm one, which lets you zoom in on those animals that are really far away. And the entire kit is under $500, so it’s actually really affordable.
This camera has a max ISO sensitivity of 25,600, which is pretty good for the price point. It is equipped with a 24.2MP CMOS sensor that’s about 15x larger than the one in smartphone cameras.
The D3500 does not have built-in WiFi or a touchscreen, so it’s not exactly packed with features. But it is a great affordable DSLR, which is more than suitable for safari.
Here’s the thing – the body of the camera is actually less important than the type of lens you use on it. So, if you already own a Nikon or a Canon, try to go with the same brand – you will be able to use all the lenses you’ve purchased over the years, and some of them will work miraculously well with the new body.
Switching brands after several years is a rather costly investment. Unless you mostly bought Sigma lenses, which are compatible with both Nikon and Canon, as the two major camera brands.
Another thing to note is that you might not actually need to get a new camera if you already own a pretty good one. Just get a newer and better lens – something with a good zoom but lower aperture, in order to really catch all the details. But if you’re finally ready to upgrade your entry-level camera.
The weight of the camera is another important thing to consider. Ideally, you would be able to get a lightweight camera that can take awesome photos, but that’s not always going to be the case.
If you are prioritizing portability over image quality, then mirrorless or smartphone cameras are the way to go. The advantage of getting a smartphone with an insane camera is pretty obvious – it fits into your pocket and you can use it as your daily driver for the trip.
In the battle of DSLR vs mirrorless, the mirrorless camera wins by a mile when it comes to portability. They are much lighter than DSLRs since they don’t have the mirror inside the camera body, hence the name. Instead, light passes through the lens and directly hits the image sensor.
DSLRs are the worst option in this regard. They are usually really heavy and bulky, especially if you’re thinking about packing multiple lenses. Which you will have to do if you want to capture everything around you on that safari trip. But the benefits outweigh the negatives – you can get stunning, professional-grade photos with a great DSLR, and truly commemorate your safari trip.
Digital cameras are also good portable options, and they’re particularly great for beginners. Your photos won’t look as amazing as they would with a DSLR, but they will look pretty damn good. And you won’t have to carry 5lbs+ of equipment with you at all times, which is a pretty convincing argument in their favor. In fact, a digital camera with a lens can weigh as little as 1.5 lbs, so less than the best safari binoculars even!
Some of the cameras featured here are very expensive, so you might want to look for a used alternative. Camera bodies are generally really durable, and the main reason why people sell them is that they’ve decided to upgrade to a different camera.
The one thing to look for when shopping used cameras is camera shutter count. The shutter is the only thing moving part of a camera body, and it’s the only thing that can get broken or worn out. So, before purchasing a used camera, ask the seller to send you a recent image taken with it – preferably something taken that very day. Then you just upload the image to a shutter count website, and you can see exactly how many photos were takes in with it.
When the shutter count is in the hundreds that’s virtually a brand new camera. Thousands are also okay, but be wary with cameras that have taken tens of thousands of photos. There is a limit to how many photographs a camera can take, and the closer it is to that number, the less worth it is.
Even though newer DSLRs are known to surpass their expected shutter count by tens and even hundreds of thousands of clicks, it’s never a good idea to purchase a camera that was supposed to stop working a while ago.
Having a hard time deciding which camera for safari to pick up? That’s okay – go with one of our top choices and you’ll be able to take some amazing wildlife photos!
The absolute best DSLR cameras on the market are the Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1DX Mark II. They are truly the best choice because they can handle absolutely anything – safari trips included. Both are capable of 4k video, have an insane ISO range and top of the line sensors that guarantee stunning, professional-grade photographs. But they are not beginner-friendly and they are very expensive, so we recommend these only for experienced photographers.
Those of you that just want something they’ll be able to take anywhere really should consider picking up the Huawei P30 Pro – it is hands down the best smartphone camera on the market. The incredible 50x digital zoom lets you read signs that are miles away, while the 5x optical zoom lets you take crystal clear and sharp images. And all of that power fits into your pocket.
If you just want a good but affordable camera, go with the Panasonic Lumix FZ300. It’s a digital camera so it is very simple to use, and it’s really lightweight and portable. This camera has a great built-in lens with 24x zoom, which is great for taking photos of wildlife that’s really far away. On top of that, it’s also capable of shooting 4k videos, so it’s a decent option if you want to get some video footage as well.
Those are our top three cameras for safari – but honestly, you’re fine picking up any one of the ten featured in this detailed review. All of them are top of the line, and will perform really well on your upcoming safari trip!
Head over to Amazon to see and compare their prices, and see the available bundles. And check out our related posts, for ideas on other great cameras and lenses you might want to add to your collection!