What is the Best Lens for Safari Photos?

Going on safari is an amazing experience. The sounds, smell, and of course, the animals are unforgettable.

However, you need to have the right lens to truly capture the safari magic.

After all, people back at home aren’t going to be interested in just another photo of a lion or elephant.

They want to see amazing, close-up shots that make them feel like they’re there with you.

So, what is the best lens for safari photos?

The best lens for safari photos can zoom in close while still providing a wide angle of view.

This way, you’ll get those amazing close-up shots while still being able to capture the whole scene.

Remember, your safety is paramount while on safari, so don’t get too close to the animals. Thus, get those amazing shots using a telephoto lens from a safe distance.

In this article, we’ll look at what to look for in a safari lens and some of the best lenses on the market.

By the end, you’ll know which lens is right for your next safari adventure.

What are the Best Lenses for Safari Photos?

Best camera lens for Safari wildlife photography

Canon EF 100-400mm f/45-56L IS II USM Lens

This lens is perfect for safari photos, thanks to its long focal length and large aperture.

The 100-400mm focal length is great for getting close-up shots of animals without getting too close yourself.

Moreover, the f/45-56 aperture means you can get those beautifully blurred backgrounds in your photos.

The fast and accurate autofocus helps you capture sharp photos even when the animals are on the move.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/45.56G ED VR Lens

This lens is another great option for safari photos.

The 80-400mm focal length is perfect for close-up shots, while the f/45.56 aperture provides beautifully blurred backgrounds.

Its fast and accurate autofocus system lets you capture sharp photos even when animals are moving.

Sigma 150-600mm f/45-63 Contemporary Lens

Thanks to its long focal length and large aperture, this lens is a great choice for safari photos.

The 150-600mm focal length is perfect for getting close-up shots of animals without getting dangerously close.

Moreover, the f/45-63 aperture provides beautifully blurred backgrounds. Thus, this is a perfect lens for safari photos due to its fast and accurate autofocus system.

What to Consider When Buying Lens for Safari Photos

Best lens for African Safari photography

When shopping for a safari lens, there are three main things to keep in mind: focal length, aperture, and autofocus.

Focal Length

The focal length is the most important factor when choosing a safari lens. This is because the focal length determines how close or far away your subject will appear.

For safari photos, you’ll want a lens with a long focal length to zoom in close on the animals without getting too close yourself.

Aperture

The aperture is the opening size in the lens through which light passes.

A larger aperture means more light passes through, which is great for low-light situations like safaris.

You’ll also want a lens with a large maximum aperture to get those beautifully blurred backgrounds in your photos.

Quality Autofocus

You’ll want a lens with fast and accurate autofocus. This is important because safaris are unpredictable, and you never know when an animal will pop up.

For instance, when on a safari, you’ll take photos of moving subjects, so it’s important to have a fast and accurate autofocus lens.

This way, you’ll capture sharp photos even when the animals are on the move.

How to Care for Your Lens While on a Safari

Proper care of your lens is important to maintain its quality and longevity. Here are a few tips on how to care for your lens while on a safari:

  • Keep the lens clean: Wipe off any dust or dirt accumulated on the lens with a soft, dry cloth. If there’s stubborn dirt, use a LensPen to clean it.
  • Avoid getting the lens wet: Water can damage the lens, so keep it dry. If you get the lens wet, wipe it off immediately with a soft, dry cloth.
  • Store the lens in a safe place: When not in use, store the lens in a camera bag or case. This will protect it from bumps and scratches.

Common Safari Lens Accessories 

When shopping for a safari lens, there are a few accessories you’ll want to consider. These include a lens hood, filter, and tripod.

Lens Hood

A lens hood is an important accessory to have for safari photos. This is because it helps protect the lens from scratches and bumps.

Moreover, it helps reduce lens flare and ghosting.

Filter

Filter helps protect the lens from dust and dirt. Moreover, it helps reduce lens flare and ghosting.

Thus, a filter is an important accessory to have for safari photos.

Tripod

A tripod is an important accessory for safari photos. This is because it helps stabilize the camera and lens, which is important when taking close-up shots of animals.

Moreover, it helps reduce camera shake and blur.

Polarizing Filter

A polarizing filter is a must-have for safari photos. This is because it helps reduce glare and reflections. Moreover, it helps increase color saturation.

How Do You Take Good Pictures on Safari?

Think of incorporating some foreground interest into your shots, go for interesting angles and use a fast shutter speed to freeze any movement.

This means you can lock down for long lenses or use shutter speed creatively with a faster one.

If you can find some early morning or late afternoon sunlight, the low angle will add some beautiful light and shadows to your shots.

Animal behavior is often most active at these times, so it makes for great shooting conditions.

Another tip is to remember that less is more when editing your safari photos. Too much editing can ruin a good photo.

Just make small adjustments to enhance the colors and contrast.

Tips on How to Get the Most of Your Holiday Photos

Cards Aplenty

Memory cards are readily available these days, so there’s no excuse for not having enough storage.

It’s advisable to carry multiple smaller cards rather than one large card, as the latter is more susceptible to corruption or data loss.

Back up Your Images

Once you’ve taken your photos, it’s important to back them up. This is done by uploading them to a cloud storage service or copying them to an external hard drive.

Backup storage helps protect your images if the memory card is lost or corrupted.

Carry a Beanbag

A tripod might not always be the most practical option if you got large lenses.

Consider using a beanbag to support your camera and lens in these situations. This is especially useful when shooting from a vehicle or other moving platform.

Have Spare Batteries

While on safari, you’ll likely use your camera a lot, which can drain the battery quickly. Thus, it’s important to have spare batteries on hand to keep shooting.

For instance, carry rechargeable batteries and keep them charged. Alternatively, carry a power bank to charge your batteries on the go.

Final Thoughts

Going on a safari is a great opportunity to take some amazing photos. Thus, you need the best lens for safari photos.

When shopping for the best safari lens, consider the accessories you’ll need, such as a lens hood, filter, and tripod.

Moreover, remember to take good pictures on safari by incorporating some foreground interest into your shots and using a fast shutter speed.

This way, you’ll get some great photos you can enjoy for years to come.