Admittedly, I’m a bit of a caveman when it comes to technology. I have a hard time keeping up with the latest and greatest, and feel some degree of FOMO in not having the most recent version. It seems like every few weeks we get inundated with the newest smartphone, car technology, computer, TV, etc. and the same holds true for cameras. In the past, I’ve invested in a DSLR setup only to find it obsolete in a few years’ time. Camera setups are not only expensive, but can be fragile, especially when put through the rigors of safari.
I did, however, find a solution, and this is perhaps something from which you can benefit. Whether you are looking for a full setup, a body or lens, there are a plethora of online and local retailers that will rent you equipment that comes fully insured (including theft!). This has allowed me to test various combinations of bodies/lenses in addition to newer tech features that I may have otherwise not tried in the past. All without the paranoia of damaging or dropping thousands of dollars’ worth of kit. On my most recent trip to Zambia and Zimbabwe, I shot with a Sony RX10 Mark 4 “bridge camera” with 90% of my photography on automatic mode. The purpose? To see if I could take great photos worth keeping with no dialing in of settings; just a simple push of a button.
I’ve historically told people that it’s better to use a simple point-and-shoot camera than it is to buy/rent something they don’t know how to use. However, a bridge camera is the best of both worlds, serving as a link between the DLSR and a point-and-shoot. The version I rented had a 600mm zoom, making it suitable for close ups and bird shots as well as wider angle landscape photos. When I had my DSLR setup, I often rented a 100mm-400mm Canon L Series lens, which was considerably heavier and looked as though I was carrying an anti-tank projectile. For a novice such as myself, this bridge camera proved to be easier to use, lighter weight, and had heaps of additional features to test.
One of the biggest joys for me is reliving special moments caught on camera. I’ve always felt that having a good camera is worth the investment but struggled with the rate of innovation. My fix has proved to be effective over the years, and I hope that my insight may help you in creating quality lasting memories. Here’s some sample photos I took using the Sony RX10 Mark 4 on the basic automatic setting.