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An epiphany regarding primary camera for Kenya/Tanzania group safari

An epiphany regarding primary camera for Kenya/Tanzania group safari

Apr 3rd, 2013, 06:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 340
An epiphany regarding primary camera for Kenya/Tanzania group safari

No, it's not a burning question regarding Visa, it's a burning question regarding a specific camera I got it into my head that I need for our July Safari.

I decided that instead of my Nikon S9100 P&S which is 12.1 MP , 18X Optical zoom, and has CMOS, full HD & 3 inch LCD as well as instant video and some continuous shooting frames , I needed to get the so-called BRIDGE SLR camera with a single lens.

It is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 which has 24X optical zoom, F2.8 aperture, fastest shutter speed of 1/2000, continuous shots of 5.5 frames per second, etc. Supposed to do very well in low lighting and has a view-finder. Weight is 20 oz. ..is 25mm to 600mm

Does anyone know this camera? It received high ratings in Consumer reports as well as in photo publications. It came out in early 2011. It goes for a little under $400 on Amazon. They, of course, have a newer model now, the FZ200 which goes for about $490 on Amazon. It has a faster speed of up to 1/4000 & shoots 12 frames per second, ..Nano coating of lens.

I'm hoping that you can come forth with thoughts/opinions /suggestions as to whether I should just stay put with my Nikon S9100 or take action and get the Panasonic FZ150.
I realize that there will be a learning curve to get through if I get the Panasonic.

As always, I thank you all for taking the time to chime in.
jaydh42 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
I think the bridge camera has the potential for better quality pictures. It also has more zoom which will be very useful on safari. You can do a search for examples of shots taken with either camera on Flickr.
Femi is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
A widely read net camera site is dpreview. If you have not already seen their reviews, here are a couple about the S9100 and FZ150

They reviewed the S9100 (in a group test) here -

Dpreview reviewed the FZ150 here -
Within this FZ150 review you can compare picture quality with the S9100.

My first impression of the two cameras is that the S9100 does -not- have a viewfinder (put eye to camera to frame shot) while the FZ150 does have a viewfinder. I much prefer a view finder over having to hold the camera out at arms length to take the shot. However, as they say, YMMV.

Me? I'd prefer the FZ150 for above reason and I believe the FZ150 will take better video clips.

How good you are with the camera is most important. Followed by your safari guide, how he finds wildlife and how he positions your safari vehicle for photos.

Myself, I use Nikon DSLR kit. But do not recommend such (or Canon DSLR) unless you REALLY enjoy the photographic hobby. And like to haul a lot of weight through airports.

Which reminds me, may be it's obvious but on your flights take all camera kit, and anything electronic, as carry on.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,179
I made this decision last summer, comparing the same Panasonic bridge with the Nikon bridge. I went with Nikon ultimately.

If you want almost no learning curve, I went from a Nikon P&S to the Nikon P510 (their "bridge") and was thrilled with the results. I say no learning curve because the menus are all the same, so you have a leg up there. The P510 has a viewfinder, which is really a must if you learn to shoot manually, which I did for safari and am glad I did. And get it as soon as possible and shoot like crazy: animals in zoos, different light scenarios, sunrises and sunsets. Auto mode just doesn't cut it in many safari situations...
amyb is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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And my photos are embedded here, if you want to see them:
amyb is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 11:26 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 19
I just got the nikon 510 which is called the safari camera the 42x zoom lens is great
olive1209 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 01:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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I am very happy with my FZ150 - I had previously owned the FZ5 and FZ18.

Last year I found it to be an ideal safari camera - my photos are available here, https://picasaweb.google.com/Treepol...icaNamibia2012

The 24X optical zoom is great for any distance shots and especially birds. It handles low light much better than the FZ18, although I understand the FZ200 contains enhancements in this area too. Its also much faster than the FZ18.

I'm not a technical person, nor do I know much about photography but I delighted with this camera. I would consider upgrading for more optical zoom only. In the meantime, I'm happy...
Treepol is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 08:25 AM
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Posts: 340
Thank you all for your thoughts and those who shared their pics. Of the Panasonic FX150 and the Nikon P510,I'm still leaning toward the Panasonic. The 150 is two years old now and has been replaced by the FZ200 which is about $100 more than 150. Aside from Amazon and a few other on-lines sites one cannot find the 150 anywhere. Amazon is selling it for $398 now and I guess I will go with them if I decide to get it. It's not worth going with another on-line site to save $10-20 if they will cause you aggravation by not being honest.
jaydh42 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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"It's not worth going with another on-line site to save $10-20 if they will cause you aggravation by not being honest."

Right. Money well spent.

Here's a factor to consider. How does the continuous shoot feature work for each? There are two aspects to this:

1) Just the normal click, click, click, one photo after the other, by holding down the shutter and not releasing it. How many can you take in a row? Is there a lag time when those consecutive shots are processing, during which you cannot shoot?

2) There is likely a feature/button/setting that allows 10 to 13 frames per second. This freezes action better than plain old continuously pushing the shutter button. Is there a lag time when those consecutive shots are processing, during which you cannot shoot?

I don't know the answer to these 2 questions for the cameras you are considering. For me it is important for wildlife photography because birds, monkeys, etc. move around and don't pose, unlike lions who are good at holding a pose.

My Panasonic DMZFZ-40 with 24x optical takes beautiful, richly colored photos. The process described in #1 above is ok. The process described in #2 above is just ok because the quality of the photo (# of megapixels) is automatically reduced at this setting. The FX150 probably improves on the FZ-40. Something to check out.

Happy photography and Happy safari!
atravelynn is offline  
May 5th, 2013, 08:29 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
Treepol your pictures are amazing. That camera is 12 megapixel, correct? I'm seriously considering buying it. The pictures of the wildlife such as the elephants and lions, how far away were you when you took those pictures and is the 24x zoom enough and clear?
jdambrosio618 is offline  
May 5th, 2013, 08:59 PM
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
Basically Im curious to know if pictures taken from far away were blurry and if action could be captured without the use of a tripod.
jdambrosio618 is offline  
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