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bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 08:50 AM

Analog cameras for safari?
I'm just curious to know:
Are there still any Fodorites who are using analog cameras on safaris?


Kavey Jul 31st, 2005 08:59 AM

I was until last year.
My last safari photographed with a film camera is the short Kenya Festival of Wildlife safari in April 2004.
Here are the pics:

There are a handful there that aren't mine (photographer name will be shown when you view the image) but most are mine. I haven't got them up anywhere else so this is the only site I can share.

I like digital as I'm willing to put the time into processing RAW (which does give me a great range) plus into processing too but it's not for everyone. For me it allows me the freedom to take as many pics as I like without worrying about cost. The cost is all upfront in the equipment itself.

bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 09:11 AM


you still have some cost with the storage media, but of course, it's much less expensive per image than traditional film.


Kavey Jul 31st, 2005 09:20 AM

The storage media can be reused and it's coming down in price all the time but... the main cost is the camera itself.

We worked out last year that if I took 100 x 36 exposure films and had them processed at a mid-range processing place that we were looking at around £700. I also figured that since I took 20 films on a short trip I'd likely take something like 100 on a long trip (such as our 9 week Southern Africa one shortly after the Kenya one above). So we decided that the savings from film costs for that one trip justified the cost of our Nikon D70 that we bought just before. We also used that camera for a trip to France in October.

We needed a second DSLR for the Antarctic and for various reasons, decided to switch to Canon. The savings in film costs from that trip not to mention the Galapagos trip this year will have more than paid for the cost of that body too.

But for those who don't go through film like I used to, a DSLR is an expensive option, no doubt about it.

I could get the features I want in an SLR for about £250 or less for a film camera but about £1000 on a digital one!!!

Still... I'm happy I made the switch. Instant feedback so can tell if I'm out on exposure, can also afford to bracket or simply take a lot more shots just on the off chance one might come out.


What about you?

lisa Jul 31st, 2005 09:49 AM

Yes, I use both. My analog body is one of the earlier Canon Rebels which has held up just great. I must be weird because I still like film & enjoy the anticipation of wondering how it will "come out", isn't that funny? My husband also still uses his old Minolta body in addition to his new digital Maxxum 7D. We have a Fuji digital too. I guess we just like having options!

bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 10:17 AM


I'm still analog, mainly for the following two reasons:

Equipment cost: To replace my analog bodies without functional loss (I need a full-frame sensor and enough memory for high-speed sequences) I have to spend about 16,000 EUR (20,000 USD). (This is the cost of a dream safari!)

I love slide shows! Up to now there's no beamer on the market that even nearly reaches the resolution of a slide projector. Compare 3000 pixels to 1280 pixels! And I really don't want to know the price of such a high-resolution beamer if it becomes available some day.

Another, more minor reason: the storage problem that librarians call "the big memory loss". If you've archived your slides you can forget them (at least for a life span). In contrast, do you expect that you can read all your CD-ROMs and DVDs in 10-15 years anymore? I wouldn't. So be prepared for a lot of copy sessions.

That all doesn't mean that I will never switch. But currently I will not.


Kavey Jul 31st, 2005 12:18 PM

No, one definitely has to take into account the longevity of storage media for digital - that said, one can back up one's digital images. If there's a fire or such in the location of one's analog originals one is sc***ed!

I totally do get the expense thing though.

Is the main reason you'd want full frame sensor to do with projecting slide shows or for large print purposes? Just curious, not attempting to convert!


bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 12:45 PM


I need the full-frame sensor for indoor shots where I really need no extension factor for my 17-35mm.

Not quite sure whether you got the "memory loss problem" right: you not only can make backups, you HAVE to do it regularly to new media. Not because of problems with the physical media but because of proprietary data formats and, most important, changing CD/DVD drive technologies. None of CD/DVD drive manufacturers will give you a guarantee that their newest drives will still read discs from a decade ago.


Kavey Jul 31st, 2005 12:53 PM

Mitch, yes I got the issue. I work in IT, I'm VERY aware of these issues indeed. But thanks for checking.

I was making the point however that, whilst one has to check one's storage and likely transfer it every few years (admittedly a pain) there are also advantages too in digital storage - one is being able to have images stored in more than one location and on more than one type of media, which reduces the chance of losing them in a more traditional way such as fire or flood.


bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 01:02 PM

I agree.


tashak Jul 31st, 2005 05:23 PM

No, but sometimes I wish I could. There is still something, hard to define, about the quality (and by this i really mean the character) of analog photos that I still love. But it's difficult enough to travel with one camera/system let alone two...
I like the instant feedback and satisfaction of digital. But I do wonder, when you add all the "extras", beyond media, if it is cost effective. Portable harddrives, extra hard drives for my computer (although they are multiuse), photoshop and its upgrades...

And it is much faster, easier & more fun to go through slides or prints than it is to review digital photos, I find. I used to sit around with friends, drink Amarula, do a quick slideshow & sort slides. It was fun. Now I spend too much time in front of a computer, alone.

bwanamitch Jul 31st, 2005 05:47 PM

Yeah, and if I have my yearly harddisk crash I'm happy that there is something else I can enjoy... without a computer!

And I'm still looking for a digital replacement for a good light table.

quality? It's the color range. Compare an analog sunset shot with a digital one, and you will see it.
And you are right, the social factor at a slide show is much bigger.
Amarula? Good idea, I will go to the fridge after this...


Kavey Aug 1st, 2005 12:31 AM

Tashak, I agree that one should never go digital on cost grounds. There are always periphery accessories to buy and these as well as the camera are never cheap.

I'm not too distressed about the computer time, partly because I'm pretty quick at it and partly because I split my free time between being intensely sociable with friends and being at home, time which I'm happy to spend processing my pics. But I try and explain to people that digital does need that effort put in to produce good pics in a way that slide doesn't.

Also, consumer digital point and shoot cameras have lots of onboard processing to boost saturation, sharpen and so on. Most DSLRs do not have this switched on by default as the idea is to leave it in the hands of the photographer. The down side is that the camera can fail to show itself off well if people do a simple side by side comparison from a point and shoot.

RAW files do provide an awful lot of leeway and being able to pull back some of the lost highlights without losing the shadows is something that definitely swayed one pro I know into considering digital more seriously. Even the pros don't expose perfectly every time.

Slide shows for friends are easy enough to arrange but...

I do agree that there's something about the touch and feel of film. I started off in a black and white darkroom and loved that tactile element of producing the images. We spent some time in a darkroom again a couple of years back and my back didn't enjoy it much though the experience was still a pleasure. It also made me realise how much faster I can work in digital. But I wouldn't dismiss that old pleasure just yet.

Everyone says film is dying but I think there are enough people around who love it that it won't be dying out just yet.

bwanamitch Aug 1st, 2005 01:09 AM


did you make slideshows when you were still analog?


Kavey Aug 1st, 2005 02:12 AM

Not myself but a number of friends did - one still uses the old slide projector and it's kind of fun viewing the pics that way. I take it from your question that you are taking issue with my statement that creating slide shows is fairly straightforward? I certainly accept that maybe there's something I'm missing in terms of that!!!

I do it more now on digital than I did on film actually. But mine are only ever to share with friends so the resolution of my digital camera is sufficient for me.

It may be that your requirements are more stringent because of what you are trying to achieve?

tashak Aug 1st, 2005 07:41 AM

I agree, color range is definitely part of it...but there is something ELSE about analog photos. I think it relates to the "edginess" of digital vs. film. I'm not a techie, so this is just a perception, but I never see the "dreamy" quality I like in analog in digital. This must relate to colors, partly, but also transitions. I know you can adjust that, sort of , in digital, but it just never achieves the same character, for me. Unfortunately, I switched from Nikon to Canon when I went digital and I doubt I could pry my old equipment from my brother's hands. It would be nice to try a safari with both...perhaps I should just buy a (cheap) Rebel analog body to use try sometime...

bwanamitch Aug 1st, 2005 09:24 AM


my question had nothing to do with your statement about creating slide shows in particular, I just felt that slide shows are nothing special for you, and I wanted to be sure.


bwanamitch Aug 1st, 2005 09:34 AM


we should meet in Africa, and then you can take your comparative shots with my equipment...

But do you think that it's really a good idea? What if you like the analog images more? Would you switch back?

You've already made your switch to digital, and I'm sure that the technology will improve.


tashak Aug 1st, 2005 11:20 AM

What would I do?... as I've said before, good lenses are forever. Buying just a film-body just wouldn't add that much cost now, and if it saves me from buying a new upgraded digital body, it could be a source of savings.
Now how much film do you take to Africa? That is the real problem...

bwanamitch Aug 1st, 2005 11:36 AM


Havn't made my packing list up to now, but I assume three weeks Zambia will be
40x 100-36
70x 200-36
40x 400-36


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