Best Bets for Cameras for Safaris?

Dec 16th, 2007, 12:30 PM
  #41  
 
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Question is, take the big one or not?

Carol, if you had a monster lens like the 400 f/2.8 and there was not an extra open seat in the jeeps for your use then I could see a group leader telling you not to bring the lens, but size-wise the 100-400 isn't THAT much bigger than a 75-300 so I would definitely bring the 100-400 instead.

Who is the professional photographer leading this tour? If he/she is a wildlife photographer then I'll bet they have a longer lens, probably a 500 or 600 f/4, but if there are 4 to 6 people in each jeep then there isn't room to use it easily.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 12:32 PM
  #42  
 
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He suggested that we'll be close enough for the 300 to be enough. My gut says no.
And there's no guarantee anywhere in the world that various creatures will line up nicely within range.
There's a saying that I agree with: I'd rather be looking at it than looking for it. That is, I'd rather have it with me and not use it, than not take it and need it.
You're right, Tom, but even the best sharpshooter needs the right 'sights' for the shot.
Carol
mydogspud is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 12:41 PM
  #43  
 
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I always think of things to add after I press "post my reply".
My lens dilemma reminds me of an early morning foray in Yukon several years ago, armed with the 75-300. All of a sudden two fabulous bull elk appeared out of nowhere - less than 15 ft. in front of me! All I could do was blurt out bad words and scramble to change the lens. The elk were on the move and I missed the shot, of course.
Bill, I don't want to name names on a public list, and I have no idea what lenses this fellow uses.
I'll take the 400 and risk pretzel-itis in the 4-person jeep. Maybe I'll be stupid and take both ... I'm a light packer anyway!!
Carol
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Dec 16th, 2007, 01:39 PM
  #44  
 
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Carol - bull elk - that's why you need two bodies with two different lens. Not to mention that you need a spare body anyway. Oh, but wait, no elk in Africa, so, never mind .

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 03:53 PM
  #45  
 
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cary999 - I do indeed have phptoshop software so I do crop, edit etc. I have a Nikon D70 BTW. Anyway, I don't know how close I'll be to the animals so I didn't know if 200 was enough. Otherwise I really like the 18-200 lens. You picture sare great and give me confidence that the 18-200 my be sufficient for my needs. I plan to "play" with a borrowed 80-400 just for the fun of it. I usually shoot in highest resolution jpeg and not raw. Do you use raw mode? If yes, what is the advantage?
lbodem is offline  
Dec 16th, 2007, 05:50 PM
  #46  
 
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1bodem - I know you'll like the 80-400 and probably want to take it And happy to hear that you use Photoshop to get the best from you photos.

The best explanation Iíve read regarding what is RAW and why use it was written by Ron Bigelow. http://www.ronbigelow.com/articles/raw/raw.htm
This a three part article and after you read it you will understand what RAW is and the advantages of processing your images in RAW.

But do I use RAW? No, I shoot at the best camera jpg quality. It really goes back to my above posting question about what are you going to do with the photos you take. I can understand using RAW for professional requirements or if you just like to squeeze out every possible bit of image quality you can get. But most people I believe put too much emphasis on things like RAW, and camera equipment, thinking that those things are the main ingredients of getting a good photograph. They are not, the first three ingredients of a good photograph are light, light, and light.

So, bottom line is I donít shoot RAW because Iím not worried about the 2 percent of my photos that might be helped if I had the RAW file. For everyone of those Iíve missed I have missed a 100 due to many many other factors ranging from rainy days to bad focus.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 04:24 AM
  #47  
 
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On my recent trip to Zambia I used 2 Nikon bodies, D2Hs & D2Xs with the following lenses, 12 -24 f/4 Tokina, Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8 VR & 300 f/2.8 VR.
Have recently sold and updated my D2Xs for the new and brilliant D300 and sold my 300 f/2.8 VR for the 200-400 VR. ;-)
Check out the images here:
http://africaddict.smugmug.com/galle...7726#203156227

Tom
I can't believe (after all our discussions) that you are still shooting JPG :-\
You should be aware that you'll get 100% better shots if you use RAW, not 2%! ;-)
.............very disappointed.

Cheers
Marc
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Dec 17th, 2007, 06:59 AM
  #48  
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Thanks BillH, peterboy, cary, and Chris (I'm sure I missed someone in there) for your advice.

I'm not too inclined to stick with Canon based only on my glass. I have the lens that came with my Canon Rebel (circa 2000) and then I received my telephoto zoom lense as a gift. I believe it's a Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6.

I didn't mention but I'd like to take a fair number of photos with an attachable flash. Does that make any difference in what you would recommend? You take a fair number of pictures in dark conditions I imagine while on those night safaris. I realize this is a silly question, but you do use flash correct on these drives?

Love that you mentioned B&H, Chris. I bought my other digital camera there (actually in the store). Really impressive.
Katie_H is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 07:17 AM
  #49  
 
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Katie, you probably have a 28-80 mm kit lens that came with the film Rebel (or similar), plus the 75-300 ... this is a nice 2 lens kit for safari, you just need a body like the Rebel XTi ... if you want to switch to Nikon you'd probably only be out around $300 in lenses if the 75-300 is the one without IS.

The lenses you have will actually seem to be better quality with the digital camera than with film because the digital sensor is smaller than 35 mm film so you are using the 'sweet spot' in the middle of the lens.

As for flash, the basic cameras like the Rebel (and Nikon equivalents) have a small built-in flash that you can use with smaller lenses. The bigger pro lenses will block the flash but the lenses you have will work fine with the on-camera flash. For more power you can buy a separate flash unit.

Bill
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Dec 17th, 2007, 07:40 AM
  #50  
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Thanks Bill.. I have a separate flash unit; but I have not used it a long time (but did use it with the Rebel).

It's looking like the Rebel might make the most sense for me. I can always upgrade in another 4 years or so if I really don't think it's "enough".
Katie_H is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #51  
 
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Marc - say you "You should be aware that you'll get 100% better shots if you use RAW, not 2%!" Maybe I mis-understand you or you me - but- when I said 2% I meant that 98% are good WITHOUT RAW. (And also "better shots" do not come from RAW but from the photographer).

Congratulations on your new D300. I hear that the JPGS out of the D300 are so good that you no longer need to shoot RAW!!!!!
I'll probably pass on the D300. Also I have no interest in the FX format (D3), I like the crop factor of the DX format.

Lot of nice photos on your Smugmug site, thanks.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 12:21 PM
  #52  
 
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It's just a passing tongue in cheek shot Gary.
I CAN understand times when we just set the camera for Jpegs, family outings, parties etc. But when one sets out on safari, shooting RAW is, IMHO essential to eck out every last bit of quality from your beautiful well lit images.
And yes, I agree with you that what comes first is the photographer and then looking for that "perfect light" ;-)
Gary, do yourself a favor and get the D300,
the metering and AF (not to mention the better ISO capabilities) runs rings around the D200, heck even the D2Xs! Which is what I sold to buy this beauty!
Cheers
Marc
africaddict is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 12:24 PM
  #53  
 
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I need to get some sleep, my apologies Tom, for calling you Gary ! Ooops
Damn, this site for it's inability to edit! >
africaddict is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 01:03 PM
  #54  
 
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Ok, Marc, no problem. But please don't talk me into the D300
BTW, what program do you use to process the RAW?

regards - tom
ps - you can edit a posting if you haven't closed the browser. In that same browser just "go back" arrow until your post comes back up in edit. Then edit and post again. Works for me, YMMV.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 02:28 PM
  #55  
 
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Katie, regarding flash, I have not previously used one, but I am planning to get a Canon 580exII and Better Beamer and learn to use them this year. Wildlife phtographers I have talked to swear by this combination.

Regarding your existing flash, I have a friend who is a pro photographer who was using an older flash unit (550ex). He indicated that this flash was designed for film cameras and that the flash metering with that unit was prone to errors (i.e., too much or too little flash). He told me the new generation of Canon flashes (430EX and 580EX) are much more reliable in this regard.

Chris

P.S. Tom, you KNOW you need the D300 and 200-400/4VR!
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Dec 17th, 2007, 02:39 PM
  #56  
 
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Chis, Marc - whether there is a D300 in my future may depend a lot on the (forthcoming) dpreview.com review of it. If it's basically just a stop better for ISO noise, then I think I'll pass for now. If its JPGs are as good as RAW, well, now were talking

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 06:18 PM
  #57  
 
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Hi again Tom

Please don't just take my word on the D300.
I was using it the other day with my 200-400VR with it in 51pt AF with 3D tracking on Dragonfly's around the swimming pool and it just didn't miss a beat, it really is that good. Far superior to the D2Xs! 8-)
By all means wait for Dpreview (full) review, but I can (almost) guarantee it will receive a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! ;-)
Have a listen here to the guys from Nikonians talking about the D300
http://www.nikona.org/podcasts/NPC-ID-2007-12-06.mp3

Cheers
Marc
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Dec 17th, 2007, 07:21 PM
  #58  
 
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Tom, I have been hearing a lot of praise for the D300 AF system on the Fred Miranda Forum too. I think that is the D300's primary selling (buying?) feature in my mind. Dpreview doesn't usually do AF tests, so you won't get a lot of detail about that feature when the review comes out.

Chris
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Dec 17th, 2007, 08:40 PM
  #59  
 
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thanks Marc for the link to the nikonian podcast. I just listened to it. Those guys almost sold me on the D300!!!! The AF 3D sounds great.

Now, if, should I, perhaps, go for the D300 should I sell the D200 or the D40X? The D40x with the 18-200 lens is sure a sweet little setup. So I think I'd sell the D200 since it is most like the D300. Even though my $$$ loss ($1750 new, now $900 used) on the D200 would be more than if I just gave the D40X away. Yet, that $900 would still pay for half of the D300. Perhaps, early next year.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2007, 10:41 PM
  #60  
 
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Good one Tom!
That's what I would do also. Keep your D40x and sell the D200.
If you can stretch the budget, also get the MB-D10 battery grip, which will get you to 8fps, and much longer battery life.
..............Now, if I can just convince you to shoot RAW (at least on Safari)

BTW, where are you off to next?

Cheers
Marc
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