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best camera for semi-novice for safari in tanzania & kenya (nikon p500)

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Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:22 PM
  #21
 
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"... And of course the -man- uses the biggest, biggest-zoom camera because it's the more manly one!! . (Same holds true for all cameras and binoculars and guns)...."

Tom, Thanks for clearing that up. My wife and I had this discussion, and now I need to show her your post!

(That said, she'll undoubtedly get the better pictures with her point-and-shoot, as she'll just take the picture while I'm still changing settings, etc.)
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Jul 3rd, 2011, 07:31 PM
  #22
 
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You're welcome.
Oh yeah baby, and I forgot POWER TOOLS!!! Big honking fuse blowing power tools!!!

Some women seem to have a natural talent for seeing and taking a good photo, my Carolyn does. I just have to watch her camera (Canon S5) to make sure she hasn't accidentally flipped it into some weird picture mode.

regards - tom
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Nov 29th, 2014, 05:23 AM
  #23
 
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Tom and others, interested in hearing your thoughts now 3 1/2 years later. My head is swimming.....$400 for Canon sx50, Nikon P 900 and Sony HX 400v, quality but not as much Zoom Panasonic FZ200 ($300) Thanks!
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Nov 29th, 2014, 10:42 AM
  #24
 
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Thoughts from a P&S super zoom user who has also used and liked Sony DSC HX1 & Panasonic CMC FZ40 and who values photography on wildlife trips: Canon SX50 HS.

The 50x optical zoom, which will actually go to 100 or 200 digital zoom (how's that for manly?), is especially good if you are taking bird photos or will use the camera for jungle trips. Near 50 zoom will bring those distant and shy species closer.

I do very little video and cannot comment on video or audio quality of the cameras.

Any of those name brands with 30-ish zoom should provide you with great wildlife photos.

Equally or more important to which of these quality cameras you choose is familiarity with the camera and practice and feedback by looking at the pics you take.

There is one collage linked here that includes a leopard cub shot with 100-200 digital zoom from Canon SX50 that I think looks good for that much DIGITAL zoom. The 4 shots with the leopard laying on the branch with no body parts hanging down are the digital zooms.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...=1EctGLhwxavyg

Good luck in your camera shopping and safari.
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Nov 29th, 2014, 12:09 PM
  #25
 
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Thanks Lynn for spotting and replying to this old thread you had previously provided helpful info. Very nice leopard collage!
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Nov 30th, 2014, 08:08 PM
  #26
 
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Well, so how is everyone, 3 1/2 years later? Wonder how many of the "old gang" still follows this forum?

My last safari was in May of 2012 in South Africa, near Kruger at Kings Camp. And since then I have not been on an aeroplane nor do I intend to fly ever, never, again. Thus, no more safaris for me, been there eight times, love to go back, but no flying.

I don't keep up with the superzoom cameras, new models every year. But as far as specs go, any lens zoom 12x or more is fine, I would hesitate to even try a 20x or 30x zoom. Yes, you will get a picture but . . . And digital zoom is a gimmick. As for megapixels, sensor, anything over 12MP is fine. So that narrows your choices down to about 200!!! Bigger numbers for zoom and MP are just to make you think you will get better photos. Wrong, the camera is a tool, and how you use it is what counts. Or - it's the Indian not the arrows that counts!

Adding to what atravelynn says above, choose a camera you feel you can use easily. That you can manipulate the the controls easily. And that if photos start turning out bad, you can figure out what is wrong. And if you have to worry about something, worry about light. Light, its relationship to the subject and you is what matters most.

BTW, I went to that shutterfly site for the leopard pics. But I could not get the pics larger than about 3x5 inches at best. So no comment.

Happy Safari All - Tom
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Dec 1st, 2014, 06:40 AM
  #27
 
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Reunion on the photo inquiry thread! What dya' know? Hope all is well with you, Tom. Maybe South Africa in your future plans? Why don't you share that quote about amateur photographers, pros, and light? That would be enlightening (ha ha) on this topic.

All's fine on my end. Doing well enough to buy that new Canon and take it on some trips! I've added piano playing to my hobbies since 3.5 years ago.

I wonder if there are Cyber Monday deals if you've decided on a particular brand, deladeb.

Regarding the 3x5 leopards...The whole collage expands beyond 3x5 if in slide show view, but each individual shot is about 3x5, not bigger. That's the downside of digital zoom--if you enlarge it does not look so good. But I was just using the collage as an example of how even the digital zoom is pretty good. But I'd make a decision based on the OPTICAL capabilities of the camera not the digital zoom capabilities.

Also, even though these high end P&Ss have image stabilization, it is a good idea to use a tripod, monopod, or bean bag to steady your shots.

Here's a Canon SX50 HS "promotion" I wrote on safaritalk, after my first outing with the Canon.

"My pitch for the Canon SX50 HS, a high-end point and shoot: In addition to 50x optical zoom, there is up to 100 or even 200 digital zoom, good for identifying birds and for photos that won’t be enlarged. Quality at 100 and 200 definitely suffers, as with any digital zooming. I’ve used digital P&Ss by Nikon, Sony (3 kinds), and Panasonic (some of those cameras were used on this very trip) and have been very happy with the results. But this new Canon SX50 HS has the most to offer IMHO. The click, click, click, continuous shoot feature (in the P setting that retains all the automatic settings if you so chose making it very easy to use) goes almost forever with no buffering. The even speedier 10 shots per second function has a fairly fast recovery time so you don’t miss pictures due to camera recovery time. I wait an eternity after my Sony HX1’s 10 shots per second burst. Eternity being about 15 seconds. The Canon has a reasonable megapixel count at 12. Too high of MP and I think quality/clarity actually suffers."

Here's an album of Canon shots you can scroll through.

The DIGITAL, not optical zoom shots are
59 60 61 90 91 92 176 192 212 213 214 218
All the rest are optical.

The macaws on the clay are 150 feet away, challenging conditions. A tripod was used. The bright red/orange Cock of the Rock birds were photographed in dark, leafy, bad conditions, probably 20-60 feet away. Many of those shots were plain old Auto settings, letting the camera figure out how to handle the conditions. Tripod or monopod was used for these birds. The otters on the log were photographed in harsh, direct noon sunlight on a slightly moving boat at 40-100 feet away, and the otters were often in motion (not ideal conditions) using a bean bag.

http://share.shutterfly.com/action/w...=1EctGLhwxav6A

I think the Canon did well under tough conditions, not to mention temps of 98 F and intense jungle humidity and rain. Another lady I was with had her Panasonic FZ40 quit working every now and then, we think because of humidity. Canon never faltered.

Now I must get back to work at my job as a Canon customer service rep. Just kidding. No association with Canon.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 12:11 PM
  #28
 
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HI Lynn
You, sbd2, KayeN and one two others of the elders seen here. I never got into SafariTalk - http://safaritalk.net/ . But highly recommend it for safari discussions and information. Never been a fan of TripAdvisor, too many posters make judgements about which they have no comparisons. Sure it was "The best safari ever". Because it has been their ONLY safari.

Anyway, there are, as you know, three basic categories of photographers:
Photographers who worry about camera equipment are amateurs.
Photographers who worry about money are professional. And
Photographers who worry about light are photographers.

I have not acquired any new photo gear for five years. The only "serious" shooting I ever did (or do) was on safari. Some of those shots at smugmug. FWIW at - http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/ . Like I say, I now hate flying. I expressed that at dinner at Kings Camp last safari and the lady said - "Well, I guess it's just a necessary evil". I replied - "Evil it is, but for me not necessary".

Actually I lied a little, I did get a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX150. It is a little pocket camera that I carry in a pocket all the time when on trips. Trips like a 28 day cruise in the Pacific out/in LA Harbor (no flying required). Like this last May-June a road trip driving across USA, 4 weeks, 29 States, 9,450 miles. That little Sony did a fine job for both stills and video.

But a Canon or Nikon DSLR can not be beat for the best (and biggest) photos under all light conditions. It depends on what you want to do with the photos. And if you are not using digital processing such as Photoshop, LightRoom, Gimp, or such, you are missing half of the capabilities of digital.

And you mention camera failure (FZ40), if you care about safari photos, always have a 2nd backup camera. On one safari I needed it.

Would also recommend the site http://www.birdphotographers.net . It is much more than about birds. There is a wildlife forum with many safari photos put up. The/your photos are commented on and you will learn a LOT. Here is an example of a rhino photo - http://www.birdphotographers.net/for...e-Investigator

CU - Tom
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Dec 1st, 2014, 12:15 PM
  #29
 
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DANG IT !!! Forgot to ask about your thigh high waders!!!
Tom
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Dec 1st, 2014, 01:47 PM
  #30
 
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They're hanging in the back closet!

"always have a 2nd backup camera." So true. I take 2 and have needed the backup at least twice.

Nice trips with no flights needed, Tom. Kings Camp looks very inviting from your photos.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 03:28 PM
  #31
 
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I got a deal today on a Panasonic FZ70 for $229 which included a memory card and case. A savings of $170 over the other choices and it had good reviews.
Tom, glad you are still traveling and shootin'.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 04:05 PM
  #32
 
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FZ70 for $229 - where? Local store? My sister could be interested in it. Internet prices I'm finding are $300 or more. It is officially a 2013 model so being closed out. That's fine.

regards - tom
ps - my sister is using a Canon S2, circa 2005. Still works but anything 2010 after will markedly beat it. She occasionally takes snaps of wildlife on their farm, and often in morning or early evening, so better ISO capability would help her.
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Dec 1st, 2014, 05:13 PM
  #33
 
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I don't know, Tom, between the 'old gang' and 'elders' I'm feeling more geriatric than usual.

I can empathize with your antipathy for flying. I've been making annual trips to Africa since '03, but the last couple of years have been a struggle. The thought of the whole flying rigmarole takes a big bite out of the joy of the trips. In March I returned from a short trip to Botswana/South Africa, but, unlike all previous trips, have not planned my return...at least yet.

Lynn, I really like the results you got with your Canon. Seems to give excellent sharpness and color rendition. Oy, now I'll decide I need one of them! I have an FZ35, which is a second backup to my Canon 7D, but don't like it much.

Nice catching up a tad with you guys, but I really must go take my Metamucil now.
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 02:56 AM
  #34
 
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Tom- Send your sister to Costco, free shipping if she's not near one (for the FZ70)
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 06:33 AM
  #35
 
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Reunion indeed.

For deladeb, I'd encourage you to consider a camcorder that can take both video and still photos. I got one a few years ago (a Sony that uses a hard drive), and I found it to be fantastic. I love having videos -- they capture both the look and the sound of the safari.

Here are a couple of examples (note: when seen through youtube/vimeo, these videos look very grainy; when I watch at home on my blu-ray, they are true HD and look terrific). Photos are certainly great, but videos bring the memories to life for me:

springboks cavorting - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGgtqLXpDO0
wild dogs socializing - https://vimeo.com/1460950
young elephant having a mudbath - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBygTLWLQ5M

My safari days have almost surely come to an end. I took my first trip to Zambia a few months ago (South Luangwa NP, Nsefu and Kaingo camps), and it was fantastic ... until I took sick and needed to get to Joburg. I'll spare you the details, but it was not pretty. I've reached a point in life/health/mobility where being half a day or more from health care is risky behavior. [No crying towels, please: I've been incredibly lucky to go on safari so many times, and it's not exactly a burden when one's traveling is limited to, say, Hong Kong and Paris and Tokyo and Venice]
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 01:12 PM
  #36
 
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Thanks deladeb for Costco. I went over and saw FZ70 at Costco. Looks great. But it is probably at least 25% bigger and heavier than her old Canon S2. That could influence her. I've sent her the Costco link. At $229 it is a steal!! Do three things before taking it on safari - use it, use it and use it a lot.

Agree with DT that videos are great on safari. I do them also. Nothing like motion with sound. Only problem is they have to be SEVERLY edited else family/friends will groan at the mention of them!! Your new FZ70 will take great videos, practice with it. And learn how to edit them!!!

And agree DT that when one reaches their golden years medical issues force priorities. I've seen more doctors in the last 3 years than all my total 65 years before then!!!

regards - tom
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Dec 2nd, 2014, 07:05 PM
  #37
 
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Don! I think we last corresponded about Zambia. Glad to know you went and hope you got to enjoy most of it. I know you at least got to see eles in the mud. All of your videos capture what a still cannot. You can watch those instead of flying back to Africa.

Great deal on the Panny! Way to go.

I'll buy the next round of Metamucil!

What we all need is our own private jet. That would solve the flying problems.
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Dec 3rd, 2014, 03:37 PM
  #38
 
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Private jet! As they used to say in Guinness ads, BRILLIANT! Hmm, wonder how many miles that'll be?
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Dec 25th, 2014, 01:29 PM
  #39
 
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A camera that I would seriously consider for a safari is the Fuji Finepix S1. It can be found for under $400. It may not be my favorite superzoom out there, but it is well suited to a Safari and for a relative novice. Reasons are as follow:

1. It is weather sealed so can be used in rainy and dusty conditions.
2. It is a very ruggedly built camera.
3. It has a flip screen which is very handy, as well as an eye level viewfinder which IMO is essential.
4. It is fast, fast start up, fast autofocus, fast clearing of cache when used in burst. That can allow one to get shots that might otherwise be missed.
5. It has a 50X zoom which is plenty.
6. Image quality is quite good for a superzoom although not up to that of the Nikon P600 or new (and 2x the price) Panasonic FX1000. It tends to be a bit oversharpened in JPEG but is excellent at full zoom.
7. It shoots RAW if that is important to you.
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Jan 10th, 2015, 10:13 AM
  #40
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I used a panasonic fz200 on my trip back in february 2014 to tanzania. It has a good telephoto lens that allowed me to capture animals in good clarity from far away. It has a lot of automatic/semi automatic settings and a manual mode as well. One limitation is the focal point range. I can recommend this camera based on my experience. I would also recommend buying high speed cards. I wanted to use the burst feature to run off several pictures at once or at different exposures but found that my picture card was too slow to handle it.
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