camera and binocular recommendations for the amateur

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Jun 29th, 2010, 05:19 PM
  #41
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forgot to mention that the mentioned non-DSLRs, have image stabilizers, again a budget issue with DSLR
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Jun 29th, 2010, 06:24 PM
  #42
 
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aby's info on a P&S camera's video capability is very good. We very much like to take short video clips on safari, the action and sound works really nice. I then put selected edited video and stills on a DVD that can play on any TV just like a movie DVD. Great for sending off to family and friends interested in your safari. To make the DVD I use the very easy to use and very versatile program ProShow Gold - http://tinyurl.com/28bjcwg

And I agree with aby's theme that todays super zooms P&S will do everything and more that you want them too. DSLR's are best used by those very into digital photography willing to haul around many pounds of camera bodies, lenses, and associated kit.

regards - tom
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Jun 29th, 2010, 07:52 PM
  #43
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DSLR's are best used by those very into digital photography willing to haul around many pounds of camera bodies, lenses, and associated kit.

Tom, This statement is a bit off the mark, don't you think? You've seen my photos and my video -- they did not require "many pounds" of equipment. I have two very lightweight lens and hardly any "associated kit".

Aby; I TOTALLY agree. Can not even begin to imagine a safari without binoculars for each and every one. I enterpret CarrieT's statement to be a bit like my mother. Prior to her cataract surgery, she insisted that she could see just fine. Post surgery, she marvelled at red tulips - realized only then that she hadn't seen colors for years. We don't miss what we don't know.
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Jun 29th, 2010, 10:21 PM
  #44
 
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"Tom, This statement is a bit off the mark, don't you think?"

Maybe a "-little- bit" off
But basically no. What photographic advantage(s) do you think you have by using DSLR over a P&S? I/you/anyone will never (will hardly ever) see it by looking at 800pixel size images on the web.

Personally I use both. But I'm a bit of a photo gearhead from shooting 35mm slides beginning 1970. If what you want are prints no bigger than 8x10 inch and putting images up on the web then a P&S camera will work fine. But if you are very, very, fussy about image quality, making prints larger than 11x14 inches, a pro selling images, or just like to use DSLR type cameras, then you need a DSLR. One of the main reasons I use DSLR on safari is that I am using the camera a lot, looking through the viefinder. I hate the electronic view finders on P&S cameras. To really enjoy the camera I must have the optical SLR type finder. But for casual everyday shots around home I use the little Canon S5 P&S.

And, and, FWIW I also do not care to use binoculars!!! Yes, I have them but no longer even take them. They would be a must for birding, but I'm not into identifying birds. Hard to explain, but if I'm so far away that I need binoculars to see the elephants, then I'm simply way too far away, period. I like my big 5 up close and personal

regards - tom
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Jun 29th, 2010, 11:37 PM
  #45
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Thanks again to all of you--wow, didn't realize this topic would stir such passion!

I think all of you should just come on safari with me and bring along your cameras and binoculars.

long2travel---where are you going? Wondering if our paths will cross? (I arrive in Nairobi 8/20, then off to Tortilis, Sweetwaters and Offbeat Mara Camp).

Any more advise on this topic? There's still room on my list!
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Jun 30th, 2010, 12:05 AM
  #46
 
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Something that hasn't been mentioned here is the sound quality, which even in very good cameras/camcorders is usually mediocre at best. Most people don't care much about sound, but if you want to have a nice record of ambience or a few animal sounds, a small portable recorder (< 200gr) will perform very well. Look for Zoom, Sony, Olympus, Edirol. Someone I know was camping in Botswana and one night he left his device recording for a full 7 hours while he was asleep. When he got home he listened to it and was amazed with the multitude of different sounds. He also wondered how close the hyenas, elephants and hippos approached while he was asleep
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Jun 30th, 2010, 03:10 AM
  #47
 
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elizabethj- We'll just miss you. We'll arrive in Nairobi on the 8th after a few days in Cairo then on to Samburu Sopa and Mara Intrepids. We're leaving late on the 15th. I have a feeling we'll be talking a lot more about shopping and packing before August gets here. But if not, hope you have a great trip!

BTW, as you noticed, those on this forum are quite passionate about photography. Just got my replacement teeny tiny camera, a Canon SD1400 Elph. In Orange! Can't decide about the big one yet. Waiting for this thread to be done before I decide (ha).
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Jun 30th, 2010, 06:32 AM
  #48
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And, and, FWIW I also do not care to use binoculars!!!

Oh...let's argue about binaculars. I want my big five up close and personal too. I also want to be able to see every little detail while I'm at it. Watching those baby lion cubs nursing in the bush - even though we were about as close as humanly possible -- with my binos I could see their little faces. Watching a giraffe wrap its long tongue ever so gingerly between needles to capture a tiny green leaf of the thorn tree. Watching the feathers of exotic birds ruffle in the breeze and discovering the hidden colors underneath. I want to not only see the animals, I want to see ever detail possible....and I want all the help I can get. I'd sooner leave my shoes at home, than my binoculars!

I use my binoculars on the back porch when hummingbirds come to my feeder. The feeder is about 12 inches away, just on the outside of the porch screen and the hummers are quite tame. I don't need the binoculars to see them, but I love watching their tongue litterally dart in and out while feeding, watching them clean their face to get the sticky nectar off, watching the interaction between males and females or mothers and young. I love watching my wren babies with their mouths stretched open to the limit awaiting the return of mother with a morsel of insect. Or watching her on the day she coaxes them out of the nest to finally try their wings and fly. There are lots and lots of details to be seen with binoculars no matter how close one is, Tom. Surely you don't want to miss all that fun.
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Jun 30th, 2010, 12:13 PM
  #49
 
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Earlier in this post someone suggested this free guide:

You might also get some tips from this free guide to safari photography http://www.african-safari-pictures.c...otography.html

- has anyone used this?
I'm at work so I can't really look at it here but was wondering if it is worth it?
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Jun 30th, 2010, 03:43 PM
  #50
 
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TC - binocluars, close-up, I hadn't thought of using them as a - MICROSCOPE ! .
But I have turned them around backwards and that does give a different perspective

regards - tom
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Jun 30th, 2010, 04:19 PM
  #51
 
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Tom, no binocs? Really?

For anybody reading this and trying to decide whether they should take binocs, Tom is an avid photographer and takes great photos. No binocs might be common among professional and serious amateur photographers because they are focused (ha ha) on capturing an artistic image.

The average safari traveler, even if you are not a birder, and even if you have a nice camera, should bring binoculars to avoid disappointment. Everybody else is going to be looking at something interesting (cool bird, lions in the grass, jackal behind a termite mound, etc) through their glasses and you'll be going, "Huh, what are you seeing?"

Don't think you'll be able to borrow someone else's because they won't want to give them up. I've told people, "No," when asked for a look because all the time, money, and effort I spent to have an opportunity to view a special sighting and get a better look through binocs is not something I will sacrifice because somebody didn't pack their own pair.

Plus it gets annoying when binocs are constantly passed around shaking the vehicle as people are trying to get pictures.

Binocs are a key item to pack. I've seen quite a few packing lists from travel companies for wildlife trips to Africa and elsewhere. The one item in caps and bold is binoculars. Their use as a microscope is just an added bonus.

And Tom, I might lend you my binoculars once if you ask nice. But just once.
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Jun 30th, 2010, 07:54 PM
  #52
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I hadn't thought of using them as a - MICROSCOPE

Isn't it wonderful how you can learn something new everyday, Tom?!

You tell'em Lynn -- I've seen spouses refuse to lend their binoculars to each other on safari.
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Jun 30th, 2010, 08:35 PM
  #53
 
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Really, no binocs. Perhaps, it's because I spend so much time looking through the camera that I'm tired of more looking through "glass"? And also a camera telephoto lens is a "monocular".

Wonder how binoc usage is with other avid photographers here, MikeM, Sundowner, Andy B., lbj2, Twaffle, Sniktawk, HariS, and who-else?

And thanks for the offer Lynn, are they Swarovski? http://tinyurl.com/243wvme

regards - tom
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Jul 3rd, 2010, 03:15 PM
  #54
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I'm going shopping today. I've read everyone's comments over again, have put together a list and will just have to see what I can find.

We don't have a Dick's or Cabela's here (or anything like them that I know of). We do have a Best Buy, Cost-Co and a major sporting good store that I'll check out. Probably go to a specialized camera store for some personal advice/attention first. Then, after checking out all the stores, I'll probably be totally confused and come home with a headache. But hey, that's what that evening glass of wine is for....

I like your suggestions about taking a photography class, so will have to remember to ask about that.

long2travel--hope you have a fantastic trip! I can totally relate to your comments about thinking we have so much time to get things done, then start to panic since it's only ~6 weeks away!

I must say, this thread was thoroughly entertaining (not to mention helpful and appreciated). Can't help but wonder if a lot of you know each other personally or just via cyberspace??
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Jul 6th, 2010, 11:44 AM
  #55
 
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And just when we thought we had exhausted these subjects -BANG- dpreview.com puts up their group review of 9 super-zoom cameras.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q110superzoomgroup/
Bottom line is they like them all but give first choice to the Panasonic FZ-35/38 with the Canon PowerShot SX20 IS next. All of these cameras differ from other compact zooms in that they have an eye-viewfinder (electronic). And longer zoom ranges, the FZ-35 being 27mm-486mm equivalent, typical of most.

regards - tom
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Jul 7th, 2010, 04:08 PM
  #56
 
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Tom- This is the review I've been waiting for! Thanks for posting it. I started out looking at the Kodak 26x and then "focused" (ha) on the Olympus 30x zoom. Now, I see the disclaimer about them wanting to include the Olympus but couldn't get a test camera in time from Olympus.

I guess I'll have to spend EVEN MORE time standing in Staples testing the camera. Even some of the employees think I work there now.
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Jul 7th, 2010, 11:00 PM
  #57
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Hi Tom,
Thanks so much for your post--I just had a brief moment to check the site and hopefully will have some dedicated time to review it more in the next few days. Life (i.e. work, dogs, yard) has been consuming my down time.

I did make it into town this weekend (4th of July---what was I thinking?) to do some camera and binocular shopping. Got to check out the recommendations from everyone and then some. And yes, as I predicted, came home confused and with a headache. Didn't buy anything but didn't expect to yet. Gotta digest the info and read everyone's comments once again.

BUT! I am making progress.....
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Jul 7th, 2010, 11:39 PM
  #58
 
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Hi elizabethj, I'm delighted to report that we leave a week from today and as of today, are all set to go, camera and binoc-wise. I've mostly been a lurker on your thread, but it was a great help in the process. We're taking our fabulous Canon G10 plus the Panasonic FZ35, which just arrived and seems awesome. We were lucky to have friends lend us binoculars (2 Nikon Monarch 8x42s, mentioned above, and 2 very compact Steiner Safari Pros - both seem excellent, at least in our back yard, and I'm glad we didn't have to make a decision).
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Jul 8th, 2010, 02:20 AM
  #59
 
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Hi Tom, did someone mention my name? I love my binoculars and have them next to me all the time. Not glued to my face but I get the vehicle stopped at frequent intervals, and then scan the bush and the horizon. Sometimes I see something unusual that is worth finding a road to get closer, or even off road if that is allowed. For instance, my binoculars found me a new born white rhino at Lewa far off in the distance in some bushes. But near enough to a road to get quite close without upsetting them and then we didn't need the binocs at all for viewing.

I don't tend to look through them for long periods of time but I use them for finding the subject for my next photograph or just to marvel at something I would never get close enough to see … such as some of the raptors up high in the trees, or the bush buck or reed buck etc.

Oh, and I agree … viewfinder is important, especially out in that bright African sun.
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Jul 8th, 2010, 09:38 AM
  #60
 
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twaffle, good to hear from you on this.

CC lucky you only a few days until safari!!! I'm sure you will love the FZ35 and remember its video capability. Safari video action with natural sound is awesome! Got enough memory cards???

L2T - I'm sure you now know more about the cameras than the staff at Staples

EJ - fun to have you keeping us informed of your progress and decision.

regards - tom
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