Camera for Africa

Feb 9th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 11
Camera for Africa

I need to purchase a new camera for my upcoming African trip. I currently have an old Minolta 35mm that I absolutely love but stopped using about 2 years ago when I purchased a 5.0 megapixal Olympus Camedia. This camera is fantastic and quality is great but has no special lenses. I'm looking to buy a digital that isn't too large. Do you think I still need to bring the old 35mm? What's everyone using in Africa these days?
ritzyt is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't think you should decide based on what other people are bringing, it should be what you are most comfortable using. I love my 18 year old Minolta, and I know its quips and quirks. My husband man's the video camera, and brings his own still cameras. Then, just for good measure, we bring an inexpensive point and shoot. I'll never forget meeting someone at camp one night during our stay in the Mara and their one camera went bust on them, and they had two other parks to visit. Better to be safe than sorry - just make sure you are comfortable with what you bring.
SusanLynne is offline  
Feb 9th, 2004, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 56
I agee with Susan that it's really good to know your camera, what it can do and what it can't. On your question of lenses, I do think it's helps to have zoom lenses for taking pictures of the animals.

I would recommend a 300mm zoom, especially if the county you go to doesn't alow off road driving. When I was in Tanzania it was really hard to get close to the animals because you can't go off the road, and my zoom lenses really helped. Keep in mind that you need more light the longer the lense you get, so you should become familar with your f stops and film types.
roderick is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 04:07 AM
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When we visited I used by 35mm 140zoom, but had a 35mm 90zoom as backup, and threw in a few diposable 35mm - all just in case.

My partner took his digital and until I suggested he also bring his 35mm Canon EOS a very good camera. After some protestation figuring the digital would be enough, he relented and brought 35mm Canon.

Luckily he did, at Digitals are know to have a large appetite for batteries. And sure enough, the 35mm Canon came in handy often as batteries ran down.

So regardless, be certain you are comfortable with which ever camera you take with you, have backup camera of some sort, even a few disposables, have extra batteries, films, and memory sticks.

Anything can go wrong with a camera and the middle of Africa is not the place to look for a camera shop - have backups. Enjoy.
Feb 10th, 2004, 04:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Absolutely take more than one camera... what with batteries, dust and other unforeseen issues, you may well find one camera stops working.

I'd agree 100% with taking a camera you know - if the lighting situation is unusual you might want to bracket a shot to ensure you get the results and it needs to be something you can do easily.

In terms of digital - we took a digital camcorder and bought two batteries that were longer life than the one that came with it - and would leave one in camp to charge whilst using the other. One of these lasted for a day of shooting.

But I won't be taking a digital stills camera simply because I'd want one with high enough resolution (pixels) to allow me to print some large prints of my favourite images on getting home. And I'd want an SLR. And those cost serious money which I'm spending on the trip itself.

So I'll be taking my newish (2000) Minolta SLR and my older (1983ish) Minolta SLR film cameras for the trip even though it means carrying an excessive amount of film around with me.

We'll take the digicamcorder again too.

For lenses I'd recommend my Sigma 100-300mm and 28-135mm as a good combination or perhaps a newer 28-300mm instead.

Longer than 300mm is VERY hard to keep steady without a tripod and you won't easily be able to use a tripod in most situations.
Kavey is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 646
Message: Previous posters echo very good points. As to our upcoming trip to Tanzania/Kenay (June) we will be taking a Minolta 35mm SLR with a couple of lens and an Olympus 740 digital (10X lens zoom)3.2 mp unit. And the daughter may also take a Pentax SLR 35mm. In the last several months both she and I have been using the digital unit on a variety of subjects including snakes, deer and birds in the back yard, landscapes, flowers, etc to get comfy with the unit. As other posters have mentioned we will take plenty of film and memory cards as well as extra batteries in addition to zip lock bags for storage. I may still take a flash unit for one of the slr's for inlodge shots but the digital also has that feature. Plus, it fits quite nicely in my larger vest pocket. If you do get another digital work with it so you are very comfy as some opportunities are quite unexpected. Numerous times I recall seeing game literally at roadside yet we did not get advanced notice until we drove adjactent to "that tree with the high grass around it" only to see two hyena lounging there, cresting a small rise to have two warthogs run by us or the leopard in the N. crater that strolled across the road a few feet in front of us. Enjoy. Dick
rsnyder is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 121
I have much less photography experience than most of the folks who have already posted but I've been researching a long-zoom digital camera for a future trip. I have big concerns about the proprietary batteries that most digitals use these days, but since it would cost little more than a nice SLR zoom lens I feel it's worth it.

Check out the 4mp Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10. It's much heavier than other digital zooms (1.2 lb), but comes with a 12x Leica lens (I think the equivalent is over 400 for a 35mm) with F2.8 throughout. Other threads have reported good success with the Olympus 10x zooms, but the Panasonic has the advantage of image stabilization, so you can hand-hold even at long telephotos. I haven't had a chance to test-drive one, but you may want to check it out. I think it can be had online for under $540.
99mkw is offline  

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