Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > Camera help 4 safari to Tanz, Kenya, & Rwanda: Lightweight & zoom a must!
Notices

Camera help 4 safari to Tanz, Kenya, & Rwanda: Lightweight & zoom a must!

Reply

Mar 19th, 2010, 09:27 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
Camera help 4 safari to Tanz, Kenya, & Rwanda: Lightweight & zoom a must!

I'm looking at a new camera for our safari in Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, and would appreciated any comments on my idea so far. I want a camera and lens that is very good quality, shoots in RAW if I select it, but is not too heavy.

Right now I am only looking at items which are Canon SLR (won't get Nikon) as I already have Canon. I've seen the new Canon EOS Rebel T2i and that is what appeals to me for the body. I can get it in a kit with a Canon EF-S/18-55 IS lens.

The lens I am looking to pair with this for my zoom, is the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. I can look at a 400mm zoom if one is available and you suggest that is better, but I think many people here use only 300mm.

Lightweight is a very big priority, as holding a heavy object up for long periods of time is difficult for me, and this body and lens are relatively lightweight. But quality is also high up on the list, and having the right length zoom is too.

I am open to a suggestion of a point & shoot also, doesn't have to be Canon, but I already own a Canon G10, and I do not believe the zoom on that is good enough for this trip.

I was a photographer in my past life, but I do not want to bother with professional equipment as for me now, lighter is better and good enough.

We will have a private vehicle on safari, if this helps with suggestions.
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 19th, 2010, 11:10 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
I think the two zooms, 18-55 and 70-300 would be perfect combo. Do you already have a Canon DSLR body? Even if you do, two bodies are great, a lens on each. That is way I do it and is wonderful simply to pick up the body lens combo I want. And if you take only one DSLR body, for sure take the G10 as backup.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 12:32 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
hi tom, yes I have a EOS 10D, but I think I'd take the G10. Have to decide. The 10D is really 'old' technology now, only 6.3 mega pixels, and heavier than both the G10 or the Rebel. Batteries for it are quite large as well, about the size of 2 AA's.

I'm not so precious about my photography anymore. I call myself a recovered photographer instead of retired. It's pretty accurate. Which in no way means I don't love gorgeous photography. I just don't stress over it most of the time now.

But I'll take your suggestion into consideration. I know what you mean by having two ready to go. On our earlier trip to S.A., I missed a shot of our only leopard because I had to change my lens and he was right below my window.

I do have a 550EX speedlight, which I'll probably take, unless they have a smaller, lighter one on the market. Haven't gotten that far yet.

How do people actually manage a 15kg wt limit with carrying so much gear?
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 01:22 AM
  #4
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
Also, I'm searching for charging alternatives so we wouldn't be totally dependent on charging our gear in the camps. I have found this one which works off a car cigarette lighter. Assuming the vehicles come with cigarette lighters in them, I could use this during the drives.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...&li=319DC646DA

If anyone has any experience or knowledge with this, I'd love to hear it.
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 01:31 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Nothing wrong with 6 mp, should be able to make a good 16x20 print. Or put up any monitor size photos on the web. But size and weight, well, I hear you.

If you really want nice size/weight and good zoom range, plus video, check out the super zooms like Canon SX20IS. If I had to take one and only one camera on safari, that would be it - or one like it by Sony, Panasonic.

15kg carry on - works for me, all 15Kg is camera kit . Unimportant stuff like clothes gets checked.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 02:09 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
But I thought the 15kg on the small planes in Africa is ONLY 15kg INCLUDING carry on?

I'll check out that Canon. Thx tom!
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:15 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
"ONLY 15kg INCLUDING carry on? "
Hmmm, ok, I've flown several types of medium, small, and smallest charter planes and always had two bags. A canvas duffel bag weighing about 10Kg and my camera carry-on weighing about 15Kg. But more recently since flying around in S.A. instead of the canvas duffel I/we use small typical suitcase (maybe 12Kg) and still the same camera bag. And have never been questioned or weighed for any of it, even though two bags, it's all smallish and not really heavy. But, YMMV in Tanz or Rwanda. Hope others here will advise you.

That Canon SX20IS sells for less than $400 in USA. Heck of a camera all things considered.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:53 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 347
Panasonic ZS3.
mcbg1 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 03:20 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
tinydancer - don't know you feel about cameras with NO eye viewfinder. You hold it out at arms length to take photo. I can not do it. But many cameras today have no viewfinder, like the Panasonic ZS3. And also many viewfinders are electronic, not optical like your 10D and G10. So keep that in mind, myself, using SLR for 40 years, I must have an optical viewfinder.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 05:02 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 56
I bought and took a Canon Powershot SX1 with 10 mg and 20x zoom. I think that it did pretty good and I didn't have to change lens. It also has a viewfinder!
My travel companion took a Canon T1 and had good results but was always changing lens.
fourwheelinit is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 05:54 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
Tinydancer-I have a Canon PowerShotSX10 IS also (same as previous post i think) also 10MP and 20X zoom. I've never been on safari with it but I'm hoping it will work well when we go this summer. It's a little bulky but not too bad. It weighs 1lb 7 oz with the batteries in it and no case. It works pretty well and the zoom is great. I also think it has a much nicer interface than my previous, much more expensive Nikon. In addition to the viewfinder it also has a flip-able LCD screen which I like for shots out the window, and of course those shots of yourself with the smiling rhino behind you. It uses 4 AA batteries which isn't always my first choice but might work out in a pinch if you need to buy batteries somewhere. I'm not thrilled about having to carry "how many ??" extra sets of batteries but I use the 8X ultra lithium ones and they last a bit longer than I expected.
Fourwheelinit- how many sets of batteries did you bring?
long2travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 07:41 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Batteries for Canon SX10 or SX20 etc. You can also use rechargeable AA batteries, we do. Obviously you need a charger and the best AA rechargeable batteries are Sanyo Eneloop. Accept no substitutes!!! I still take along a set of AA Lithium as emergency backup.

FWIW, I take three different cameras on safari which means three different types of batteries, multiples of same, and three different chargers. My electronic kit of such and more is almost as heavy as my cameras!!!

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 10:33 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
I'm checking out all the above comments, and I have already been moved dramatically into thinking that one of the two above mentioned cameras will do the trick for me! So you have really made a big difference already.

tom- I have been nearly neurotic about staying with a viewfinder, and not only have the G10, but also a Canon PowerShot SD850 IS, my predecessor before the G10. Neither one is really good enough for Safari, but these other two, probably the Canon, is starting to look pretty good! When I bought my SD850, I also bought the Panasonic Lumix model at that time, but sold it before using it because it didn't have a viewfinder! But in the end, I have virtually stopped using the viewfinder completely! Go figure.

I'm happily taking ALL your points on board! You guys are great!

Have any of you used this automobile charger?: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...&li=319DC646DA
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:17 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Automobile charger - no experience with it. Thus far every camp I've been to has had "normal" country power that run my battery chargers fine. But I can understand that if you are on a mobile/tented safari, "house" power may be days away. Thus charging from your tour vehicle may be the only option.

Your links (both) above re charger did not work for me. Assume your are looking for something that plugs into the vehicle "cigar" lighter? Like this from Canon?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...y_Charger.html
But $77 - ridiculous $$$$.

Should be some much less $$$, maybe -
http://www.uxcell.com/canon-c-986_1139_1144.html
or - http://www.uxcell.com/digital-camera...5-p-19688.html
Inexpensive enough, $7, buy one and try it. I've seen similar others around, also non-Canon. I found above by googling -camera battery charging using car-.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:40 PM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
tom, long2travel, and fourwheelinit,

Right now I'm looking at @ trying to compare the Canon SX1 IS, Canon, SX 20 IS, and the Panasonic Lumix MC-FZ35

I lean naturally towards the Canon, because I am already familiar with Canon controls. But I am also open to the Panasonic if it doesn't have any real drawbacks in comparisons, and is either faster or better in high ISO, focus, etc.

I think a trip to the local camera shop is on the agenda for this week to move beyond this point. I've been comparing on line, but cannot find one reviewer who has done all three cameras.

I'll check out the Canon charger too!
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 20th, 2010, 11:50 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
SX1 IS is discontinued, so not looking at that one!
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2010, 12:05 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 597
WOW! Just found this one and am very interested:

Fujifilm introduces FinePix HS10 with 30x optical zoom
tinydancer is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2010, 06:20 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 278
30X optical!! I'm jealous.

BTW, I never thought to bring it but I have a car adapter similar to this that I use for laptops, etc. as well as a USB version that I use for iPhones and other devices.

http://www.eforcity.com/dothdcacad01...b+dothdcacad01
long2travel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2010, 11:11 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
dpreview.com did a super-zoom group test a while back if you have not seen it -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q109superzoomgroup/ .Seven cameras compared.
But some models may no longer be around. Still could be intersting to see what they look for and evaluate.

I would not get overly excited about 30x or more zoom (12x is fine), I think there are other things more important - like usability in low light situations, or, is the low end zoom a good wide angle (28mm). Try the cameras out in dim store light not outside in the sunlight. Does it still focus and respond quickly. Like you said above, high ISO, focus. A problem with the super-zooms is the small sensor that very limits usable ISO. You are a "recovering" photographer, you know what you like.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 21st, 2010, 04:24 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 266
TinyDancer,
The T2i (550D) will be a great camera for you. It has enough MP and the crop factor to give you that extra reach when required. Your camera's sensor might show the somewhat inferior quality of your lenses (18-55 and 70-300). To get the best quality,ie, most pixels per ducks, you might need a high quality glass like a 300 f/4 prime or even the 70-200 f/4 series with 1.4x tele-converter. Anyway, the lenses you have are a nice focal length to shoot with. 300 mm is not always long enough but it's not at all bad. Since you didn't mention budget, I don't want to go on with my suggestions .
TigerPhotog is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 PM.