Camera Recommendation

Sep 7th, 2019, 08:34 AM
  #1  
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Camera Recommendation

I do not own a camera but I know it would be ridiculous to go on safari without one.
Can I get some recommendations for something not too complicated or too $$$.
Greenhouse is online now  
Sep 7th, 2019, 09:50 AM
  #2  
 
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I hope you're not allergic to stinging insects, 'cause you've just kicked a hornets' nest.

Too many $$ is of course a moving target, but the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is one I'd look at. It's an example (a very, very good one IMO) of a type known as "bridge" cameras. These have many of the advantages of more complicated cameras like digital SLRs but at a lower price and a much lighter weight. It has a fixed zoom lens rather than interchangeable lenses; one of the things about safari photography is that you don't have a lot of time to fiddle with changing lenses - the beast has vanished into the thicket or flown away. Here's a review of this camera - https://www.thebrokebackpacker.com/p...fz1000-review/ . It's very good in "low-light" situations (encountered frequently on safari during morning or evening game viewing) and also has a fast automatic focus feature.

You can set it on full automatic, "point and shoot," or you can fiddle with the settings to your heart's content. It has a big sensor, so if you want (later) to crop or compose just a portion of the image (say for printing or posting online) the "native" image is big enough that even severe cropping will still leave you with a sharp image.

There are similar cameras like this, so some comparison shopping is warranted.

Here are a couple of images taken with an earlier version of this camera, just to show the range of effects possible.

Objects in mirror are closer than they appear



Eyelashes



Misty morning.



Wind in the grass with a hidden surprise.



Nice kitty.

Gardyloo is online now  
Sep 7th, 2019, 11:30 AM
  #3  
 
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Nice photos, gardyloo!

I'm so impressed with my iPhone XS camera, I wouldn't bother to travel with a separate camera. I swear, its photos are comparable to those from my Nikon digital SLR.
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Sep 7th, 2019, 04:22 PM
  #4  
 
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PS On second thought, as gardyloo pointed out, the challenges of taking photos on a safari probably require a proper camera.
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Sep 7th, 2019, 11:21 PM
  #5  
 
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MoBro, I use my iPhone camera for walking around Cape Town, but it would be totally inadequate for safaris except for closeups. I have a Nikon DSLR with good zoom lenses, but that type of system is expensive and weighs a ton. Greenhouse, I think Gardyloo's suggestion is a good compromise, and I would be proud of the photos in #2 if they were mine.

Keep your camera in a ziplock or dustproof bag when moving around on dirt roads. The disadvantage of a fixed lens camera is when grit gets into the zoom mechanism it could jam it. Also, recommend buying a spare battery and keep them both charged overnight.
Heimdall is online now  
Sep 8th, 2019, 12:16 AM
  #6  
 
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I used DSLR cameras for years but after we started travelling more or less continuously in 2008, I decided that their were too bulky to carry around when travelling light. I used a number of compact zoom cameras and have ended up with a Panasonic TZ70 “superzoom” . it has a 30x zoom, vibration stabilizer and all the creative control options you could want. these day I tend to put it on auto and let the camera make the decisions! Virtually all the photos on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com have been taken using this camera .
We leave for South Africa in a few weeks and this is the only camera I will take. I showed it to a friend, a world renowned photographer and he was very impressed and pointed out that it is people that take pictures not cameras and that the best one is the one that you have with you. Mine fits in a pocket so I always have it with me. That model has now been superseded by other models with larger sensors, more advance feature etc. The current model is a TZ100 or 110 I think and cost around 500 but the TZ70 is still around at c250. I see little point in paying more.
crellston is offline  
Sep 8th, 2019, 04:42 PM
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My latest camera is probably out of your price range (Sony RX10 iii) but whatever you buy, spend LOTS of time practicing. Go to zoos, farms, reserves near you and photograph animals. Get to know your camera and how quickly you can focus and shoot and how animals move. Get up early and learn how to photograph sunrises and try sunsets. You don’t want to be doing anything for the first time on safari, you’ll miss your shots. I definitely agree that a “bridge” camera is what you want. You don’t need to learn to mess with lenses and you’ll have plenty of power for safari.

IPhones are totally unsatisfactory for safari. I always take some just to be able to text them home to family before I get back, and they’re not worthy of anything more than social media or a quick text. If you plan to print or enlarge them, get a “real” camera.
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Sep 11th, 2019, 08:20 AM
  #8  
 
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I considered using our first visit to Africa as an excuse to buy a fancy camera and decided - correctly - that my comfort zone for travel in general is a compact super zoom with great auto features. I spend months a year in Latin America and am not interested in a bigger camera for those or more local trips. Mine has a 30x zoom and fits in a pocket, easy and unobtrusive and I love the outcomes. It's an earlier version of #5 on this list: https://www.techradar.com/news/best-travel-camera

Have a great trip, whatever you decide!
hopefulist is offline  
Sep 11th, 2019, 10:33 AM
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Gardyloo's photos were terrific! And the bridge camera she suggested is likewise an excellent camera for this sort of adventure. Cost is about $600US. You might also want to look at the Canon Powershot SX70 that has an ultra zoom (65X optical) and takes amazing shots. It has both the 3" LCD tilt screen and optical viewfinder. Runs $549US. If you can live without the optical viewfinder, the cheaper version of this same camera would be the Canon SX530, with a 50X optical zoom. Cost about $250US.

All of these cameras fit in a mid-size purse.

If you want to go for a smaller camera, that is much easier to keep steady in one hand as you shoot (the above larger cameras are best using both hands to steady) would be the Canon Powershot SX740 with the 40X optical zoom at $399US. This is the camera I take EVERYWHERE, including concerts where I can zoom in to the stage and get brilliant photos, even in low light. Tiny camera, but power-packed!
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Sep 11th, 2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by HuisClos View Post
Gardyloo's photos were terrific! And the bridge camera she suggested is likewise an excellent camera for this sort of adventure. !
Thanks. He.
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Sep 11th, 2019, 09:16 PM
  #11  
 
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You might also want to look at the Canon Powershot SX70 that has an ultra zoom (65X optical) and takes amazing shots. It has both the 3" LCD tilt screen and optical viewfinder. Runs $549US.

I agree with this recommendation. Having the optical viewfinder and 65x zoom, plus 4k video helpful for photographing animals in focus and having them look like more than dots from a distance.

If you don't mind a gray market camera you can find it for about $100 less. There are also used SX60s around for $350 ish. Nearly as good but no 4k video and the viewfinder maybe not as good. The viewfinders on the tiny pocket cameras are not really useful IMO.

I am not a fan of the Panasonic's...too complicated.
mlgb is offline  
Sep 12th, 2019, 03:08 AM
  #12  
 
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Originally Posted by mlgb View Post

I am not a fan of the Panasonic's...too complicated.
I find quite the opposite! The Panasonic TZ70 is one of the simplest cameras I have used. lots of features and settings but 90% of the time, I use it on auto or intelligent auto and find the camera is usually better than I am at selecting settings. Optical zoom is “only” 30x compared with 65x but how often would one be able to use a zoom at that length (not a rhetorical question).

Bearing in mind the OP’s original question "I do not own a camera but I know it would be ridiculous to go on safari without one.
Can I get some recommendations for something not too complicated or too $$$.” I think it would be a pretty good option

Last edited by crellston; Sep 12th, 2019 at 03:11 AM. Reason: crap spelling!
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Sep 12th, 2019, 06:59 AM
  #13  
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Thanks, all. Very helpful. I've decided to keep my choice around $400.00 and have it narrowed down to these.
Any opinions or reasons to choose one over the other?

Panasonic - LUMIX DC-ZS70 20.3-Megapixel Digital Camera - $349.00
Canon - PowerShot SX730 HS 20.3-Megapixel Digital Camera - $379.00
Canon - PowerShot SX740 HS 20.3-Megapixel Digital Camera - $399.00
Panasonic - LUMIX DMC-ZS100 20.1-Megapixel Digital Camera - $449.00
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Sep 12th, 2019, 07:18 AM
  #14  
 
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The first one is the one I have (slightly different name for the US and UK markets) . I think it is a great, simple to use camera which does all I want to do and more. The fourth is a newer and presumably improved model of the same camera. is it worth the extra? I don’t really know.

The latter has a shorter 10x zoom but a bigger 1 inch sensor. But the first has a longer zoom range which would probably be better for animal shots.

I used to use Canon DSLRs but haven’t used a Powershot so can’t comment.
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Sep 12th, 2019, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
The latter has a shorter 10x zoom but a bigger 1 inch sensor. But the first has a longer zoom range which would probably be better for animal shots.
My view is that the bigger sensor makes for better low-light performance, and at 20+ mp you don't need to worry that much about zoom range; you can just grab a shot, then crop it later without losing much detail. Somebody once told me that the cheapest zoom lens comes with shoe laces.
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Sep 12th, 2019, 08:32 AM
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo View Post
My view is that the bigger sensor makes for better low-light performance, and at 20+ mp you don't need to worry that much about zoom range; you can just grab a shot, then crop it later without losing much detail. Somebody once told me that the cheapest zoom lens comes with shoe laces.
Not necessarily true...
Megapixels mean virtually nothing to camera performance, while sensor size does. In fact sometimes the high MP cameras are noisier in low light. However a 1-inch sensor still isn't very big especially when you don't have much zoom, I have a 2x crop sensor (4/3) which even with a 300mm lens, doesn't allow as much reach as a small sensor camera with 1365mm equal reach (the 65x available on the 60 or 70 Powershots).

Some of the cameras do not get very sharp to start with, such as the Panasonics.. less of a problem if you are mainly taking photos of people and landscapes, then of course you don't need much zoom.

You can check dpreview if you want.

My friends did very well with the Canon I recommended on our Kruger safari. I had a version of the pocket Panasonic and the viewfinder was too tiny to be useful. The picture quality at full zoom was terrible, also. I hated it. Glad it was stolen in France, actually. I used to have Lumix cameras and they have taken a step forward in complication...Still use my 10x DMC-sZ7 but it's not really a safari camera.


Last edited by mlgb; Sep 12th, 2019 at 09:04 AM.
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Sep 12th, 2019, 08:46 AM
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When I upgraded from a Nikon Coolpix to the Sony I have now, I lost a bit of zoom and gained a 1" sensor and I think I'm much better for it. The photos on the two safaris after the upgrade were much better (however, how much of that is due to my having practiced a lot and Sony being a better product is not quantifiable). Given what I know now, I'd make the same choice again.

I'm not sure where OP is going on safari, but I've never had to zoom so far to get any animal shots, I'd be surprised if many people do. I've always managed to get close enough that I've never had to tap into the digital zoom. Maybe once we saw rhinos a distance out and couldn't get to them (be design as they are protected) so I took a shot to say I saw them, but who'd want to blow up noisy/far off shots? I just don't think you're going to need the little bit of reach you'd give up by going with the fourth choice in the list above but you'll likely benefit from better handling of light with that sensor.

I'd use the dpreview comparison feature and line all four up next to each other. That'll help you rule them out maybe?
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Sep 12th, 2019, 08:58 AM
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The OP has a low budget limit. I see amyb mentioned the DSC-RX10 ii which is nearly $1000.

If you are on a walking or private safari it's a different situation than being confined to a vehicle on roads, such as in Kruger.

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 12th, 2019 at 09:06 AM.
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Sep 12th, 2019, 09:12 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by amyb View Post
I'd use the dpreview comparison feature and line all four up next to each other. That'll help you rule them out maybe?
Thanks, I was wishing Best Buy had that feature as I was searching.

I've also been meaning to add that I'm enjoying you blog crellston and your pics, too Gardyloo.
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Sep 12th, 2019, 09:28 AM
  #20  
 
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Are you limited to using Best Buy for your purchase?. If you aren't familiar with B&H Photo, they have a good return policy as well as a used section, if you have enough time you could buy something and test it out.

They have a couple of older models with better zoom that are under $300

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ200
and the Sony Cybershot DSC-HX400V
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