Chagring camera batteries on safari

Apr 11th, 2005, 07:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 32
Chagring camera batteries on safari

We're going to Kenya and Tanzania in January and I'm curious about how some of you on this forum charge camera batteries while on safari?

1. Is 120v 60Hz available at most camps?
2. Do you use voltage converters?
3. Do you use lighter adapters in safari vehicles?
4. Do you simply bring many spare batteries?

Avogadro is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Avogadro -

Hey guys - I did it! I went for a digital... but still not sure about this. I'm certainly computer literate and have written more then my share of technical manuals, but the manual for this camera might as well have been written in a foreign language. When I read thru the other thread on "what camera for your safari" I gave up half-way thru.

But to your question, and I'm sure others will have input. Electric power is 220V (not 110v), so whether for hairblower, curling iron or the camera, it's got to be 220V or dual voltage (and don't forget to be certain device is set at 220) or use a converter. My camera (nothing in the DSLR family) uses AA 2500 NiMH rechargeables, and my charger is dual voltage, so I only need the adapter plug. In those lodges and/or camps with electric power, you should be able to recharge your batteries in your room/tent. But be certain of the hours of electricity... some camps turn off the electricity at 11pm and some even have the power off mid-day when visitors are out on game drives.

For camps without electricity, you'll probably be able to recharge in their office or reception area. There has to be sufficient electricity to maintain their refrigerators.

I can't comment on vehicle lighter adapters. I plan on having at least two extra sets of batteries. And my 35mm will be right there as a back-up when frustration sets in.

Wish me luck and to you to Avogadro. Now let's hear from the others.
Apr 11th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,845
Most digital camera/camcorder chargers are dual voltage. Just look on the plug and it should say something like 110~220v (doesn't matter if it says exactly those numbers, as long as it's in that range). If it's dual voltage, then all you need a plug adaptor. Kenya uses the 3 prong UK type. I'm not sure about Tanzania - I need to find that out too.

I've never tried using a lighter adaptor. As sandi mentioned, check the hours when electricity is available. Spare batteries are always a good idea!
Patty is offline  
Apr 11th, 2005, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

So what camera did you get? I too got lost on the 1,000,000-post Digital Camera to Africa thread.

I just bought my first digital also. While I'll take it on safari, it is only a point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix to get me acquainted with the technology. I've not made the leap with the "real camera" yet.
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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atravelynn -

I walked into B&H Photo with a list of five possible camera choices. After a few questions from the salesperson - as to what I wanted it for, ease of use, costs, etc... it didn't take long to eliminate four of them - due to special costly batteries, ease of use, weight, cost of media, etc. and wound up with the Fuji S5100 w/ 10X Optical Zoom. Initially got the camera with a 256Mb card, battery charger/batteries (for AAs), and 5-yrs. maintenance contract. Camera was $285, but with the add-ons, total just about $425. Sure enough once I played around with it, and knowing I'd need additional Mb, I found a 512Mb card online from "ecost" for $10 less then B&H, and additional batteries - 10pk for $19 from J&R. Also picked up a camera bag (at Best Buys) for $19, w/substantial padding... better then what B&H was offering. That's it.

I've taken it out to the park - Spring finally arrived in NYC and this past Sunday was a perfect day. So I have a pretty good handle on "auto"... still have to work on the other features.

The only glitch so far is getting the software to work properly. Seems everything is connected properly, but nothing happens when it should automatically upload/trasfer onto the 'puter. ...and yes the camera is on and set appropriately to transfer. Still have to work on this... and will get it eventually.

I have no intention of printing my own pics, but would prefer to see them on a 15" screen rather then the 1.5" camera window, for editing, cropping, etc. If all else fails, I just cross the street to my neighborhood pharmacy and run the media card thru their machine, edit, and select my prints.

I was quite happy with my 35mm 140zoom point'n-shoot, but wanted a larger zoom - 35mm only go up to 180; I had no intention of dealing with a Canon or Nikon body (which I could have borrowed from a friend), but didn't want to deal with taking along the more powerful lenses.

The 10X is great. While walking along the East River Park at 86th street, I was able to zoom down to the 59th St Bridge (Queensboro Bridge) and I was right on top of it - and that's more than a mile distace. And sitting in a friend's aparment facing the East River, zoomed right across the river and was in Queens. So the zoom is great and that's what I really wanted.

I've got 6-weeks to go before heading off to Kenya & Tanzania, so hope to have all/most of the features figured out by then. More important though, is will I be able to do whatever I've got to do once I return home. Wish me luck!

Bye the way, it was my friend who wanted to go digital and I went along for support - guess what, I bought, she didn't. She's still thinking about it, but I'm sure between now ad then she'll be back at B&H for a "camera of her own."

That's it, I've made it to the 21st Century, even if I'll have the 35mm with me as backup and security.
Apr 12th, 2005, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 413
Sandi - Good camera choice and good luck learning all the features! I find that I only print 2 or 3 pictures from any particluar trip. Usually 8x10s for my office wall and maybe a couple more for my wife's office and maybe a few for anyone else. Currently I print them on an HP7960 which does a great job. Since I print so few, the high cost per doesn't bother me. I also save them to a DVD or CD and keep a copy in our safe-deposit box at the bank.

My greatest pleasure is just looking at a slide show now and again. This has been a side benefit of going digital which I hadn't thought of. Sometimes when I'm on a business trip I'll look at them in the hotel room or maybe while waiting for, or sitting on, a plane. It certainly lifts my spirits.

Avogadro - I had your number once but have lost it ;-) I always take three sets of batteries. Two sets does work great most times, except when the power is off for a day. Depending where you are power may be dicey: the generator may be off for maintenance, a line may go down, the generator may be temporarily out of fuel, or in some countries you might get caught in a planned power-out you knew nothing about. The extra set has saved me enough times that I wouldn't want to chance it without one.

I just bring plug adapters and the charger. My charger works 50/60 cycles and 110/220 volts. I have never used car lighter type adapters.
Favor is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440

The Fuji with 10x optical should work well. Have you posted your upcoming Kenya/Tanzania itinerary anywhere?
atravelynn is offline  
Apr 12th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 32
Thanks all.

I can't believe I didn't think to take a closer look at the charger - Indeed it's rated for 100~220v 50-60Hz. I'll likely buy one or two extra batteries and I may try the cigarette lighter adapter as well (handy for road trips).

Sandi and atravelynn: congratulations on the camera purchases.
Avogadro is offline  

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