Charging Cameras/Camcorders while on Safari

Nov 8th, 2008, 01:50 PM
  #1  
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Charging Cameras/Camcorders while on Safari

Hi everyone,
Any advice on how to pack the least amount of 'tech gear' while on a driving safari?

We are first going to Rwanda to see the gorillas, and then going to Tanzania for a driving safari. We will be bringing 2 cameras (Nikon D90 and Canon G10) and a camcorder (haven't got that yet... recommendations??).

What is the best way to charge our batteries while on safari? Just bring a few batteries in the car with us and charge them back at the lodge each night? How many should we bring? Or is it possible to charge them while in the car from the cigarette lighter plug? Except I haven't found any sort of compact device to allow me to do that. I'm trying to pack light. =)

Thanks in advance!!
demitademi is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Just take two batteries and charge them at night. We would use one each day and charge it at night for our Nikon D60. Never ran out of power but had the second one for backup. And I also took my Coolpix and charged the battery every few daysl It wasnt a big issue.
irecommend is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 02:12 PM
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Just make sure you have the appropriate adapter and charger for Tanzania and Rwanda.
irecommend is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 02:13 PM
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I mean adapter plug and step down converter.
irecommend is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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demi,
Nearly all of the recent chargeing devices can be used on 110 or 240 volts (dual votage). If in doubt look at the transformer part of the charger and you will see that it indicates just that. As far as charging in the vehicle: if you use your regular wall charger in the vehicle, you will first need to run it through a small inverter (readily available from Radio Shack)to convert the vehicle voltage to 110 or 240 volts. Problem is that in many of the older 4 wheel dirve vehicles (Toyota or Rover) the cig. lighters don't work. Best to figure on charging in the camps and lodges. To charge the camps and lodges all you will need is an adapeter plug-forget a step down converter as almost all chargers made over the past 5-10 years charge with either voltage; only the plugs need to the correct type to fit both the host recepticle and your own two blade (U.S. ?) charger. I am alwyays shocked at how ill informed travel agents are on these issues and how little the camps publish to help their guests understand these issues. I'm sure you will find much better help here on the forums. In closeing, the common converter plugs you will need are readily purchaed at Radio Shack or for about the same cost right in the airports. For example, in Joburg airport, there are 1/2 dozen or more stores that sell every flavor of adapter you might need anywhere in Africa.
Cheers-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 02:51 PM
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I should have said to convert the 12 volt vehicle vo;tage to 110-240 volts that your charger requires. Hope I didn't confuse.
Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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I took one of those "all in one/universal" adaptors with me [they are very compact] although I actually never needed to use it as they had them at each of the camps - so I'd just hand them my battery charger every night and they took care of things. I did not take a converter. But as chuck suggests better to be safe ahead of time than rely on the camp having what you need.

whiskey
whiskey is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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Whiskey,
I hope I haven't misled you or confused the issue. The voltage inverter is really only needed for use in a vehicle, to convert the 12 volt DC current to 10-240 volts so that it can be used for most modern chargers. Nearly all lodges and camps supply 240 Volts either right in your tent or in the main lodge. Therefore, all you really need is the correct plug adapter to mate whatever the host plug is configured as (three large round pins, three flat pins, etc.) to our U.S. two small flat blade plug. Uning any sort of converter in the camp outlets is asking for trouble. A quick Google search will turn up the correct plug configuration for any country in Africa (or anywhere else). One other suggestion-if you are going to camps where you will have to leave the charger and batteries with the staff to charge, use a magic marker to label both battery and charger with your name. It is to easy for them to mix them up and for you to get the wrong battery back. This can be a real problem if the other party has left the camp with your battery and charger.
Cheers-Chuck
safarichuck is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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In your post you mentioned camcorders. I just purchased a Canon HF10 for my next trip. Previously I had a Sony mini DV recorder. The Canon uses flash memory, which I love for a few reasons. The camcorder has no moving parts, so it's small and light and its easy to get the files off it. Also the camcorders with hard drives or DVD recorders have a longer start up time, as they have to spin up to speed the devices. If you are in a hurry to catch a shot, this may prove to be annoying. The HF10 is an HD recorder and Canon and others have models that are not. I hope this helps,

Mike
mytmoss is offline  
Nov 8th, 2008, 11:15 PM
  #10  
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Thanks very much everyone! Sounds like I'll have to go look for a converter tomorrow. =)

Chuck - VERY good to know about labeling the charger/battery. It never would have occurred to me!

And I guess it didn't occur to me that the cig.lighters wouldn't work. Thanks Chuck & Whiskey (heehee... your two names together sound like the name of a old timey wagon ride duo! sorry, it's late... back to the post!)

Mike - What made you decide on the Canon HF10 versus the HF11? I'm really debating on whether the splurge for HD is worth it, too... hmm....

Thanks all!
demitademi is offline  

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