Digital Camera Question

Aug 13th, 2004, 12:45 PM
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Digital Camera Question

I own a Fuji Digital camera with 3.24 pixels and 3X optical; 3.2 digital Zoom. It works great for my everyday photos. Is this going to be good enough to photograph animals on a safari or should I start saving for something more elaborate? I know very little about digital cameras. Thanks.
petlover is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 01:34 PM
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Although it can be tempting to go nuts upgrading to better camera equipment on a safari it's always better to have a lesser camera that you know well and can get the best out of than a new "better" camera that you haven't time to get to grips with.

That said, a lot depends on what you want from your images.

Do you want to print images for an album or have an online/ CD album instead?

Will you be printing some LARGE size prints for your walls?

What kind of safari are you doing? (Some places get you so much closer to the animals that big zooms aren't as necessary; other places don't)

Do you have a budget in mind?
Kavey is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:02 PM
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First of all, your digital zoom doesn't really help you with wildlife-- it is basically like cropping a photograph (in other words, you can only use your 3.24 mp on the optical zoom portion).

First thing to check: does Fuji make adapters/teleconverters for this camera which would increase the optical zoom? If so, that would be a good addition to your camera...most photographers recommend at LEAST a 300mm lense for wildlife. Your 3X optical is getting you to something like 150mm.

Then consider Kavey's very sensible questions...safaris are not a good time to learn a new camera, so make your decision some weeks before you leave!

Another big question: do you have binoculars for this trip?
tashak is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:03 PM
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Thanks Kavey. I will be only printing for my photo big enlargements. Where we are going is still a bit up in the air, maybe Singita or close by. (I'm going with a group of friends and my voice is but one). No I don't have a budget in mind...still not sure if I should buy one or not. I don't know how what I own now rates as far as whether it is a low quality, middle of the road etc.??
petlover is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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Tashak, we must have been posting at the same time! No, I do not have binoculars yet. I think the camps I'm considering let you use theirs. I will have to check with Fuji as to what they make as far as lenses to fit my camera. My camera was not real expensive to begin with (guessing under $300)??
petlover is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 02:18 PM
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I strongly suggest that you spend any budget on binoculars rather than a new camera. They really are a "must have" on safari. I have shared jeeps with people who don't have their own and frustration grows by the minute when they can't share in what the guide has seen with his eagle eyes. And the excitement of scanning the landscape and spotting something before anyone else - it's wonderful.

Please please don't go on safari without a pair. The images you burn into your mind will be more vivid than anything on film or disc.
RuthieC is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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Petlover, I do agree with Ruthie about binoculars-- having your own is VERY important. I don't think that any lodges provide them except the ones that the guide carries-- and in that case you would have to share. Perhaps you can borrow a pair...many people will loan binoculars (even people who would not loan out their camera!). I prefer 10X full sized binos-- once you see an image through those, you might not want to go back to compacts!) but others here have different preference.

OH-- tell your friends they MUST bring their own binos, too, or else they will be borrowing yours! This happened to me and it was pretty irritating, because everyone wants them at the same time, and many animals don't give you all day to see them! Everyone must have their own binoculars for the most enjoyment. The binos are just a tiny piece of your vacation cost AND you'll need them for your next trip too;-)

BTW, the telephoto adapters I was talking about are made for the $300 type point and shoot digitals (the more expensive cameras would just have you buy a longer lense! Call the camera store where you got it (or another good one)...have the model number ready. Or call B&H in NYC-- they have an 800 number, the best prices, and access to all the accessories available by model.
tashak is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 04:09 AM
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Definitely important having your own binoculars. We knew that but ignored it because we knew that one of us would likely be looking through the zoom lens of our camera half the time but even then, we did find we sometimes wished we had another pair of nocs. We were travelling for 2 months so had a weight restriction issue but in retrospect I wish we'd bought another small, lightweight pair.

As for camera, can you tell us the model you have now?

From your response that you'll be printing just for albums (ie 5x7 at largest) I don't think you need a camera that shoots at particularly high resolution though whichever camera you do take I would recommend you shoot at it's top quality jpeg setting.

Staying at Singita means you should get close to animals (from what I hear) but a better zoom would be useful.

Never use the digital zoom, it's not a real zoom, I can explain that further if you're interested. But basically, only consider the optical zoom when making a decision.

What you MAY want to do is select another compact (non SLR) digital camera that has a better optical zoom but is still mainly automatic, giving perhaps a few optional manual controls should you be interested in learning them.

The Canon PowerShot S1 IS gives a 10 x optical zoom. This is at the more expensive end of the non SLR models and offers a lot of freedom to play with settings such as aperture and so on OR allows you to shoot in automatic. Resolution is 3.2 MegaPixels.

The Fujifilm FinePix S3000 Z offers a 6 x optical zoom for a reasonable price. It's pretty much fully automatic only.

The Fujifilm FinePix S5000 Z offers a 10 x optical zoom at a reasonable price and both manual or automatic control.

The Fujifilm FinePix 3800 offers a 6 x optical zoom and limited manual control alongside fully automatic. Price is good.

You can compare prices, features, reviews etc. for these and other models at a very useful site (that I refer to often) called and see if any of these would suit.

Kavey is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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You've all given me so much great information. THANK YOU! I will definitely make sure I have my own binoculars!

Kavey, As for my camera...according to the box I kept, it is a Fuji Finepix A303.
petlover is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 08:38 AM
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That model has only automatic focus and no additional control (such as aperture priority etc). If you are happy with that but simply want extra zoom (which I think would benefit you a lot) I'd opt for one of the Fuji models I've listed above, or have a look at other options on that site I gave you.

A 6 x optical zoom would be good, a 10 x optical zoom would be great.

That said, don't be disappointed if you take pictures on the longest range of that zoom when the light is low and they come back a little blurry - the camera will have to set longer shutter speeds to get in enough light and it is hard to hold the camera still enough not to suffer from camera shake. Advantage of the digital is that you don't lose anything by taking the shot!

When I think I might be pushing my luck trying to hand hold a shot of an animal at distance I take another shot without such a big zoom just incase. Then when I get home I can see what comes out sharp and print only that shot.
Kavey is offline  
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