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Digital cameras you are considering for upcoming safari???

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Feb 14th, 2005, 06:50 PM
  #41
 
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You will either need a laptop with lots of memory available or a portable storage device. As you take pictures they are stored on the CF card (compact flash card). When the card is full you can download them onto a portable hard drive. This is an example of a portable hard drive that I have seen recommended and if I were buying one today I would probably get this one. It holds 40GB of images and uses AA batteries.
http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/s.n...ategory.422/.f
Look at the 40GB 7200RPM Compact Drive PD7X Portable Storage Unit

The Canon 20D allows you to take pictures in several files sizes. The biggest file size is called RAW. It stores the most information and is similar to a film negative. (If you use the wrong settings on the camera and the picture is too dark/too light, RAW gives you the ability to change the settings and make the picture better.) If you use the RAW setting you will be able to get appx 100-110 images on a 1 gig card. You think you'll take 300-400 pictures. I think you'll take more. With this camera I think you can take 5 frames per second - your other camera probably takes 5 seconds per frame (I'm exaggerating of course). So if a lion is doing something exciting you can fire off several shots very quickly.

If you use the Large setting (instead of RAW) I believe you can get appx 250 images on a 1 gig card.

From what I have read, the brands of CF cards do make a difference. The best being Sandisk and Lexar.

So in addition to your camera and lens I would get 2 CF cards and a portable storage device.

In the package you linked to it doesn't show the brand of the CF card. Also, I have heard of places that sell the camera cheaper but make you pay extra for the accessories that Canon includes when you buy the camera - battery, charger, Photoshop Elements 2 software, etc. So if you shop by price make sure they don't rip you off like this.

What lens are you thinking you want?
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Feb 14th, 2005, 10:37 PM
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Hi Roccco,
As usual, Kavey has sound advice, and I agree with photoholic, other than the fact that he way overshoots your stated budget!

Yes the 70-200 2.8 is superb, but with Image Stabilization (recommended for safari conditions) that alone will use up your $1500 limit. Also it is not quite the all-round lense you requested.

I really researched this Canon vs. Nikon question, and it really comes down to this: if telephoto/zoom lenses are important to you, or if image stabilization is important, you should go Canon. Canon wins in both of these areas, especially at a given price point. If you typically use wide angle lenses (say for landscapes) go Nikon. The cameras themselves are both so excellent that quibbling over it is a waste of time...the lense and IS questions will dominate. (I tested several cameras and lenses, and while my personal favorite for camera body was the Nikon, I had to go with the Canon, because their telezooms/IS were SO much better.

Given your safari-addiction, I think you have to go Canon. I think that even the Rebel digital body will satisfy your needs for a first SLR camera, and you can use the extra bucks you save on a lense. You might want to check out the Image stabilized options-- Canon introduced a new IS zoom last year that I believe went for about $1000. It was pretty small and light, and went to at least 300mm, which takes you to 480mm on a digital (1.6 multiplier). Photoholic will tell you it's not as good as the 70-200 L. Correct, but it is good and so convenient that I am considering getting one even though I already have the 70-200L/IS and the equally excellent 17-40L. Sometimes light, small, no need to switch lenses really is worth it. And if you want to upgrade later, fine, because you may want to take a backup body anyway.

Fortunately, memory has gotten really cheap, now that Costco sells 512mb cf cards for just around $50. You will still need some type of backup drive--perhaps an ipod, which does double-duty on those long flights...
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Feb 15th, 2005, 12:16 AM
  #43
 
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tashak

IT is well known that the 70-200 is the best optical zoom that canon do. I would agree with you and not recommend it for a beginner on safari. It is expensive and IMHO it does not have enough reach. This the lens that i would recommend if you are going L glass way

http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/s...&cat=27&page=2

thats the canon 100-400. Tashak also makes a good point about the digital rebel. In the digital age, the body has some impact, but it is the lens that is crucial. A 75-300mm III USM on a 20D will not give you very good pictures. However, some L glass on a digital rebel will. When you go back in a years time for the big one, you could buy a 20D then, plus the price would have come down. THen you have two bodies for that big trip, so there would be no reason for lens changing.



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Feb 15th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Hi photoholic, this is the one that I'm talking about...just came out last summer. I haven't tested it (it was out of stock on the occasions I checked). Still 75-300, but supposedly a new design, better optics AND Canon's very good image stabilization. Got rave reviews from another photographer on safari (but then, I don't know much about this person's standards...)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=
productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=319783&is=USA

I agree the old 75-300 III is not up to the standards we are talking here... I do know excellent, very knowledgeable photographers who use the 100-400 IS (also an L, I believe) on safari, and they do get excellent results. About the same price as the 70-200L...not as good, but more flexible. However this with the Rebel digital body still shoots past the top end budget.

3rd party lense are certainly another option, especially for first lense purchases. (However you do have to make sure that the lense will allow you to use all the functionality of the digital body that you want-- I am still suspicious of compatibility, and you will not have any IS options)

Roccco: one thing to keep in mind, if you have been using point & shoots, you still have alot to learn and practice to get the results you want out of an SLR. For this reason, as well as convenience, I'd suggest picking a line (eg, Canon) and some pieces that you will use over the long run as the start of your system, but use this next trip as a learning/practicing trip. Don't feel that you must buy the very top-end system, as you won't be getting the full benefit of it until you really learn the SLR system, through a serious class, lots of reading, and practice. It's a big investment of time, and without it, you won't be getting your money's worth. Sometimes you see people on safari with the very best equipment, but they are shooting in auto mode, in bad light, without bothering to even try to stabilize. They are happy with their photos, but they could have gotten the same results with much cheaper equipment and they really aren't using the features they paid for... A person could use much cheaper equipment, and if they shoot with care, would get much better results. (Ever see what professionals do with disposables, or Ansel Adams' childhood photos with a simple Brownie?) That is why all discussions of cameras and systems won't tell you what takes the best photographs...the photographer makes the best photographs...


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=
productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=319783&is=USA
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Feb 15th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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tashak

The link did not let me get to the correct screen. I did a search for a lens in the $1000 range. Was it the 75-300 DO IS? I dont know much about it so cant comment.

Roccco, have you thought about getting a second hand body? That 100-400 could then become an option. Really not sure of the prices you could expect though
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Feb 17th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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Roccco - Canon has just announced a new camera that might be for you.

http://www.pma-show.com/review/canon..._rebel_xt.html

This is from DPReview.com
Thursday, 17 February 2005
Exclusive Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT Preview
Just posted! Our exclusive detailed hands-on preview of the brand new Canon EOS 350D (Digital Rebel XT). First impressions are good, the smaller bodied 350D is solidly built and has a much broader range of features and options than the original 300D. Performance has been increased significantly, the camera starts up (and wakes up) almost instantly and continuous shooting capability has been transformed. Come inside for an exclusive look at what will probably be Canon's most important digital SLR of 2005.

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/canoneos350d/

Although it comes in 2 colors, keep in mind that a serious photographer would only buy the black one.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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I finally read Kavey's Excellent Report (wasn't that the name of a movie?), and I am just overwhelmed with information right now.

On the one hand, I want to run out and buy a Canon 20D with the 100-400mm lense, but with the other lense, I know that this will likely be around $3,500!

Honestly, though, it is as if I am still trying to read a book in a different language when trying to figure out what all of this terminology means, although Kavey's explanation has gone a long way in helping me have a better grasp.

I have seen, through the links provided in this very thread, some wildlife photos taken with the Canon 20D and they are excellent.

I do wonder how cumbersome it will be to carry a Canon 20D around on a 4 hour bush walk, as I will be in the founding home of the bush walks, Zambia, and while in North Luangwa, it will only be bush walks. I would estimate that at least 25% of my activities on this upcoming safari will be bush walks, 10% will be canoeing, and 65% will be game drives (with more night game drives than day game drives, so I really need a camera that will also handle the night well, although I don't yet have the slightest clue on how to best use a flash). On past safaris, at least with my current camera, I have had better luck with no flash, just using the spotlight from the vehicle as my light...probably this is the reason why I have not framed a single picture taken at night. I am totally clueless!

Okay, if I go with a Canon 20D, am I really looking at spending nearly $5,000 by the time I get all the accessories? That is A LOT of money and may be out of my budget.

What would another option that would get me to 8.0 megapixel with a very good zoom?

Also, if anybody knows how to research it properly, please tell me just how bad my Sony F707 Cybershot sucks in comparison to all these new models. There is no way that I am considering sticking with my current camera, I am just curious how much of an upgrade something like a Panasonic Lumix FZ20 would be, even though it is only 5.6 megapixel. My F707 is 5.0 megapixel but only with a 5x optical zoom, compared to the 12x optical zoom of the Panasonic.

Although not measured the same way, how much of an optical zoom would a Canon 20D WITHOUT the 100-400 mm lense be equal to??? 5x optical zoom? 10x optical zoom?

And, how much optical zoom would the maximum optical zoom of the 100-400mm lense be equal to? 20x optical zoom?

Help me out here guys, as I am still completely lost.

Thanks!
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Feb 17th, 2005, 06:36 PM
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Panasonic has a new lightweight ultrazoom, the FZ5, also 5 megapixtels and 12x (38-420mm equivalent). The camera is half the size of the FZ20 with virtually similar performance and a superb image stablizer. Not in the same league as a Canon SLR but only $500 with 2 one gig sd cards and an extra battery all in $750-800.

In my opinion, far superior to the Sony F707, but not as good as a 2005 model SLR which is 5 to 6 times the money fully loaded.
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Feb 17th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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Any thoughts on a Nikon Coolpix 8800?

It has 8.0 megapixel, a 10x optical zoom (35 - 350mm equivalent) and has some sort of vibration reduction stability control.

It's ISO is 50 - 400, its maximum shutter speed is 1/3000 sec, and it can provide 2.3 fps. Trust me, with my current camera, I am lucky to get 1.0 fp3s (1 frame per 3 seconds), although I am probably just not using it correctly.

This camera is only $999 so I am sure that with other accessories, it would not be more than $1,500.

Is this the best of this type of camera or is their better?

I don't care so much about catching birds in flight as much as I care about clear, crisp photographs, and the ability to capture my subject from a reasonable distance.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp8800/

Thanks for any feedback on the Nikon Coolpix 8800.

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Feb 17th, 2005, 08:20 PM
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Is it fair to say that the Canon D20, even with only the 17-85mm lens, is still superior to the Panasonic FZ20, the Nikon Coolpix 8800 and the Canon EOS (Digital Rebel XT)?

The price is not so hard to swallow without the 100-400mm lens, and I always could add this on later, right?
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Feb 18th, 2005, 01:43 AM
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Canon are shortly releasing the model that will replace their 300D. It's going to be called EOS 350D in the UK, and probably something along lines of Rebel XT in the USA.

It will offer 8 megapixel resolution.

It won't offer AS MUCH control as the 20D but it will offer plenty for the novice SLR user. Where it used to be 300D/10D it will now be 350D/20D - the first being their consumer DSLR and the second being what they might calla prosumer DSLR.

Not sure of release dates but this may be of help for you Rocco.

PS Glad my long rambling post was of use to you!
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Feb 18th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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Roccco,

Of course you can add the 100-400 at a later date. Its the advantage of SLR. I dont think you will notice any difference between the 20D and 300D or 350D for a novice user in terms of picture quality. The difference will come, as Kavey said,when you want to become more creative.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 05:33 AM
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Roccco, if you donít buy a big lens then you donít need the camera for safari. The 17-85mm lens is for taking wide angle shots like landscape. You will not be able to take pictures of wildlife.

To answer your question about cost:
If you are going with a DLSR this is the basic equipment necessary for a safari

200.00 two 1 GIG CF cards
900.00 Canon 350d 8.0 megapixel camera
1410.00 Canon Telephoto EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS (Image Stabilizer) USM Autofocus Lens
260.0 digital storage device
Total $2770.00.

Or
200.00 two 1 gig CF cards
900.00 Canon 350d 8.0 megapixel camera weight 1.2 lbs
1650.00 Canon Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens weight 3.5 lbs
280.00 Canon EF 1.4x II Extender USA
260.00 digital storage device
Total $3290.00

I would go with the 2nd list because I would prefer the f/2.8. This article says why an f/2.8 is preferable to a f/4.5 http://www.planetneil.com/faq/pro-lenses.html

You would also need to take the camera you currently have for wide shots. You would also need an extra battery. You can buy the wider angle lens later.

As far as carrying the extra weight of a DSLR Ė I carried mine all over Italy last year for 12 hours a day. Sure itís heavy. It just depends on what you want.


One advantage of buying Canon lenses is they hold their value if you decide to ssell later. I just saw a 70-200 f/2.8 IS sell for $1500.00 used.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Does anybody know if the 75-300mm Canon lens features the L series glass and Image Stabilization. With this option I can also get the other lens (for wide pictures), and all the accessories, for about $2,500.

I am starting to lean in the direction of the Canon 20D with the 100-400mm lens. I even gave up the chance to go see a world championship title fight this weekend, as the cost of the ringside seats alone will nearly buy me the 100-400mm lens.

Lastly, I am a bit concerned that 8.2 megapixel may overwhelm me. I have read that it is difficult to keep the "noise" down when using such high megapixel, and that if not used properly, photos will have that unwanted grainy look. Any thoughts on the drawbacks of such a high megapixel?

Thanks.
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Feb 18th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Roccco - I have heard many more good things about the Canon 100-400 than I have the 75-300. Here is a link to the 75-300. To see the 100-400 just change the search.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont....x=7&image.y=4

I have never heard of needing to keep the "noise" down when using such high megapixel. I have read: Noise also increases as pixel size decreases, which is why digital compact cameras generate much noisier images than digital SLRs. Professional grade cameras with higher quality components and more powerful processors that allow for more advanced noise removal algorithms display virtually no noise, especially at lower sensitivities.

You get more noise with a higher ISO (or film speed) like 800, 1600. And a normal person wouldn't even notice the noise looking at a standard size image
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Feb 18th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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Sundowner (and anybody else),

With the Canon Digital Rebel, I am still going to need the 100-400mm lens, won't I?

Here is the link to this newly introduced camera.

http://www.pma-show.com/review/canon..._rebel_xt.html

Since this is also an 8.0 megapixel camera, what will be the biggest difference between it and the Canon 20D?

Does the Image Stabilization feature come with the Canon 20D or does it come with the 100-400mm lens, no matter the camera? And, if it is the former, does the Digital Rebel XT feature Image Stabilization?

I have learned more about cameras over the last week than I have ever known before.

Now, if I stick with my Sony F707 for the landscape shots, how can I make this camera best work for such shots. I am thinking that I would use the lowest possible ISO and use the slowest shutter speed. Is this correct?

Still, I'd probably be better off with a $500 lens on the Canon that will allow the desired 28mm setting for the landscape shots at 8+ megapixel rather than my Sony's 5.0 megapixel.

Thanks for all the continued feedback!
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Feb 18th, 2005, 05:59 PM
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The new Rebel XT (or the other name of 350D - same camera) is just a body like any other DSLR. The camera does not have IS (image stabilization). The IS is built into the lens. You can buy lenses with IS or lenses without IS.

I would not worry too much about the difference of 5 MP to 8 MP. Several charts I have looked at show the 5 MP camera taking shots that are great prints at sizes that range from 8"x12" up to 11.7"x16.5".

If costs are a concern I would stick with buying the best lens you can get for wildlife and using your Sony for wide angle shots. Most of the pictures you take with the wider angle lens will not be moving. The lag time between pressing the shutter and the pic actually snappping won't be as annoying on still shots as it is when trying to take wildlife shots. With the 10D, 20D or 350D you will be amazed at how quickly you can focus and take the pictures.

It will be handy having 2 cameras with you. It isn't hard to change lenses but it is rather annoying when you see something you want a picture of and the wrong lens is on the camera. Also the parts of the camera and lens that mounts to each other must be kept very clean. 2 cameras will limit how often the inside of the camera and lens is exposed.

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Feb 19th, 2005, 02:40 AM
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What makes the body of the Canon 20D superior to the new Canon Digital Rebel XT?

Thanks.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 04:04 AM
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Rocco
Firstly, there is only one DSLR body that I know of that has integral image stabilisation (in body rather than lens) and that's the Minolta offering. Whilst it's a good camera they left their entry into the DSLR market SO incredibly late that they have a truly tiny market share and this worries me in terms of whether they will stick with it long term or not.

Canon and Nikon both put IS (Nikon call it VR) into their lenses.

As to differences between Rebel XT and 20D it's hard to give much information yet as the announcement about the Rebel XT has literally JUST come out - possibly only a day or two before I posted it above.

However, have a look at the introductory review on dpreview.com for as much information as there currently is.

Assuming it's priced significantly below the 20D I would imagine (from what limited information I can find) that the XT will suit your needs for at least a year or two whilst you learn the SLR ropes. It's generally people who really know their way around an SLR and really use all the complex features who would notice and miss the few 20D features missing on the XT. That's what I'm guessing given the differences between the 300D and 10D for which the XT and 20D are replacements.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 04:21 AM
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I've read that at this time the 350D is not a replacement for the 300D. The 300D will continue to be sold for appx $800 street price, 350D will be appx $900 and the 20D is appx $1500-1600.

Also, if you decide on the 350D you need to get on a waiting list somewhere soon. But then again, you might want to wait awhile and see if there are any "kinks" in the first ones off the assembly line that will be fixed in the later cameras.

Here are some common features and differences between the 20D and 350D.

While many of the feature advancements and innovations on the new EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera are inherited from Canon's recently introduced EOS 20D "prosumer" SLR, the two cameras' most striking technological similarities are their use of Canon's newly-developed, large single plate, high sensitivity, high resolution color CMOS imaging sensor technology. While the size of the APS-C CMOS sensor on the EOS Digital Rebel XT SLR is fractionally smaller than the APS-C CMOS sensor on the EOS 20D camera (22.2 x 14.8 mm versus 22.5 x15.0 mm respectively) accounting in part for the cameras 8.0 vs. 8.2 megapixel resolution rating, individual pixel dimensions are identical, and they both provide the same effective angle of view, equivalent to 1.6 x the normal EF lens focal length.

"As tempting as it is to compare the EOS Digital Rebel XT digital camera with the more advanced EOS 20D model based on their technological kinship, there are, of course, some very real differences between them. While the 20D SLR includes performance features such as faster continuous shooting speed (five frames-per-second (fps) vs. three fps) with larger burst capability (23 frames vs. 14) and custom function settings (18 vs. 9) that more than justify its heftier price tag, this new Rebel XT model was created for those dedicated SLR users who are migrating to digital for the first time and do not wish to give up the flexibility that an SLR system offers," explained Hashimoto. "For that discerning yet still entry-level digital SLR consumer, having the EOS Digital Rebel and the EOS Digital Rebel XT cameras to choose from is Canon's latest one/two combination, and it's a real knockout."
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