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Digital cameras you are considering for upcoming safari???

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Feb 19th, 2005, 09:19 AM
  #61
 
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Roccco - I was looking at a book recommended on your "Need some good books regarding Africa..." at Amazon I ran across this link http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...288193-7011020

This is how it starts out - So you'd like to safari in africa? dont know what to take? inspiring photographer in need of guidance? this list should help you out, from hardware to know how.

I have no idea who the guy is but his recommendations are very similar to what has been listed here.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #62
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Sundowner,

Wow, that is some list. I think I would need to dedicate a single suitcase just for all the equipment he recommends.

I don't know about that $450 fisheye lens.

Also, what is that 50mm lens all about for $80? That would put me up to four lenses by the time I take his advice on the fisheye lens.

I am just completely lost on all the flashes, especially the Lexar Media 512MB 40X Compact Flash Pro. What IS this thing?

Doesn't the camera body already come with a built-in flash? How much flash is recommended, and how is it measured?

I am starting to think that I would have better luck learning Mandarin Chinese than to understanding all the complexities with cameras.

Will trade great itinerary ideas for complete blueprints on how to build a great camera, worthy enough of taking photo book quality prints.
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Feb 19th, 2005, 10:51 AM
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Very funny! There is definitely a lot to learn! I was in your shoes before my 2nd safari in 2003. I knew nothing. But I decided I wanted to learn so I did what you are doing. Read and ask questions.

And yes, you don't need the fisheye or the 50mm lens. The 28-135mm is a good walking around lens but your Sony will cover the pictures that it would take so you wouldn't necessarily need it before your safari.

If you decide that buying a DSLR is what you want to do them just do it. You will find that you will do whatever it takes to learn it.

Take a class. You'll learn alot rather quickly. Photography language is "greek" but it's easy to learn fairly quickly.

When you get the camera go outside and take some pictures. Doesn't have to be wildlife. Take pictures of lawn chairs. Use different settings. Change the f/stop and take another picture of the same lawn chair. Then download the photos on your computer and look at them and see the difference.

The "Lexar Media 512MB 40X Compact Flash Pro" is a memory card. Compact Flash card (or CF card) is what they are called. It has nothing to do with flash.

There is a flash on the camera. The flash range is 12 m (39.3 ft) @ ISO 100.


The model 420 flash that he talks about is seperate (like the lenses) and it mounts on top of the camera. It is 4 or 5" above the camera (helps to eliminate red eye). Canon has come out with 2 newer flashes, the 550EX and 580EX. I just looked at the specs on the 550 and it shows 180'/55m at 105mm. So the on-camera flash is 39' and the flash you mount onto the camera is 180'. The flash is designed to work with the camera. When it is mounted on the camera it "communicates" with the camera and it automatically determines how much flash to use by the information it gets from the camera.

Any equipment or terminology you are curious about you can go to bhphotovideo.com or any camera website and read the specs. Or just go to google and type in your question. I have found answers to all of my questions on google except one: Why does milk dribble down your chin when you eat cold cereal.
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Feb 20th, 2005, 08:10 AM
  #64
 
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I am also in the market for my first digital camera for our June Kenya/Tanzania safari. Unlike Roccco, my budget is cheap! I considered getting an inexpensive 70-300 zooom lense for my 20+ year old analog Nikon FG SLR (that I haven't used for 15 years at least because I never took the time to learn how). But after reading about the Panasonic with 12x optical zoom, I am ready to go digital. I really like the samples I've seen on the internet of the 12x zoom.

I have found the 4.0 megapixel Panasonic with 12x zoom for about $375 and the 5.0 megapix for $500. I plan to use my Africa pictures for a slide show on my computer, show to friends and family on my 65" HD TV and possibly construct a web site. We will also plan to print the best pictures (4" x 6") for a scrapbook. I may enlarge a few good pictures for framing (maybe as large as 11" x 14").

Questions:

1. Should I get the 4.0 or 5.0 megapixal Panasonic? My understanding is that the extra megapixel is mostly for cropping and or very large prints? If I have a good 12x zoom I should need as much cropping. At this point the 4.0 Panasonic Lumix DML - F715K on iBUYDigital:

http://www.ibuydigital.com/main.cfm?...TOKEN=41380179

2. How much extra storage should I get? The Panasonic only comes with 8mb of storage. I have found 1 GB for $70. How many pictures would 1 GD hold? I assume that the higher quality requires more memory. What setting should I use for pictures?

3. Has anyone had experience with www.ibuydigital.com? Any suggestions where to purchase. I will need to buy this online beacuse there are no Panasonic dealers in my area.

Thanks in advance for any advise you might have for me. Remember that I am nearly clueless when it comes to photography. I am hoping that the Panasonic will be easy to use and offer better quality than our currrent point and shoot analog camera.
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Feb 20th, 2005, 08:20 AM
  #65
 
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correction:

"If I have a good 12x zoom I should need as much cropping." SHOULD BE

"If I have a good 12x zoom I should NOT need as much cropping?"
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Feb 20th, 2005, 09:57 AM
  #66
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Jazz Drew,

With the cameras that you are considering, especially if you go with the 5.0 megapixel with 12x optical zoom, you should be able to go all the way up to 24" x 30" pictures for the favorites you wish to frame.

With my Sony F707 which is 5.0 megapixel and only 5x optical zoom, I was able to get a few pics high enough in quality to frame at 24" x 30", although most were best at the next size smaller and some were only good up to about 12" x 16".

Anyway, here is a nice website that compares prices from numerous different sources. For the camera you are interested in, here are 17 different sellers, along with their prices:

http://www.nextag.com/Panasonic_DMC_...12xzmainz2-htm

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Feb 20th, 2005, 10:50 AM
  #67
 
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Hi-

Like Rocco, I'm planning to make a big camera upgrade for wildlife photography. I'm a student and the resulting budget constraints have led me to look for a used Fz10, an older generation of the Panasonic models. I don't have much experience but I have researched the Panasonics extensively and wanted to make the following comments:

1. For Rocco's camera body conundrum: Everything I've ever read says get the best lens you can, even if it means getting a cheaper body. As I scanned through the message, it's amazing how the budget zoomed from that initial 1500-2000 for camera, lens, memory and everything to thoughts of spending 1500 on the camera body alone. With any technology it's easy to get caught up wanting the latest and greatest, but I think you should step back and heed the advice that tashak, photoholic, and Kavey have all given: get the Rebel or Rebel XT, you can upgrade later and make it your secondary body or sell it and re-coup a good bit of the cost.

2. In response to photoholics comment about the limited depth of field w/ F8: I had read that cameras such as the Panasonic Fz series have the opposite problem, i.e. that you can't blur the background much even at F2.8. The explanation given had to do with the sensor/pixel/circle of confusion sizes (http://www.users.bigpond.com/vkelim/DMCFZ10/node28.html)

3. I wanted to mention that Panasonics can use lens filters and accessory lenses. For both filters and lenses, you will want a third-party adapter. This website has all you need to know about this topic: www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam/

4. To JazzDrew: I don't know Ibuydigital but it has good reviews. On pricegrabber.com Butterfly Photo is about $5 cheaper and I think they are well respected. As far as choosing between Fz15 and Fz20, consider the differences: Fz15 lacks a flash hotshoe and its video mode has no audio. Don't sweat the megapixel, as some in the Panasonic message boards argue that the Fz15 has less noise because it squeezes fewer pixels onto the same size sensor. In fact, conspiracy theorists have speculated that Panasonic saw the Fz15 as the real competition for the Fz20, so they crippled those two features to entice people to spend the extra case. For memory, consider a smaller card that is high-speed (eg 32x) and try to stay with solid brands like Lexar and Sandisk. The high-speed cards are essential for using burst mode and probably improve shot-to-shot time. Also, reviews have mentioned that the 9-point AF focuses much slower than other modes, so I'd switch that to be sure you don't miss any shots.
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Feb 20th, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #68
 
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Roccco and 99: Thanks for the info. I am feeling comfortable with the Panasonic Fz 15. I can get extra memory cards for the cost between the 15 and the 20. Now I am not sure how much memory to get. I really don't have a clue how many pictures a 1 GB cards will hold. On Panasonics site they suggest that 1 GB of their SD memory card can hold 1,200 standard images, but the cost is $400! My Sunday morning Staples ad features a 1GM SD memory card for $70 after rebates. What is this all about?? I am quite confused. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Feb 20th, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #69
 
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I was wrong - the 1 GB memory from panasonic is $500! Here is the link for the 1 GB Panasonic:

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...l=RP-SDH01GU1A

Here is the $70 Staples 1 GB SD memory card:

http://www.staples.com/products/Spot...17/Default.asp

What is the difference???
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Feb 21st, 2005, 04:56 PM
  #70
 
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Well I ordered my first digital camera today from ibuydigital! I decided on the Panasonic Lumix Fz15. I am rally looking foreward to practicing wildlife photography here in Iowa. There are lenty of squirrels, rabbits and cows here that will be substitues for lion, cheetah and elephant. I can only imaagine what my neighbors will think as I stalk bunnies and the like in my backyard.

Any suggestions as to memory that I should buy? I still don't get the Secure Disk memory variables ($500 vs. $70 for what looks like the same 1gb card). I also don't get how may images 1gb will hold for a typical picture. I would entertain any advice!
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Feb 21st, 2005, 05:50 PM
  #71
 
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JazzDrew Congratulations on your new camera! Try this link for seeing how many photos you can store
http://www.photoworld.com/Pages/Digi...emoryCards.htm.

I have no idea why the Panasonic card is $500. I did notice the Panasonic was high speed but I looked at http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=337636&is=REG and it's almost as fast. Maybe the Panasonic one is just a misprint. Lexar is a good brand as well as Sandisk. Also, most of the good brands offer lifetime limited warranty.
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Feb 21st, 2005, 06:27 PM
  #72
 
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Sundowner,
Thanks! This is exactly the information I have been looking for. Seems as though 1 or 2 gb of SD memory will work for me. I will try to find fast memory (32x or faster). The more I learn the more I agree that Panasonic's 1 gb for $499.99 is a mistake!
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Feb 22nd, 2005, 01:10 AM
  #73
 
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Jazzdrew
Congrats on your new camera!
Regarding speed of the memory card - that lets you know the maximum speed images can be written to the card BUT it's worth knowing that some camera models can't necessarily write as fast as the fastest cards allow so it may not always be worth spending more for a faster card. You'd need to check for your model in terms of write speed, if you can find that information.
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Feb 22nd, 2005, 01:00 PM
  #74
 
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Fantastic information on this thread! My wife and I are preparing for our upcoming trips to Egypt and Tanzania. There are plenty of camera recommendations that I've read and checked into, but the prices seem very high for a camera that we'll primarily use for only these two trips. My current camera ownership is a very handy digital Olympus 4.0 Stylus, Canon Rebel (not digital) with no lenses and a JVC mini-dv camcorder. Three different approaches to wildlife and scenery. Only problem.....no camera zoom The Stylus takes nice pics but virtually no zoom. Camcorder great but still pictures are from the stone age. Canon Rebel....well I could buy a telephoto lens, but then I'd have to transfer to digital photos after coming home (not to mention all that film). So....to make a long story.....well......shorter......what would you do? Add a lens to the regular Canon? Buy a somewhat inexpensive digital with great zoom? Can you buy a telephoto "add-on" for the Stylus? Or spring for one of these DSLR's, which I would then need to add a zoom lens to anyway. We have already spent a bucketload of money on the trip, but wouldn't it be a kick in the "you know what" if we weren't satisfied with our visual memories Please offer any advice. I'm running out of time. Thank you in advance for your help!
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Feb 22nd, 2005, 08:01 PM
  #75
 
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Thanks Kavey. Sounds like 32x is a good benchmark in terms of memory speed. I think I'll wait until I get the camera and practice with the included memory card before I purchase additional cards. I certainly have plenty to learn. Thanks for all the info. I feel good about the Panasonic purchase so far.
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Feb 22nd, 2005, 08:46 PM
  #76
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What do you all think of the Nikon Coolpix 8800? It has 10x zoom, 8.0 megapixel and is under $1000 USD.
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Feb 23rd, 2005, 04:24 AM
  #77
 
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We just bought the Panasonic FZ20. We decided we wanted the option to take our focusing manual as needed. We also wanted the 5 mp for better cropping.

As for memory for this camera, everyone on dpreview is recommending the Kingmax 1GB which writes at 60x. You can get it for about $70-80 online.
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Feb 23rd, 2005, 05:45 AM
  #78
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Ericka,

Congratulations on the camera.

Remind me, when do you leave to Africa and where are you going?

I am still up in the air on my own camera but I am probably leaning towards the Canon Digital Rebel XT (350), although it will be quite an investment. I'll give it a couple more weeks to ponder this all-important decision.
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Feb 23rd, 2005, 04:19 PM
  #79
 
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Roccco,

We are going to be in Africa from Sept. 11 - 21. Jao, King's Pool, Singita. I've been following your itinerary and doesn't look like our paths will cross.
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Feb 23rd, 2005, 06:22 PM
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Ericka,

I will be finishing up with 3 nights in the Sabi Sand on the nights of Sept. 17th, 18th and 19th, but will be at Simbambili.

At least there will be a couple nice trip reports shortly thereafter.

Did you buy any additional lenses for your Panasonic? It seems that even the moderately priced cameras such as the Panasonic FZ20 and the Nikon Coolpix 8800 are capable of getting quite expensive if you add an extra lens and other goodies.

Great choice on lodging...you should have a fabulous time!
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