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Digital cameras you are considering for upcoming safari???

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Feb 27th, 2005, 05:16 PM
  #101
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Okay, I need to put together a shopping list. While I do want the Canon 20D, I do think I will pass on the L glass lens for now, as it is really out of my budget. Please add to the list the appropriate equipment that you think I will need:

Canon 20D (Body Only) $1,200 USD

75-300mm IS USM lens $400 USD

28-135mm IS USM lens $400 USD

550EX Flash System $300 USD

Lens Hood $50 USD

Memory - How much memory and on what do I download it and how much $$$

Camera Case - Hard case? Soft case? Waterproof case?

Filters - Yes? No? Which Ones? How Much?

Thanks.
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Feb 27th, 2005, 08:46 PM
  #102
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One more question...would an L glass 2x teleconvertor improve picture quality or just range? It is only about $350 and would get me to 600mm, right?
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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:04 AM
  #103
 
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Rocco
I find the easiest way to carry my gear, both on the journey and out in the bush, a camera rucksack.
Having used the regular box-shaped ones on shoulder straps for years I finally switched to the rucksack type and they are so much more comfortable!
We have a number of Lowepros. We have on Mini Trekker Classic (
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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:11 AM
  #104
 
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Hi Rocco
In terms of bags, for years we used to use various sizes of the box-shaped one strap shoulder bags before I finally switched to a rucksack camera bag (because of my back problems). What a difference - these are so much more comfortable!
Advantage is that you can carry more weight more comfortably and it doesn't slip off one's shoulder like a regular bag. Disadvantage is that one does need to take it off to gain access to the contents. The advantage outweights the disadvantage for me.
They often also have decent sized additional pockets into which we throw guide book, sunglasses, hat, gloves, scarf, suncream, tissues and all the other stuff one takes out on a drive or walk.
We have a variety of Lowepro bags. Our largest standard one is a Mini Trekker Classic (also available in a new All Weather version which I felt I didn't need). That takes a lot of stuff and we can get two SLRs, a number of lenses plus lots of the accessories such as the memory storage device, recharger and so on.
We also have a Micro Trekker 200 which is still pretty roomy and happily fits in what we need on a day out but not the recharger stuff which we put into main luggage.
Since there's two of us we usually fill both and take them as our two main hand luggage items and then switch things between them to leave one behind in the room with things we don't need and take one with us to share for the day.
The open rucksack sits flat on it's back on the centre seat of the landrover between us for easy access during drives.
We use an X Drive to transfer images from full cards BUT there are no doubt many equally good or better options now. You'll need to check them all out and find a solution you like.
Recently we took a laptop with us on the Antarctic trip because there was time at sea where we could have a look at what we'd got and play with it and get advice from the photographers on board. We just bought a new lighter laptop to take with us on similar trips though doubt would take it on safari.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:15 AM
  #105
 
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28-125 mm lens - my feeling (and others will surely disagree) is that I didn't feel IS was so necessary for a shorter zoom which is easier to handhold so I opted to save some money there. We bought the Sigma 18-125 instead as I have always been happy with Sigma lenses compared to Canon's consumer range.
Filters - get a UV/Skylight filter for each lens to protect them when in particularly dusty environments - I'm lazy and keep mine on them a lot. Yes it introduces an extra layer into the mix but as I can't afford to scratch the main lens and I'm clumsy it's worth it for me.
Also get circular polarisers for both lenses - don't use these all the time. They polarise or cut out light from all but one angle (you rotate to cut it from different angles for different results) and are effective at reducing reflections and at increasing contrast in skies - they help make the blues deeper. They also help in other situations in sunny weather.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 02:43 AM
  #106
 
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Roccco - Repeat after me (just kidding). When you put a lens on a digital camera, the numbers on the lens are wrong. You have to multiply each number by 1.6 to get the right numbers.

75 x 300
75 x 1.6 = 120
300 x 1.6 = 480
So it's really a 120mm x 480mm (even though 75x300 is printed on it)

If you take that 120mm x 480mm and put a 2x converter it will be 240x960.


BUT I think I've read that the 75-300 doesn't work well with the 2x. I don't know if you can add the 1.4x or not.

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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:34 PM
  #107
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Sundowner,

I think by the time I got the 75-300mm lens and a teleconvertor, that I would be likely looking at around $800 USD.

I would probably, at that point, be much better served by just getting the damn L lens 100-400mm for $500 more!

Oh, 2005 is going to be a debt-ridden year!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 12:45 PM
  #108
 
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Roccco - You might find it interesting to read this photo safari report. I know it isn't what you plan to do but I think you will enjoy reading it.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/lo...tanzania.shtml
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Feb 28th, 2005, 04:04 PM
  #109
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Sundowner,

Thank you, that was an excellent link. While I don't think I would ever want to be stuck with so many diehard photographers, the equipment listed on that link is invaluable.

How about the Dutch guy who hired a porter just to carry his equipment?!

After reading that article, I definitely think I would be best off with a 100-400mm IS USM L glass lens, as well as possibly a 1.4x teleconvertor. Before this article, I would have gone with a 2x convertor, at the expense of photo quality.

I have learned so much from this thread. Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
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Mar 6th, 2005, 10:36 AM
  #110
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Am I doing something wrong?

I am adding up the prices on my shopping list for a Canon 20D and I am faced with charges of around $5,000 USD!

Here they are:

Canon 20D (Body Only) $1,300
100mm - 400mm IS USM lens $1,300
28mm - 135mm IS USM lens $400
Flash System - 550 EX $300
Memory - $500 (is this too much of an allowance?)
Filters - $250 (is this about right?)
1.4x II Teleconvertor $275
Battery Grip B6-E2 (What is this?) $200
Miscellaneous (Case, Batteries, Download System, Lens Hood, etc.) $525

Grand Total = $5,000

Even if I were to substitute the 100mm - 400mm lens with a 75mm - 300mm lens, I would only be saving about $900 and the total would still be over $4,000.

Would the 75mm - 300mm IS USM lens with a 1.4x teleconvertor be more than adequate? I mean, in my mind, I am coming from garbage with my Sony F707, with a lens that I never even bothered covering yet less cleaning with more than the inside of my shirt!

What am I missing from my list?

Thanks.
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Mar 6th, 2005, 06:19 PM
  #111
 
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You have calculated too much for memory - I think two 1 gyg cards is sufficient and you can buy those for less than $100.00 each.

I think you also have too much listed for filters.

The Battery Grip is called Big Ed and is a battery compartment that screws on to the bottom of the camera. It allows the camera to hold two batteries instead of one. It also makes the camera larger (easier to hold) and heavier. I have this on one of my cameras but not the other. You could easily live without this.

Miscellaneous - I read at B&H Photovideo that the 100-400 includes a lens hood and the hood for the 28-135 is $27.00. And you will want an extra battery for both cameras. I bought a special camera backpack but it weighs so much empty I didn't use it the last time I went. For air travel I used a $20 rolling suitcase (18") from walmart and bought some foam rubber and cut it up to pad the top, the bottom and between the lenses and cameras. It was my carryon and fits overhead or beneath the seat. For using the cameras on game drives I just carried them in a backpack. (A sturdy one because of the weight.) (Your 100-400 comes with this lens case http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=164010&is=REG. Very nice padded case.) A portable hard drive (for downloading) will run between $200-250.

These changes will cut $800-900 off the price (-300 memory, -150 filters, -200 big ed, -225 accessories)

What you haven't listed that I would get?
Bulb blower (to blow dust off lens)
You might also want a different battery charger than the one that comes with the camera. They have one that you can put two batteries into. It charges one at a time but will charge two batteries without you being there to switch them out. Put in two batteries to charge before dinner, and then your other two before you go to bed. You don't have to keep checking to see when one is finished to put in the next one.

Card reader - when you download pictures onto your portable harddrive, it will most likely have a slot for your CF card (compact flash memory card). But your computer at home probably won't. The card reader has a slot for your CF card and hooks up to your computer by USB port. If you don't have a card reader you will have to use a cord to hook your camera up to your computer to download the CF cards and it uses a lot of battery power. Also, make sure you have alot of room on your computer at home because the image files from the 20D are large.
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Mar 6th, 2005, 07:24 PM
  #112
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Sundowner,

Thanks for the feedback.

One thing is certain...I will definitely be willing to spend an extra 10% to buy this from a quality local Los Angeles area camera store, as I am really out of my league in trying to put together my first DSLR camera.

Once I get the camera I may just practice at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, although I am not amused that a "Deluxe Adventure Caravan" will cost me $158.50 for a 3.5 hour tour...that is more than a night at Flatdogs Camp in South Luangwa with a couple gamedrives! Plus, I will feel pretty ridiculous and may have a hard time keeping the 15 or 78 freeways out of the photos. Oh well...if it helps my photography later on, then it will be worthwhile.

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/calendar/...o_caravan.html

Hopefully there will not be any parents around generous enough to spend an extra $130 so that their children can enjoy the experience (and ruin my own experience). I think I will be best off taking a Vicodin or a Valium for this particular game drive!
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Mar 7th, 2005, 04:31 PM
  #113
 
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ttt for mollybee
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Mar 7th, 2005, 05:48 PM
  #114
 
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hey Roccco - follow this link to photos taken at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I think you'll be impressed at what you can get there. http://www.pbase.com/canyonlu/wild_animal_park

thit_cho - if you read this, the photographer at this site uses a D100 for some of the photos.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 10:45 AM
  #115
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What do you all think about this lens:

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/R...ns-Review.aspx

As shown in the link it is a 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6, "L" glass, Image Stabilizing, USM Lens.

My thinking is that it would allow me to only have a single lens.

The drawback, of course, is the price of about $2,100.

However, it does give me the "L" lens for ALL of my photos, rather than had I just gone the "L" glass route on the 100-400mm lens.

The alternative would be to get the 100-400mm IS USM L glass lens for about $1,350, and then add a 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens for another $400. I would save $350 doing it this way but would have to carry around an extra lens.

Either way, I am going to get a 1.4x teleconvertor.

One other question...what happens when you take photos at LESS than 28mm??? Are they extra wide??? There are lenses that start far below 28mm and I just don't understand their purpose. Please explain.

Thanks!
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Mar 9th, 2005, 12:28 PM
  #116
 
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Rocco,
In my opinion, I would go for the two different lenses. When you buy a lens that has such a variance in focal length (i.e. 28-300) you will have some distortion and lose sharpness somewhere along the way. And from checking the website you referred to it says that the 28-300 is not compatible with the Canon EF 1.4x Extender or the Canon EF 2x Extender.

Lenses below 28mm are indeed, wide angle lens. Used for mostly landscape shots, when they start around 17mm to 18mm on up to 35mm they are considered wide angle. I have a 17-35mm lens for landscape shots and love it.

Remember, with digital slr's you lose some of the wide angle viewing, for lack of better terminology. With a 1.5 multiplier, a 28mm lens would be around 42mm. What you lose in wide angle, you gain on the other side, the close-up.
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Mar 9th, 2005, 12:54 PM
  #117
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Divewop,

Thanks. I noticed the same thing about the incompatiblity of the 1.4x convertor after I printed out the review on the lens.

There is another lens that interests me, although it is on the pricey side. It is a 17-85mm IS USM lens that is specifically for Canon's digital cameras. It is about $600 but at 17mm that appears to be a true 28mm.

Here is a review of that one:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...location.shtml
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Mar 9th, 2005, 01:49 PM
  #118
 
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Rocco
Don't get carried away! Buying too much at the start locks you in and you may realise other preferences ONCE you start using the camera and first one or two lenses!

Wider than 28mm (on a 35mm camera) or 18mm (on a digital with the 1.6 ratio) moves towards the fish eye effect. Much wider field of view into the frame but distorted, of course, by the shape of the lens. A bit specialist, not something you'd be likely to need.

In general I agree that lenses offering wide ranges of zoom from very wide to long zoom are more prone to distortion problems but lenses are improving soooo much all the time that I'd look for some reviews before dismissing them all. That said I would not pay $2100 for one!
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Mar 30th, 2005, 10:37 AM
  #119
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Decision time...

I am torn between the Canon 20D which is really beyond my budget, the Canon Digital Rebel XT and the Nikon Coolpix 8800 (a point and shoot but with 35mm - 350mm capabilities).

If I get the Nikon Coolpix, I can spend about $1,250 including accessories, and be done with it.

For the Digital Rebel XT, I am looking at $1,000 for the body only, $500 more the 17-85mm IS digital lens, $1,400 more for the 100mm-400mm IS "L" glass lens, and then another $850 in other accessories. Grand total is $3,750 (triple the price of the Nikon Coolpix 8800).

Add another $500 for the Canon 20D instead of the Digital Rebel XT.

True or false? The saleswoman at Ritz Camera told me that I will definitely need a tripod for the 100-400mm lens. How the h*** am I supposed to use a tripod while on a walking safari? And, how much does this hamper game drives? I do not want to be the obnoxious guy in the vehicle that takes forever to set up my shots, although this may only be an issue at Puku Ridge and Kasaka River Lodge, as I will have the vehicle to myself at Luangwa River Lodge, Simbambili and for whenever a vehicle is used at Kutandala (walking safari).

The Nikon Coolpix 8800 seems so much easier, but just how much will my images suffer? I realize I am not going to get "L" glass quality, but will I at least get the quality I would get with the regular Canon lenses?

I checked out my Sony F707 current camera and it is junk. I have been taking photos all this time with a lens that is 9.7 - 48.5mm. No wonder why I almost had to stick my head in the lions mouth in order to get decent pictures!

Please give me your honest opinion on the Nikon Coolpix 8800...and if you do not like this camera, please LIE TO ME!

Seriously, what do you all think of the Nikon Coolpix 8800???

Thanks.
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Mar 30th, 2005, 11:17 AM
  #120
 
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Rocco

My wife did not use a tripod for the pictures she took with the 100-400 on the Digital Rebel. She did probably need a bean bag or monopod when the light was going, but thats all. I have started using a tripod for my video camera on game drives and it works very well - though some seat rows and vehicles are better than others. Good luck.
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