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How many memory cards to bring?

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Jul 7th, 2011, 05:34 AM
  #1
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How many memory cards to bring?

We'll be traveling to Botswana and Zimbabwe (though I thought the topic was relevant for safari in general!) for a 18 night trip in August and are starting to get together camera gear. The last thing we want to to run out of memory while we're there, but we also don't want to spend a lot on extra memory cards that we won't need.

We'll be bringing three cameras: two dSLRs and one high end telephoto point and shoot. We haven't decided yet if we'll be shooting RAW or JPEG images (for space reasons). Any advice on how much memory we should be looking at taking? We're not planning on shooting any video.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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First of all, I will be going on my first safari to the Masai Mara in 3 week's time but I'm an enthusiastic amateur photographer so my comments are based on that.

1. Shoot RAW! My earliest RAW photos were from 2002 and with the development of the newer processing software(I use Capture One 6 Pro) I am getting better and better results from the 2002 shoot.

2. I would buy the most economical memory card at the level where the storage capacity + the price is most cost effective. In my case I use the "CF" cards and the most cost effective ones, currently, are the 16GB version. Writing speed is not important if your camera has enough buffer space, you're not shooting videos and you don't intend to shoot at over 10 frames per second.

3. I normally carry a laptop + an additional USB hard drive on every trip. Total weigh is around 3kg so if you can manage that along with your other belongings then it's highly recommended.

Good website for research: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...ari-Tips.shtml
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Jul 7th, 2011, 06:27 AM
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As suggested in the previous post, the answer is not extra memory cards, but a supplementary storage device. A laptop is a lot of extra weight/space, but a notebook or tablet would also do the trick. Part of the fun is to look at the day's pictures/videos.

The trick is to download the pic/videos daily from your memory cards (or hard drive, if your cam has one). Then, delete as needed from memory cards/hard drive, except keep any fantastic shots that you absolutely, positively can't afford to lose. That way, you've got a backup version in case anything bad happens to one or the other.

Don
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Jul 7th, 2011, 07:20 AM
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How many memory cards. On safari I typically shoot 400 snaps a day. And that's probably 200 more than I really need to. So if using this (these) numbers do the math.

I never take the time to cull photos on safari. I may at down time take a peak at a few on/in the camera. But I'd just as soon wait until I get home to a good monitor to check them over. Usually too many other things to do with safari down time, taking a nap being one .

Good link into the luminous-landscape safari photo info, thanks Hanuman. Our own Andy Biggs here is no stranger to guided photos safaris . Here is one of his tutorials on them -
http://www.theglobalphotographer.com...oto-safari-101
And look around his web site for lots of great safari photos and more photo chat and tutorials. http://www.andybiggs.com/

regards - tom
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Jul 7th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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I'm with Don. A few years ago after reading many posts at this forum on this subject I purchased a netbook expressly for backing up pictures and not having to worry about having enough cards. The netbook is extra handy as more camps/lodges seem to be making wifi available. I usually travel by myself, so being able to send a quick email is great for touching base with my wife and family.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 07:38 AM
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Definitely agree with netbook/tablet option - also I back up to my ipod which is a great storage device.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:05 AM
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Cary999 - A lot of beautiful photographs in Andy's gallery! Does he post here?
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Jul 7th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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Yep, Andy is pro photographer, a gentleman, a scholar, father, and always willing to share his knowledge, craft and art. He does post here, he makes comments and recommendations as replies to posts. He generally does originate posts nor do trip reports.

What I especially like about his safari photos is that they are not "mug shots". They show much more about the animal's personality and the wonderful environment. Does he use Canon or Nikon cameras? Yes. At the moment I believe he is using Nikon.

FWIW, I believe there are a couple of other pro tour guide photographers who visit us occasionally. All of them very low key.

regards - tom
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Jul 7th, 2011, 02:18 PM
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I just remembered that Andy was on the NBC Today show this past May 2011. I've put the clip of it up for down loading. It plays for 4 min, is AVI format, and is 25MB size. I'm not sure how well it will play for you as a streaming video. I'd suggest you download the whole file to your PC then play it back. Link to -
http://www.mediafire.com/?6jul7f7pkm8jlus

Seems as though Andy gets on TV every so often talking about travel photography.

regards - tom
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Jul 7th, 2011, 07:06 PM
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My apologies to AlisaAAM for hijacking this thread.

Cary999,

Thanks for the link. Good interview and good know that the pros visit Fodors forum - I only thought they hang out at dpreview.com!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for letting me know the link downloaded and worked ok for you, I'm always crossing my fingers. Those two gals can sure go non-hesitant chatter!!!! Kind of admire that .

I also visit dpreview a lot. Not sure how many pros are on it, certainly a lot of gearheads. I'm breathlessly waiting for the rumored Nikon D400. Hope I'm impressed enough with it to part with the cash, update my D200.

And thanks AlisaAAM for letting us go off on a tangent. Any slight opening to talk camera gear here is jumped on with enthusiasm by some of us .

regards - tom
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Jul 7th, 2011, 08:31 PM
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OK Tom let's talk camera. My equipment for the trip will be my trusty 5D mk 2 and will be taking along the following lenses:

Canon 24 - 70 F2.8 L(over 10 years old and still the best).
Canon 70 - 200 F2.8 L mk 2
Canon 2x extender mk 3
Lowepro large slingshot case
Spider Holster - check it out if you haven't seen them.
Canon S95 for close-up.

So much weight that I'm getting a headache trying to figure out how to "hide" the equipment when boarding the local charter flight.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 08:37 PM
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My Canon 70 - 200 F2.8 L IS mk 2 alone weight 1.5 kg or 3.3 lb!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:37 PM
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Yep, Hanuman with you laptop and other kit you have your hands full. I do not take a laptop/notebook. But do take two harddrive units that I download cards into.

Your cameras/lenses look good. Only thing I'd add is another DSLR body . Last Feb in Tanzania my primary Nikon, D200, got wet and quite, dead. ($300 fix by Nikon). So, I picked up the D40x and continued. Normally I have on the D200 a 70-300, and on the D40 a 18-200. Sweet to have the two lenses I need on two bodies, you just reach for it all, no swapping. I also take a small video camera. Although stills are my first love, there is nothing like the action and real sound of video. Then after every safari I put some stills and video clips on a DVD that plays on a TV or PC and it becomes my safari souvenir picture album. Super easy to share with scattered family and friends. Just mail it to them.

About 3 weeks for you!!! Masai Mara is great. I'm afraid my next safari is several months away, May 2012??

Oh, before I forget, I have a few shots up to kind of accompany my Fodors trip reports on smugmug -
http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/
My most recent safari Tanzania Feb 2011 behind that top left thumbnail

regards - tom
ps - was in Masai Mara in Sep 2006, you WILL LOVE IT!!!!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for sharing your smugmug link and I've just looked at all the gallery. Love your Tanzania photos!

Noted that you're from the dark side, or Nikon camp Canon, IMO, are more robust with weather sealant and I've traveled in all kind of climate situation with them. Will try and find another body, used one, to take along as well - what's an extra 2 or 3 lbs right!
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Jul 8th, 2011, 06:06 AM
  #16
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No worries on hijaking the thread! We'll be bringing a Nikon D40 with a Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5, and a Nikon D5100 with, probably, the Sigma 50-500mm f/4.5-6.3 (we're renting the long telephoto so still hashing out our options--also thinking about the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6). Luckily, there are two of us and we're both reasonable photographers and we can each have a camera avoid swapping lenses!
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Jul 8th, 2011, 07:11 PM
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AlisaAAM - check out the link I posted and the author of the article. Google his name and you'll see his background and achievement especially in photography as well as other billionaire related child genius stuff.

Don't forget both your cameras have crop factor of 1.5x so at 500 mm that will be the same as 750 mm! Quite a reach but it look heavy! Are you taking a tripod or bean bags for the camera and lens?
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Jul 9th, 2011, 07:40 AM
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We probably won't take a beanbag, but will "make our own" once there with ziplocks and beans, rice, or sand. It will be hevay--about 4 pounds, I think. My husband really wants to go with the longer lens for some reason, so I'm humoring him. I tried to convince him we could get away with a lens with a 70-300 mm, but he didn't buy it. Really, I think he just wants to play with a super telephoto....
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Jul 9th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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Ziplocks and sand don't work too well as beanbags. You might want to check out one you can purchase, such as this one: http://www.vertexphoto.com/BeanBag.aspx If your husband is going to use a big lens, he might as well have a support that would work on a vehicle door or flat surface. Your guide or tour company should have the beans already purchased for you when you arrive in Maun or whereever you'll be starting your safari. However, since you're going to Botswana and Zimbabwe, I suspect that you'll be in open vehicles, so beanbags aren't going to be of much use. One of our photographers used a monopod last year; that worked well for him. It was either set on the floor or between his legs on the seat.
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Jul 9th, 2011, 11:58 AM
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Bean bags or monopods, depends on type of vehicle. If pop top vehicle with body frame around the (open) top edge, it's bean bags. If totally open vehicle, no body/bars above door line then it's monopod.

FWIW, I use a 70-300 zoom and very very rarely wished for more. But if you are into birdies, more lens the merrier .

regards - tom
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