Dec 27th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 592


I too am an amateur when it comes to cameras. Hoewver, I would highly recommend getting a 80 - 300 lens for your Nikon SLR. It doesn't take any getting used to, and in fact you will probably use it for most of your Africa photos.

Would also strongly suggest taking your camcorder. I personally enjoy looking at my videos more frequently than dragging a photo album out though I do use both.

Charging batteries is not a problem in most lodges or tented camps. In some you can do it in your room. In others you charge your batteries at the bar. I carry five batteries with me and always have three with me at all times when two are being charged.

If you are going to Kenya be sure to get a convertor to take with you. You can get them at Magellans.com. If you are going to be in Kenya get the EA23MCG (British electrig plug - grounded). Just plug your charger into this and then into the Kenya plug in your room or at the bar. These cost about $7.00. They work fine.

You probably won't need a tripod. I have never used one though some do prefer to use them. Most drivers will stop and shut off their engines if they know you are photo-

You will have a marvelous time, and you'll have pictures and videos to help you remember. I often see things on my videos that I didn't even notice at the time they were happening. Once you get home it makes you think you are back there again!

JanGoss is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 226
Jan, Thanksfor the great advise. I agree that video and pics will be priceless reminders. I found a resonably priced 70-300 zoom lens that I 'll get for the Nikon. I will also check in to a basic photo course to learn how to use it as well. The good news is that I have 6 months to learn.

Thanks also for the convertor advise as well. I hadn't looked in to that yet. I may already have a convertor from our last trip to England. Hopefully I'll get some of the best pics and video on to a web site for a trip report when we return. Jambo!
JazzDrew is offline  
Dec 28th, 2004, 06:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Which Nikon do you have?

If you are able to dedicate just a bit of time before you go to learning your camera I think it's definitely worth taking the SLR and a couple of good lenses for it.

Firstly, don't be embarassed about using the SLR in automatic mode. I use mine in P (Program = automatic) quite a lot and get great results. The metering systems are so good these days that you can rely on auto settings.

However, if you have time to learn about them I'd suggest thinking about the kind of situations where you might want to use Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority modes. For example, if I come across a cheetah and think it's about to hunt and be moving fast I might switch into Shutter Priority mode and set the camera to use a faster shutter speed (it will automatically work out the change it needs to make to aperture to compensate for the faster speed). This will allow me to freeze motion. Or I might want to set a slower speed and pan to blur the background and keep the animal sharp - I'm rubbish at this so don't do it but others do it very well. If I come across a lion sitting still in the grass I might switch into Aperture Priority where I set aperture and the camera works out an appropriate shutter speed. Why? Because aperture will affect the depth of field. If you're not sure what depth of field is, give me a shout and I'll explain in another post. I like shallow depth of field and choose settings accordingly.

This might sound a bit too complicated. The good news is that most modern SLRS have, along with P mode, A and S priority (and fully manual) some additional preset modes. There is often a sports mode which will increase shutter speed (and sometimes turn on focus tracking options). There is often a mode that provides low depth of field, one that provides deep depth of field and so on. These are quick to use and easy too.

In terms of lenses, personally I wouldnt go much above 300 unless you spend more and buy an Image Stabilisation lens or a really expensive one that offers wider maximum apertures. Otherwise you just won't be able to hold it steady and your images will be blurred, especially at dawn and dusk.

Personally I find tripods impossible to use within a vehicle and don't bother trying - a beanbag is occasionally useful or just a rolled up scarf or jumper.

Do also take a wide angle zoom for pictures of landscapes and maybe of your tent and of fellow guests and each other and so on.
Kavey is offline  
Dec 29th, 2004, 09:52 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 226

I recieved a Nikon FG as a gift while I was in college (to capture the 1984 Olympics). I used it for the month that I was in LA and used the Auto mode only. The pictures turned out fine but didn't seem worth the effort of luging all that weight and bulk compared to the point and shoot I use for snapshots. I have not even used the Nikon FG since.

My reason for wanting to use the Nikon FG in Africa is becasue of the limited zoom capabilities with my point and shoot camera. I'd like to attempt some photos like those that I've seen on your's and others posts! So I have a Nikon 70-300 zoom lens ordered and I'll "play" with it for a while then take a class to see if I can catch up on my photographic skills before we leave on Safari. Wish me luck and thanks for the advice!
JazzDrew is offline  
Dec 29th, 2004, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
No problem and I'm sure myself and others are more than happy to answer any questions, if we can.
Incidentally, you do know that you can get "compacts" these days that do have some SERIOUS zoom on them?
I prefer the flexibility of an SLR but... just be aware of the option.
Kavey is offline  

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