Need help in selecting digital camera for safari

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Nov 9th, 2005, 03:06 PM
  #1
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Need help in selecting digital camera for safari

I have booked a safari for next year and would like to purchase an appropriate digital camera. The problem is I have never used a digital or anything other than a point and shoot, so I would like to find something that is very easy to use but also take good safari photos. I don't expect anything phenomenal, just some good shots I can blow up to 8X10. One of the posts had a recommendation for the Panasonic FZ5 with 12X optical lens. Does anyone know if this would be a good choice or can anyone recommend anything else that would be simple for a nontechnical person to use.
Would appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks,
Annie
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Nov 9th, 2005, 04:09 PM
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Annie - Do a search on this forum - photography, cameras, digital photo, etc... you'll find at least a few day's worth of reading! (I have heard the F5 is a nice camera. Many on this board like the FZ20 and the newer FZ30 as well. )
Good luck!
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Nov 9th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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Hi Annie,

I am not a camera expert by any means, but over the last few years I have taken some great photos, with a mid range point and shoot. I have just moved into digital ready for gameviewing in Dec05/Jan06. I have bought the Panasonic FZ30. I borrowed my brother-in-law's FZ20 for a month before purchasing the FZ30. I have used it a lot trying to get used to holding it so I can watch the screen and that part has driven me nuts, but I am getting used to it. I will take both cameras with me and use both, plus all of the extra stuff required for the digital - enough memory, batteries, recharger, something to store the photos on etc etc. I am happy with my choice so far, hope I will feel the same when I return home in january.

Kaye
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Nov 9th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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Kaye,

I've been perusing the archives about safari cameras, too. I have to ask, why will you be bringing BOTH cameras? That seems to indicate that you've found strengths and weaknesses that I hope you'll be willing to share.

Thanks!

Cheryl
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Nov 9th, 2005, 05:36 PM
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I always take at least 2 cameras in case something happens to one. Only once did a camera stop working on a trip. I was glad to have my backup.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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Hi Cheryl,

atravelynn is so right! I have had 2 cameras on every trip as one year, I also had a camera that I thought had a problem with the flash, ended up being I had pushed a button, but the thought of no working camera was a nightmare. Up to now I have had two the same, this trip I will have a digital and a film camera. I also hate the idea of running out of film, as on one trip I did take 72 rolls x 40 photos. I try to take about 40-50 rolls now, hopefully less this time with the digital.

I do think the digital will be better at night, and at Londolozi I will be putting that to the test as I am hoping to stay out for 2 nights leopard viewing! Plus seeing all the little night creatures. The digital is also way better for photographing small things close up, eg lizards beetles frogs. My film camera doesn't let me get anywhere near as close.

Kaye
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Nov 9th, 2005, 07:15 PM
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I Just bought the Panasonic FZ5, with the 12x optical zoom. LOVE IT!!! took it to China and Tibet for 3 weeks. Perfect, easy to use, color, sepia, black/white -- all easily available on teh settings. good size screen for viewing the pictures taken. Now heading to Botswana, Zambia, and South Africa in a week for 2-week safari. Have tried 11x14 blowup --terrific. I'm not a geek about cameras, and have NO CLUE about f-stops, and all that. My other camera that I will also take is the Casio Exilim. I have an early one, only 1.8 Megapixel. Newer ones of that product line have more pixels, etc...I decided on the Panasonic because of the size, my intolerance for changing lenses, my need for EASY use. Bought it through Abe's of Maine. They were good. Took a 4-hour digital camera course through community resource, but wasn't necessary.
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Nov 9th, 2005, 11:32 PM
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I can't tell you exactly which brand of camera to purchase but I know that all the information I have read regarding photographic safaris say that you must have at least a 6 megapixel camera to qualify. Also have a friend that has the Panasonic in an earlier model and loved it.
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Nov 10th, 2005, 02:02 AM
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Hi spiegelcjs,
About your statement "you must have at least a 6 megapixel camera to qualify". I think you're probably referring to recommendations for a certain number of megapixels (mps) in relation to the enlargement size you might want to do later. I'm no expert, but I can tell you that cameras with less than 6 mps work just fine. I had a Canon S1 (3mps) last June and it took beautiful photos. But 3mps limits an enlargement to about an 8x10 if you want to retain really good clarity. Generally, the more mps the camera has, the larger the enlargements you can do and still retain good clarity. I now have a Panasonic FZ5 (5mps) for use on our next safari in June 2006, and, like 8nina's comments above, I look forward to being able to enlarge photos to 11x14 or even larger (if I want to) while still retaining good quality/clarity. Jack
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Nov 10th, 2005, 04:27 AM
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We were in Kenya/Tanzania 1st 2 weeks of October with an FZ30 and were so happy with it. We took an extra battery & 2G of memory, but downloaded our photos each night to our small laptop computer. Here is the link to our albums. Important to note that we are very very amateur photographers, and found the camera easy to use.

http://loriandgregsafricatrip.shutterfly.com/action/

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Nov 10th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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I bought the Canon S2 IS a couple months ago for my upcoming safari. It has the built in image stablizer, 12x zoom, and 5 mp. I have been practicing with it for 2 months now and feel ready for my upcoming safari. Click on my name for previous threads, lots of great advice from others, Phil, cary999, julian, kavey etc. Cary999 has the same camera and posted photos which I thought were excellent.
Carla
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Nov 10th, 2005, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. Would it be necessary to take something to download my photos on to, or could I just take enough cards with me and do it when I get home? I am really not very knowledgeable about any of this and want to do what is the most simple.
Annie
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Nov 10th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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It's not necessary to take something to download photos onto, but some like to do that. On our trip last June we simply took several cards totalling about 2GB's of photo memory and that was way more than enough. And, if you get in a pinch, you can always go back and delete photos that didn't come out very good and that frees up additional space. But we didn't need to do that. I ended up taking about 1,100 photos and never went back and erased any. It's basically a matter of personal preference. Jack
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Nov 10th, 2005, 10:10 PM
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wjsonl
I agree about the mps. I was only saying that the companies that call themselves "photo safari" companies say that in order to qualify for their photographic trips , if you are using a digital camera it must have a minimum of 6 mps. I have taken pictures all over Europe with 4 mps and had them enlarged to 11x14 and they look fine to me. Now my brother who is a true amature photographer does not think the quality is fine. I guess his eyes are better than mine.
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Nov 10th, 2005, 10:42 PM
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Hi Spiegel, that is certainly a new one on me. So, what are the names of some of those "photo safari" companies that require 6 megapixels on your digital camera? Thanks, Jack
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Nov 10th, 2005, 10:43 PM
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What is the difference between FZ5 and FZ20/30 ? I am not a good photographer but still would want have some nice photos from Africa on the wall at home. So which one is the better choice in terms of easy to use, automatic settings and connectability to the computer ?

sorry for my english, those phototherms are not my strongest side.
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Nov 10th, 2005, 10:59 PM
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Hi basto,
I have an FZ5 and am most familiar with that camera. But I do know that the FZ20 and the FZ5 are essentially the same camera, but the FZ20 is more expensive. The FZ30 has 8 megapixels, 3 more than the FZ5, but both have the same zoom power, 12x optical, 4x digital, for a total zoom of 48x. The FZ5 is about $200 cheaper than the FZ30, and it is a much lighter weight. So, if the 3 extra mps are important to you (and they would only be if you intend to have some huge enlargements made), then go for the FZ30. The best place to see a side-by-side comparison of all aspects of each camera is on the website www.dpreview.com, a great website about digital photography and digital cameras. Jack
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Nov 11th, 2005, 01:29 AM
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: wjsonl
David Anderson Focus on Africa is a group that gives a discount to people that qualify as photographers. You can look him up at I believer focusonafrica.com. Anyway he rule is if you use digital it has to be 6 mps. He is looking for photographers.
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Nov 11th, 2005, 01:56 AM
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Well, guess I'll miss out on that opportunity since my FZ5 only has 5mps. Dagnabit!
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Nov 11th, 2005, 09:43 AM
  #20
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I also heard that the Canon S2 IS would be a good one. Does anyone know how that compares to the FZ5? I thought Canon may be a better brand, not sure though.
Annie
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