New Camera for Trip

Oct 11th, 2006, 05:08 PM
Original Poster
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New Camera for Trip

I am starting a new thread because the only one I found was back from March.

Now that we have finalized our plans I need something else to churn about; a camera. I have had several digital cameras and am pretty good at composition, but not great technically. I have never used an SLR camera either film or digital. Should I start now? Fstops etc. just confuse me. Every friend I ask has a different opinion. The most important features to me are:
1 Long zoom , 12X
2.Image stabilazation
3. Shutter speed. No lage time between shots.
Actually I think the shutter response is the most important as the camera I have now, a Nikon, takes to long to reup between shots.

My husband will be shooting video with the new Sony Handycam he bought for me that uses a CD to record. I will be the still photographer. Ultimately I hope to be able to merge the medias together for a 15 minute show.

As always I welcome all opinions.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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You might want to consider a "super zoon" camera instead of an SLR. Examples are the Canon S3, Panasonic Fz30 and Sony DSC-H2. Check out this thread:

kumasawa is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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I found this informative website regarding the best wildlife/safari camera:

Even my Nikon friend, who has been a pro photographer for 40 years, conceded that Canon has excellent image stabilizing.

Check out the link. I am an Olympus fan, but really love the Powershot - have yet to take it on Safari (not til 2008)
Local2542 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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We just made the transition from point-and-shoot to a digital SLR -- we got the new Canon Digital Rebel XTi. I liked it because it can go from powered off to taking a picture in 0.2 seconds, and (like other SLRs) has no shutter lag whatsoever.
If you're willing to spend the money for quality lenses (and willing to carry them around), you can get very good magnification (our long lens is the equivalent of 640mm on a film camera) and image stabilization.
In terms of ease of use, all the newer digital SLRs have full-auto modes as well as modes for shooting landscapes, portraits, and action shots, so there is no need to learn to manually adjust the settings. There would probably be instances where certain high-difficulty shots (low light, etc.) could be captured better by manual settings, but for the majority of times you could simply rely on the automatic modes.
Darren mentioned the Canon S3 and cameras like it, which are definitely the alternative to get if you don't want an SLR. If you look at Darren's pictures from his last trip, you will see just how great the results can be from that kind of camera.
This probably comes down to you weighing the expense and hassle of lugging an SLR and lenses around versus the improvement in flexibility and image quality than an SLR can give you. For us, we finally gave in and got an SLR, but you would not go wrong with the cameras Darren suggested either.
Good luck making your decision!
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 04:11 AM
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I am looking at the Canon Rebel - what lenses do you have for yours?

Local2542 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:24 AM
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It's good that you know what you want to do with your photos. Are you familiar with any of the programs to take still photos and video clips and put them on a DVD? And then the DVD can play on any TV. I did this last year, made a 20 minute DVD of stills and short video clips using the program ProShow Gold. I got it and just started using it and it went together very easy without a long frustrating learning curve. There are many other programs that can do the same. (Wife and I each had the Canon S2 last year. This year I took a Nikon D200, she used the S2 and I took my S2 as back up).

You've spec'd your basic camera needs perfectly. Do you like cameras? Do you like know that f8 gives you twice the depth of field as f4? Do you like to know that f8 at 1/125 of a second is the same exposure as f11 at 1/60 of a second? Do you want to know? Do you like to fiddle with camera hardware like cleaning the sensor? If your answers are yes, get a DSLR. If no, go with one of the really nice big zoom cameras like the Canon S3, Panasonic DMC FZ7 or FZ50, Sony DSC-H2. Definitely try them out before you buy one. The shutter response is very important as you say and you need to check this. I don't know what digital you are using now, but I think these new ones will be a big improvement. The web site - is excellent for camera reviews and you will find these and many others reviewed and discused at great length.

And of course you know to have the camera months before you go and practice and play with it every chance you get.
regards - tom
ps - these "big zoom" cameras will also take excellent video. Might be nice to have as backup to the other video camera.
cary999 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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I found my Panasonic FZ7 was more than up to the challenge, especially if you pick the apature-optional (hence fastest shutter speed) and the auto-burst/bracket feature, which minimizes lag time.

One thing to note is that the Pana is very small and light, which really helps when you're walking around and/or in city situations where you'd like to to conceal the camera in a day bag or handbag.

I've posted some (reduced for the web) pix taken with the FZ7 and our other camera, a small cigarette-pack Lumix, in S. Africa last month on my little website,
Gardyloo is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 12:25 PM
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2542 --
After a LOT of research, we got two lenses: the EF-S 17-85 IS USM for wide-angle and landscape shots, and the EF100-400L IS USM for telephoto shots. I can tell you from the prelminary results we have gotten from the 100-400L that it is an incredible lens -- I did some test shots with it and resolved lines that were 1/150th of an inch apart at 400mm at a distance of 40ft with the aperture wide open. It is very expensive, but a really excellent lens.
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:01 AM
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I have the Canon digital Rebel XT (I think it's called the 350 in Europe?) with the 75-300 image stabilized USM lens. There is definitely no lag time between shots and while I can't honestly say that the image quality blows me away, I do get some decent shots, and any quality issues are probably more due to my lack of experience & expertise with the equipment than it is the camera & lens. I like the 75-300 lens because it is not too huge and heavy, although DH and I are debating whether to get the 100-400 L lens before South Africa & Botswana at the end of the year, which would add significantly to the bulk factor. I think this camera is a good one if you are transitioning from a point and shoot to something more technically advanced. If you are looking for something with little or no lag time then I would definitely recommend a digital SLR which are superior in that regard to the super zooms like the Canon S3 or Panasonic Fz30 (although those have the advantage of taking video as well, but it sounds like your husband will have the video covered).

A great source of reviews for all of these is

Good luck.
lisa is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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I second the thumbs up on the 100-400L. If you can afford it, it's an awesome lens. It gave me a lot of great shots. It's big and heavy but very sturdy. The colors and sharpness are superb.
comtnboy is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:35 AM
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I have actually just come back from the camera shop. I normally always do the video on safari and I have a Canon XL1 and my partner does the digital shots with a Nikon D70. I decided that it is time for me to get back to taking photos hence the visit to the camera shop. The 2 choices I have in mind is the Nikon D80 which is the latest or the Canon EOS 30D. Being a staunch Nikon guy I am tending to lean towrds the Canon EOS 30D because I will be able to interchange lenses with my XL1 and more importantly the Canon lenses are far superior to that of Nikon. The Canon EOS 30D is the worlds biggest selling digital camera so I feel this speaks for itself.
Hope I helped.
Marksafari17 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 07:01 AM
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I would go for the Canon - the lenses are excellent. I made the decision years ago to by an lower quality lense for my Olympus, and regretted the decision after we got the photos back.

Chris, thanks for your info - The 100 - 400mm Canon lense is expensive. I researched the cost/weight of the 70-200, thinking I would add a teleconverter and could get by with a less expensive option this way.

The 70-200mm weighs more than the 100-400, and the cost of the 70-200mm plus a teleconverter will also be more expensive.
Local2542 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 10:33 AM
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The 100-400 is definitely an excellent choice for such a trip. The image quality is excellent.

Canon is also introducing an IS version of their 70-200 f/4 L lens. Might be worth considering.

Reviews of other lenses are at --
serengeti is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Re, the new 70-200mm F/4.0L IS, I think it will be a great addition. I almost pulled the trigger on buying the F/2.8 version before I left for Zambia Sept. 21, but decided to wait for the 4.0. While the 2.8 is a fine lens, it is as big as my 300 mm f/4L IS . Tried to get my hands on the 4.0 before I left. Ha!

It is reputed to have 4 stops of IS. That will allow handholding at a 1/25sec. shutter speed. Amazing! My f/4.0 with 1.4 converter worked very well and I carried it on walks as well as handholding it on the Land Rovers/Cruisers along with my other camera with the 24-105mm F/4.0L IS and my little Olympus P&S.
steeliejim is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 12:27 PM
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For lens reviews, I may also recommend, which has user reviews and overall ratings, with popular Canon lenses having rating from hundreds of users. It's a great supplement to a professional review like the ones you find on The Digital Pictures and Camera Labs.
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 12:44 PM
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Just remember that Canon uses different sensor sizes. For example the 30D and 350/400D uses the (almost) DX size sensor. While the 5D uses the 35mm size sensor. this affects the 35mm equivalent focal length of the lens you use.
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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all depends on your budget for the camera, its size and weight and your priorities !

As my first digital camera this year, I got the Panasoinc DMC-FZ7, 12x optical zoom, image stabilizer, 6 megapixel, 2,5" display.

I did not want to carry too many lenses and weight because my first priority to catch wildlife was the camcorder !
Fabio is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 08:08 PM
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I was all revved up to buy the Canon 12x digital and then I did a bit more research. I ended up buying a Nikon D50 SLR. I'm not a photographer and I have no idea what an F-stop does but I have found that even the auto setting delivers the most amazing pictures that I've ever taken. It came with a 20x300 zoom so I'm able to get great shots from a distance. Don't be intimidated by an SLR - they're worth every penny in my opinion - and they don't bite.
LizYoung is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Great choice with the D50. I hv been using it for the last couple of years and i love it. I just upgraded myself to the D200....trying to get used to it...havent had enough opportunity to use it as yet.

Oct 13th, 2006, 09:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 382
You are all amazing and I appreciate the imput. I will be going to my local camera shop in the next few weeks and playing with all of these cameras. I guess one of the posters put it correctly; do not be afraid of an SLR they do not bite. I have to get over the fear that I will not understand how to use it.
spiegelcjs is offline  

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