Nice looking alternative to monopod

Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:31 AM
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Nice looking alternative to monopod

http://www.bushhawk.com/

This is a camera mount that rests against your shoulder. Given that my monopod never usually makes it out of the suitcase, I am going to give this product a try and leave my monopod at home this November while I am in Botswana and South Africa.

It retails for $99.95.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 12:47 PM
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It looks interesting, Rocco. Let us know how it works out for you.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Probably works good. I had (have) a similiar one (cheaply made) I used to use with a 400mm, a cheap and long lens. Shooting film with ASA/ISO of 64 and no image stabilization. So todays ISO of 400 plus really helps. I'll have to dig it out. Though that was back when the shutter release was a simple cable. So, make sure this thing has a way to work with the fancy electronis shutters of Canon and Nikon and ????
regards - tom
ps - If I had to bet, I'd bet you will also leave this thing in the suitcase
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Oooh I've never come across this product!!! But I'm somewhat impressed by the testimonial from Frans Lanting - one of my wildlife photography favourites!

I am a bit confused about just how one uses it - I'm looking at the pictures on the home page (WISH they had those available at larger sizes somewhere on the site) and it seems the camera is resting against the photographer's eye but that their hands aren't anywhere near the body - does one turn the camera orientation by the body/ lens in the same was as normal or some other way?

It seems like a great idea in principle though and I would like to think a pro like Lanting wouldn't endorse a product he didn't feel worked!

I don't know if it would work for me as I have such shoulder/ neck problems but I'd love to try one out!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 08:36 PM
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Tom,

Hehehe...you may be right but even if this device never does leave my suitcase, it is about 1/3 the weight as my monopod and ballhead.

Seriously, though, I think this looks like a very user friendly product. After that tree climbing male lion in Ndutu, I have a tall order to improve my photos from my last safari so I will need all the help I can get.

Although I have had good results with my Sigma 80-400mm (OS) lens, I am wondering if I would not be able to take sharper photos with the Canon 100-400mm "L" IS lens since it is about 13 ounces less in weight than the Sigma.

Then again, the better investment may be a Canon 30d...one of my 20d's is on the fritz. Canon will likely come out with something new next month or in September. More than likely, I have read, there will be something in the 1d family and then something else to improve on the Rebel XT.

My final itinerary looks like this, and flights are booked and most accomodations are already paid:

Michelangelo Towers, Sandton, Joburg (1)

This will be a nice alternative to the Saxon for pomp and circumstance, with it being an all-suite hotel with rooms measuring a minimum of 80 sq. meters (about 850 sq. ft.) and overlooking the Joburg skyline.

Sabi Sabi Selati (1)(waitlisted for Earth Lodge)

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge (2)

Many consider Earth Lodge in the same category as Singita and Londolozi Tree. I have long wanted to stay at this property.

Mateya, Madikwe (2)

Some consider this property the most luxurious in South Africa. To get your hands on one of their brochures, is like having the brochure of that dream car in your hands. It is just such a beautiful place and if I happen to see wild dogs while there, it will prove to be an amazing experience.

From here I may opt for a helicopter transfer to Sun City. How cool would that be to fly into the Palace Of the Lost City by helicopter?

Palace Of The Lost City (1)

I will have to leave by 6AM the next morning to make it back to JNB in time for my 10:10AM flight to Maun, but it will be worth it to finally visit Sun City. It's either that or return to Joburg and spend a tranquil night in Joburg.

Kwando Kwara (3)

Kwando Lebala (2)

Kwando Lagoon (2)

Chiefs Camp (3)

Baines Camp (3) Stanley's Camp Elephant Experience during my stay. This should be really cool to walk amongst a trio of elephants, side by side!

Park Hyatt, Sydney (3) Continent #6 and nicer weather than had I stayed in Europe for 3 nights in late November.

So, with the above itinerary, I better have my camera gear all in order. I am even taking a three hour class each week in preparation, so hopefully I learn a thing or two so I don't have to continue faking it!
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 08:40 PM
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Rocco,

Sun city? Why???

However, the helicopter transfer sounds cool........

Sabi Sabi, i will await your report.......haven't read great things here. I will let you make the final judgement......

Sydney sounds nice........

Hari
 
Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 08:53 PM
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Hari,

I need an overnight in either Sun City or Joburg. No way to get to Botswana the same day unless I went through Gaborone, and I have heard doing so is risky and I may miss the Gaborone to Maun flight (as well as giving up my final game drive, only 1 of 4, at Mateya). I figure that going to Sun City will get me about 1/3 of the way back to Joburg and it is a place of commercial interest to a lot of travelers.

I have nothing to gain by staying at most of the remaining Joburg hotels. Julian is staying at The Saxon and The Grace on his current trip and I have already stayed at the Michelangelo and will stay at the Michelangelo Towers on my first night. There are just not any Joburg hotels that I believe to be in the same class as these...even the Westcliff has mixed reviews.

I think Sun City could be fun for one night, in lieu of Joburg. However, the risk remains getting to Joburg in time the next morning, but if I leave at 6AM sharp, I should be to JNB at about 8:30AM.

This next trip, other than Kwando, will be very over the top. However, in May 2007 this is what I have planned:

Durban (3) INDABA travel conference
The Hide, Hwange (2)
Somalisa, Hwange (2)
Camp Amalinda, Matobo Hills (3)
Pamushana, Malilangwe Reserve (3)
Musango, Lake Kariba (2)
Vundu Camp, Mana Pools (2)
Lower Zambezi Fly Camp (canoe between Vundu to Ruckomechi) (1)
Ruckomechi (2)
Paris, France (2) (including wedding anniversary on final night...it just works out that way, fortunately)

If this trip goes well, I intend to get as familiar with Zimbabwe as I am with Zambia.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 09:04 PM
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Hi Rocco,

Trust me......you will love the kwando experience. However, i will warn you that the Old Kwara tents are not going to impress you one bit!!! Sounds like you might see 4 different packs of wild dogs on the trip (Madikwe pack, lagoon pack, Lebala/selinda pack and the Kwara pack)

I'm very keen on Zimbabwe also. That itinerary sounds awesome. Hide, Somalisa, Pamushana.....all on my "LIST"

Rgds
Hari

 
Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:04 PM
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My God Rocco. With your May 2007 safari, how many different camps will you have been to? 30? Got to be a record here on Fodors and likely world wide.
The weekly camera class could be fun. I need something to pry me out of the house and get me to use my new Nikon gear. Is the class given in Orange County? (Or is it a local community college thing?). Got my second safari coming up this Sept. All booked - except for flights into Joburg and out of Nairobi.
I'd lean towards the Canon 100-400 lens. Get the 20d fixed. Can't cost more than maybe $400. No big thing.
God I canít believe how many safari camps you have gone to and going to. You lucky son of a gun.
regards Ė tom
ps Ė all weekend Iíve been having problems with posting replies to the forum. They just donít get posted. Anyone else having same problem?
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:10 PM
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Rocco...you asked: "Although I have had good results with my Sigma 80-400mm (OS) lens, I am wondering if I would not be able to take sharper photos with the Canon 100-400mm "L" IS lens since it is about 13 ounces less in weight than the Sigma."

The answer is definitely yes. It has more to do with the lens quality and responsiveness, though, than with its weight. I think I've mentioned before that my wife used to own the Sigma 80-400 OS but was so disappointed with it that she sold it and now very happily uses my 100-400 IS with her digital cameras. She deeply regretted replacing her Sigma 50-500 (non-OS) with the OS zoom, because the 50-500 is better. I'm not anti-Sigma by any means. I've recently recommended the Sigma 100-300/f4 (non-OS) to a young fellow who's going to Africa (and cannot afford big glass), but I wouldn't recommend the 80-400 to anybody.

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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:14 PM
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Tom,

I am sure that there are others on this forum, but I am thankful for the opportunity to see so many different camps. Africa is just such a wondrous destination that even if I was not in the industry there are so many places I would want to visit.

With a little luck, for the latter part of 2007 I may just get to Katavi & Mahale in Tanzania, along with Ruaha, Selous and Mozambique for some pristine beach time (watch out for those land mines! OK, just kidding about the land mines).

Tom, the classes are held in Covina and this place is supposedly one of the best in the country:

http://www.tri-communityphotoprogram...gistration.htm

Classes just started last week. I am doing a travel & landscape class. It is only $90 and for those $90 you can attend any classes you want and also you get free prints that you create in the lab. It is an excellent value, especially for those willing to do lab work.

From Fullerton, you must only be 25 minutes away. I only wish I attended this place sooner...it has been on my radar for about a year but this is the first time I acted on it.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 10:19 PM
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afrigalah,

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely consider upgrading to the Canon 100-400 "L" IS.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2006, 11:58 PM
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Rocco, one thing I always forget to mention because it doesn't give me any headaches: because it's a push-pull zoom, the 100-400 IS tends to suck dust in. Of course, this doesn't affect the camera, but it is regarded by some as the only drawback (pun not intended) of this zoom. IMO if you are aware of it, it shouldn't be a problem. Lenses should be serviced regularly anyway. I've had my 100-400 now for six years, it's been to Africa and into the Australian bush (which is just as dusty) many times, and it's as good as gold.
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