Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

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Jan 1st, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #1
Lin
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Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30

Several of you have purchased this camera, as have I. I used to own the FZ10, but I feel that I never got a real handle on all its features because every year, I upgraded. As a way for me to cheat and to start playing with what worked for others, I would love to know from each of you, what your favorite feature is on this camera and how you used it on safari. I mean, other than the obvious things. Tell me about the more obscure features on the menu!! What can this baby do!!

Also, what bothered you the most, if anything?

Did you find a big quality difference using the high speed memory cards? And how was photography on night drives using only the camera's flash? Do I need to buy a flash?

I also would love any tips you might have for taking movie clips and using sound.

Also what do you think of Panasonic's photo editing software (I don't really like it so far) and how it compares to Adobe Photoshop 4.0???

Thanks!

This time I really want to be ready. My trip's in June.
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Jan 1st, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Hello Lin,

I don't own the FZ30, so I can't really address your questions about it, but I have owned the FZ10 and FZ20 and taken both of them on safari.

HIGH SPEED MEMORY CARDS: All the memory cards I've bought are either Sandisk Ultra II or Extreme III. They are notably faster in terms of processing speed (and thus time to next picture) than the regular ones supplied by Panasonic. I've found this particularly useful for burst shooting of animals in motion (especially wild dogs, which never seem to stand still, and for an intense leopard-hyaena face-off).

NIGHT DRIVES: I've done some pics with the built-in flash and some with just the spotlight. The flash can be helpful for subjects which are close. I'm not a huge fan of flash photography since it tends to make everything look a bit flat, so I've never invested in an external flash.

NB The viewfinder and LCD are, unfortunately, pretty much useless at night, so it was a matter of pointing the camera in the right direction and letting it do its thing. I did get some surprisingly good shots of nocturnal animals this way -- and a lot of deletable shots of random plants, animal bums, etc.

EDITING SOFTWARE: Adobe all the way -- the Panasonic software is way too basic to make the most of your pics.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 1st, 2006, 03:42 PM
  #3
Lin
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Hi jasher, I only WISH I was in the situation of photographing an intense leopard-hyaena face off! Lucky you.

You reminded me to work on the burst shooting tool, thanks for that. And I agree about flash at night resulting in flat pictures. Sometimes I found that shots taken with my built in flash caused the spotlit portion of the picture to take on weird colors. In dim and spotlit situations, with the animals close to the vehicle, what were your most successful camera settings?

So where's your next trip? I haven't been on the forum for awhile.
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Jan 1st, 2006, 04:29 PM
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Hi Lin,

I've been off the board for awhile too -- my next trip is Botswana in June 2006 (LV, Savuti, Selinda, Mombo). Where are you headed next?

In dim/spotlit settings, I used Manual or Aperture Priority and set the aperture to f/2.8. With the flash (or right in the heart of the spotlight) this provided decent pictures if I was fortunate enough to be aiming in the right direction.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 1st, 2006, 05:46 PM
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Lin,

Just noticed on another thread that your next trip is Namibia and Botswana in June 2006. Any chance we might cross paths? I am at Little Vumbura 20-23 June, Savuti 24-26 June, Selinda 27 June, and Mombo 28 June - 2 July.

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 1st, 2006, 08:29 PM
  #6
Lin
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Julian,
We'll just miss one another at Savuti. My stay is June 18, 19, 20! It's my first repeat visit to a camp because I loved it so much last year. I hope you have the same great visit! I have also stayed at Little Vumbura and Selinda before, in 2004. I think both have made changes since then. I heard LV had a complete remodel (needed it) and Selinda is now owned by Wilderness? Both places are in great locations. I tried to get into Mombo in June but absolutely no luck! I'm jealous! Here's my itinerary:
Little Kulala June 11-13, Palmwag Rhino Camp June 14-15, Ongava Tented June 16-17, Savuti June 18-20, Stanley's June 21-23, and Kwetsani June 24-25.
We'll probably glimpse one another at an airstrip somewhere never knowing we are fellow fodorites, ha ha.
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Jan 2nd, 2006, 03:17 AM
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Hi Lin,

Too bad we'll miss each other!

The LV remodel was still in progress when I was there in 2005. I was in one of the new rooms and it was very nice (though I didn't hear anyone complaining about their rooms). What was it like in 2004?

I've never been to Selinda -- I normally never stay less than three nights at a camp, but there was a 'gap' between the availability for Savuti and Mombo so there you have it. My other choice for that night was Duma Tau, where I had a great stay last year, but I thought it would be interesting to stay somewhere new.

I don't know when you booked your trip, but I booked mine right when I got back from my 2005 trip (mid-July 2005). Even then the choice of Mombo dates was pretty slim. Apparently there are already bookings for 2007!

Cheers,
Julian
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Jan 2nd, 2006, 11:14 AM
  #8
Lin
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In 2004 LV was very basic/rustic. The tents were close to the water but several had no view from the front porch since the island was surrounded with dead bush thanks to the elephants. I could understand leaving things alone to get the natural feeling of the place, but really the island was quite dead-looking and unattractive when I was there (not in green season!). I'm assuming they must have improved the pathway and the view from each tent? The main lounge area and the deck overlooking the delta was lovely - my guess is they didn't change that much but might have put in another plunge pool.

During July, the game viewing wasn't very good. Also, it took too long to get back and forth to the vehicle, with a 25 minute boat ride needed. Due to the mud, we absolutely had to stay on the game trail. And the flood was very high, so it was also hard to see any game from the mekoro or speed boats.

Still it is obvious that this camp has huge potential and I know that most people count it as one of their favorites. Let us know how things are now!

I hear that the Duma Tau experience is much like Savuti. I enjoyed Selinda because in 2004, it was not a Wilderness camp and therefore had a very different flavor to it. Nice wine cellar too - hope that hasn't changed! Wilderness are getting a little stingy with their wine selections! Accommodations were great although the outdoor bathrooms for some reason had a bad mosquito problem. And that July, there were NO elephants. Not one. Unusual for the Linyanti.

I booked my trip in October - next time, I'll know better! Although a stay at Mombo would probably cost me as much as this entire vacation, haha. I would love to hear whether it was worth the money - your opinion would be valuable considering all the other places you've stayed.

Anyway happy planning. I'm so glad the baggage allowance in Botswana has been doubled!

Anybody else with comments about this camera??????
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