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What type of Camera/Equipment to take on an African Safari?

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May 24th, 2012, 05:54 PM
  #21
 
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pollydill, I'm a Canon guy, but that combination should be fine. You probably can take most of your pictures with the longer lens (meaning you shouldn't have to switch out lenses very often). I believe the crop factor for the D5100 is 1.5 so you'll actually be getting out to 450mm, which is very good for safari. I just suggest that you make sure the lens is image stabilized (I think it is).
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May 24th, 2012, 07:08 PM
  #22
 
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Thanks sdb2--
even if you are a Canon guy.
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May 30th, 2012, 06:18 AM
  #23
 
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Another vote for the Nikon D5100. Great starter camera if you want to advance in your photography.



However, There will be not time to switch lenses if you need to go from wide to telephoto quickly.



Plus opening the camera to change lenses while on safari will allow dust and dirt to enter the camera and ruin the photos for the rest of the trip - unless you know how to clean a digital camera sensor - a rare skill.
v

For a lens, I would opt for the Nikon 18-200 which will give you the effective reach of 27mm to 300mm on a DX sensor camera.

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May 30th, 2012, 07:15 AM
  #24
 
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Agree 100% with pixelpower and others saying DSLR can easily be more problematic than they are worth. Every safari I see bad photos (being bragged about as great) by new users of DSLRS. It is easy to mess up the settings on a DSLR and the more expensive the DSLR the easier it is.

No DSLR. Unless you are really serious about photography. How do you/I know if you are really serious about photography? If you are now comfortable using Photoshop to edit and optimize your photos, you are serious. If your goal is to put photos up on facebook, email photos to family and friends, make small prints, a small photo album, a DSLR is likely to cause you more problems/bad photos than not.

For a discussion of good zoom safari cameras, here is a review comparing 9 models -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/Q110superzoomgroup/

regards - tom
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May 30th, 2012, 07:52 AM
  #25
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I will just repeat some of the advice I've already mentioned in this post:

-practice before you go.

-take the operating manual along.

-a DSLR with zoom lens doesn't have to cost a fortune to attain good quality photos for the amatuer.

-I don't think that new photographers should be warned off of DSLR as something requiring a Phd to operate.

-the MOST important thing to know about taking photos -- is how to compose an interesting shot.

-have fun with a good camera -- but set it aside sometimes and just enjoy the moment.


Sorry, Tom, I can't agree to let you set the ultimate definition of good and bad photos on someone else's safari. I've been using a DSLR for many years and only recently felt the desire to learn Photoshop. My photos have been published, won awards and have hung on gallery walls. Does that make me a "serious" photographer? I don't know. I just know that I enjoy what I do, like the outcome, have the time and money to spend and would be greatly lacking if I had allowed anyone to talk me out of my camera because they don't think I'm "serious" enough to own it.

Why not simply make statements about our personal cameras and then let others make up their own minds as to what is right for them?

Cheers - TC
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May 30th, 2012, 09:48 AM
  #26
 
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"Why not simply make statements about our personal cameras and then let others make up their own minds as to what is right for them?"

Because I see too many people get in way over their heads with technology - of many types. Trying to steer them in the right direction for their needs. That's why the above link to the dpreview site for zoom cameras.

"-the MOST important thing to know about taking photos -- is how to compose an interesting shot."

Absolutely, well second most important. Photgraphy is about light, composition and subject.
TC - do you have some photos on line we could view??

I have some on my safari photo report site -
http://tomgraham.smugmug.com/
Put up mostly to accompany Fodor's trip reports. And yes I know many are rather average snaps simply for the record.

regards - tom
ps - TC, do you participate on BPN??
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May 30th, 2012, 10:25 AM
  #27
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Tom, I have lots of photos on-line for everyone to view. That is why I posted:

"May 21, 12 at 9:58pm

Here is what I took on safari to Tanzania. It was a good combination for a serious amateur. My photos are posted at www.tonna.zenfolio.com........."
etc. etc.

You will note that I use my DSLR for things other than safari and, yes, I have learned some of the fun features of Photoshop. But keep in mind, that whether you deem my images "good or bad", I shall not change my opinion of how we should advise others in the pursuit of their enjoyment.

Cheers - TC
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May 30th, 2012, 02:16 PM
  #28
 
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Thanks TC, I did see your reply of May 21 but forgot it. (Remember now because of your using Pentax). And I like your photos.

When others ask my advice I give it. They have to decide what it is worth to them. My goal in advising others is to maximize their enjoyment with minimum frustration. That is again why I like to provide links to further information.

regards - tom
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May 30th, 2012, 02:50 PM
  #29
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"And I like your photos.

See, Tom, sometimes we get lucky with those auto settings.

Thanks for the kind words.
TC
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May 30th, 2012, 04:00 PM
  #30
 
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Tons of great and not-so-great advice above. One thing - NO WAY a point and shoot is the camera to take on safari! Do not delude. Be sure that you have a dSLR with some good telephoto capabilities and large format capabilities. I teach wildlife photography and my students often find my web galleries very imformative. Log on to the below gallery and click on any image that interests you and you will see all the specs - f-stop, telefoto mm's, ISO, etc... And you can go from there to ask more questions.

http://www.pbase.com/cokesmith/southern_africa_2009
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May 30th, 2012, 09:09 PM
  #31
 
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And I worried about starting a religious discussion by mentioning RAW output!
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May 30th, 2012, 09:41 PM
  #32
 
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cokesmith - what DSLR lenses would you take on safari? And "large format" means exactly what???

regards - tom
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May 30th, 2012, 11:21 PM
  #33
 
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I travel with the following lenses: All Canon EF series - 28-300mm IS, 400mm DO f/4.0, 600mm f/4.0, 70-200mm f/2.8, 16mm - 35mm f/2.8, and sometimes I take the 100-400mm IS f/2.8-5.6. Now I would say this assortment would be only for the serious photographer or at least the wealthy novice (;-)), but for someone on their first safari, wishing to get some close-up shots of the action, I would recommend that you get a basic lens set up that spans the 70-400 range, either in the form of a good zoom or perhaps 2 separate lenses. LArge format - just enough pixels to guarantee crisp, sharp images if printed large. RAW, L, etc...
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May 31st, 2012, 03:50 AM
  #34
 
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Dude, those first five lenses you take cost total $25,000 and weigh total 35 lbs!!!! (And also add two bodies total $8,000 and weighing 4 lbs). I can't believe you travel/fly with such??? You have a slave (wife) to help carry it all, probably 80 lbs total camera kit??? Three large cases??? Please tell me how you manage it, you're my hero!!!

regards - tom
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May 31st, 2012, 12:17 PM
  #35
 
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OK it's not Africa, but here is an example taken with an old Canon S-70 point and shoot:
http://www.pbase.com/image/133930895/original

You may or may not like the photo. Someone with a DSLR may or may not have taken home a better image.

But, IMHO, the particular camera in hand was less important than half a dozen other things that led up to that moment.
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May 31st, 2012, 05:31 PM
  #36
 
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LOL! Yes I think you are pretty close on the weight and costs...Luckily we are all very IN to the photography thing. My wife is even more fanatical than I am, so we are pretty equal on the carrying part of it all. Even my boy gets a back to roll...

We travel with one backpack camera bag, one roll-on case, and our big lens, when we take it, fits snugly in a small backpack. This way we have three carry-ons that take care of all the camera gear and some travel essentials. All the rest is checked in. And we PRAY that no one tries to weigh our bags! ;-) But the airlines have strict rules against checking in camera equipment and they always so far have let us pass no problems... so far.

Luckily we live in China and our fights originate here and they are very good about not bothering with the hand carry, unlike many other countries who try to nickel and dime you for everything these days...But coming back is always a bit unnerving...But we are generally very under our allowed baggage weight, as we check in very little.
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Jun 1st, 2012, 01:04 PM
  #37
 
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TC, you sound like a voice in the wilderness, so I thought I'd just jump in and say I agree with you. If someone wants a DSLR and that would make them happy (and money is not the deciding factor), then he/she should get one---no big whoop. Myself, I just feel like a photographer when I use mine, rather than my P&S or bridge cameras. Sure the SLRs have tons of functions that, if one can learn them, can improve photos, but nothing wrong in my mind about using Auto. jczinn, who has posted here in the past, has a portfolio I admire. I've noticed she shoots primarily in Auto, if I can believe the little "i" in the box to the right and below each photo. For example, http://www.jczinn.com/South%20Africa...eon_2278a.html
No doubt using a tripod and taking pains to set up the shot helps big-time.
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Jun 1st, 2012, 05:59 PM
  #38
TC
 
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Thank you!

Zinns's photos are wonderful. The composition is amazing. They can all say what they want, but you can take a lot of technically perfect, really boring photos without an artist's eye in the mix. Composition is what takes a photograph and elevates it to art.

I appreciate your support.

Cheers,
TC
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Jun 1st, 2012, 06:03 PM
  #39
 
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Auto can be fine in many situations and lot of dSLR users keep their settings there or in P. The images on jczinn's site are all shot with dSLRS - not P&S. There is very little chance you would get those sorts of quality images using anything other than an SLR...Nice gallery by the way - thanks for passing on the link. Cheers.
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Jun 1st, 2012, 06:10 PM
  #40
 
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For a photography web site that is a good mix of many forums of - technical, artistic, critique, comment, photographic help of all kinds, I like -
http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/content.php

Much more than only bird photography.

regards - tom
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