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camera experts please.....

Halifax, Canada
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822 posts
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camera experts please.....

Hi Guys...

(2 weeks Kenya/Tanzania camping Feb. 2010)

I am researching cameras within my price range. Whatever one I choose I can take a short course to learn how to use it properly. I know nothing about this and need a little advice. This camera is being bought primarily for our safari.

Of course, each store that I go to tells me that their line is better for safari, but they have never been.

Which would you choose and why?

1)Olympus SP-590UZ

2)Pentax X70

3)Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX1

4)Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18

I'm really confused and maybe I'm way off base in my choices. Simple is always easier, but not always better? But I do prefer the simpler things!

Thanks for any advice and I'm going to post this to the Kenya forum too.

-Surf:)

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,591 posts
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1. Re: camera experts please.....

Hi,

I can understand why you want to ask this question here, but are you aware that there are some very good camera review forums, which can directly compare particular models?

If you want close-ups of animals, then a good zoom and now anti-shake is essential.

I've seen Panasonic cameras in action in Africa and the results are amazing. The Olympus has a 26x zoom which is hard to beat (maybe drivers will give the animals more room?).

I'd avoid Sony purely because I disagree with its use of proprietary accessories like cards.

Things to take into consideration (apart from the end results) -

#1) weight;

#2) power usage / spare battery / recharging

(you learn what frustration is when your battery runs out after you reach a lion kill!);

#3) ease of use; (a cheetah hunt is not the time to learn about shutter speeds);

#4 backup. OK so you've got thousands of Natioanl Geographic shots of lions attacking elephants, but they are all on one card, which fills up or gets damaged....

Lastly - I would also not neglect binoculars. Photos are great for reliving memories, but seeing the action happening live is better (imo).

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: camera experts please.....

I agree. Lots of reviews on specialist websites.

A good zoom 300mm equiv with image stabiliser will do most of the optical magic.

FORGET you even have a Digital Zoom. It only 'crops' and you can do this much better when you get home.

Then it comes down to useages and practicalities.

Whatever you buy, practice lots in switching modes and understanding what the little icons in the viewfinder are trying to tell you. Most half decent cameras have idiot proof auto settings and we are all idiots at one time or another. Don't be ashamed to use this. Get a shot in the bag before trying anything fancy. In fact get a shot in the bag before trying anything. To many lost opportunities by trying to get up close for the perfect shot when one twenty feet back would have been good and better than nothing.

I share Peter's dislike of Sony and find my humble Fuji more practical. (so will sandi when she gets on line later I am sure.)

IMHO there is no need to go silly with Lenses. They are heavy. If you can get 15x optical in a handy size camera and are not a pro then you will not notice the difference in the result but you will notice the difference in weight and monetary terms.

Batteries. I like cameras with 4 x AA. Inexpensive, easy to buy almost anywhere and rechargeable too. I keep 3 sets min. One in camera, of course and two sets to hand. Charge overnight but beware using a generator supply.

Forget the 'screen' use the viewfinder and save battery power.

Learn to do Battery changes quickly. Remember to re-set some default functions when you have. Some cameras default to 1M. Get back to ISO200 and 6M immediately. (a lesson I learned the hardway!)

Take some spare cards. Even 4GB will fill up sooner than you think. I have not, touch wood, had any problems with no back up but if you are lugging a card reader and Laptop then it makes sense to use it.

But don't wipe the card until you are 110% certain you have it elsewhere.

I echo what Peter says about binos too. 10x42 and you can enjoy Tanzania's 1200 bird species too when the Lion sleeps.

Halifax, Canada
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3. Re: camera experts please.....

Thanks peterscott and mfuwe.

I appreciate the advice and will take it all into account. I am definately going to take a course offered here by our local camera shop to get familiar with whatever camera I end up with. Seriously, I know NOTHING about cameras if it isn't point and shoot. I never know what those little symbols mean, so sure do like all your tips.

My little $40.00 point and shoot pictures are half blurry all the time so, while not expecting anything fancy, I sure would like to at the very least, have clear pictures! LOL

I checked out those camera compare sites before I posted here and printed a bunch of stuff off, but at this point, it's pretty much all Greek and just thought I'd hear what you guys have to say about it.

Thanks again,

-Surf:)

Anybody else have anything to add?

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: camera experts please.....

Forgot to say - photo in my profile was taken in Selous with a panasonic 6x zoom!

mfuwe - what's happened to your ele pic, and where was the spotted cat taken? I'm guessing Namibia...

NEW YORK
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5. Re: camera experts please.....

Some good recommendations here :

kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: camera experts please.....

Ellie pic got retired. I tried a few changes and thought maybe a spotty cat reflected my mood of the day. Namibia it was. Last September. I may change it to old M himself one day. Karl has promised a small fortune for a pic of me wearing only a red Bandana.

Not sure TA would regard it as family friendly though.

Stanley, Falkland...
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7. Re: camera experts please.....

depends where you wear the bandana, I suppose!

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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8. Re: camera experts please.....

A bandanna, almost by definition, would go around your neck.

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: camera experts please.....

Sometimes I lurk on this forum just to read the interplay between mfuwe and Karl. Always brightens my day!

Appleton, Wisconsin
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10. Re: camera experts please.....

I think he will be wearing boots too, so the bugs don't get his ankles.