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Camera for safari

Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:57

Hello there! I am due to go on the Botswana trip and understandably, I would loike to buy a decent digital camera with a mega zoom. I have spotted the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 and was wondering what people thought of it?

 

Anonymous
Sun, 01/11/2009 - 09:45

Howdi Hayley, my Photographer friend said that it was a very good camera.

Enjoy your trip and happy snapping :-)

Tue, 01/13/2009 - 14:10

Hi. If you don't mind a slightly bulky camera, have a look at the Fuji S9600. Built like the proverbial brick outhouse, has a 10x optical zoom + 2 x digital, making 20x in all. Has all the bells and whistles, but most importantly runs on 4 AA batteries, which are available all over the world.  I normally get about 300 shots per battery charge, if not using too much flash or constantly reviewing. Mine has bounced around in my rucksack all over the world with no problems at all. Check out the price on Amazon.co.uk.

Anonymous
Sat, 01/17/2009 - 17:22

I don't know anything about the camera you mentioned but a couple things may be worth bearing in mind :

- the animals may not be that close so the bigger OPTICAL zoom you can get the better (if you use a big digital zoom the quality will be poor).

- if you think that you may want to enlarge some of your shots, ensure that you use the right file size

- take lots & lots & lots of memory : you will be taking  many more pictures than you can possibly imagine !

 Good luck - Bots is a wonderful country !

 Growing older is obligatory but growing up is optional. It's better to burn out than fade away.

Wed, 02/11/2009 - 17:04

I'm not familiar with this specific model but one of my cameras though is a DMC-FZ18 which I suspect is similar. It takes excellent photographs and I use it if I don't want to lug my DSLR about, For Safari the thing you need to look for is the focal length at it's longest setting (the longer the better) - remember that the zoom factor often quoted (eg 20x optical zoom) is the ratio of the shorter to longest focal length so the same range on different cameras doesn't necessarily mean they all have the same maximum focal length and for safari you want a good long range. But from a point of view of the quality of lens and ccd I would think it's fine as it's the same family. Ignore any digital zoom (and I would say don't use it) as you are sacrifising resolution.

Anonymous
Sat, 05/29/2010 - 13:41
The important things to think about when getting a camera for a safari are:
Lens Pick the longest optical zoom you can - all digital zooms will degrade the picture. You are better using photoediting software such as Photoshop to enlarge a small part of the image, than using digital zoom
Batteries Try to get a camera that uses AA batteries if you can as you may not be able to recharge batteries due to lack of power source. AA Energizer Lithium batteries are more expensive than Alkaline, they are non-rechargeable but last for a long time (a week for two in a Canon Powershot A720). Failing that, or as a supplement, there are powerful, external batteries that are available - I have one which is available mail order - ( Google EDC001K) for about £30, and one I bought from Maplins, which is the EC-712 again for about £30. Both these are high capacity Lithium-Ion so keep their charge when not being used and fix to the Tripod socket on the camera, plugging into the small socket for an external power supply in the camera.
Battery Chargers On many safaris ther is very little power to go round and some people hog the sockets, so buy a fast charger to make full use of the power socket when its available - I have a Uniross 15 minute charger which charges 4 2900maH AA batteries in 15 minutes. You certainly can't guarantee to have electrical power all night.
NimH batteries should occasionally be run down completely so as to encourage them to retain more charge and be able to be recharged more times. Li-Ion batteries should be recharged when they are 40-60% used to have the same effect.
Dust and rain Also don't forget to take a couple of shower caps that you can put around the camera using an elastic band to close the opening about the lens. This keeps out dust and water from showers and you can still take photos. Or you can get Rainsleeves from Op Tech USA which are custom made and cost about £6 for two, or £8 for two which allow you to have a flash on the camera shoe
I find that a monopod is very helpful when using a long zoom, and these can be bought from Jessops - they are disguised as trekking poles so have a dual purpose and are only about £15. Leki also make one, but this is about £30.
Memory cards Always take plenty and remember that the fastest cards, currently Class 10, allow you to take shots more quickly as the time the camera takes to write to the card is less. Cards are classed according to their writing speed - Class 2 being slowest, then Class 4 and Class 6 with Class 10 faster still.
I use a Canon SX1 IS and a Canon Powershot A720 to put in my pocket
Anonymous
Sun, 06/05/2011 - 12:33

Hi I am in a similar position to the original poster but as its been a few years I wondered if anyone has any up to date advice on newer models and such. I have about £400 to spend in total so wondering what the best to spend that money on. I am going on the Kenya & Tanzania safari so will have same restrictions on power available and far away animals. 

Anonymous
Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:14

What i think :) Great photo equipment, have fun @ ur traveling :P

Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:53

Alex - take a look at the Canon SX30IS.  It's on budget and has a massive zoom range (35x).  I'm sure that equivalent models are also available from Nikon, but can't remember exact model numbers.

 Thing to bear in mind with this type of camera is that they're not always great in low light and can suffer from slower startups and shutter lag (ie press the button, pause, shot taken).

 Hope this helps

Paul

Thu, 06/23/2011 - 18:41

I have an FZ28 and have used it on safari.  You can have a look at some pictures I took with it in Kenya/Tanzania (trip code AYK), with more on Flickr (search for AYK).  There are also some shots I took in Gaalpagos.  I have found the camera is nice and light, with good battery life.  With one spare battery it lasted almost and entire trip.  It is not so good in low light, but the zoom is good.  The electronic view finder make getting shots in bright sunlight easier.  Biggest problem is time between shots and some delay on focus, but I still managed to get a lot of good shots without all the extras you often get with an DSLR.  One person on my Kenya trip had an extra suitcase just for camera extras.

I have be consider one of the micro four thirds for my next camera (eg Panasonic G2) , as you keep the size down and still get many of the  DSLR benefits.  But then I will be into having extra lenses and more stuff to carry around.

Anyway enjoy your trip.

Rob

Anonymous
Sat, 07/30/2011 - 21:25

Hi there. I am about to by a new camera for my gorilla safari trip which i will use at home for other wildlife and landscape photography. My budget is about 500 including lense. I ve heard its hard to carry all your lenses on safari so good to take a superzoom model such as the fuji finepix hs20? Has anyone any thoughts? Its this or maybe a nikon d3000 or any other anyone can recommend? Then, which lenses do u recommend? Im just in the midst of my research am am getting a bit lost. Cheers!

Sun, 07/31/2011 - 19:53

Hi Maria

I wish there was a short answer - but here goes........

Modern superzooms are really good, the offer a lot of zoom for not much outlay.  On the downside they suffer from poor low light capability, shutter lag and longer startup times.

A DLSR offers a lot more flexibilty, better low light capability (in most cases) and instant operation.  However in order to get the best out of it you have buy more bits to clip onto it (and some of those bits don't come cheap, which is why you won't see many rich photographers!)

If you were just considering a camera for your trip I'd say consider a superzoom - it will give you loads of reach, but may struggle (a bit) in the low light of Volcanoes National Park.  As your planning on using it when you get back for other tasks., then you may discover the limitations of the superzoom quite quickly (don't get me wrong superzooms are really cool - I started with a fuji one - but I've generally noticed that as people start taking more photos, they progress towards DSLRs as a matter of course).

If you go the SLR route you'll probably need 2 lenses - a short one say 17-85mm and long one say 70-300mm.  You can get some lenses that cover a wider range 28-300 (I think) which means that you'd sacrifice some width, but could get away with a single lens. 

The downside of the DSLR routes is that for £500 you won't be able to get the reach you would ideally want for a safari.  Although there are lenses in the 70-300 range for under £200, they can be a little soft and lack definition 

 But there are other options - £500 will easily get you a new body and kit lens (D3000 or EOS 1100D would easly come in on price), you could then hire a zoom for the trip - lenses for hire have a good selection and reasonable rates.

There are also numerous dealers in used equipment and you can often spread you budget a lot futher - bear in mind that when you buy a new camera, you'll probably incur a lot of other expenses such as memory and batteries.

I've never encountered a problem with carrying stuff - a good camera backpack does the job well, just be selective with what you take.  On my gorilla trip I used a Tamrac expedition 6X - which held all my stuff and couple of changes of clothes in case my main luggage got lost.  Once I landed I did a quick repack so that it just held equipement (which primarily consisted 2xDSLR, 1 Long Lens, 1 Walkaround lens, batteries and hard disk).

Hope this helps a bit - sorry if it's wordy - feel free to ask me clarify anything if it's waffley (which most of my posts are.......)

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