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Old May 7, 2004, 2:54 PM   #1
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If anyone has a strong opinion I'd be happy to hear it. I have been exclusively using a Canon G3, upgraded from a G1 a year ago. But now I'm planning a trip to Africa and am trying to figure out what photographic equipment to take. I could revert to film, borrow an SLR,and save the hassle of making sure I have sufficeint battery life, CF space, and a way to save off the pics to be sure they're safe. But I figured my next digicam upgrade would be to a DSLR and the Nikkon D70 is very tempting... My concern with the D70 is whether there is an available lens for it to suite a safari shoot (300mm+ zoom w/stabilazation) and do I really want to take my new baby to the glaciers of Kilimanjaro and the dusty plains of the Serengeti?

Regardless of whether I bring a film camera or a DSLRI'll probably borrow my sister's small Nikon Coolpix and bring that for snapshots.My wife also wants to bring a video camera...I know nothing aboutvideo cameras! So much to plan, so little time.
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Old May 7, 2004, 3:19 PM   #2
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Well, to answer one of your questions, Nikon makes 2 image stabilized lenses in the range you want:

80-400 f/4.5-5.6

200-400 f/4

both with stabilization (Nikon's version is called "VR" for Vibration Reduction).
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Old May 7, 2004, 3:42 PM   #3
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If you decide to stay with film, don't forget that Airline Securityhas been increased, and you may have a difficult time convincing them not to scan it (which could ruin your photos).


When shopping for lenses for DSLR models, don't forget thatyou'll need to compute the effective focal range using a crop factor. The sensors in the majority of DSLR models are smaller than 35mm film. As a result, the sensors are only usingpart of the image projected by the lens (hence the term "crop factor").

With the CanonEOS-300D or EOS-10D, you'll need to multiply the focal length of the lens you purchase by 1.6x, to get the 35mm equivalent focal length of the lens.With theNikon D70 or D100, use1.5x

In other words, a 300mm lens on a D70 would appear to be a 450mm lens to the sensor in the camera.
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Old May 8, 2004, 10:48 AM   #4
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Is it rue that only Nikkor lenses denoted 'DX' will operate correctly/completely with the D70?
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Old May 9, 2004, 9:08 PM   #5
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If you already have a G3, consider going with a 300D. You will be able to reuse your batteries and flash if you have it. One battery on my dRebel will last over 300 shots (no flash, minimal review), so that's about 3 Gig's of jpegs.

On any of the dSLRs you're considering you'd want at least a 200mm lens (about 300mm effective length). 300mm would be nicer still.

Canon has just released a 75-300mm DO IS lens (very scarce and very pricey) that would be good for a safari. There is also a 'consumer grade' 75-300 with IS. Sigma also has an optically stabillized 80-400 I think.

Personally I'd carry a 300D, the G3 (for around the camp, snapshots stuff) and a cheap film body (buy a used Rebel XS, then sell it back to the store). You're going on (likely) a once in a lifetime trip, carry a spare camera. It would suck big time if you dropped a lens, couldn't field repair it and were stuck with only a wide angle.

If it was me, I'd also carry two telephotos - a high quality one, and a lighter cheaper unit as backup, a wide angle zoom (18-55EF-S), a 50f1.8 and a close up diopter lens if you see a macro opportunity. With the conditions I'd expect, I wouldn't want to go around changing lenses constantly for fear of dust specks on the sensor, stick with zooms.

A buddy of mine took his coolpix 995 to Africa, just that a flash and the telephoto add on lens. It worked out fine but I wouldn't do it.
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Old May 14, 2004, 2:24 AM   #6
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Hi there. I don't know much about the Nikon gear, but I do know a bit about Africa and safaris (lived and travelled there for 4 years).

I was in South Africa for 2 years, and used a Sigma SA-300, with 28-70, and 70-300 lenses. Got a lot of great pics with that equipment, and even managed to come second in a major magazine comp.

Travelled through Africa with the Sigma gear, then was in Cameroon for 2 years with a Canon EOS3 and some better lenses.

I would suggest that you concentrate on quality lenses rather than the camera. If it was me, I think I would buy a lower level SLR (digital), and either a bulk of memory cards, or buy one of those portable hard drives. I would spend the money on the lenses, but I reckon up to 300mm is fine for most purposes.

With regard to 'losing/damaging your baby', I have always taken the view that I have the camera to take photographs, and I accept the risk that goes with it. I would rather take my camera to Africa with a certain risk, rather than not take it and regret it later. Just imaginr seeing lions, elephants, etc with only a compact by your side!

Hope this helps your decision - where are you going by the way?


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Old May 14, 2004, 6:02 AM   #7
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I got the 'lower level SLR (digital) PSTUBBS50 suggested. Picked up a Nikon D70 kit yesterday. I figure I'll spend some time getting up to speed with it and then get 70-300 lens in a couple of months. Also figure I'll get an iPod to use to save off pictures from the CF cards while in the field.

Any particular suggestions for a 70-300 lens for the D70? Should I get a VR-type lens?
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