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Old Nov 24, 2003, 5:48 PM   #1
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Default Looking for sage advice (confused newbie)

Hi all im in the market for a new camera and am looking for a good all rounder by that i mean one with good zoom length and wide angle without the need of too many accessories as we are planning to head off on a safari for our honeymoon but would like to travel as light as poss can anyone throw some suggestions my way i have looked around but have been drowned by information

Thanks for any help
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 5:51 PM   #2
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I guess it depends on how much wide angle, and what you mean by good Zoom Length.

The Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi or A1 may be good choices. Their wide angles are wider than most at a 28mm equivalent, with pretty good zoom range, too (200mm equivalent).

Most models won't have this much range (28-200mm).

Let us know more about the range you are really looking for, and what your definition of "light" is.
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 6:07 PM   #3
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Hi cheers for the prompt reply,
Yeah i guess i was quite vague but then im also new to the phtography world so im still getting to grips with what range is good. 28mm wide angle is quite good isnt it ? so thats a start whats 200mm in the nX terminology i.e 4X . My definination of lightness is well to be honest more one of less bits to loose rather than weight , oh and an idea of cost im looking @ say a max of £600ish errr approx $1000

Its a tall order i know and thanks again for the help
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 6:17 PM   #4
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The 3x, 4x, etc. classifications really don't tell you a lot about a camera's focal range. They are simply describing the difference between the camera's widest and longest zoom settings.

The Minolta models I mentioned have a 28-200mm equivalent zoom lens (around 7x).

There are very few current camera models with a 28mm wide angle: Minolta DiMAGE 7hi, Minolta DiMAGE A1, Coolpix 5400, Olympus C-5060 Zoom to name a few.

The Minoltas are a little larger than the others in this list, but pretty compact considering their zoom range.
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 6:19 PM   #5
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Some cameras that might work both for all-round and safari. They all have advanced features like manual controls if you need them.

Penax 555. It is small and pocketable. It is the only thing in its size class with a 5X zoom. No wide angle but lots of nice features.

Panasonic FZ10. Has a 12X stabilized zoom lens. It is a large camera but light. No wide angle.

Minolta A1. Has a 28-200mm equivalent zoom lens and image stabilization. Only current camera I know of with a decent zoom range and wide angle. The stabilization will let you hand hold shots in lower light and reduces the need for a tripod. If you arenít taking a laptop or image storage tank of some sort the Minolta has the advantage of using CF cards. They are cheaper and come in larger sizes. You will be able to recharge the batteries but when your memory is full you are through shooting. A consideration for a safari.

Sony V1. 4X zoom but no wide angle. Very compact but not as small as the Pentax. Makes nice 640 X 480 sound movies where the others make near useless 320 X 240 sound movies. It isnít a substitute for a camcorder but you might want movies if you donít plan on taking a camcorder. It has excellent low light focus with the holographic laser pattern and long exposure noise reduction.

You would do best to go into a camera store and handle some cameras. I donít know what you mean by traveling light.

If Iím using my little pocket camera that doesnít have wide angle capability I use two quick panorama shots with the camera held vertically that gives me a little over 28mm wide angle shot. It works for most subjects if you donít have a lot of movement in the subject. Most cameras (with the exception of the FZ10) have a panorama mode that locks the exposure and numbers the panos so they can be easily stitched. I should take some different shots as everyone is bored with these by now, but its raining outside. The first is the best I can do with 38mm and the second is two 38mm vertical shots stitched:

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Old Nov 24, 2003, 6:35 PM   #6
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excellent food for thought there and i hadnt thought about the sticthing option, suddenly my possibilities open as an aside whats your view on the nightshot of the sony dsc v1 as i hd thought the option might come in handy ?

Right off to bed
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 7:25 PM   #7
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Whatever camera you get, get it well ahead of leaving. You *REALLY* don't want to spend your honeymoon reading a manual, or at least not a digital camera manual

Enough time to shoot 4 to 10 shooting sprees each of at least 100 pictures. That will give you time to figure out how long the batteries last, how long it takes to recharge them, how much you think you have to bracket to get a good shot, .... Enough shooting that the camera doesn't feel strange in your hands.

In terms of budget, watch out for batteries. There is nothing wrong with prorietory batteries, but they tend to be expensive and you should have at least a couple of spares for that kind of trip. Even if you get a camera using AAs, you will want a few sets of spare rechargables and a couple of sets of lithium disposable for back-up (~$12/set of four).

You should also budget for memory - lots of memory. Enough to shoot at least 10 times as many picutes as you would think of taking with a chemical camera. More memory than you ever though anyone could ever use.

And don't try to save memory by shooting in low resolution or with high JPEG compression - if you do, the picture you would want a large print of won't work.

Also don't think you can save memory by deleting images: never mind that will eat your batteries, do you really want to spend your honeymoon squinting at a little LCD on the back of your camera?

However much memory and batteries you take, you will wish you had more. Spend some time before you leave getting a feel for that.
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Old Nov 24, 2003, 8:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipside
as an aside whats your view on the nightshot of the sony dsc v1 as i hd thought the option might come in handy ?
One of the big hassles of non-DLSR digitals is getting them to focus quickly and accurately in low light. IMO the V1 focus system is a very worthwhile feature.

Unless you are going to safari in a tent without electricity you will be able to recharge the batteries. I think all chargers that come with cameras are dual voltage. Most of the newer cameras have better electronics and you can get from 200 to almost 400 shots on a battery if you are frugal with the LCD and flash. A battery on a small camera will easily fill a 256Mb card and some cameras will do better. Unless you plan to spend a lot of money for memory cards you will probably find most proprietary batteries good for a dayís shooting. You arenít likely to be centering your trip around photography. You can spend too much time with photography and not enough just being there.

I agree with BillDrew that you shouldnít consider shooting at lower resolutions or quality than best JPG. If you practice with the camera you donít have to take an excessive number of shots to bracket every variable. You learn to recognize which situations might require some bracketing and which will probably be fine the first time. I donít agree that you will not be able to edit some of them out. Most safari stops have electricity and you should be able to charge the battery overnight after editing. There are always dull moments in which you can quickly go through and eliminate a few shots you decide you donít need.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 1:40 AM   #9
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Default Re: Looking for sage advice (confused newbie)

Quote:
Originally Posted by flipside
a safari for our honeymoon but would like to travel as light as poss
I support Bill Drew - it's your honeymoon, for goodness' sake - don't add technical complications to it. If you've got a camera you already know and can drive confidently, take it and use it. If not, buy a few disposable 35mm film cameras which provide excellent results with no difficulty at all.

Forget about a new digicam unless you've got lots of time to learn it and the associated technical complications in advance. All these modern high-tech gadgets are frustration toys to start with - just look at the 'Newbie Help' discussions.

Omce you're home & settled down, take your time and visit a camera shop to try out a few models and get (a) a digicam to document family life with high quality long-term still images, plus (b) a camcorder to preserve memories of growing-up children, if any.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 11:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Looking for sage advice (confused newbie)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan T
I support Bill Drew - it's your honeymoon, for goodness' sake - don't add technical complications to it. If you've got a camera you already know and can drive confidently, take it and use it. If not, buy a few disposable 35mm film cameras which provide excellent results with no difficulty at all.

Forget about a new digicam unless you've got lots of time to learn it and the associated technical complications in advance. All these modern high-tech gadgets are frustration toys to start with - just look at the 'Newbie Help' discussions.

Omce you're home & settled down, take your time and visit a camera shop to try out a few models and get (a) a digicam to document family life with high quality long-term still images, plus (b) a camcorder to preserve memories of growing-up children, if any.
I disagree. A disposable camera is not appropriate for photos of a safari honeymoon. Neither would a 1.1Mp camera with a digital zoom just because you are familiar with it. You donít want to be explaining to friends that the light brown clumps under the copse of trees is a pride of lions. And you want to be able to look back on them with some pride when you are sharing them with the grandkids.

There is not one of the cameras I listed that I couldnít have my grandkids taking decent pictures with a 15 minute explanation (their attention span limit). And give them a couple of days getting feedback from downloading them into the computer and most would be good photos.

There are things flipside obviously already knows that I would have to include in that 15 minute briefing for the grandkids:
That you want to use the optical zoom to fill the viewfinder with what you are shooting.
That you usually want the flash on for outdoor photos of people within about 12 feet of the camera.
That you should use the spot meter if there is bright light in the picture and you want to shoot something in the shadows.
Otherwise leave it in program mode with the flash on auto and concentrate on what you want to photograph.
Is there more to know Ė absolutely. Will 95% of the shots be decent Ė most likely.

A couple of days with the camera before the trip would give good idea of whether one of the settings might want to be tweaked and maybe find an idiosyncrasy. That flipside asked about wide angle shows some basic knowledge of photography. Newbes want a 10X zoom.

If I were buying a camera specifically for a safari I would get the FZ10 or Optio 555. The stabilized 4Mp 12X zoom on the FZ10 would give great safari shots. The Pentax would fit in your pocket and still give a decent 5X zoom capability. I would make my decision based on whether I was willing to carry a camera around my neck all day for the superior photographs. I would personally opt for the FZ10, but the photographs might be more important to me than to others.

The Minolta A1 is the best all around digital on the market IMO if you donít want to go to DLSR. Excellent 28-200 lens with stabilization, big manual zoom ring, continuous focus mode, flip up EVF and flip out LCD, Adobe RGB etc etc. Amazon has a 512Mb Viking CF card for $75 after rebate and a Viking 1 Gig card for $150 after rebate - both with free shipping. If you want to carry 512Mb of memory you can knock at least $100 off the cost of the A1 and if you are going to carry a Gig you can knock off at least $200 for the difference in memory cost compared to SD or Memory Stick for the others. There are a lot of advantages to having one big card and never removing it from the camera until you get home. I wouldnít consider less than 512Mb for that trip. That would give about 250-300 photos in fine JPG according to the camera.

The Sony is also a nice all round camera. It is a little too fat for your pocket. The low light focus system is a great asset. It is also nice to have the 640 X 480 movies if you arenít carrying a camcorder.
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