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Old Sep 23, 2005, 7:48 PM   #1
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Hi There,
Leaving for a year long trip in about a month. As if the planning for that is not overwhelming enough, I have decided to finally switch from film to digital. After all my research I have decided to get the Rebel XT. From what I have read I would like to just get the body only, and put the difference, although small into a better lens. Any recommendations for lenses for my trip would be appreciated. Here is info, I hope it will give a good idea of what might be suitable for me.
Trip will include many places with great architecture, lots of opportunities for candid people shots, beautiful scenary, and wildlife photos on Africa safaris.
My thoughts are I would like something to do nice wide angle shots, a 28mm lens for a film camera is the widest I have owned and would like something wider than that. I would of course like something half descent without totally breaking the bank for the safari shots, sounds like the IS features in a lens might be good in this case? Any recommendations taking everything into consideration,
-wanting to keep weight down, and amount of equipment to carry around
-are these lenses going to attract too much attention for theft?

Some general thoughts after reading many threads on here are the following
sigma 12-24mm
canon 100-400 with IS
canon 17-85 with IS

any comments, any other recommendations?
do you think this would cover all my basic needs for the trip?
Since I am totally new to digital any comments on my other following choices would be appreciated to
-one extra battery
-maybe one 2GB high quality memory card and a one or two smaller back ups
-the Apacer disk steno CP300 is my choice of how to deal with my photos on my trip, mail the disks home after burning.

Thanks for any help
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Old Sep 23, 2005, 8:50 PM   #2
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So many things to say.

If you are going to switch to digital, do it as soon as possible. You do not want to be learning a camera in a location where you will never be again. You want to be enjoying the location and getting the pictures of your dreams. Not fighting a camera.

I have the 100-400 and it is a good lens for what it is. I like it and still have & use it eventhough I have a much better, longer lens. 400 is the minimum reach you should have for wildlife shots.

I don't know the other lenses, so I can't comment. I do own the 14-40 f4 L, and it is very nice. But expensive (too expensive for me to justify it, really... but I really like it when I use it so I have kept it.) I think that 17mm is the minimum for wide angle on a 1.6x crop camera (like the Rebel & 10D/20D.)

Have you figured out how you will charge your batteries while traveling? Make sure you get a universal plug system for the battery charger (and that means all batteries, including the portable cd burner!) A digital camera is useless without power (I'm sure you know this, but take is REALLY seriously.) You might consider getting a portable power pack like a Digital Camera Batter (yes, that is the name) or a Quantium battery pack.

Do you have a flash? You might consider one. It will add weight and power issues, but they are really handy when you need one. And they can power the camera and flash for 1000+ pictures (well, some can.)

I would bring at least 2... probably 3 flash cards. I bet you have to stop shooting when you burn a CD (you can't be moving the unit when you're burning) and there are times when your card will have filled up but you don't want to stop to burn a CD. I would also expect to burn duplicates. So think about where you'll get blank CDs.

When you're on the african safari part of your trip, I would suggest you hire a local guide and a driver that is a photographer. I know someone who did that and it helped him greatly because the driver inherently knew proper light angles and good subject distance for longer lenses (in his case a 500mm.) The local guide knows things like when and where the animals rest in the hot portions of the day.

Oh, and be careful about drining the water in some places.... montezuma's revenge is really something you don't want to experience. Really.

Eric
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Old Sep 23, 2005, 9:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response Eric, I do have a little kit of plug adapters that are supposed to cover all the countries I will be in. As far as I understand the charger for the Rebel is dual voltage, I will check on this though. I will also have to check that out for the photo storage device. As far as battries go, will I not be able to get buy with just having the one extra battery as a back up and making sure I charge everytime I have access to electricity? I will look into this Quantium Power pack you have suggested. I haven't given much thought into a flash yet. Saw some suggestions of the Sigma EF-500 DG. I have been doing as much reading as possible about which memory cards to get. I am still confused whether there is any benefit to getting higher than 40X cards for the Rebel XT (as far as the benefit to the camera performance) also I guess I have to make sure the cards I get can with stand extreme heat, as well as cold, high altitude, etc. I would assume not all cards can handle these conditions?

Thanks for the tip on getting a guide who also takes photographs for the safaris, good point. Also, yes bottled water will be the choice on most of the trip I'm sure. I have been researching all the health concerns, etc for the last couple of months, hence why the camera part got left until now. I will be getting the camera and the lenses in the next week so I can get as familar as possible before I go.
Thanks for the help

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Old Sep 24, 2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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If you can afford all that, I'd get the 20D instead. The XT's great, but the 20D's greater.:G

Anyway, get the grip for whatever camera and atLEAST another battery. Two 2GB Ultra II cards (Newegg.com). Or if extreme weather is going to be an issue, the Extreme III cards.

Lens choice, go Sigma.

12-24 f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM-559.95

24-70 f/2.8 EX DG Macro-364.95 (17-85 EF-S around 600.00)

80-400 f/4.5-5.6 EX APO OS (Optical Stabilization) -979.95 (100-400 L around 1400.00)

and if you want, the 30 f/1.4 EX DC HSM (379.95) and the 500 DG Super (199.95) for low light work. That puts you at around $4200. If you go with the XT and without the 30mm prime, you're under $3400. There are a lot of choices, but if I were you, I'd go the 20D with the Sigma lens', it's still cheaper than the XT with the Canon's and you wouldn't be sacrificing quality.
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Old Sep 25, 2005, 12:40 PM   #5
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If you get the XT, get the battery grip. A lot of people think that the XT is too small (even me and i'm 14) but the grip returns it to normal size and extends it a little more. Plus you get vertical shooting options and two batteries worth of power. A must have.

I also have the Sigma 24-70 Asperical HF and Sigma 70-300 APO . Love them both, plus they are not too expensive.... About $130 for the 24-70 and $199 for the 70-300. If you are going to get the 70-300 get the DG its made for digital and its only $219, not much more. Another good thing about the 70-300 is a macro lens at 200-300mm
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Old Sep 27, 2005, 9:48 PM   #6
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Personally, I use two batteries (one for backup) and it works for me. But I am never away from power for more than a day. Every evening I'm back and can plug in. If you can say this too, then you might only need two batteries. But I bet you can't.

If you haven't already ordered the Rebel XT, definitely try to get your hands on one. Some people find it too small or light, others find it just right. The battery grip is a good way to deal with this.

Check out the CF performance database here:
http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/mul...e.asp?cid=6007

That should tell you all you need to know about which cards are faster with the XT. Oh, and don't just look at absolute speed, but also how much faster it is for the extra cost. The Sandisk Extreme line might be what you need for the temp and height issues. And they are good cards (I prefer Lexar, but that doesn't mean Sandisk is bad.)

I have never tried those Sigma lenses. Sigma has gotten better in the last several years. But make sure their build quality and optical quality fits your needs. Some of their lenses are basically only slighty lower (for most people equivalent) to the Canon, but others are definitely not worth the money. Considering the abuse you'll be putting on your equipment over the next year, make sure that the build quality is up to it.

Eric
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Old Sep 27, 2005, 10:45 PM   #7
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I have the Sandisk Ultra II and it works fine. Probably fast enough for you.
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