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hwalin Jan 6, 2006 10:15 AM

Hi All!

My first post ever but I've been to this website a ton in the past. Now to my situation. I will be getting married this October and my fiance and I are planning a 2 week safari and beach honeymoon to Kenya. We had a recent friend go to Botswana on safari and he came back with the most breath taking pictures on his SLR.

Currenly I have a point and shoot which just won't do in this situation as I will need a lens to get the closer shots of the wild animals in both daylight and early evening lighting conditions. I have heard wonderful things about Canon and so far love the color reproduction from all the pics I have seen from any of their cameras. But after somes looking around, it looks like the Minolta 5d is another compelling choice.

Any advice on these two or others I may not be considering for the purposes of taking pics on safari?

I'm leaning towards the Rebel, as I am a complete amateur:G and know practically nothing:?. I am planning on taking some basic courses and using the next 6 months to really get familiar with the camera and various lighting conditions.

Which also brings me to another question about the lens to use, but maybe that's another post?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!


mtclimber Jan 6, 2006 11:40 AM


It is just a thought, but perhaps the best road to real photo progress might be via a college or university course, or a well structured workshop. Look for a course or workshop that has a good number of actual shooting sessions where professional help is available on a one to one basis or near one to one basis.


JohnG Jan 6, 2006 4:30 PM

Buying any DSLR is buying a 'system' not just a camera and lens. And, when you add the criteria of safari pics to it, you are talking about a fairly significant investment - probably in the neighborhood of $2000 - $3000 for bare minimum equipment. The question is: do you have enough of an interest outside of the trip to really spend that kind of money? Not trying to talk you out of it - I've been bit hard by the DSLR bug and it's a great hobby. So, is $3000 a reasonable amount of money to spend for you? And again, that figure is fairly low and only based upon the concept of the camera and a single good quality telephoto with the reach recommended for a trip like that.

That question asside - selecting a DSLR is more about selecting a camera system than it is about just selecting a camera body. In the long run you will spend more BY FAR for the lenses you use than you will for the camera body. There are also other aspects that certain manufacturers do better than others. For instance, Canon tends to be the camera of choice for many pro sports shooters because of the focus systems on the pro level cameras and the quality of Canon's top-notch prime lenses. Nikon by many accounts has a much better flash system than Canon does.

So, assuming you're willing to spend $3000 to get started in DSLRs for your trip - what other types of photography do you like to do?

hwalin Jan 6, 2006 5:20 PM

Hi John!

Thanks for your response. To be honest, $3000 is a bit steep for me. But going on this trip issort of a "once in a lifetime" kind of trip for me and doing it now makes more sense than much later in life. All I know for sure is my 5MP Konica point n shoot won't cut it. So I could be wrong, but I don't see having another choice in the manner other than getting a DSLR.

Having said that, I have not gotten much into photography but I do know that when the need comes for it, I am often completely unsatisfied with the picture I've taken. For example, I love ambient light rather than the harshness a flash can do to an object. But I don't know enough to properly take a picture without. I can increase exposure but my pictures end up blurry, etc. etc.

So I have the willingness to learn and I think I'd like to go beyond the "average" consumer photographer but $3000 at once is definitely out of my budget for this trip. I was thinking no more than $1500 max.

As far as what pictures I like to take, I like to take pictures mostly when I travel, either of my fiance, both of us, our friends, and scenic images if applicable. I put together a collage of the Colorado mountains in some black and white images that my fiance eventually hung up in our living room. But as far as sports or fast action photography, it probably won't come up much. On a side note, I see myself taking a lot of pictures of our pets because my fiance are kind of pathetic like that:-).

Do you really think that unless I spend $3000, it's probably not worth pursuing? Is there another option? I really don't think there is a point and shoot that could accomplish the job in this case but then again, I don't know what I don't know.


mtclimber Jan 6, 2006 5:52 PM


I sincerely believe that there are lesser priced options that could give you a good start. Beyond that you can add additional lenses as you need them. Because you mentioned ambient light photos let's look at dSLR cameras that have higher ISO capbabilities.

Why not take a look at the Pentax 1st DS/D2/DL line of cameras for starters. The Pentax 1st DS with the kit lens (18-55mm) would give you a basic camera and a lens for close shots. Thus far the cost is around $700. To that we will add a Sigma 28-300mm lens costing around $230. At about $930.00 you have some good close range as well so good telephoto capability. Yes, there are better cameras and lenses, but the increase in the quality of your photos would increase at most by about 20% to 30%, and no more.

That leaves you some money for data cards, accessories, and a camera bag and you are still below your $1,500 budget. Its just an idea to consider. But it give you another option to take those photos that you want.


hwalin Jan 6, 2006 7:03 PM


Thanks for the reply, I've bee reading quite a bit of your posts around this forum and realize I have much to learn. Thank you for being so helpful. It sounds like I have a great deal to learn and maybe should start looking at other DSLR options as well.

But to address my concern after JohnG's reply, do you think DSLR is the way to go here and only way to go? If so, I can work from there on options. As far as "budget," I like to get the best I can afford and your comment on 20-30% troubles me a bit.. I definitely plan on investing more into the camera in the future but for now, I was focusing only on camera and lens for 1500. Case accessories, etc. I can deal with separately. Do you foresee something as far as expensive equipment I may need in the short term for this trip?

Plus,do you offer courses in the east coast anywhere?



mtclimber Jan 6, 2006 7:56 PM


Here is another possibility take a look at the the very capable Fuji S-5200 sell at about $350 or the Fuji S-9000 selling at $500. Both are good cameras with excellent lenses. That is another option that leaves you with money to complete your kit.

No, they are SLR-like camera that give you a lot of zoom power, not dSLR cameras. I am just trying to give you options.


mtclimber Jan 6, 2006 8:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)

Here is a sample photo from the Fuji S-5200. You can see it is quite sharp. This was a flash photo and the DOF is also demonstrated as well.


hwalin Jan 7, 2006 11:16 AM

Mtclimber, how close can these SLR-like cameras get me to the object? I will be about anywhere between 40 and 100 feet from the object. Will these work and get the close ups I need?


mtclimber Jan 7, 2006 11:19 AM


Figure it this way: with 10X optical zoom, at 40 feet you should be able to get approximately a head shot. Will that solve the problem?


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