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Old Aug 24, 2008, 6:10 AM   #1
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I've been researching cameras for an upcoming aafari in Botwsana/trip to Mozambique and was looking at the Panasonic FZ-18, FZ-50 and Canon S5IS as I like the superzoom capability. (Unfortunately a DSLR is not affordable at this stage, also I'll be in some very dusty and sandy places)

I then realised I could buy a 1.75 teleconverter for my current Canon Powershot A700 bringing it to 15x optical zoom.

Price for the telconverter is around £100 compared wth about £190 which is the lowest I've seen the FZ-18 advertised.

I don't know a great deal about teleconverters but I do know that there will be some loss of sharpness/image quality (even with a Canon teleconverter) as well as a couple of stops.

Can someone please give me some advice on whether it would be better to spend the extra money on the new camera (which is affordable for me) or stick with my current camera and get the teleconverter.

thanks!
Karen


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Old Aug 24, 2008, 9:23 AM   #2
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My advice is that if you the trip is soon, you won't have time to get accustomed to a new camera. You'll be fumbling around trying to find controls and commands on a new camera when you could be taking photos with the camera you have.

If you have the time to practice with the camera, go for it. 6MP + 4X Zoom + TC does not equal 8MP + 12X Zoom.
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 2:30 PM   #3
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AS TCav, pointed out-

If you have enough time before the Safari, get a new camera. Teleconverters reduce the amount of light coming to the primary lens and they generally do not yield the IQ produced by the camera's primary lens. You will be much more pleased by the IQ from a new camera, for an event as important as this Safari.

Sarah Weber
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:15 PM   #4
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mtclimber wrote:
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Teleconverters reduce the amount of light coming to the primary lens and they generally do not yield the IQ produced by the camera's primary lens.
This is the case with TCs for SLRs, which fit between the lens and camera, but not always for Teleconverter lenses which screw into the filter threads of themain lens. Many of these kind of TCs have a larger objective, gathering more light to compensate for the increased magnification, resulting in no light loss at the camera. The IQ, when using a TC matched to the camera is only slightly reduced, and may only be noticeable at largerprint sizes.

The biggest drawback is that they are normally only useable at the longest focal length of the lens(without vignetting). It is also something extra to carry and take time intalling and removing, but probably not as bad as spare SLR lenses.

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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:34 PM   #5
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Increasing your A700 to 10.5x zoom [6 x 1.75 = 10.5] will also be limited by NOT having built in image stabilization to compensate for your movement, unless you plan on bringing a tripod to compensate. The replacement cameras all have IS, and may therefore negate the tripod requirement. It is better to have it all in one, rather than having to suddenly find you need to add your TC lens, and lose the shot.

I have a G9 (6x optical), and the Canon TC lens (2x) [6 x 2 = 12]. I carry the TC lens most of the time, but it is a hassle to get it out and add it at a critical moment. It reminds me of the "old" days when I had a film SLR, and had to change lenses at an inconvenient time, and thus lost the "moment".

Dennis
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:39 PM   #6
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Cheers for the feedback everyone. Sounds like I'm treating myself to a new camera ;-)

I have six weeks before the trip - I'm actually doing it on my way back to Oz after six years in the UK - so I can practice with a new camera by running around London taking lots of last minute pics.
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:45 PM   #7
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I suggest you get in some practice in some parks taking photos of subjects at a distance. That is, unless the safari you'll be going on is the kind where you get up close and personal with rhinoceros' and lions and such.
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:48 PM   #8
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I'm hoping we do manage to get up close and personal. I spent a few days at Kruger Game Reserve with a friend a couple of years ago and was incredibly lucky to see the big 5 and be able to get some good pics with the 6x optical zoom on the A700.

I've not been on a safari before, and while the aim is to see animals at all sorts of distances nothing is ever guaranteed!
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 4:52 PM   #9
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Good for you! You might also consider a combination purchase of the S5 IS plus the Canon 430EX flash to improve the quality of your low light/night shots. The two together are a great combination.

enjoy whatever you get, and perhaps post shots from your trip??
Dennis
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Old Aug 24, 2008, 6:24 PM   #10
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I would say that if you are used to using a the A700 then you are not going to struggle with the auto/scene modes on the mentioned cameras. If you were going for a dSLR with some high end glass which requires more setting to get the best then you might be going over the top but with a little playing you will go fine.
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