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Old Jul 2, 2010, 9:09 AM   #1
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Default Going to Africa... help!

Hey all,

So I've been out of photography for about 5 years. (If you search for my username, you'll see I was very active and interested in the 2005 range, but times and life change.) Anyway, I own a Canon Digital Rebel (the first generation) with a battery grip, Tokina 70-200 (or thereabouts...) lens, and the 18-55 kit lens and a Sigma hot shoe flash. I use it very rarely, maybe once a year, but I'm getting tired of taking bad snapshots with my cell phone, or my wife's micro-P&S. And my friends and relatives have DSLRs (and film SLRs), and I'm extremely jealous of the fantastic photography they can produce.

On top of all of that, I'm going to Africa in a month, for a mini-safari and to visit my brother-in-law, who's lived in Botswana for about 5 years and who's nearly a professional photographer himself.
(http://www.philsandick.com/masks.html)

I want to be able to capture some good images on my Africa trip, but I don't want to spend very much (<$500) on camera equipment that I won't use a lot, and I will probably be packing everything for a week into a carry-on. Plus, I don't want to be lugging a huge camera around all the time, looking like a dofus tourist or a poseur photographer.

So my options are:
(a) Sell the Digital Rebel, keep the lenses, and buy a newer Rebel or maybe 30D-like body.
(b) Sell the Digital Rebel and lenses (and flash, if it doesn't work with my system) buy something totally new -- dSLR or 4/3 or just a prosumer with one lens.
(c) Keep the Digital Rebel, and buy a smaller prosumer that can capture great images.

I imagine that most of my images in Africa will be outdoor and panorama, but I'd like to have a camera that I can take "out on the town" or to parties, or to take good portraits of my wife with. And I miss bokeh, dammit!

I was thinking maybe the Leica V-LUX 20 (if I sold my canon) or D-LUX 4 (wide angle only, but great for landscapes and portraiture, yes?). Or going on Craigslist or eBay and picking up a reconditioned T1i or 30D. Or getting an E-PL1. I imagine I could get about $250 for the digital rebel + lens, maybe $500 for my whole package, and then I'd be willing to invest maybe $400 more. Of course, since I know a bit about photography, I want a camera with full manual, but because I'm lazy (and my home computer is slow), I'd like a camera that produces good quality without a lot of post-processing, but has RAW capabilities if I ever don't get lazy.

EDIT: Or what about a Panasonic? GF1 or DMC-G10?
EDIT No. 2: How about the E-PL1 with the kit lens plus the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7? http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2010/0...7-lens-review/

What should I do?

Thanks in advance for reading my very long post.

Last edited by perdendosi; Jul 2, 2010 at 10:09 AM. Reason: Found more cameras to ask about...
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 9:58 AM   #2
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There are many experts here that will give you great advice on cameras, from me, just a joe smo dad camera enthusiast, I will give you mine.
First, if you have the old canon, like an XT, which I just sold, you are going to get about $250, if you are lucky. Mine was mint with orig, docs, and that is what I got for mine. Second, if you really don't use a DSLR, will you really use a newer version? Third, you stated you did not want to pack a lot of equipment on your trip, if you get a DSLR, I would think you will be bringing a few lenses.
I would suggest a good prosumer point and shoot. I had a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35k 12.1 and it took great shots. Not need for additional lenses. I am sure there are others, newer version of this, or others from Nikon, Canon, etc. To me, it is what fits you and you use. If you have a $1000 DSLR that you never use, or a prosumer for 400-500 that is more portable for your life style that you will use!
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thanks Mark, here are my responses:

(1) I realize that I won't get more for my Rebel than $250, but I have a $400 Tokina lens, a $150 Sigma flash and a $50 battery grip. I think I can probably get $500 for the whole ball of wax. But I'd like others' opinions.

(2) I agree that a big, bulky dSLR will still probably not be used. But these m4/3 cameras look really intreguing, about the size of an old 35mm, but with interchangeable lenses, powerful shooting features, and beautiful pictures.

(3) The problem with most prosumer cameras I've tried is that they give you consumer-level pictures. Depth of field is often non-existent, and shooting in high ISO in natural indoor light is almost laughable. How does your recommendation stack up?
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 12:08 PM   #4
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perdendosi-

If I am reading your post correctly, you only have, at most, one month to revive your skill set and get back to the old Ansel Adams-like days of 4 to 5 years ago. Mark's post is very realistic. A camera like the Panasonic FZ-35, the Canon G-11, or the Olympus EPL-1 which has an embedded User Guide in the camera and an intelligent automatic mode will make that "getting back up to speed" task much easier.

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Old Jul 2, 2010, 12:12 PM   #5
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olympus m4/3 epl-1 with the kit lens, and the panasonic 45-200mm or the olympus 4/3 lens the zuikos 70-300mm with the panasonic 4/3 adaptor. The 200mm will give you reach out to 400mm and the 300mm will give you reach out to 600mm. Put the camera into scene mood, and shot away, if you want more control, go to the iauto mode. And when you are ready, but to manual modes of M, Aperture or Shutter.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 12:14 PM   #6
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I might add the Fujifilm HS-10 as another option. If you plan on shooting wildlife, the 30x zoom and many other GREAT features make this camera almost tailor-made for your trip and long afterwards. Pop a TCON-17 on this bad boy and you have 1224mm of reach. All in one, convenient package.
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 1:05 PM   #7
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I would go m4/3
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 1:39 PM   #8
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Well perdendosi-

Shoturtle, Craig (peripatetic) and I have suggested m4/3 format camera. That is not a huge majority, but it is aligned with your own thoughts on your selection.

Read the Olympus EPL-1 reviews, please. That camera has some rather special features that accommodate returning photo users like yourself that might offer an excellent springboard to get you back into the game quickly.

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Old Jul 2, 2010, 1:42 PM   #9
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After reading (and not doing work) most of the morning, I think I'm ready to plunge for m4/3. I don't want to spend more than about $900, and I want some good walking around / portrait lenses. Thanks Shoturtle for the advice re: the long lenses. I hadn't thought that maybe I'd want to try to take closeup pictures of wildlife on my Africa trip... I was thinking more giant panoramas.

Camera size, speed, low-light ability (high quality photos at ISO800), and lens availability are all important to me. So I think I'm down to the E-PL1 or the Panasonic GF1, which I'll try out this weekend. There are no reviews about the Panasonic G-10 out... has anyone used it? It looks like a better GF1, although it does appear bulkier. I really like the slim profile of the PL1, especially with a pancake lens. I also like that the Panasonic and Oly lenses are brand interchangeable, so there's more variety (as compared to, say the new Sony). But I'd love to hear your suggestions on cameras AND lenses.

The Panasonic 45-400 m3/4 is sold out everywhere. Anyone know where I could find it?

Thanks,
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Old Jul 2, 2010, 2:00 PM   #10
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The olympus epl-1 is the better low light sensor. I have had good results up to 2000iso. But clean at 1600, and very clean at 800.

I have post a long tread on the epl-1 with various lenses. And samples of the epl-1 in different shooting environments.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ol...mpression.html

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/tr...ris-night.html

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/wi...s-germany.html
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