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Old Feb 13, 2005, 10:55 PM   #1
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I'll be going on a two week african safari and want to make sure that I don't miss any great shots. Any recommendations?
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 11:46 PM   #2
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Depends on your budget ......

Canon 1D Mark II = $4,000USD + lenses&accessories = ~ $9,000USD....

Do you want a point and shoot... a digital slr ... etc...?
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 7:04 AM   #3
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If you don't have the money for a DSLR or the inclination to switch lenses as the situation requires, I would get a point and shoot with a big optical zoom. The Panasonic FZ20 and FZ15 come to mind. If you want a smaller and less expensive camera with the same 12X optical zoom, try the FZ3. All these cameras have stabilizers and fast lenses (F2.8). The Olympus C765 and C770 are small cameras with 10X optical zoom . No stabilizer, though. The disadvantage to these cameras is their proprietary batteries. If they go dead while you are there on safari and your charger has no place to plug in, you're stuck unless you buy a second battery and charge it beforehand. The Konica Minolta Z3 also has a 12X optical zoom, a stabilizer, and uses plain old AA batteries, which are available almost anywhere. The Fuji S5100 has a 10X zoom and uses AA batteries, too. It uses small xD cards, which are somewhat more expensive than SD cards and CF cards. For convenience's sake, I would probably get one of the latter two cameras if I were going. If I didn't mind spending extra money, including that for the extra money, I would probably get an FZ20 or a Konica Minolta A200. Superior picture quality, but more money.

In any case, I would get a super zoom camera. I want as much distance as possible between some of those hungry carnivores and myself.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 11:56 AM   #4
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I should read my reply in the Nikon Lenses forum. A point and shoot won't do for a number of reasons, the first of which is the distance from the animals at times. Lions don't just come up and pose, and leopards are usually in trees a long way away. You might get a hippo, elephantor a rhino though! You will be travelling over rough ground in a hard sprung truck/bus, and image stabilistaion is essential, plus a good telephoto lens. Professionals start with 600mm, and often use up to 1200mm for such work. Your costs are going to be as follows if you don't want to waste your time and energy:-

Nikon D70 with kit lens 18/70 $1,100

Nikon 70/200 F2.8 VRIFEDtelephoto lens $1,450

Nikon TC20E teleconverter$ 425

Filters (U/V and polariser) $200

2gb Memory card $ 140

Not wishing to spoil the party but you won't get good results with less. I've been going three years and learned by experience. It always makes me smile to see people at a football match taking pin sized shots with a point and press. A pure waste of time. Good luck.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 12:27 PM   #5
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There are a couple of general photographic 'rules of thumb'.

The first is not to embark on a major, once-in-a-lifetime, photographic adventure with a brand new camera. Give yourself a good amount of time to get used to the new gear and the quirks (and they ALL have them).

The second is (as others have pointed out) you should expect that the animals you see will be quite some distance away and so a long lens will be a necessity. It is essential for any kind of wildlife photography both for safety reasons and so that you will not 'spook' the animals by approaching too closely.

If money is an issue, you might actually consider NOT getting a dSLR but :shock:a film SLR. The film SLR body will be 1/5th the cost, will not have battery issues when you are away from outlets. The money you save could be used to buy...better glass but...see rule #1...it applies to film cameras too!

Once you come back, you can still buy a dSLR of the same brand and use the lenses on it as well!
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 2:28 PM   #6
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Appending with the previous wise gent is stating.
Tameron has a good 200-500 F5+ lense that would fit the bill, at about $850 to 870. If that's a little too much bucks, there are plenty of Tameron 28-300 lenses for relative pocket change. I've got one, and it's a seriously nice lense. I'm trying to upgrade to the digital version now.
If you don't have a camera. Many confirmations like www.popphoto.com call the D70 the "camera of the year". I've read that is goes easy on the newby like me. I just got one. bought it at the unmentionable monster buying site, via a Camera store in NY. Was a demo model for $750 for the body package. One thought when you go. Be careful to protect your camera from the elements, like using a clear plastic bag in the rain or dust storms. There are a few cameras built to take the ruff and tumble, like the F100. The N80 is the F100, just not toughened. and there's a bunch of folks that have n80's sitting around collecting dust while their D70 is having all the fun. You're looking at one. Hope this provides a little hope that you can find the toys you need. I buy Tameron just because they equal Nikon's quality at about a third the price. They just don't have the variety of lenses that Nikon has.
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Old Feb 14, 2005, 5:41 PM   #7
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A DSLR, as always, with a zoom lens is best. But if you can't afford that--or don't want to pay for it--then an ultra-zoom like Panasonic FZ3 or FZ20 is perhaps best. Since you'll be shooting in daylight with tons of light (I'm assuming yo uare not shooting at night), the ultra-zoom prosumers should be good enough.
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Old Feb 15, 2005, 12:59 PM   #8
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panasonic FZ3. Keep it simple, great zoom, short learning curve.
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Old Feb 16, 2005, 9:10 PM   #9
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I'm new with learning about cameras, however I have been to Zimbabwe Africa and I can tell you that the closest you will get to most of the wildlife is about 300-500 yards depending on which way the wind is blowing.Also, depending where you are going there are "safaris" that are like oversized zoos and the animals are used to people. Either way it's a blast and I can't wait to return there on personal time!!
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