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Old May 23, 2005, 5:32 PM   #1
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My husband and I are going to Africa and want to update/upgrade our current Canon A40.I've been looking at the info on the superzooms and it seems like the Panasonic FZ20 is a greatcamera. I probably will not use the hotshoe, and I am concerned about the proprietarybattery. I want to be able to get some great pictures of the animals. Any suggestions?
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Old May 23, 2005, 6:12 PM   #2
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if you are not going to use the hotshoe.. then save yourself the money and get the panasonic fz-5.. it offers most of the features of fz-20 without the hotshoe in a smaller lighter weight package and saves you some money...

as for batteries.. this camera should get you about 300 shots per charge.. buy yourself a spare, you never know when you will need one.. the batteries charge outside of the camera in a dedicated charger, so you can still shoot with the spare battery while the first is charging..
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Old May 23, 2005, 8:46 PM   #3
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I would second the above, and also mention that the FZ5 has two siblings - the 4 and 3. I think the 3 is out of production, but might still be available at some dealers. The big difference between them is the number of megapixels.

As for battery type - if you will be away from electricity for more than a few days, then you might want to go with AA's. This gives you the option to carry a few extra sets of spare alkaline or lithiums, in case you run through your two sets of rechargeables (always have an extra rechargeable). Otherwise, the choice of battery type is not a big deal.

If you decide you need an AA camera, then look at the Canon S1/S2 IS, the Fuji 5100, and the Minolta Z2/3. All of these will take great shots, as long as you have enough light....

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Old May 23, 2005, 9:41 PM   #4
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Access to batteries is a critical issue. While I love my FZ20, especially the digital stabilization, I would seriously consider a camera that uses, or could use, AA batteries, Fuji or the Canon Rebel XT with the external hand grip that takes AA batteries, for extended travels. My parent's have a friend who went to Africa last January and she did well with a video camera and 2 spare battery packs.

The FZ20 does have a DC socket for an external AC adapter, DMW-CAC1. One could probably make an external battery pack, the internal battery is 7.2V, 2 LiOn, Lithium Ion cells. (In 1985 I was doing solar battery recharging systems for laptops used in African field research)

Don't forget that they use 220V and you need a good transformer plus adapter plugs since the wall sockets are different.

Also consider one of the telephoto extenders. The distances can make a 300mm seem like a 100mm or 200mm. And you might want to consider a film camera, espcially manual, as a back-up just in case.


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Old May 23, 2005, 9:59 PM   #5
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Over in the Panasonic forum is this thread with a link to a site that has great FZ10 info and even info on building an external battery pack.
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...83&forum_id=23
http://www.users.bigpond.com/vkelim/DMCFZ10/
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Old May 23, 2005, 10:37 PM   #6
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nigeldh wrote:
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Don't forget that they use 220V and you need a good transformer plus adapter plugs since the wall sockets are different.
Most battery chargers, and this includes the ones from Panasonic, will accept 220v. Therefore, you just need the appropriate plug adaptors.

Of course, this has nothing to do with any other electrical appliance that you might take to Africa, but then again, most appliances made for travel use are already dual-voltage...

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Old Jun 6, 2005, 9:49 AM   #7
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Electricity is africa is not a problem if you are staying at luxuxy camps or camps with generators!



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Old Jun 7, 2005, 1:59 AM   #8
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if you want to take higher resolution movie of those animals, canon S2 IS is better suited. it does use AA batteries, if you prefer. else, the pana FZ5 is fine
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