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General Chat Thread, Camera advice for taking to Tanzania in General; Not much of a photographer but I am going away in the summer for three weeks to Kenya & Tanzania ...
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    HMCTech's Avatar
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    Camera advice for taking to Tanzania

    Not much of a photographer but I am going away in the summer for three weeks to Kenya & Tanzania and I cant let this go by without taking a great camera with me.

    I will be mostly taking landscape photos with the ability to zoom in on the animals which may be quite far away. I imagine that a camera that takes AA batteries will be best as I will be pitching tent in the evening and there is only the power supply in the truck to charge electrical goods which I have to share with 16 other people.

    Any suggestions would be very much appreciated on models and lenses. I have around 450 to spend in total.

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    My experience is Kenya only and not Tz, but expect that local batteries will last less well than ones bought here; check the "best before" if buying. Hope you don't have the same disaster as I did - battery change needed just as lions were killling a zebra 50 metres from us! You'll likely find yourself taking pix of bird life too, so well worth going for some good quality zoom; consider a monopod or whatever. Dust a BIG prob - take cleaning kit and good camera bags and plastic bags. Binoculars sooo worth having with you. Worth posting a question like this on Thorn Tree travel forum - Lonely Planet - really helpful on loads of other things too.

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    HMCTech (7th June 2011)

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    My advice would be to get a couple of cheapish compact cameras, keeping one in a sealed polybag as standby as dust can be a pain (along with light fingers). Look for one that does decent video as well and also buy a shed load of memory cards. Don't even bother with an SLR, you won't get any better quality unless you spend a lot of time learning how to use it, even then you won't get really impressive results without spending an absolute fortune on a decent lens.

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    HMCTech (7th June 2011)

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    I got my wife a Panasonic Lumix with a x10 zoom when we went to South Africa. We made up a couple of beanbags out of the legs of old jeans. Bought some suitable rice from a supermarket when we got there and filled them up, to keep luggage weight and space down. The missus is just a point and shooter but got some cracking shots on long zoom using the beanbag. The Lumix is quite wide at the other end of the zoom. It has it's own battery packs but we bought a couple of spares and had a car charger.

    Don't spend so much time looking through the viewfinder that you miss the live action!

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    HMCTech (7th June 2011)

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    When I was in Africa I took a video camera which also took digital photos plus a digital camera. I quickly abandoned the digital camera and used the video camera to take digital photos as it had 70 x digital zoom which was far superior to the digital camera alone.

    Now I just take the video camera so i get video and digital stills photos and only have to carry a single device and charge one item only.

    Kili

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    Forget digital zoom, you may just as well stretch image on the computer, it's effectively the same. You need a big optical zoom and something to steady the camera.

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    Forget digital zoom, you may just as well stretch image on the computer, it's effectively the same. You need a big optical zoom and something to steady the camera.
    That's not been my experince . The pictures I took were great. Unless your a photography enthusiast ( Which AlexPilot is not at this stage) I think any average user will be more than pleased with the output.

    kili

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    HMCTech (7th June 2011)

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    At the moment I am torn between getting an SLR PENTAX K-r Digital SLR Camera + 18-55mm Zoom Lens & 50-200mm Zoom Lens at cheap prices | PC World this one as it has to larger lens as part of the price. Or an ultrazoom Panasonic Lumix FZ100 14.1MP Digital Camera - Black: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

    I want it to be a good camera outside of my holiday so I dont want to spend 400 on something that will be great for my three weeks int eh summer but not so good back home. Been toying for four days now

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    On my first trip to Kenya I took a decent Canon compact, it did an OK job. On my subsequent 4 or 5 trips, I have taken a DSLR with the compact's replacements for times when I need to be light.
    The difference in quality of results is _extremely_ noticeable between the compact and a cheapish, second hand low-end slr with a relatively inexpensive zoom (Canon 350D, 70-300IS). There is a less marked difference when I upgraded to a 40D, and another reasonable jump in quality when I moved to a 100-400L. The Pics on the last trip came out somewhat better than those of a fellow traveller with a megazoom video camera.

    If you're camping, you may not want the weight, but on the other hand, I have found that my SLR batteries last next to forever as I rarely use the screen. Buying AA batteries will be hard in any game parks (most lodges have a small shop where you can buy stuff.. they vary on the rules for allowing non residents in for lunch!), outside it will depend on where you're staying on wether you can get decent batteries if you go the AA route. In kenya, the Nakumatt supermarket is OK.

    Beware of advice from those who have been to SA - their game parks are fenced and the animals are more habituated to human contact, so often you wont need so much zoom - in Kenya at least, you may only get once chance at a Lion (depends where/when you go of course) and you don't want to wish for an extra 100mm

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    Is the holiday an organised safari or is it a diy type thing?

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    Organised, bring your kit, a tent and a sleeping bag.

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    Don't forget to camouflage it: Jimmie's ugly camera - a set on Flickr

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    Beware of advice from those who have been to SA - their game parks are fenced
    The Kruger National Park has fences along the western side but is now open into Mozambique. It is also 4 times the size of the Masai Mara. The animals are no more accostomed to vehicles there as in Kenya. Witnes a recent picture of a young leopard jumping on the top of a truck and playing with the camerawoman. I think there are just more animals in the Kruger and they like the retained heat in the tarred roads.

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    The 18-55 will definitely not be long enough, but you'll need something at that end if you want to do any landscape work.

    I suggest you look at hiring some long glass - though you will need to buy canon or nikon really to do this. Canon EF 28-300mm f 3 5-5 6 L IS USM is a great lens which would cost you 100 quid a week tho there's 50 quid sigmas. Alternatively, the canon 55-250 is great on a budget to buy. Depends if you are looking to do any distance stuff after your safari.

    Also I can recommend photoguard.co.uk - nice to have peace of mind - if you're worried about your gear you'll not take enough risks They paid up when my camera failed to survive 50 drunken Kenyans in Nakuru

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    The Kruger National Park has fences along the western side but is now open into Mozambique. It is also 4 times the size of the Masai Mara. The animals are no more accostomed to vehicles there as in Kenya. Witnes a recent picture of a young leopard jumping on the top of a truck and playing with the camerawoman. I think there are just more animals in the Kruger and they like the retained heat in the tarred roads.
    The mara probably has animals the most habituated in all of Kenya... go to Amboseli, Tsavo or Samburu (dunno where the OP is going) and it is quite different.

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