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View Full Version : Going to S Africa w/ film SLR and digicam-which digi to buy?



Valerie
08-18-2004, 05:32 PM
Hi-hopefully this isn't something that's been asked too many times...
My husband and I are going to S Africa for 3 weeks in December and will be driving up and down the coast and hopefully going on safari to see the animals! I am planning on bringing my film Canon EOS and a fixed lens digital camera. Right now we have an old cruddy Olympus 2.0mp C-something and we want to upgrade. Along with taking vacation shots(landscapes, people shots, etc...) my husband will probably be using this to take work photos(close up shots of equipment/machinery, and action shots-he sells wave machines).

The camera doesn't need to be super small-my husband wants something with a little heft-but hopefully can fit in a purse. We've been looking at the Olympus C-5050/5060 and some of the comparable Nikon and Canons(the A80?). We'd like a good optical zoom-at least 3x if not more, 3 or 4mp, an AF assist light, some manual features, good low light imaging, and minimal lag b/w pushing the button and taking the picture, and a movie mode. And of course we want great image quality!! I'd also prefer a camera that takes rechargable AA batteries.

Is that too much to ask? Is there a camera out there that fits all those things? I'm definitely not a pro-but I'm not looking for a simple P-S camera either. Thank you!! Your input is much appreciated! Oh yeah-and we'd like to spend under $500 if possible but we're flexible.

Rhys
08-18-2004, 06:38 PM
Hi-hopefully this isn't something that's been asked too many times...
My husband and I are going to S Africa for 3 weeks in December and will be driving up and down the coast and hopefully going on safari to see the animals! I am planning on bringing my film Canon EOS and a fixed lens digital camera. Right now we have an old cruddy Olympus 2.0mp C-something and we want to upgrade. Along with taking vacation shots(landscapes, people shots, etc...) my husband will probably be using this to take work photos(close up shots of equipment/machinery, and action shots-he sells wave machines).

The camera doesn't need to be super small-my husband wants something with a little heft-but hopefully can fit in a purse. We've been looking at the Olympus C-5050/5060 and some of the comparable Nikon and Canons(the A80?). We'd like a good optical zoom-at least 3x if not more, 3 or 4mp, an AF assist light, some manual features, good low light imaging, and minimal lag b/w pushing the button and taking the picture, and a movie mode. And of course we want great image quality!! I'd also prefer a camera that takes rechargable AA batteries.

Is that too much to ask? Is there a camera out there that fits all those things? I'm definitely not a pro-but I'm not looking for a simple P-S camera either. Thank you!! Your input is much appreciated! Oh yeah-and we'd like to spend under $500 if possible but we're flexible.

Well, the Canon S1 is certainly 3 megapixels and has a 10x zoom, is light and small and would fit a handbag. That fits your bill pretty well. Cost $300 approx.

speaklightly
08-18-2004, 06:42 PM
Generally speaking most folks who are headed to Africa are interested in long zoom digital cameras. Please take a look at the Canon S-1 (3.2mp) which is a 10X optical zoom, stabilized digital camera that has received excellent reviews. Another digitaL camera to take a look at might be the Olympus C-765 (4mp), another excellent 10X optical zoom digital camera, though not stabilized. Both digital cameras are very compact and purse sized.

Sarah Joyce

John_Reed
08-18-2004, 07:59 PM
Generally speaking most folks who are headed to Africa are interested in long zoom digital cameras. Please take a look at the Canon S-1 (3.2mp) which is a 10X optical zoom, stabilized digital camera that has received excellent reviews. Another digitaL camera to take a look at might be the Olympus C-765 (4mp), another excellent 10X optical zoom digital camera, though not stabilized. Both digital cameras are very compact and purse sized.

Sarah JoyceSarah Joyce is offering good advice; you won't be happy on Safari with less than a 10X zoom. And a fixed-lens zoom camera that can handle the complete range from wideangle to long zoom is very handy, for example if you want first a shot of the elephant herd, and then you want the shot of the little elephant calf right next to his mother, you'll be happy that they're only a quick zoom apart. Sarah Joyce recommends purse-size, but I'll bet a Panasonic FZ10 wouldn't be too big, and it has the greater heft that your husband wants. Take a look at that one too, while you're at it. As a matter of fact, by the time you're leaving, the full spectrum of new Panasonic 12X zooms should be available, from the 3MP FZ3 (small as the Canon S1) to the 5MP FZ20.

Rhys
08-19-2004, 03:38 AM
Sarah Joyce is offering good advice; you won't be happy on Safari with less than a 10X zoom. And a fixed-lens zoom camera that can handle the complete range from wideangle to long zoom is very handy, for example if you want first a shot of the elephant herd, and then you want the shot of the little elephant calf right next to his mother, you'll be happy that they're only a quick zoom apart. Sarah Joyce recommends purse-size, but I'll bet a Panasonic FZ10 wouldn't be too big, and it has the greater heft that your husband wants. Take a look at that one too, while you're at it. As a matter of fact, by the time you're leaving, the full spectrum of new Panasonic 12X zooms should be available, from the 3MP FZ3 (small as the Canon S1) to the 5MP FZ20.

The bonus of getting the S1 is that later, if the OP wants to get a dSLR such as the D10 then the memory cards for the S1 will be compatible and the OP's EOS lenses will fit the D10 too. I can see the interest in getting a digital all-in-one but wonder for this trip whether - seeing as it's such a once-in-a-lifetime experience - the OP would be better spending more and getting a D10 and a video camera unless the aim is that the photos of lions etc will be on film and the digital is simply for quick snaps around towns.

Valerie
08-19-2004, 10:57 AM
Hi-thanks so much for everyone's quick responses! I will definitely look into the several cameras mentioned. In response to Rhys-yes, I probably will be using my film SLR to capture the closeups of the lions...I have a nice 300m lens for my film camera that took great pictures in Alaska...and using the digicam for more around town shots. Although knowing my husband he will probably want to be using the digicam while I am using my film camera so getting one with a nice 10x lens wouldn't hurt.

Now-when reading the review for the Canon S1 at www.dpreview.com, I noticed it said that the resolution isn't great...any input on this and the other "Cons" on the site? I don't think I'll be blowing any of the images up bigger than 8x10 but you never know!

Thanks again! If anyone has any more input, I welcome it! This digicam search is making my brain hurt. Sooo many choices, but your advice has helped me narrow it down a bit!!

Rhys
08-19-2004, 11:06 AM
Hi-thanks so much for everyone's quick responses! I will definitely look into the several cameras mentioned. In response to Rhys-yes, I probably will be using my film SLR to capture the closeups of the lions...I have a nice 300m lens for my film camera that took great pictures in Alaska...and using the digicam for more around town shots. Although knowing my husband he will probably want to be using the digicam while I am using my film camera so getting one with a nice 10x lens wouldn't hurt.

Now-when reading the review for the Canon S1 at www.dpreview.com, I noticed it said that the resolution isn't great...any input on this and the other "Cons" on the site? I don't think I'll be blowing any of the images up bigger than 8x10 but you never know!

Thanks again! If anyone has any more input, I welcome it! This digicam search is making my brain hurt. Sooo many choices, but your advice has helped me narrow it down a bit!!


The Nikon 5700 is pretty good although chunkier. I almost bought that. It takes 2CR5 batteries or its own rechargable. Bonus is 2CR5 are lightweight and can be cheap if bought in the right place. Bonus with AA - more universal. It's up to you. I'd say take a pocketful of 2CR5 and a 5700. That gives 8x zoom and 5 megapixels. Personally I prefer my S1 as 3mp is enough for me AND the S1 has an excellent video mode.

John_Reed
08-19-2004, 11:32 AM
Now-when reading the review for the Canon S1 at www.dpreview.com, I noticed it said that the resolution isn't great...any input on this and the other "Cons" on the site? I don't think I'll be blowing any of the images up bigger than 8x10 but you never know!I've been concerned about this aspect of the S1 as well, though it seems to have enough happy owners that it must not bother most people. The article you cited at dpreview clearly shows that the FZ10 has finer line resolution than the S1, but you'd kind of expect that, for a 4MP vs. a 3MP camera. What bothers me in many S1 photos I've seen is a muddiness, a lack of detail that maybe doesn't show up in the line resolution charts. Take a look at the ninth photo in Jeff's S1 Gallery (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_s1-review/gallery.shtml); the shot of the red-roofed building framed by two palms. If you look at the full-size image, you'll see lack of detail everywhere, but especially in the greens - the palm fronds, the grass, etc. And the red shingles on the roof aren't resolved very well at all. I thought at the time I first saw this that it might've just been the particular camera that Jeff tested, but I've seen recent images indicating that the problem hasn't gone away. On the other hand, Canon has recently issued a firmware upgrade for the S1, and maybe that helps too. I'll have to get a look at some new results, if they're available.

Rhys
08-19-2004, 12:14 PM
I've been concerned about this aspect of the S1 as well, though it seems to have enough happy owners that it must not bother most people. The article you cited at dpreview clearly shows that the FZ10 has finer line resolution than the S1, but you'd kind of expect that, for a 4MP vs. a 3MP camera. What bothers me in many S1 photos I've seen is a muddiness, a lack of detail that maybe doesn't show up in the line resolution charts. Take a look at the ninth photo in Jeff's S1 Gallery (http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/canon/powershot_s1-review/gallery.shtml); the shot of the red-roofed building framed by two palms. If you look at the full-size image, you'll see lack of detail everywhere, but especially in the greens - the palm fronds, the grass, etc. And the red shingles on the roof aren't resolved very well at all. I thought at the time I first saw this that it might've just been the particular camera that Jeff tested, but I've seen recent images indicating that the problem hasn't gone away. On the other hand, Canon has recently issued a firmware upgrade for the S1, and maybe that helps too. I'll have to get a look at some new results, if they're available.

I'm wondering how many of the muddied details are related to focus rather than to actual image processing.

I took a shot of some sunflowers, against the sky and everything was crisp. Shots of grass and vegetation do tend to get a little muddy although I have a feeling that's more focus-related.

judge9847
08-19-2004, 12:22 PM
Posted by Valerie
Now-when reading the review for the Canon S1 at www.dpreview.com, I noticed it said that the resolution isn't great...any input on this and the other "Cons" on the site? I don't think I'll be blowing any of the images up bigger than 8x10 but you never know!



Posted by John Reed
What bothers me in many S1 photos I've seen is a muddiness, a lack of detail that maybe doesn't show up in the line resolution charts.

When the S1 first hit the review stands after the Los Angeles show earlier this year I think it was, almost every reviewer made the sort of observation that John has. Added to that was the almost universal complaint that the camera suffered really badly from Chromatic Abberation (CA) or purple fringing. It was exactly those two comments that put me off the camera but against that, there are now lot of very satisfied owners.

I've taken to looking at Pbase a lot to compare images from different cameras because there's such a HUGE variety of images there, taken in many, many different conditions. Have a look at some SI images here. (http://www.pbase.com/cameras/canon/powershot_s1_is) To see more after the first random selection, just click the "Refresh" button on your browser or press the F5 key (Internet Explorer that is.)

For me, this is where the observations about "muddiness" and the lack of detail etc. that have been mentioned can be quite clearly seen. I actually can't see too much by way of CA but I only looked at the first couple of pages or so and didn't look at any of the photos in detail.

I hope that the firmware update improves things. It will be interesting to see if it does or not.

D70FAN
08-19-2004, 12:27 PM
Hi-hopefully this isn't something that's been asked too many times...
My husband and I are going to S Africa for 3 weeks in December and will be driving up and down the coast and hopefully going on safari to see the animals! I am planning on bringing my film Canon EOS and a fixed lens digital camera. Right now we have an old cruddy Olympus 2.0mp C-something and we want to upgrade. Along with taking vacation shots(landscapes, people shots, etc...) my husband will probably be using this to take work photos(close up shots of equipment/machinery, and action shots-he sells wave machines).

The camera doesn't need to be super small-my husband wants something with a little heft-but hopefully can fit in a purse. We've been looking at the Olympus C-5050/5060 and some of the comparable Nikon and Canons(the A80?). We'd like a good optical zoom-at least 3x if not more, 3 or 4mp, an AF assist light, some manual features, good low light imaging, and minimal lag b/w pushing the button and taking the picture, and a movie mode. And of course we want great image quality!! I'd also prefer a camera that takes rechargable AA batteries.

Is that too much to ask? Is there a camera out there that fits all those things? I'm definitely not a pro-but I'm not looking for a simple P-S camera either. Thank you!! Your input is much appreciated! Oh yeah-and we'd like to spend under $500 if possible but we're flexible.

If I were going to Africa I would go with the longest, stabilized, zoom I could get.

That, leaves us with the new and improved FZ series from Panasonic. Period. With 12X (35-420mm), f2.8 (over the whole zoom range!), Image Stabilized, lens. Newly added AF Illuminator, and great picture quality, the only thing missing from your list is the AA battery requirement. These cameras are due on store shelves in the next few weeks.

- For $399 the FZ3 offers 3.2 Megapixels, and a compact body.

If you can find an older (2 MegaPixel) FZ1 at your local camera store you will see what I mean. My only negative with this camera is the 1.5" LCD, as the bigger brothers which follow have nice big 2" LCD's.

- For $499 the FZ15 is the, 4 MegaPixel, bigger brother of the FZ3. Same tremendous zoom and excellent all around versatility. The FZ10 is the current version, so again you can head to the camera store and take it in-hand to see if it works for you. Like the FZ3 the FZ15 has a few nice new features including an AF Illuminator (for low light focus), a feature not found on the competitors Ultra zooms. This would be my pick for the best all around value.

At $599 the FZ20 has the same physical size, and features as the FZ15, but adds a 5 MegaPixel sensor. If you plan to print your pictures larger than 11 x 17 then you might want to consider the upgrade.

Again, these cameras should have the words "adventure/safari/nature shooter" on them somewhere. If they were waterproof they would be just about perfect.

Hint: Bring some camera sized Ziplock Zipper bags with you for those rainy days. I used them with my Nikon 990 and now with the D70. Unzip, shoot through the opening and rezip. It floats (when sealed) and works in dust storms too.

As always, I recomend a trip to the local camera store to try all of the suggestions from our members. We all have our preferences, and they may not be yours, but will hopefully help new members wade through the muck-and-mire that is the word of digital cameras.

I would be willing to bet that if you get the FZxx that it will be a "film SLR killer" once you start using it. In that case the Canon Digital Rebel can use those EOS lenses you have collected for your "filmera". ;)

Let us know how it goes.

Valerie
08-24-2004, 05:30 PM
Wow-thank you everyone for your input! Thought I'd give an update on my digicam search...Since I first posted the gears have changed drastically. My husband has decided that he now would rather get a smaller camera with fewer features and focus more on the action taking capabilities rather than the zoom capabilities. I have conceded to his wishes since my dad has a Canon 10D we could borrow if necessary and like I said, I've got my Canon EOS film camera to take wildlife with. So we are now looking at the Fujifilm Finepix E550 which hasn't really hit the stores yet, but looks promising!