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Old 09-20-2004, 12:04 PM   #1
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Photographers, please check in...

OK, here's the thing, I've been wanting a laptop for a while now (I go on a few long vacations and need to take work/school work along) and I've saved $900. I can't seem to get the last few hundred b/c either I have to pay rent, take the cats to the vet or something. So last night I was thinking about this class I'll be taking which is actually a month long trip to Tanzania. I don't own a camera and maybe I'd be better off getting a nice camera and saving for a laptop this summer since I can get by OK with the crappy spare desktop and a camera is something just as useful. But I know nothing about cameras. I don't even know if I want a digital or SLR. Basically, I'll be in Africa for a month. I can't assume I'll ever have access to electricity or that it will be the same voltage (so no charging of batteries). If I go with a digital, I'll have to take a month's worth of battery power. If I go with SLR, I'll have to take a month's worth of film. But like I said, I know nothing about camera's and I've never been to Africa. Please offer suggestions...
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Old 09-20-2004, 12:30 PM   #2
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I recommend checking out B&H photo at www.bhphoto.com for prices on new/used equipment and film. I've ordered things from them before with good results. The only thing I don't like about b&h is the massive catalog they send every few months after you order from them, which is a total waste of trees.
I also recommend checking out your local bookstore's magazine rack for Popular Photography, Consumer Reports, etc... to compare different products in different price ranges.
And since you're not sure about the electricity thing, your probably better off with a basic SLR with extra batteries just in case. I wouldn't buy the top of the line model because of the all the things that can happen while you're overseas such as lost luggage, travel conditions, weather, theft and all those other nasty things.
And finally, if you do go the traditional film route, keep in mind x-rays kill film. Don't put it in your checked bags without a one of those lead lined baggies.
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Old 09-20-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
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www.cnet.com has good reviews for everything electronic and also www.pricegrabber.com has good price comparisons and find's the best deals on the web by searching hundreds of online sites. also www.techbargains.com is updated every day on deals across the web...
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:27 PM   #4
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The concerns you will have with digital are power and memory. There are ways to deal with these issues.

Regarding power, a little research should tell you the availability of power outlets and the adapters needed. Even if you cannot recharge battaries, I would guess that one set of batteries would last at least a week. That means carrying only 3-4 extra sets.

Memory may be a bigger challenge. The number of megapixels will dictate the number of images that can be held on one chip. The memory chips are small but expensive. If you like taking pictures, you can fill them up quickly. If you are more measured about pictures, youshouldn't need that many.

Are you going with other students? Perhaps someone will bring a laptop. When I was in Egypt for 2+weeks, one of our team members brought a laptop. Those with digital cameras were able to download and store the images on the laptop.

For my own everyday photography, I prefer digital to film in all ways except one. There is a long, anoying delay between the time you push the shutter button and the time the digital camera actually takes the picture. In practice, I have to anticipate shot (especially action shots - I take pictures of my kid's sports). Film cameras have a much faster response time.
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Old 09-20-2004, 01:52 PM   #5
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my digicam ate 8 batteries in 2 days...it takes 4. Take LOTS of batteries and yeah unless you have access to a computer make sure you have a few extra memory cards too.
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Old 09-20-2004, 06:19 PM   #6
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The question is, would you rather lug around loads of film or loads of batteries?

They both cost a lot to purchase, but with film you have to actually develop afterwards.

With the digital camera, you'd have to buy a memory card, but the camera itself would be smaller, lighter, more efficient to use.
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Old 09-20-2004, 06:48 PM   #7
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Yeah, it's so hard to decide. I'm not buying an adapter b/c we'll be in rural villages where people basically live in huts. A friend who went last time said there were not really even toilets, so I'm not planning on electricity. I doubt anyone will bring a laptop. We're not going to be in hotels or near universities; we're going to study grassroots church organizations, poverty, AIDS, that kind of thing. My boss has been into photography for 35 years and he said ever since he got a decent digital camera, he hasn't gone back to SLR. But like I said, I need a months worth of batteries with no assumption that they can be re-charged. Maybe some cameras have longer lasting batteries than standard AA?

Right now I'm leaning toward getting a nice SLR with a polarizer (my boss recommended this since we'll be near the equator the entire time) and then getting an OK digital camera as well. But maybe I want a super-nice digital camera?
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Old 09-20-2004, 07:02 PM   #8
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A digital SLR
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Old 09-20-2004, 08:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Anirban
www.cnet.com has good reviews for everything electronic and also www.pricegrabber.com has good price comparisons and find's the best deals on the web by searching hundreds of online sites. also www.techbargains.com is updated every day on deals across the web...
Thanks, but one thing, I have no clue what I'm looking for I'm going to Africa for a month and will be taking a LOT of pics. It will be extrememly sunny (almost on the equator), hot, and dusty conditions. Most of the pics will be outside and some will hopefully feature wild animals that may or may not be moving at a fast pace (lions, giraffe, cheetah, hippo, etc). I'd like something with a zoom, a flash, and boss says a "polarizer". I want these to be pics I can make big prints of (1 x 2 ft max) if any turn out cool. I want the best picture with the least amount of preparation possible. any specific suggestions?
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Old 09-20-2004, 08:33 PM   #10
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Another good idea is to go to your local electronics store and just play with the display models. Many of the cameras have the same features. See what's out there and what you're comfortable with and then read the consumer reports.

As for the polarizer, it's an adapter for the lens that screws on the end. It helps to reduce glare, like a pair of sunglasses. Here's a neat little site that shows you what it does:
http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000...polarized.html
I think I got mine in a package with a UV lens for about $25 (about 12 yrs ago).
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Old 09-20-2004, 11:25 PM   #11
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Given that you'll be staying in undeveloped rural areas mainly, I'd stick with film. For the price of a decent digicam you can get a full-featured SLR that gives you far greater flexibility and control of your shots. With a budget of $900, you could get an slr and a couple decent lenses, plus loads of film.

Here's a beginner setup that would probably work well.

Canon Rebel Ti: $160 - For the same feature set in a digital camera you'd need to spend close to your full $900 budget or more - very easy to use for beginners but with full manual features for the more experienced shooter.

Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II: $210 - A nice solid lens with a good zoom range and definitely a step up from your usual kit bundled lens.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8: $70 - Don't be fooled by the price - this is a very sharp little lens that's very handy - a good walkaround lens that's also really helpful in low light situations.

That's only $370 for a solid starter kit that gets you an easy to use camera still capable of advanced features plus a versatile lens that's better than the usual kit bundle lenses. I might also get a longer lens ($300, should be a good do-it-all lens too that could replace the above lens) to get in close to animals on the savannah, maybe, but either way you're left with a solid chunk of money to spend on other things. Of course, you could step up to a better camera ($300 - I just ordered this actually - a great camera! ) and/or a better lens, but that depends on your interest in photography.

Ditto on the polarizer recommendation - they are extremely helpful at reducing glare and increasing contrast (better colors - especially in the sky).
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Old 09-21-2004, 05:34 AM   #12
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There are batteries that are specifically made for digital cameras that have a longer life. I've never tried them, but I think Energizer and other companies make them.

I have a Kodak Easy Share digital camera and I like it. It's nothing fancy but takes nice photos. I especially like the color accuracy.
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Old 09-22-2004, 08:49 PM   #13
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I just picked up a Nikon N 80 SLR. It should be here in two days. YAY! I have my eyes set on a Nikon D 70 digital SLR too. So getting the N 80 to keep me busy while saving up for the digicam is going to be a good thing. Plus I can use whatever lenses I buy for it on the digi.
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Old 09-23-2004, 02:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

I have a Kodak Easy Share digital camera and I like it. It's nothing fancy but takes nice photos. I especially like the color accuracy.
i have one too and it's great ...

just a comment: it is good to have a digital camera and a traditional one, with the traditional camera you can get more color and texture quality... and the lab work is always great

I have a kodak easy share 6490 (the digital one)
and a Canon EOS 1000F (the traditional one )
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