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camera question

Lyon, France
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341 posts
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camera question

Hi All,

I know we have quite a few keen photographers in the forum, so I am hoping you can help me out! I currently have a Nikon coolpix l120 that's about 6 years old. It's a simple camera, quite compact but usually turns out good photos. That said, I've never shot in Africa and I really want to be able to capture some great photos - particularly the colors, night photos, and clearness. I am no expert, however, and thus need something that is fairly simple to use and not too bulky.

Does anyone know if a camera such as the one I have will be sufficient or should I look into investing in a different one (based upon reviews I have been considering the Nikon D3300 or Fujifilm XT10). If someone could suggest lens as well that are useful for shooting such landscapes I would appreciate it.

Thank you in advance!!

Edited: 2:27 pm, February 11, 2017
Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: camera question

The Nikon Coolpix range of cameras is a good option for someone needing a do-it-all in a compact size. Latest models, like B500, B700 and P900 offers almost everything from wide to extreme telephoto in one compact form. But they are working always always in Auto or Green mode.

If you want to get the best out of the beautiful Africa light then you will need a DSLR. However, if planning to use a DSLR camera in Auto or Green or even P mode, then just stay with above mentioned models. Because moving to a DSLR (and even to a mirrorless camera like Fuji XT10) will require a very different approach to photography. And a new set of lens also.

I am advising you to visit one of your local photo clubs, and I am sure you will get plenty of excellent advices, and maybe also some tutoring.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: camera question

Before splashing the cash assess whether your coolpix will do the job. I don't know the range at all but if it has variable settings as well as Auto it should be OK. If 'P' setting lets you programme exposures and shutter speeds that is all most folk need.

I use a Fuji EXR (4 years old now) and it gives good results. This is the 'bridge' type of camera so easy to handle and not bulky. No lenses to buy. No sand or grit to get in whilst changing lens. It has the full range of buttons from full auto to manual exposures.

African light can be both harsh and soft but most cameras cope well enough.

Lyon, France
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341 posts
87 reviews
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3. Re: camera question

I can do +/- 2 for exposure and modify ISO (80-6400) but the only way to change the shutter speeds is to use the different pre-set scenes. As I said before, it is generally fine but I did find myself wishing for more flexibility on my last trip in Japan, though this was mostly for the light blue skies that came out overcasty in the photos (perhaps not an issue for Namibia).

How about for the safari portion - my camera has a wide 21x zoom will this be sufficient for shooting from long distances? My fear is the clarity gets quite weak/noisy....

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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4. Re: camera question

Tech specs says longest is around 500 mm in 35 mm term; reach is good enough but since the sensor is so small, details will be lost. Using camera with an APS-C size of sensor will yield more detailed photos.

I am a Nikon user thus my preferred camera is Nikon; in your case, I would go the DSLR way. Right now the D5xx series are really good value for any type of photography. Nikon also introduced updated wide and long zoom lenses, yet also the older models are very good at what they cost. The problem with one body and two lenses is you will need to exchange them often. No easy way to go, I know.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: camera question

Lack of shutter speed is a bummer as you need to be able to 'freeze' any movement or your own shake from being hand held at long zoom reach. (This shake also applies to hand held DSLRs also.)

As xelas says it is sensor size that matters or the size of the captured image. Mine gives 16Mb.

So the decision is yours. Do you trade off the ease of handling and minor limitations of the "Bridge" style against having two heavy lenses in your camera bag and less money in your bank?

Toronto, Canada
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1,259 posts
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6. Re: camera question

It depends on your itinerary. If you spending a lot of time in Etosha? Are you primarily into landscapes? I'm going to be buying 2 cameras for my upcoming trip. I've primarily been a Nikon and Fuji user. For my last trip to Tanzania I had a Fuji XT-1 and a Nikon D7100. For my upcoming trip in May to Namibia I'm leaning towards two Nikon D7200s.

There are a number of reasons. One, battery life. On just about any Nikon dslr you will be getting around 1,000 shots per charge. Fuji, lucky if you get 350. If you are staying in lodges it's not so much a problem as you can frequently charge up. You could also get a charger for the car which is what I did for Tanzania But my Nikon I never had to worry as it kept shooting.

You'll need a combination of lenses. For the Nikon I would either buy oeither rent the 16-80vr. I like 16 for the wide landscapes but it's not overly wide, just right. I'll be renting either the 55-200 or 70-300 and the 80-400. Renting the lenses are fairly cheap. No sense in buying if you won't be needing them afterwards.

If you can I would try to get two Nikon D3300's. It's pretty dusty out there and you don't want to be changing lenses too often. In your case have the 16-80 on one and the 80-400 on the other.

The fuji lenses such as the 16-55 and 50-150 and 100-400 are pretty large and more expensive than the Nikon counterparts.

One think I would say, if you are going to use a Nikon DSLR, you absolutely should learn to use it in A mode. Buy it a month before and practice using it and setting Auto ISO. If you are just going to put in Auto, then you may be just as well off using a bridge camera.

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: camera question

It's difficult to answer as the range of cameras is now so great. If you want nighttime pics you want a large lens ( to let light in) . Most flash only works indoors and gives a very flat look. I never take a flash with me as I also don't like flashing in animals eyes. A good bridge camera should do the trick. We used a Fuji also till we got hooked on the Olympus 4/3 system but to be honest there was nothing wrong with the Fuji which had a 30 X zoom. Of course you can get even more now. We also have a little Sony with a 10 X zoom which gives nice results except in low light.

If this is your one big trip I wouldn't fork out for a DSLR. Changing lenses can be time consuming and the moment can pass. We get over this by having two bodies with different lenses fixed on, but we take a big holiday most years .

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: camera question

If choosing a superzoom, you can read here, thewirecutter.com/reviews/…

and

techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture…

Isle of Man, United...
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9. Re: camera question

Thanks Daniel. Very useful links.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: camera question

General advice:

1) I'd always argue against splashing out a lot of money for a camera that you really don't need beyond this one trip.

2) If you want to use a high-end camera for this one trip only, you could rent.

3) If you're unlikely to use a camera with interchangeable lenses in the future, be it mirrorless or dslr, a decent bridge camera is the most reasonable way to go, if you're going to buy, in my opinion.

4) Don't believe everything everyone says about specific brands, especially when they're dissing them.

-ta