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General Digital Advice Needed

Discuss and share your wildlife photography, filming and equipment
blasian
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Unread post by blasian » Tue May 29, 2007 11:24 am

Thanks for the advice Meg. I have no idea what you are talking about, but I have lots of time to work it out! :dance:

I'm living in sunny ( :| ) Auckland at the moment (someone save me from this place... :roll: ), but I am originally from Sydney. My Dad lives in Clontarf and my Mom lives in Woollahra.
"I'm always travelIing, I love being free, and so I keep leaving the sun and the sea, but my heart lies waiting over the foam, I still call Australia home."

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Meg
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Unread post by Meg » Tue May 29, 2007 11:47 am

LOL, good to have some time before you need to make your purchase - although it can be hard to hold oneself back!

If you're from Sydney and find Auckland cold & rainy then I guess it must be pretty bad - we thought that about Sydney :lol: :roll: Maybe we just visited at a bad time :)
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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Tue May 29, 2007 1:28 pm

If you have that much time, why not join a photoclub and try out some of your choices? See the results, get the feeling for the cameras and lenses, and learn some basic and more advanced things about photography?

And have heaps of fun in the mean time?
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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Salva
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Unread post by Salva » Tue May 29, 2007 4:40 pm

one thing: the lens Meg is talking about (70-200VR) is a superb lens but actually costs more than the Nikon D40X with with 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR Lens combination for $1,899.

If I you would decide to go for Nikon, shop around for a good rate for a D40x + 18-200mmVR combination. I use the 18-200 myself and it is a good lens: it is an impressive range and the VR is awesome! The added bonus is that you do not have to change lenses all the time: very handy in dusty conditions.
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BushCall
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Unread post by BushCall » Tue May 29, 2007 9:48 pm

But the 70-200VR 2.8 is 4 times faster and brighter for low light shooting when the best shots are out there. We have a wedding photographer in our family now and he was seriously considering getting the versatile 18-200 VR lens but at 5.6 at dusk when lots of weddings take place he will just have to use the heavier 70-200. One thing with the 70 -200 is it is so well made you will never have to upgrade because you wont have to and there is no way up this lens is the pinnacle of lens manufacture and design. My take is spend the money, cry once and enjoy this masterpiece

mja
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Unread post by mja » Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:54 pm

Blasian,
I admit upfront that I am a Canon fan.
As others have said, I don't think you can go wrong with either the Canon or Nikon (and don't know anything about the Sony). I think the 400D is a great beginners camera and your lens choices are a good set to start with for Kruger, knowing full well that what Meg says is true (you'll wish you had something bigger or faster). I have used my 70-300mm IS zoom on various trips over the past 7 years and have been able to get wonderful shots. One feature that is certainly worth paying extra for is an Image Stabiliser (IS) -- the IS feature has definitely saved the day on many occasions when photographing wildlife in low light (ie: those sunrise and sunset drives you'll most likely take are a perfect example when this feature will come in handy).
As has been advised, there are lots of great photog forums to seek input from, but one piece of advice I can't stress enough is to practise a lot with your camera and lenses before taking the trip (and remember to practise manual focusing since sometimes the autofocus will get a branch in perfect focus, but not the bird right next to it).
Just my 0.2,
mja
PS: If you go the Trip Reports thread, and check out my "trip report April 19-25", almost all the photos I have posted were taken with the 70-300mm IS lens. A website photo doesn't do them justice, but you'll get the idea.
"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese" - Steven Wright

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francoisd
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Unread post by francoisd » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:12 pm

Blasian,

Much has been said and I agree with everything. Having a decent camera and good lenses are important but may I add a couple of other "important" things as well (some have been mentioned). Why? Because I current use an advance point-and-shoot camera and can at this stage not afford to upgrade to a DSLR.

1. Always ensure that your photo is in focus. With editing software many "mistakes" can be fixed but not an out of focus photo.

2. As said get to know your camera. It is fine to take snaps on full automatic but start using your camera in full manual mode (as far as settings are concerned). Take time to see how changes in settings change the result.

3. As mentioned join a photography club or if you do not have time, do what I do. Join a photography forum especially where people post their photos for comment. Learn from what people say in their comments and look at the settings used. Also look at how they compose the photo.

4. So get the basics right e.g. composition, focus, light and you are well on your way. With digital it is so convinient because you can review your image immediately and take another shot to correct.

5. Get some photo editing software. I just started to get to know Photoshop so am no expert but with slight changes to exposure settings, shadows and highlights you can do alot to enhance your photos.

As an example of the latter I've borrowed mja's stricking photo of the "african giants" (hope you don't mind me using it as an example mja. I was reading your report when this came up).

Some people might find the light in mja's pic a little bright. In Photoshop all I did was bring the exposure down to -0.40 and made some changes to the shadows (to see more of the ellies face) and highlights and mja's excellent photo is transformed into something else

Image Image

So what I'm trying to say is. Get the best your budget will allow (and remember it is the lense that determines most of the quality of your photo), get to know it well and practice, practice, practice. And when you get editing software spend some time "playing around" untill you get to a point where you can quickly do the basics. DuQues posted some very good Photoshop tips here

OK, now I'll get out of here and let the photo boffs continue
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mja
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Unread post by mja » Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:10 pm

francoisd,
No problem at all using that photo, and nice job improving the exposure. And interesting you bring up the example of computer software. I switched from film to digital about 18 months ago and the one main area that I need to spend more time learning is Photoshop. Since posting that photo, I to have been playing around with it (I have it as a RAW image). Hopefully with practice, I can get the basics of Photoshop down better (thanks to tips by DuQues).
Cheers,
mja
"The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese" - Steven Wright

blasian
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Unread post by blasian » Thu Jun 07, 2007 9:53 am

Hi everyone,

francoisd reccommended joing a photography forum. Does anyone know of a really good one? Or is anyone a member of a particular forum they would like to reccommend?

Cheers!
"I'm always travelIing, I love being free, and so I keep leaving the sun and the sea, but my heart lies waiting over the foam, I still call Australia home."

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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:19 am

There are plenty good ones, a lot of the members here are also members of ODP.
I know of 2 more, but they are in Dutch only, which will improve your Dutch, but maybe not yout photography. :wink:
Have a look at Dpreview.com, and read all pages at Luminous Landscape. There are very good tutorials there.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

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jcorser
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Good photo website

Unread post by jcorser » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:48 pm

IMHO the best photo site is DPreview. Check it out at the URL below.

http://forums.dpreview.com/

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fuzzmonkey
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Unread post by fuzzmonkey » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:13 am

Hi there blasian

I was faced with exactly the same quandry a few months ago, and after reading hundreds of reviews and going to camera shops I decided that the Nikon D40/x and the EOS 400D are just as good as each other, however, upon picking a 400D up in a camera shop and comparing it to a D40 the Nikon just felt better in my hands, the grip seemed more natural. Now, I realise that this is a rather trivial selling point but it's what swayed me to the Nikon and I have been EXTREMELY happy with the results. The 18-55mm kit lens is simply amazing (although not much good for wildlife photography, but brilliant for everything else) and I recently added the 55-200mm VR to my collection. The VR is awesome and it amazes me how sharp hand-held shots become.
As far as photography forums go, you should check out www.flickr.com , you can browse images buy camera and often there are helpfull comments on how the image was achieved and what gear was used.

Happy shooting

fuzz

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bert
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Unread post by bert » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:30 pm

My best bet is to give them a visit.
A thorough and professional shop for advice and maybe
ex rental equipment for a nice price
http://www.outdoorphotoshop.co.za/

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saraf
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Unread post by saraf » Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:13 pm

Have a read of digital photography review - they do in depth reviews of most cameras on the market at the moment.

And then when you have the camera go out and practice before your trip - that way you'll know how your camera works and you won't spend vital time trying to take a shot of an elusive rhino only to find you've accidentally turned on the self-timer with your nose.
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DuQues
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Unread post by DuQues » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:08 pm

bazzlewazzle wrote:Where is Outdoor Photo? are they a physical shop or only online? It wasn't obvious on the website.

Office No. 1
Atterbury Estate
19 Frikkie de Beer Street
Menlyn, GP 7979
South Africa
+27 012 348 3693
Fax: 0866251434
http://www.outdoorphotoshop.co.za
info@outdoorphoto.co.za

As for the smallish size of the 350D, that is indeed a problem, which is multiplied if you want a larger body. That larger body is the 20, 30 and 40D series, which are more expensive. (Or even the 1 series, which are even more expensive!)
That said however, a secondhand 20D or 30D is maybe what you are looking for. Have a look here, I spotted a 40D for R10,500.00, and for the same price a 1D MkII.
Not posting much here anymore, but the photo's you can follow here There is plenty there.

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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