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PHOTOGRAPHY FOR TRAVELERS

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Here are some recommendations for cameras when traveling.

Pixels - The pixels aren't an issue for any camera in today's world of sharing photos on the web.  Some of the pics on takethatvaction.com are taken with a 7 mega pixel camera and you can't distinguish a lower quality than that of a 10 or 14 mega pixel camera.  The higher pixels are only necessary for 8x12 prints and not many of us are printing that size.

Image Stabilization Electronic stabilization is a must for quality shots, but for zoom photography it's essential to place the camera in a stable position too.  On my trip to Africa, I finally became aware of the importance of stabilizing the camera for the production of quality zoom shots.  Shooting while a vehicle is moving or even idling can degrade photos significantly.  On safari a tripod is too awkward in most cases.  Rest the camera on a bean bag on the roof of the safari vehicle and ask the driver to turn off the engine.  Yes, shooting from the roof is common on safari. The vehicles all have removable roof sections so you can stand up in the vehicle to take photos.

Memory Cards - These are inexpensive and excellent sizes are available.  For Africa, I used two 16GB cards in the two cameras and never filled them up.  I bought these on sale directly from Dell. The SD speed rating of 4 was perfectly adequate, so I wouldn't bother investing in higher rated, more expensive cards.  I had two spares on stand by that were never needed. In the past, I used to bring a laptop and back the cards up, but I've now decided it's not worth the extra hardware.  At the end of the trip, I carry the full SD cards in my money belt and put the spare cards in the camera during the trip home.  A more recent option is to back the SD card onto a smart phone or tabloid.

Batteries - When you are traveling, ensure that you always have a spare battery during the day that is charged and ready to go.  You can buy spare batteries and chargers inexpensively at Amazon.  Make sure you also have a universal adapter so you can recharge the battery each day.  Europe uses a two pin adapter while Britain and its colonies use a three prong.  Having both available is important.  Traveling through the Netherlands to Tanzania, I needed both types.

Underwater Cameras - My Lumix DMC-TS3 is quickly becoming my favorite travel camera.  The 12 mega pixel camera is compact, has excellent quality HD video and 4.6x optical zoom.  It's shock proof and water proof 40 feet.  It's not the stats that are impressive.  It gets excellent color in the day, stable pictures in low light means it has quality image stabilization, plus it has smooth video.  The adjustible wrist strap keeps it safely with you while you swim.  Why bring any other camera?

Lumix Underwater Camera

Digital Camera without extended zoom. This type of camera isn't recommended.  A small digital camera may be a space saver, but due to its wide angle nature, it doesn't capture enough image detail to share your experiences.

Digital Camera with Extended Zoom - Years ago, the bulky extended zoom camera was a favorite.  Great pictures and so much lighter and less bulky than a Digital SLR camera.  Today there are better options and we don't use these anymore at Take That Vacation.

Canon SX
Too bulky in comparison to a pocket zoom camera

Digital Pocket Zoom - We love these new cameras.  For our trip to Argentina, Chile and Brazil, we took two of these and recharged the batteries daily.  They are 20x zoom, high pixels and take good movies too. What we like best is the way they slip so easily into a pocket when not in use.  You instantly become a less attractive option to those targeting tourists for vending or theft.  The colored ones also make it easier to find the camera itself, especially when its buried in a back pack.

Canon Pocket Zoom

Digital SLR - These are a little bulky and it's inconvenient to switch lenses, but they do have features that exceed those of the Extended Zoom.  The features I like best about them are the ease with which you can quickly zoom/ frame a shot and the rapid fire pictures it can take.  For my trip to the Serengeti, I purchased a Canon Rebel with a 250mm zoom lens.  This was an excellent camera.  I can't say the quality of the pics exceeded the extended zoom, but I got excellent photos of birds in flight that you simply can't get with an extended zoom. The extended zoom can produce great quality, but with the digital, you will have many more pictures to choose from and will end up with better wildlife pics.

Canon Digital SLR