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02-09-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
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Help! Going on a safari

Very soon, I'm flying to Tanzania for a 11-day safari, plus a few days on Zanzibar.

I know I'll be taking a LOT of photos because this is my first African safari. I have a Pentax K5 but do not plan to take an external hard drive or have any way to store the photos other than through SD cards.

So, I know I can't shoot RAW, and would it be *terrible* to shoot JPEG Recorded Pixels at 6M? JP Quality - top 4 stars?

I generally make photo books of my photos, so nothing is printed over about 11 x 14.

I have 3, 16GB; 1, 8GB, and a couple of 4GB SD cards. Enough? Your thoughts?

At 6M:
1,668 x 3 = 5,004 photos, approximately 450 photos a day

At 10M:
2,718 x 3 = 8,154 photos, approximately 740 photos a day

So, I think I can manage best with 740 photos a day but --- would have to shoot at 6M.

What do you think? Maybe I should shell out for another SD card? But if 6M at top quality JPG would work, I'll go with that. I can always save a photo I think is particularly an "award winner" as RAW but then, that would blow the number of photos I could take.

Any suggestions appreciated! We're just about maxed out on spending with this trip, so unless your storage suggestion is about $20 and is very light weight, I probably won't go that route.

02-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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Wow, this is a no brainer. Spend a few bucks on an extra card and shoot the highest quality jpeg you can. Personally I'd buy a handful of 32GB cards and shoot RAW.

Your safari trip including lfights and accom costs?
An extra SD card costs?
02-09-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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buy more memory, get a bazillion 8 gigs on the cheap (usually smaller memory is cheaper than bigger cards, and if you loose one you loose less data) shoot raw, you will never say... gee i wish i had not spend an extra 100 on memory because i could have taken fewer photos. also get little dot stickers and number your cards, then fill them up in numerical order, that way you never overwrite a card or forget which ones you have photos on.

i went to tanzania 6 years ago and it was amazing. take lots of pictures, and don't forget to enjoy the place!
02-09-2012, 04:34 PM   #4
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2x Panasonic 8GB SD HC Class 4 Cards SDHC -16GB TOTAL | eBay

30 bucks for 16 gigs at class 10

02-09-2012, 04:34 PM   #5
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sorry those are class 4 my bad
02-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #6
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face palm!
sorry - you can afford a K-5 and a safari? but not $50 for an SD card? Remember how much a roll of 36 film cost and then you needed to pay for processing as well...
02-09-2012, 07:36 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
face palm!
sorry - you can afford a K-5 and a safari? but not $50 for an SD card? Remember how much a roll of 36 film cost and then you needed to pay for processing as well...
Yeah, I've never done any real film photography but I recently went out to buy film and check out processing. 16 for film+processing, just wow. 36 pics for the price of a decent SD card.
02-10-2012, 09:38 AM   #8
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Okay, I'll go buy some more cards --- but can anyone answer my question about shooting in 6m vs. 10m JPGs? Will I gain that much more in 10m? Be able to crop more? I know this is a dumb question, but I really don't know if there's a huge difference. Should I shoot 16m? I just don't have, and won't have, enough storage or a fast enough computer for RAW.

02-10-2012, 10:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sealonsf Quote
Okay, I'll go buy some more cards --- but can anyone answer my question about shooting in 6m vs. 10m JPGs? Will I gain that much more in 10m? Be able to crop more? I know this is a dumb question, but I really don't know if there's a huge difference. Should I shoot 16m? I just don't have, and won't have, enough storage or a fast enough computer for RAW.
I have plenty of great under water-shots, taken whilst scuba diving, and printed at 8x10, from a 3.3MP camera (Oly 3040). 6 MP is plenty for your 11x14. However .. it leaves you no room to crop without drastically reducing the quality. So that IMO leaves you with three options :

1. Buy more SD cards
2. After your days shooting check your shots and delete everything that is not a keeper.
3. Shoot at 6MP now and after cropping use something like Alien Skin's Blow Up (Alien Skin Software, LLC Photoshop Photo and Design Plugins ) to digitally upsize your shots for printing. At least you don't have to pay now for it !

Have a fantastic holiday !
02-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
I have plenty of great under water-shots, taken whilst scuba diving, and printed at 8x10, from a 3.3MP camera (Oly 3040). 6 MP is plenty for your 11x14. However .. it leaves you no room to crop without drastically reducing the quality. So that IMO leaves you with three options :

1. Buy more SD cards
2. After your days shooting check your shots and delete everything that is not a keeper.
3. Shoot at 6MP now and after cropping use something like Alien Skin's Blow Up (Alien Skin Software, LLC Photoshop Photo and Design Plugins ) to digitally upsize your shots for printing. At least you don't have to pay now for it !
Thanks! Blow Up looks very cool. And yes, not having to pay now is a good idea. We're maxing out on this "dream trip" as it is. But I'll get more SD cards, shoot at 10M (save the occasional "money shot" in RAW and delete as I go, until I start panicing that I'm running out of storage and will then start at 6M), and, yep, maybe buy Blow Up a month or so after we get back! I can't wait! And, I figure if one of my SD cards gets destroyed with all my photos, I'll just have to go back to Africa. Just because I didn't get the photo, doesn't mean I wasn't there! (That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.)
02-10-2012, 11:20 AM   #11
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I think the buy a pile of 8 gb cards and shoot raw is the best advice. even a slower class card will be sufficient. if you happen to lose a card (or have it crap out) you won't have lost a lot of shots. shoot at low res jpeg and aside from artifacts an limitations on how you can fix it in Post if you lose a full card of this size you've lost a lot of your trip. Even if you currently only print in the sizes mentioned 6mp is too small really (I've printed 6 mp files this size but 10 mp is much better.
On a trip like this though you never know whether your next shot is going to be that once in a lifetime shot you want to print big (plus the lower res really limits the crop option to get closer to some of the animals - given your longest lens is 300 in your sig for certain you will do some heavy crops on some files)
to keep it simple and cheap
$100 buys you 10 x 8gb lexar class 6 or the same number of class 10 transcend cards (which are good cheap cards IMO having used them) from BH photo
heck spend $200 and you are going with 160gb
the other alternate is a cheap portable storage unit $120 for 320 gb. not the fanciest unit but it does the job (the 1 review is from a wedding pro using it for his second shooters - a pretty critical use IMO )
Digital Foci PST-251 Photo Safe II (320GB) P19-320 B&H Photo
02-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #12
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This is my prediction of what will happen if you shoot 6mp jpegs.
You will be on safari and come across Robert Mugabe on a hunting trip. Mr Mugabe's gun will jam right at the important moment and he gets bitten in half by an angry lion. You get the photo, but in your excitement it's underexposed by 2 stops. If you shot RAW you could fix it no problem and sell the photo for millions. Sadly you shot jpeg low quality and spend rest of life regretting decision
Just a scenario...
02-12-2012, 08:16 AM   #13
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Cross - post.

From my own experiences with the 55-300 & TCs (admittedly not extensive, light isn't great here and I gave up on them quickly - especially after the testing I linked to above) I woul dstill stick with my opinion I gave earlier, buy a used Sigma 150-500 and sell it when you get home (if you can bear to part with it).

For those interested in photography on safaris there is a superb 200+pp pdf that can be downloaded (sorry don't have the link so you'll have to do some Googling) from Uwe Skrzypczak called Wildlife Photography that covers everything from equipment and workflow to techniques, composition and even planning your trip.

These are interesting stats taken from the pdf in which he publishes a table (I've shortened it here) :

Equiv. APS-C focal length. Proportion of shots used for.
200-400 mm f/4 approx 75% of the time.
280-560 mm f/5.6* approx 8% of the time.
340-680 mm f/6.8** approx 2% of the time.
70-200 mm f/2.8 approx 10% of the time.
17-55 mm f/2.8 approx 4% of the time.
12-24 mm f/4 approx 1% of the time.

My comment : note that as a tourist your % could vary dramatically from those of a pro shooter.

and he comments :

The table shows that you can cover virtually all important focal lengths using an APS-C camera with a 400 mm lens and a teleconverter. The AF-S VR Zoom-NIK- KOR 200-400mm lens mounted on an APS-C camera represents the cream of the currently available super-telephoto lenses, and its closest focusing distance of about six feet makes it ideal for close-ups too. Good value alternatives are either the much slower 80-400 mm lens, or the even cheaper 70-300 mm lens used with a teleconverter.

And his equipment :
A high-resolution, full-frame camera body for landscapes, animal portraits, and non-moving subjects; a low-noise, high-speed, full-frame camera body for action and “available light” photography; an APS-C camera body with 50 percent reserve range; 600mm f/4, 200-400mm f/4, 300mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 14-24mm f/2.8 professional lenses; a 1.4x teleconverter and a 1.7x teleconverter.

Should be able to hire all that for your 2 week vacation
02-12-2012, 10:41 AM   #14
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You have 3 16GB cards for a total of 48GB. With a 32GB card in my K-5 set for RAW and JPEG, the counter tells me I can take 654 pictures. That means with your set up, you'd be good for about 975. If you're worried that's not enough, you have two options. Buy another card (a 32GB would be my recommendation) or sort through you pictures at the end of each day and delete the duplicates/unsatisfactory ones.
02-14-2012, 01:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
This is my prediction of what will happen if you shoot 6mp jpegs.
You will be on safari and come across Robert Mugabe on a hunting trip. Mr Mugabe's gun will jam right at the important moment and he gets bitten in half by an angry lion. You get the photo, but in your excitement it's underexposed by 2 stops. If you shot RAW you could fix it no problem and sell the photo for millions. Sadly you shot jpeg low quality and spend rest of life regretting decision
Just a scenario...
We wish! The underexposed RAW files would not be a problem then. Would still be worthwhile
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