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Belizean Jungle

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:30 pm
by mini_man_12
Hi.

I'm going to be going to Central America in February as part of my gap year and I'm going to be living in the Belizean Jungle for a few months doing intense physcial conservation work with a NGO. Following this, I shall be trekking through the jungle, teaching english and scuba diving. Finally, I'm going to be backpacking independantly for about 2months through mexico and other central american countries.

I've always used compact cameras or digital compact cameras but recently I've realsied the difference in the quality of photos when using a SLR. I'm a very amateur photographer but I enjoy taking photographs and in a situation like this (i.e. some of the landscapes and animals that I'll be seeing) would it be worth investing in a DSLR? Possibly the Nikon D40 or Sony DSLR-A200K? (My budget is about £300)

Thanks,
Aaron

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2008 11:27 pm
by Paukl
It's definitely worth the extra cash.

The much harder question IMO is, will it be worth the extra kilograms you're carrying around? I know as a backpacker you really should think twice about anything extra to take with you. I'm gonna do it myself, but photography will be a major part of my conservation effort. I'd probably do it otherwise as well, but it does mean lugging around about 3 to 4 kilo's more than with a compact. If you're backpacking, that's quite a lot.
just my 2 cents :)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:38 am
by Vertigo
Another important thing to consider: Unlike compact cameras (which often use AA batteries), SLR's require specific batteries that must be recharged with a charger. So if you're not going to have a reliable source of electrical power, you may not be able to take photos.

One way around this would be to purchase a battery grip for your SLR. In the case of at least some, the battery grip comes with a cartridge that allows you to load several AA size batteries instead of the usual rechargables. For example, the battery grip I purchased to use with my Canon XTi/400D included this option.

Of course, the battery grip adds more weight and takes more space...

It's something to think about, in the event that the infrastructure in a given place is not very good...



In any case, it sounds like an amazing year you have planned. Good luck, and enjoy it! :)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 2:08 pm
by mini_man_12
Cheers guys.

Yeah I think at the end of the day, the extra weught and space that it takes up will probably be too mcuh. At the moment I have a Sony dsc-w35 but I accidentally broke it. It only takes sony battery pack aswell so what compact camera would be a good option to replace it with? Ideally one that takes very good photos is fairly light, robust and doesn't take up too much space. £300 budget also!

Any advice appreciated.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:28 pm
by Vertigo
I know the Canon A-series of compacts use either 2 or 4 AA-size batteries, depending on the model. I can't speak with authority on any other manufacturer's line, but I'm sure there are plenty of them out there.

I've done quite a bit of traveling with my Canon A710IS and have no complaints about its durability, size, or image quality. However, I'm sure it's been replaced by a new model by now.

Sorry I can't give you any more specifics, but since I've transitioned to SLR's, I've not paid much attention to the compact market.

Probably the best thing you can do is go to a camera shop, try several of them in your hands, and get a feel for the weight, size, and build quality of each. Pick a few that you like the most, and then go research them on the Web for things like image quality, battery life, etc.