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On one safari I spotted two cheetah 1/2 mile away in a grassy valley where Alison's 300mm lens couldn't get a reasonable picture but some of our touring companions decided they would take a picture with their instamatic camera anyway!
Compact Film Cameras
Safariing is usually a once-in-a-lifetime experience (well thatís what we thought the first time we went) and so you may want to record the event for posterity.

Spotting animals is challenging enough, but if you want to get a photograph to impress your friends back home then you need to plan ahead. The simple instamatic camera is pretty much worthless for recording anything other than wide-angle landscapes, with perhaps a sunrise or sunset thrown-in for good measure.
Our original photos were taken with this traditional Pentax Compact Zoom camera.
Film Cameras with Zoom Lenses
Over the years Alison has graduated from a Pentax Compact Zoom with built-in 28-170mm auto-focus zoom lens, through a Canon EOS SLR camera with interchangeable 28-75mm and 50-300mm zoom lenses, adding a x2 converter to this. It became cumbersome continually changing lenses and missing shots, so the lens was replaced with a Sigma 50-500mm lens compatible with the Canon EOS body, rather than buying a second body.
Canon EOS300 camera with Sigma 50-500mm lens - even this isn't enough for some of the longer shots!

Sony Mavica MVC-FD7 digital camera with x10 auto-focus zoom lens saved images to floppy disk!

Digital Cameras
I eventually decided I wanted more to do on safari than spotting and bought my first camera - a digital. I chose the Sony Mavica MVC-FD7 because : it had a x10 zoom lens ; it saved directly to floppy disk, which could be easily read by any PC.
The VGA format (640x480 pixels) and the high compression used to save a reasonable amount of images on a single disk seriously limited the picture quality. I struggled on until I found a camera that offered the correct balance between zoom and resolution. Although there were higher resolution cameras available I again opted for the Sony Mavica CD1000 with a 2 million pixel resolution and x10 zoom lens. This saves images directly to mini-CDs that can again be read directly on a PC. It also offers multi-program functions, steady-shot and flash functions similar to SLR cameras.
Sony Mavica CD1000 camera with x10 auto-focus zoom lens and writes directly to mini-CDs - enough for 150 high resolution (2 mega pixels) images @ c. 20:1 compression
GPS kit, comprising: Pretec GPS bluetooth logger; external aerial; HP iPAQ RX3715
By 2004 with all our safaris I was finding it difficult to recall our routes and I decided I needed some help. So I bought a GPS kit. I didn't need all the usual navigation tools with the usual display, maps, waypoints etc, but a simple logger and the means to extract the raw data. After a little research I bought a refurbished portable Pretec bluetooth logger with memory for 32,000 'breadcrumbs' and 12 hour battery and combined it with the HP iPAQ RX3715 which came with bluetooth built-in.

One drawback is the logger needs re-charging every night and mains power isn't always readily available. Safari camps and lodges however do generally have a re-charging capability and as long as you're polite the staff are happy to help.
The first software application I tried with the iPAQ appeared to work well in the UK, but failed to cope with the Equator. After complaining and getting nowhere I finally downloaded Navio from HP's web-site, which allows me to upload any calibrated image file to overlay the tracks and position. I now tend to capture high resolution satellite images from Google Earth with suitable layers of information before we travel and use these.

Initially I manually synchronised the camera's time to the GPS (Zulu or Universal time = GMT), but I now take a photo of the GPS time, displayed on the iPAQ and use the EXIF meta data from the JPG file to correct to GPS time - a trick I learned from OziExplorer. Of course all cameras need to be 'calibrated' in the same way.
Alison finally 'went digital' in the Summer of 2005 - well she had to taking up to twenty 36 exposure films on every safari and throwing 75% of them away! She adopted the Canon EOS300D - a whopping 6.5 mega-pixel camera (it was then)! The functions and controls are similar to the film version and it takes the same lenses. She started by taking the camera and the 75-300mm zoom lens (equivalent to 120-480mm), as the combination isn't so bulky and is much lighter to use.
Canon EOS300D 6 mega-pixel camera with 75-300mm zoom lens
Of course this has inevitably pushed us to carry a laptop to regularly transfer and review the images (rather than risk losing a memory card). At the time Alison changed her camera her company were replacing their Compaq Evo N200 sub-notebooks and we managed to buy one at a good rate. This was ideal as local flight operators are not as generous with their baggage allowance as international ones and we could leave the docking station with the CD drive at home to reduce weight. Our travel kit includes a multi-card reader and a bluetooth USB adaptor.
Compaq Evo N410c sub-notebook with USB multi-card reader and bluetooth USB adaptor.
In recent times I have adapted the my slideshow viewer (developed in the days of Windows 98 before Microsoft included one) to combine all the raw data (photos, GPS log files, pre-loaded calibrated map and satellite files) so that within 30 mins of completing a safari it can play a similar slideshow to those available on the slideshows page, with photo positions determined by cross referencing the corrected time to the GPS log file.

When the Evo N200's hard drive failed just before we were due to fly to South Africa in July 2007 I immediately sourced a refurbished Evo N410c. Having subsequently replaced the N200's hard drive we now have two to choose from.
I finally gave my Sony CD1000 camera away to a friend at the end of our last South African safari. I had exhausted my stock of mini-CDs and had been thinking of upgrading to an SLR for some time. By then Alison had bought a Sigma 28-300mm lens, so she didn't have to keep swapping lenses. It seemed a waste for me to purchase the Sony Alpha camera I had been considering with its own family of lenses, when we had 3 perfectly good ones lying around. I tracked down a very reasonable second-hand Canon EOS 350 camera, with its 8.5 mega pixels. I now use this with the Sigma 50-500mm lens Alison no longer uses, which she had found too heavy. I've turned the lens rest around so it can be used like a rifle which gives the combination more stability.