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Camera and Photography

On our last trip, we had a very nice Minolta 35mm camera and a fabulous Tamron 28-200 lens. It solved our photo problems -- one camera, one lens -- and was perfect for the trip.

But we took 1100 pictures in Scotland and it cost over a thousand dollars to get everything processed.

We had some slightly different problems with Egypt: very bright and sunny outside (requiring low-speed film and possible filters) and dim- or no lighting inside with the added rule of no flash allowed (requiring very high speed film); also cramped, narrow spaces inside (needing a short-focal length lens) will still needing a good zoom lens for outdoor shots.

Solution? A digital camera -- variable ISO, light balance, etc. But it had to allow us to change lenses, which led us to a Nikon d100 which is pretty much a standard spiffy-electronics 35mm camera...without the film. It has all the features -- more!-- than our current film camera and allowed us to have ISO from 200 to 3200 and control all the other details about the pictures.

We even managed to justify the cost of a new camera and new lenses as paying for itself in film processing over one or maybe two trips. In retrospect, we never would have gotten the pictures we did with a film camera, and if we had somehow managed to get a hundred rolls of film in and out of egypt without xrays or other damage, it would hvae been a far more expensive to get the pictures.

We love the camera. For anyone geeky enough to really care about what we got, here's the specifications of the d100 and a list of the photographic equipment we ended up hauling around

  • Nikon D100 digital camera (6.3 megapixels)
  • (2)Viking Memory 500 meg Compact Flash II Cards
  • Tamron 28-200 lens
  • Tamron 19-35 lens
  • Polarizing filter, haze filter, sunlight filter

We took most pictures as JPGs in large/fine format (3008x2000) size. On a few days where we just took boatlods of pictures, we switched to the medium size. There were a few days we took over 300 pictures.

If you look at the photos in the gallery, some of the interior photos come out a bit grainier, or a bit "orange-y". This is because we took them at such high ISO (3200+) that we got artifacts in the pictures and I coldn't always get rid of the colorcast with Photoshop.

What else?
Of course, we couldn't just bring a few memory chips (even a gig worth!) and call it a day, oh no. In a moment of weakness, I was suddenly convinced that we needed a laptop to download the pictures to, with a CD-burner, just in case.

Considering that I was absolutely paranoid about losing the electronic versions of our pictures, it didn't require much arm-twisting. I think we even managed to justify the purchase by figuring it would pay for itself after a single trip. Well, we didn't need too much justification -- we'd been looking at a laptop for awhile.

So, the camera, batteries, charger, lenses, filters...and a laptop, power brick, mouse, pile of CDs, transformer. Luckly it all fit into the backpack.

Internet Access
Every website and every guidebook touted the abundance of Internet Cafes all over Egypt. We were a bit skeptical -- and rightly so. While Cairo may have had a number of cafes, they were notably scarce elsewhere. One "cafe" didn't even have computers. So -- take the listings with a grain of salt and don't plan on being able to access the internet easily from the smaller cities. Larger hotels usually have a business office that offers connectivity however.

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© 2003 r. fingerson
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