1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Help please: camera for my dear wife

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by wt21, May 15, 2012.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    My lovely wife of 22 years has no patience to learn technology, but she wants beautiful pictures straight from her camera.

    I bought her an EPM1 last fall, but liked it so much, it's now my camera. After that, I got her a Canon T2i w/18-50 2.8 and 18-125 lens for indoor/outdoor shooting, because I find the PDAF AF to be a bit more sure in her hands. It's big, of course, and ties up >$1,000 for her occasional use. For instance, today she's off to shoot a marketing display stand indoors, and she needs a wide angle. So, she took the T2i w/18-50 to take about 3 frames. It just seems overkill (and I want some of that money for a new lens!)

    I've been trying to figure out if I should get her a different camera. To get some of the cash out of that camera, and cut down her size a bit.

    Her requirements would be: smallish, good quality pictures, reasonable movie mode (for movies of the kids), very easy to use, with little to no ability to mess up settings.

    I've been thinking XZ1, Z10, maybe an S90 (but I think the S90 would be too small and fidgety for her). My concerns with these, though, are IQ once she gets indoors.

    Maybe another EPM1, but I'm kind of interested in getting another camera into the fold.

    Or maybe a Panasonic, like a G3. That lighted iA button appeals to me -- makes it very simple. My only issue with a Panny body is it's almost like another system. I'll need IS stabilized kit and telezoom, because I have the Oly version without IS currently.

    Then I thought about a Nikon J1. I even played with one in the store. On close out at Staples for like $469 with the kit. But then I'm into yet another system, and she'll likely want a telezoom eventually, but as I understand it, the AF is PDAF (at least in good light), which I think she could benefit from.

    My final thought is an EP3, that way if she needs a camera, I can give her the EPM1, and then I have an EP3, which isn't too bad a trade off :)

    Or maybe I should get an OMD and give her the EPM1!!!!! No wait, I'm trying to get some cash out, not in, to my cameras.

    Any rate, any thoughts are very much appreciated. As you can tell, I've wrapped myself around the axle on this one.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Does your wife demand the ability to zoom? That's a big question. If she doesn't, I think any of the m4/3 bodies would be fine...even the Panasonics. With either the 14mm or 20mm attached, she doesn't need IBIS. But some folks just think and compose better with a zoom. If that's the case, I think the X10 is an amazing little camera....the IQ makes me scratch my head and wonder why we all splurge so much for the last 5% of IQ. It's small, but not so tiny as to be unusable.

    SO that's my 2 cents....if you want a system camera, stick to the system you already have glass for. If a compact will do, the Fuji is my fave.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  3. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    With all my MFT gear sitting there, along with several enthusiast point-and-shoot cameras, my "grab and go" favorite is the Fuji X10. I'm with Luke on this one.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  4. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Reading between the lines (and leaving most of them out altogether, because they're irrelevant to the question at hand), its clear where this is going. :biggrin:

    Staying with m43e seems the logical step since you already have lenses. Either that or a compact, but you're likely (errr, SHE'S likely) not going to be satisfied with a compact in low light, with the possible exception of the X10 if this new "orb-less" sensor really is as good as the last one minus the orbs. You gave away the game when you said you really wanted to get "another camera into the fold". As a camera geek with a wife myself, I can all but guaran-damn-TEE that SHE doesn't care about getting another camera into the fold, so this one is on you. No hiding from that!

    So, which camera would you like? The EPM1 really sounds like it makes a lot of sense for her. Whether its your existing one, or another one. So then its just down to whether you'd rather shoot with the EPM1, an EP3, or go all-in and get that OMD you KNOW you've been wanting!

    We know this game too well. If you were hoping to somehow HIDE your rationalization process, you've come to the wrong place!

    That said, its gotta be a tough choice for you. I suspect she'd be happy regardless - probably already is. But whatever you need to hide behind, we'll understand! :biggrin:

    Good luck in your endeavors...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 5
  5. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Ray, you're brutal. Of course we can all read between the lines. We need to help him keep up his charade.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  6. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    All lies are laid bare before the mind of Ray! ;)

    Thanks also to Chuck and Luke.

    What I really want Ray is a Pen with the new sensor. I'm trying to wait it out, but it's hard. The OMD output just looks so gorgeous. I love my EPM1, but managing the blacks/shadows and occasional high ISO is a pain.

    Having said that, I was thinking EP3 to play with touch-to-focus, and wife can use the EPM1. But maybe it's time I at least tried the X10. I was in Portsmouth over the weekend for mothers day, and I would have benefited from a compact set up with a simple zoom lens (Portsmouth is a very interesting city, but wives and mother-in-laws don't like you bringing along your "serious" gear on mothers day!)

    I am sure the X10 has all sorts of Fuji-advanced features for doing low light shooting -- pixel binning and all that. But does it have a simple-setting (green square, iA button, whatever) that I can just put it on that and hand it to my wife, and she can shoot indoors with all that Fuji goodness? Also, she does take pictures of kids in action. Is the AF speed adequate? Another benefit perhaps of a compact camera sensor is that more of the image will be in focus during moving shooting. Easier for her to manage.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    @Ray - I agree with Luke -- brutal, tough love!! :smile:

    @WT21 - The X10 has two "auto" modes. One is just a normal auto mode like in any camera. The other is an auto "EXR" mode, which does utilize pixel binning and all the technical wizardry. The AF speed is more than adequate for those marketing display stands. Hehe. Actually, the X10's AF speed is pretty good. It's not EPM1 speed, but close enough. IMO, in spite of the white orbs, the X10 is still the best P&S in the market. It's not very "compact" though, relative to the likes of a Canon S90. With the combination of fast lens, image stabilization, and the technical wizardry, the X10 is a pretty good low light camera (relative to other P&S cameras). And given that your wife already uses a Rebel, she will be at ease with zooming by turning the lens barrel.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I looked up in camerasize.com, and it's not bigger than the EPM1 w/lens, so that's pretty small.

    We've got a trip to the Cape coming up. Might be a nice camera to have down there.
     
  9. Crsnydertx

    Crsnydertx SC Top Veteran

    758
    Jan 21, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Chuck
    I think the Canon S90 may be a little small for your - I mean her - hands. :wink:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    Does anyone know how to add keywords to a post? I wanted to use "crazy talk" on my reply. Anyways...

    Have you thought about a Pentax Q with the currently reduced pricing? I was in a similar situation recently with my wife. She was using an E-PL3 and generally loved the output, but there were a couple issues for her. As background, she wants to use it in auto mode and wants good output, but does not want to learn the the technical aspects of photography (interest in composition, yes, but could care less to learn more about DoF, for example).

    The first issue was that she never took the external flash along. When she was indoors for family candids, this meant that the 20/1.7 spent a lot of time wide open, and she would end up with a lot of photos where 1 out of 3 people would be in focus (again auto mode, no flash).

    The bigger issue was that to her, the E-PL3 was not all that small, and so it spent most of its time in her camera bag at home.

    I was keeping my eyes open for a deal on a S95 or S100, which I thought would be just about perfect for her. Then, I saw an Amazon Lightning deal on the Pentax Q that put it within $50-100 of the Canons. I am one of these people that ridiculed this camera early on, by the way, when it was released at $899.

    So far, my wife has been really happy with the camera. It leaves the house with her *much* more than the E-PL3 did. Also, with the fast prime, it seems to stick down to the low ISOs most of the time, where IQ is pretty decent, and the DoF indoors w/o flash is just not an issue (and the built in flash is awesome). I think the JPEGs are nice coming out of the camera and plenty of options to dial this in.

    I actually like the camera quite a bit... a lot of fun to shoot with all the manual control, and the build is awesome. It is small, but with the manual controls, I can make it work in my hands. A little, cute tank of a camera. Black was the only option on the Amazon deal, but I think my wife would have preferred white (the black is awesome retro camera, though).

    I can fill you in more if you are interested.
     
  11. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    Kyle, that's crazy talk.
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    To expand a little on this, if you just hand it to in with EXR-Auto selected, she won't have to think about anything! In good light without tooooo much contrast, it'll select what it calls EXR-high res (or something like that), which isn't EXR at all - its just a standard 12mp file shot and processed normally. In low light, it'll select EXR-SN which means signal to noise, and will use all but one of its tricks to get the best low light results possible (and they're pretty damn good in most situations - ridiculous for a compact). And in really brutal DR situations it will choose EXR-DR mode to use all of its tricks to give you more dynamic range. She won't have to think about it at all (and in this case I mean SHE because if you get THIS camera, I'll believe its actually for HER! :cool: ) and it will deliver really fine results pretty much every time. The tradeoff is that with the SN and DR modes, she'll only be getting a 6mp file so less resolution. But I've done a few 12x18" prints with those 6mp files and they look downright wonderful to me, so I doubt she'll mind!

    The only caveat is I'd wait and make sure you get one with the new sensor that has engineered the orbs out. They're not a big problem most of the time with the original sensor, but when they are, they really are. I found the camera all but useless for urban nighttime shooting because of the orbs and that's a real shame because its low light capabilities are good enough for that kind of shooting other than that. In bright daylight, they can also show up too, but I never found them to be a real problem in daylight situations - I think they really wrecked one shot of mine and showed up in a few others, but for all but the one, you'd have to really be looking for them to see 'em. Nonetheless, Fuji has developed an improved sensor that DPR has initially concluded does what its supposed to do without doing anything it WASN'T supposed to do, so I'd make sure any X10 I bought had that new sensor in it... Maybe they're already available but I'd check with Fuji to make sure which you're getting based on serial numbers or something.

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    I'm seeing a lot of I, You, but what does she want. I let my wife try 3 or 4 different brand, system, styles, and guess which one she really liked and did some excellent snap-shot portraits with on Mother's Day under very difficult lighting. A Olympus E-620 and 40-150 zoom and the pop up flash.She never zoomed, just used the 40mm.
    List of trials:
    Panasonic G-1
    E-p1
    E-p2 (my current user)
    Pentax K20. (a disaster for her, at a wedding!)
    E-620 (A hit!)
    All this as she was coming from several months with a Panasonic FZ30 (which she really liked, but wanted better quality).
    I will next work toward a macro lens for her. She really likes that.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    The X10 on program mode works beautifully in jpeg mode. It's small, it's easy to use and quite attractive, too.:biggrin:

    My suggestion is to take your wife along to a really good camera store with you so that she can see what she feels comfy with.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    Make sure to try out the sweep panorama function on the X10. Extremely easy to use, and great results. It'll be quite handy for the Cape trip!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Redridge

    Redridge New to SC

    6
    May 16, 2012
    epl3 with a grip... with a pancake lens. Nice girly camera (according to Kai). :)

    DSC_1581.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Jack
    LOL!!! +1. Hehehe.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    I would say the Fuji X10 or the Canon G1X or even G12 if you really want to save. You can shoot in auto, and, in time if she wants she has options. They all have zoom. They all shoot nicely. If you are looking for backup to yours OR, swapping yours and hers out, then get what YOU want. The fact that you can share lenses and only have to buy a camera body is nice. Gives you an excuse for more lenses [to share] as well.
     
  19. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    The have the X10s at Amazon for $449 (down to $428) from warehouse deals, +$3.99 for overnight shipping on Prime. I was going to test it for orbs, but I just don't think it's for me. I can tell right away it's got a steep learning curve. It's very alien to me as a former Canon, one-time Panny and current Oly m43 shooter. I also played around with it, and kept hitting buttons by accident (fn buttons, etc.). So, my wife would get pretty frustrated with it. I think she would NOT like the on/off method.

    I think I maybe need to either buy an EP3 or an OMD, and pass the EPM1 down to her.

    EP3 + large grip + VF2 ~$620. OMD is $999. I'd prefer the integrated VF. Hmmm...
     
  20. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    I have a well-used, non-mint, E-P3 I could sell you, but I would recommend grabbing the E-M5. There really is a noticeable jump up from the E-P3 on IQ, even at base ISO. If you prefer using the viewfinder anyway, it isn't any bigger than the E-P3/VF-2 setup. Oh yeah, and the tilt screen is just great.