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View Full Version : My wife is a camera snob - help me......



Tchuck
07-25-2006, 03:11 PM
Budget

* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible.

Under $1000
Size
Doesn't matter

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you?

5 or more
* What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x, Other - Specify)

My wife likes a manual zoom option if possible
* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)

Wants very good quality 8 +

Do you care for manual controls?

I just think she likes a manual focus option but maybe not mandatory

General Usage

* What will you generally use the camera for?

People photos, some scenery - generally all still shots

* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
Rarely - mostly 4X6
Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?

Yes
Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?

Probably not.


Miscellaneous
My wife insists on a quick snap photo. She hates the delay on less expensive digital cameras. She wants to touch the button and have the picture taken. Period. This is huge for her.

Thanks for any suggestions!

mmelgar
07-25-2006, 08:03 PM
Unless you want to get your wife a DSLR you better give up any ideas about manual focus. While its available on some non DSLR cameras, the poor quality electronic viewfinders make manual focus virtually useless. I'm not sure why you wnat manual focus anyway. The types of photos you're interested in taking are much better candidates for autofocus. Manual focus is really only crucial if you're doing extensive macro work or professional product photography.

When you talk about the delay getting your shot after pressing the button you're really talking about two things.

1) Focusing time - The time it takes the camera to focus after you press the button. This varies depending on the distance to the object, lighting ( low light conditions are more difficult to focus in), and movement ( objects moving away from or toward the camera are harder to lock focus on), and contrast. Focusing speed varies from camera to camera. If you really want to get into it you have to read the reviews

2) Shutter lag - The time it takes for the shot to be recorded after focus lock has been achieved. This used to be a big problem a few years ago. Most current cameras have nearly eliminated this problem. If you prefocus the camera by holding the button half way down, the shutter lag when you press the rest of the way to record the image should be negligible on most cameras these days. Again, reading the reviews will tell you which cameras perform best in this regard

A DSLR would be the best performer overall, but I think its way more camera than you need ( especially if you're just making 4X6 prints) with the huge disadantage of being very large and expensive. What you really want is a good compact camera. If I can make a recommendation, take a look at the Fuji F30 (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmF30/) . Its about $350 so its very affordable. It has unsurpassed low light sensitivity allowing you to take photos at indoor gatherings without always having to use a flash. Its a fast focuser, and has minimal shutter lag. While Fuji may not have the same brand name recognition as Canon among the average consumer, they have a strong following with professional photographers. There are of course many other capable cameras. This is just my personal suggestion.

AlexMonro
07-26-2006, 07:17 AM
The Fuji S9000 has manual zoom (28-300mm equiv) and a prefocus lag of about 0.07s. I have lovely prints of images I've taken with mine, up to 20x30". No image stabilisation, but ISO sensitivity to 1600, which helps get a fast shutter speed in low light to freeze motion blur, as well as stop camera shake.

The Panasonic FZ30 also has manual zoom, 35-420mm equiv, however, it's a bit slower, up 0.2s prefocus lag. It does have image stabilisation, but is more limited in ISO sensitivity (400 max). It's just been replaced by the FZ50 - I haven't seen a full review yet, but it appears similar.

You might also want to look at DSLRs, such as the Nikon 50D, Canon Rebel XT, or Pentax *1ST DL. All DSLR lenses are manual zoom, and they tend to be faster too.

mmelgar
07-26-2006, 07:35 AM
The Fuji S9000 has manual zoom (28-300mm equiv) and a prefocus lag of about 0.07s. I have lovely prints of images I've taken with mine, up to 20x30". No image stabilisation, but ISO sensitivity to 1600, which helps get a fast shutter speed in low light to freeze motion blur, as well as stop camera shake.

I use the Fuji S9000 also. I didn't mention it because it sounds as if this person is more of a beginner ( my assumption only, based on the nature of the questions), and I found the S9000 -a great camera- to have a bit of a learning curve which many beginners may get frustrated with. I too have some 20X30 prints that look great.
The Panasonic FZ30 also has manual zoom, 35-420mm equiv, however, it's a bit slower, up 0.2s prefocus lag. It does have image stabilisation, but is more limited in ISO sensitivity (400 max). It's just been replaced by the FZ50 - I haven't seen a full review yet, but it appears similar.

You might also want to look at DSLRs, such as the Nikon 50D, Canon Rebel XT, or Pentax *1ST DL. All DSLR lenses are manual zoom, and they tend to be faster too.

Absolutely true, but I think too many people buy "more camera" than they need or will ever know how to use. If you're serious about learning photography that may be OK, but if you're just looking to take some snapshots at family gatherings, you're much better off with a good point and shoot camera. DSLR's and even the Fuji S9000 are better tools for people who have the interest and patience to learn how to use them and the time to learn the necessary PP.

John_Reed
07-26-2006, 07:42 AM
This photo, taken at full zoom with my FZ30 (+ 1.7X TCON-17), wouldn't have been possible without manual focus:
http://John-Reed.smugmug.com/photos/60087747-L.jpg
Manual focus was also necessary to focus on this subject:
http://John-Reed.smugmug.com/photos/36377063-L.jpg
Pontification is for Popes, not for ordinary people of limited experiences.

mmelgar
07-26-2006, 08:20 AM
I have to disagree with you John. I have the S9000 which is a bridge camera not unlike yours, and I often take these exact types of shots. I find autofocus to be much more useful than manual focus in these situations. Its faster and usually more accurate. The EVF and even the LCD just do not have the resolution to allow you to surpass the auto focus in accuracy most of the time. In addition, nearly all Non-DSLR cameras use a "fly-by wire" manual focus which takes some getting used to because of the lag between turning the dial and seeing the result. This further degrades its utility.

Most of my droplet photos were taken using autofocus lock and these are done under very controlled conidtions. I experimented with manual focus but found it very difficult to improve on the autofocus results. This obviously would not be the case with a DSLR, but with cameras using LCD/EVF's it becomes difficult.

I truly believe that manual focus is something that most beginners will find little use for. It certainly should take a back seat to many more important features when deciding on a camera.

P.S. - If your final comment "Pontification is for Popes, not for ordinary people of limited experiences." was meant for me I would suggest you cool it. This is not the place for that type of nonsense.

John_Reed
07-26-2006, 10:01 AM
Whenever someone makes an absolute declaration, like you did on the "uselessness" of manual focus, I think it's fair to call that "Pontification." It's not nonsense. Having been a member of this forum for more than 5 years, I have seen many instances of this, and frankly it's annoying, and I think it detracts from the quality of this forum. "Newbies" who read posts here often take such absolute statements as gospel, i.e., that which is to be taken at face value. If, in your opinion, MF is "useless," you're free to say that, as your opinon, based on your experience. If MF seems useless to you on your Fuji, that doesn't make it useless for me (or many other users) on my FZ30. That's all I'm trying to say, not starting a "flame war." Peace, brother.:o

Tchuck
07-26-2006, 10:05 AM
My wife now doesn't care about manual focus.

It appears even the Fuji F30 is a lot of camera. I appreciate the recommendation and think the purple fringe won't be an issue in the photos we would take.

The Fuji F30 has a lot of features - more than I think my wife needs or wants to think about for her indoor pictures.

Is there another camera with more simpler features that will still provide very good quality pictures with automatic focus and also fast focusing and shutter lag. Money isn't the issue, simplicity and quality is. Thanks!

John_Reed
07-26-2006, 10:39 AM
My wife now doesn't care about manual focus.

It appears even the Fuji F30 is a lot of camera. I appreciate the recommendation and think the purple fringe won't be an issue in the photos we would take.

The Fuji F30 has a lot of features - more than I think my wife needs or wants to think about for her indoor pictures.

Is there another camera with more simpler features that will still provide very good quality pictures with automatic focus and also fast focusing and shutter lag. Money isn't the issue, simplicity and quality is. Thanks!Your wife will probably find the F30 to be a GREAT camera. I noticed on dpreview's review of the F30, they said that one had to be a bit careful when taking photos outside with the camera, but they seemed to show some great outdoor photos in their sample gallery. So, good choice, I'd say.

JTL
07-26-2006, 10:46 AM
Personally...I'd get her a Nikon D50 with the kit lens and just have her leave it on auto. She'll get great pictures right out of the box...have deadly accurate auto focus and no shutter lag, excellent shot-to-shot speed....and great low-light performance.

And, if the photo "hobby" bug ever bites her (or you for that matter) you'll have something you can grow and learn with.

mmelgar
07-26-2006, 12:10 PM
Whenever someone makes an absolute declaration, like you did on the "uselessness" of manual focus, I think it's fair to call that "Pontification." It's not nonsense. Having been a member of this forum for more than 5 years, I have seen many instances of this, and frankly it's annoying, and I think it detracts from the quality of this forum. "Newbies" who read posts here often take such absolute statements as gospel, i.e., that which is to be taken at face value. If, in your opinion, MF is "useless," you're free to say that, as your opinon, based on your experience. If MF seems useless to you on your Fuji, that doesn't make it useless for me (or many other users) on my FZ30. That's all I'm trying to say, not starting a "flame war." Peace, brother.:o


The exact quote was "virtually useless" - I would hardly call that an absolute declaration. I stand by the comment. It is my oppinion, and one that I gave reasons for. In fact every thing you read on these boards is someone's oppinion. I'm sorry if you took it to sound as though I were stating a fact. You can't go getting your shorts in a bunch every time you disagree with something someone says. If you disagree with an oppinion then make an intelligent argument to the contrary and leave it at that.

Tchuck
07-26-2006, 12:39 PM
JTL,

I saw the Nikon D50 with the lens kit online for $539 and at Best Buy with kit for $649.

Will have to decide to get DSLR or a point and shoot. With those I am looking at

Fiji F30
Fiji S5200
Panasonic TZ 1
Panasonic FZ7

How much faster will the Nikon D50 take the picture vs. the ones above as far as auto focus, shutter lag time etc. Thanks to everyone.

mmelgar
07-26-2006, 12:55 PM
JTL,

I saw the Nikon D50 with the lens kit online for $539 and at Best Buy with kit for $649.

Will have to decide to get DSLR or a point and shoot. With those I am looking at

Fiji F30
Fiji S5200
Panasonic TZ 1
Panasonic FZ7

How much faster will the Nikon D50 take the picture vs. the ones above as far as auto focus, shutter lag time etc. Thanks to everyone.

There is a difference in speed, but how noticable that is will depend on the circumstances. If you're shooting stationary or slow moving objects/people in well lit conditions there may not notice the difference. If you're at an indoor hockey game or taking pictures of rapidly moving young children indoors the benefits of the D50 will be much more noticeable. You may want to go to the local retailer and try a few of these models out to get an idea. Even if someone had the exact lag times for each camera its hard to know whether the difference between 60ms and 100ms will be perceptible to you.

John_Reed
07-26-2006, 02:04 PM
JTL,

I saw the Nikon D50 with the lens kit online for $539 and at Best Buy with kit for $649.

Will have to decide to get DSLR or a point and shoot. With those I am looking at

Fiji F30
Fiji S5200
Panasonic TZ 1
Panasonic FZ7

How much faster will the Nikon D50 take the picture vs. the ones above as far as auto focus, shutter lag time etc. Thanks to everyone.
My wife likes to be able to carry her camera around in her purse when she needs it, which she does with our old Panasonic FZ1. Your wife could probably carry most of your choices around in her purse, but most likely NOT the D50 with lens. Is that an important consideration at all? Personally, I have an FZ30 and a TZ1, and though the FZ30 has superior optics and longer zoom, I find myself taking the TZ1 along with me much more often, either in a pocket, or in a small belt pouch I wear. So it gets much more usage than the FZ30. But of course, your wife's mileage may vary!

Tchuck
07-27-2006, 08:10 AM
My wife doesn't care about portability. For 20 years she had Minolta camera. It was heavy. Last night she said it had a $2500 lens on it. She got before we were married. No idea! Now camera is just not working anymore. She just thinks P & S are cheaper and wants something like she had before. So, I will probably be getting her a DSLR but don't want to spend a ton. Sounds like the D50 is a good choice. Is it the same quality as the Rebel XT?

DonSchap
07-27-2006, 08:54 AM
are categorized as about the same class of camera.

My recommendation is that you go down and take a good look at the newly released SONY A100... which can probably use the $2500 Minolta lens your wife originally had. A Nikon or Canon cannot do that for you. The SONY kit lens ranges from 18-70mm, which is a pretty good scope.

SONY A100 (http://www.learningcenter.sony.us/assets/di/cameras/alpha/index.html)

And even if the lens doesn't work (I can't say for sure... its age and type may play a role in this) ... this particular camera will most likely deliver better overall results than either the Canon XT or the Nikon D50. It has anti-shake technology built into the camera body and is worth serious consideration.

Good luck with your new SONY purchase. I'm relatively certain she will love this one. :cool: Don't worry about the costs... they will be long forgotten by next year... and you will probably be much happier not having the hassle of having to unload the Nikon or Canon base camera for a better rig. Regardless of how you want to spend your hard earned money, just take the time to reach a little deeper in the wallet for this initial surge... and be happier for it.

Tchuck
07-27-2006, 11:01 AM
Don't really want to spend $1000 on the camera if wife is just taking family pictures. I think I have it narrowed down to

Canon Rebel Xt w/ kit lens including 28-80mm f.3.5-5.6 lens

or

Nikon D50 w/ kit lens including 18-55mm lens


It appears both cameras will do just great for our needs. My question is -

Are both lenses on par with each other assuming a lot of indoor pictures with some outdoor - nothing fancy? And are both lenses pretty versatile with good quality pictures?

Thanks so much.

JTL
07-27-2006, 11:42 AM
While I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Canon shooter, I have to admit that out of the box, (IMO, lest anyone protest) the Nikon D50 will provide a more satisfying shooting experience for your wife (and maybe you as well). Canons are great and the image quality and lens choices can't be beat...but...and it's a big but, they're quirky, and dare I say...not as user friendly. We Canonites love our Canons and most of us (Tim? Are you reading this? :D ) wouldn't trade them...but they make serious demands of the shooter...especially the casual shooter. The Nikon D50 is the model of consumer friendliness in a DSLR. And, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise...the optical quality of the Nikon kit lens is better. It may be built like and feel like a plastic piece of crap, but it focuses better and is sharper than it's Canon counter part.

FishFace
07-27-2006, 11:53 AM
I don't own either of these (but hopefully will do soon) but out of those two lenses, I'd say the D50's sounds more like what you'd want. You've got more space at the wide end (because that 18 will become 27, and the 28 one the XT becomes 45) which is helpful indoors. Also, if you're shooting landscapes outdoors, people usually use the wide end.