Camera purchase help AKA sob story...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Drummy, Sep 1, 2010.

  1. Drummy macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    I know this Isn't strictly Apple related, but it was the best way I could think of of accessing those with a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Here goes.

    I'll start off with the "cry me a river" section...

    Basically my girlfriend lost all but 800 of nearly 42000 photographs she had taken, over a decades worth, due to an accident with a hard drive. Very bad. 800 was all we could get (and I've still yet to see how many of those are actually viewable, they seem mostly corrupted). Spare me the "should have backed up" business etc. she knows this all to well, and I doubt she'll make the same mistake in the future.

    Now on to why I'm here. At the start of last year her camera broke and she hasn't had one since. I think it would probably bring a smile to her face if, in light of this disastrous loss "memories", her boyfriend (that's me) at least bought her a digital camera so that she can start making new memories. Thats where you guys come in. I know next to nothing about digital cameras and was wondering whether, if I stated a budget and needs, someone could tell me whats best...

    Here goes...

    I need he best possible thing for "casual/social" photography needs, that is:

    Available in the UK
    Under £200
    Has an element of style that a woman might enjoy
    Maybe some fun/different features too.

    To anyone who replies THANK YOU SO MUCH in advance.



    This kind of ball park...>DIGITAL+CAMERA.htm
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    So just a point and shoot camera? The Canon S90 gets high remarks, and may be within that budget. I would think anything nowadays is good. Pentax, Oly, Nikon, Fuji, Canon, Sony all make great cameras, and most of those use a Sony CCD chip..

    I have been very VERY happy with Fuji for P&S cameras. is a great place to look at reviews and such. Best way is to test it in person. Sorry about the photos. I have lost a ton my self over the years.
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    OK - at the risk of generalizing (and I'm going to catch some flak for this....).

    If your girlfriend more closely matches the female stereotype (earned or not) of not really caring about the tech specs, features, etc of things like computers, cars, and cameras then don't buy her a camera that is recommended by a bunch of geeky tech heads. Buy what she will be comfortable using.

    Several years ago Kodak had a very successful line of powerful cameras that they marketed towards "mom". Their research indicated that while the 'men' in the family were really good at taking photos, it was 'mom' who managed the images, printed them, and put them into an album. If she could. Because at that time it was a complicated process, and 'mom' didn't like complicated tech stuff (according to Kodak research). So they created the EasyShare camera family that synched easily to Kodak's website and to Kodak's family of printers. They sold a whack of cameras, because they made it simple. Not so much on the printer front... because other printer companies took Kodak's camera/printer connection idea and incorporated it themselves. This is a simplified explanation or analogy, perhaps. But..... I still use one of those EasyShare cameras (and I'm not a 'mom'). They were both powerful and easy to use.

    If your girlfriend is in to geeky tech stuff, then .... go ahead and get a her a geeky camera. But if she isn't - remember that a well featured camera that stays in the drawer because she doesn't like using it is just a paperweight.

    Ask your girlfriend what she would like to do with the camera (which is a different question than what it has) and go to a good camera shop.

    Good Luck.
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Most cameras work with iPhoto etc.
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Oh, I know... it was more of an analogy. I think Kodak was aiming at the non-Mac crowd. I guess it's just a long-winded way of saying that buying a camera for someone else is difficult.

    I've bought in cameras for my wife, and it's a long process. She isn't scared of tech stuff, it just doesn't matter to her. Until she can't do something that she would like to.... so I spend time figuring out what she wants to do, and then translate that to what features are needed (and not needed) and then I drag her into a store with the cameras and put the short list in front of her so she can pick them up and try them out.

    I sure hope this current model holds up for a while. :)
  6. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    You have to figure if she shot 42,000 photos over the last decade, she's probably fairly comfortable with using a camera...

    To the OP: What kind of camera did she have that broke? Your budget would suggest a fairly simple point 'n shoot type camera, but today there are lots of bells and whistles in most budget cameras, which often incorporate HD video... even the iPhone/iPod Touch does that now.

    From my experience, sometimes it works to surprise a photographer with a camera gift, other times it winds up being something they never would have bought themselves, and it just sits in a drawer. Let us know a little more about the kind of photographs she has shot in the past, and the type of equipment she's comfortable using regularly. Social shooting can easily be done with most modern point 'n shoots, but a dSLR will do that and much more. It can grow with you as your abilities grow. Your budget might make that impossible, unless you contribute that amount to help her buy one, which is one possibility. Talk to her about it.

    On the brand front... in addition to the Canons, Sonys, Nikons, Fujis, etc, also consider the Panasonic Lumix line... some really capable little cameras there, too. I only mention this because I've used one of their cheapest little p/s cameras, and it still manages to surprise me how capable it is, with both fully automatic and manual controls.
  7. Drummy thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Thanks for your help guys! I think you all right and I should discuss it with her but I'm not sure I should for 2 reasons: a) I want it to be a surprise and b) I think if she actually knew I was buying her a camera, she wouldn't let me! Haha!

    Here's a few things that may make this a little easier.

    I'm not sure what the brand of camera she had was, but I know it was a small, relatively cheap, point-and-shoot waterproof one. To be honest though, given that we're about to spend the next 3 years in full-time education I don't think the waterproof aspect is essential at all. But what I have just thought is this: she enjoys having a camera simply to document her passage through life (or rather most of the significant events in it) I guess you could say, and since we're both doing a degree in music we are going to be frequenting gig venues both as audience, and as musicians. Something that is optimised for those sorts of conditions, as well as being a competent point-and-shoot camera would be ideal. Any ideas?
  8. costabunny macrumors 68020


    May 15, 2008
    Weymouth, UK
    Speaking as one of the target audience here:

    I have not long ago bought a Fuji S2500HD - and am loving it! its small, comfy easy to use yet has all the features I may want to mess with later. Image quality is excellent. Plugs into the mac and iPhoto just finds it and imports (no disks, drivers, downloads needed).

    It uses standard rechargeable AA batteries and SD card. Its got a nice 12mp sensor.

    Yes a simpler one could do the same but I myself like the security of the proper grip and option to use the viewfinder or the LCD rear screen (has a nice grid display option to make sure pics are horizontal etc).

    the box came with batteries and everything (except the memory card).

    (and btw - yes get her a cheapy external hdd and time machine it ;) )

    not saying this is the perfect girls camera (as I am a bit techie) but certainly a very nice one if you want her to have something simple to use, yet with all the things to play with later on (and takes darned good video too)....

    argos link
  9. Drummy thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Thank you all for the input. I have been weighing up the suggestions so far and still nothing seems to have been ideal. I'll reiterate the following and if somone could suggest something for that specifically i would be very grateful!. The bit on bold...


    Oh and :rolleyes: haha! I should think I'll be buying her a External HD too!
  10. joelk2 macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2010
  11. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Although the waterproof aspect might not be at that essential, most waterproofed cameras are ruggedized to withstand being dropped on the ground or crushed under heavy weight, which can be handy. It's nice to not have to worry about damaging your camera, especially when drinks become involved (where again, waterproofing can be useful). The Panasonic TS2 and the (more stylish) Sony TX5 are good choices in this category, though the TX5 is not specifically designed to resist being crushed.

    At venues, it's nice to have a large aperture lens so that performers aren't disturbed by a flash (esp. when they're prohibited) while retaining some ability to shoot in low light. For this, something like the upcoming Canon S95 and Panasonic LX5 (or the current S90 and LX3) are good candidates, though they're on the expensive side for compacts.
  12. JackHobbs macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2009
    Some of the cameras mentioned here are amazing, I have the S90 and am very pleased with it. Sadly the price is nowhere near £200 which is the budget suggested. I am a girl, who likes geeky techy things so if my husband decided to buy me an all singing and dancing camera I would be very happy at first. I would shortly start moaning however as he probably wouldn't buy me exactly what I would want. Talk to your girlfriend generally about cameras if you can and try and judge what she would want without letting her know what you are about to do.
    My other suggestions are not camera's per se but websites. To buy a camera in the UK I can recommend Warehouse Express in Norwich, Camera World in London and Park Camera's in Sussex. All of easy to use websites and someone at the end of the phone who will talk through the decision. I would also recommend that you have a look at Ken Rockwell's site. He is American so the price are in dollars but he does give an honest opinion on cameras. He doesn't have any commercial links and usually seems pretty honest about the cameras.

    Good luck
  13. Drummy thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    Very nice! And in pink! Haha!
  14. Drummy thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    I just had a word with her, perhaps not subtly, but if she thinks I'm getting her it at all, she'll think it's for Xmas. I've refined yet more.

    She wants it to be (as in these are deal-breakers):

    - Rugged.
    - Small.
    - Have some sort of "intelligent auto" type function so she doesn't have to select the settings she wants for the environment every time she gets the camera out.
    - Low latency between pressing the "take" button and the picture actually being taken.
    - Purple.

    £200 budget still stands (there might be some headroom if I get impressed)

    Thanks for you're patience guys! I know I keep changing the game!
  15. a.jfred macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2010
    Austin, TX
    I mainly use a DSLR, but I bought the Panasonic TZ5 a few years ago as my p&s camera, because the venue I went to didn't allow any kind of camera with interchangable lenses. I love it. It's really easy to use, takes decent enough photos, and had considerably LESS shutter lag (amount of time between the time you press the button to the time your camera actually takes the darn picture) than every other camera I was looking at - including comparably-priced Canon, Nikon, and Olympus cameras.
  16. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    "Purple"? I think you may have missed a rather unsubtle hint here. How many cameras in the UK are purple? I think she has just told you which camera she wants. Although, I suppose in the UK many cameras are purple... :)
  17. Drummy thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2010
    You'd be surprised! I've seen quite a few. I don't think she even know what camera she wants. That's more her favourite colour so in an ideal world that would be the colour she wanted.
  18. davidinva macrumors 6502a

    Mar 29, 2009
    Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA
    Panasonic worth a look

    You might want to check out the Panasonic Z line of small cameras. Stylish, pocketable, and a variety of models from fully automatic to some with manual settings as well. I have a ZR1 (discontinued, I think) to use when I don't want to carry my DSLR. Many of the Pany's have HD video as well. Some of them come in a variety of colors also.
  19. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Yes, purple cameras are the best. I read it on the internet so I'm sure it's true...
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Holy Purple Nurple, Bat Man!!!

    I had no idea.... really, I didn't. I'm a serious photographer. If it ain't black or brushed metal it doesn't register with me.* Even those distinctly not-quite-white Canon lenses need to be attached to something black before I see them. Wow.... who knew there were so many?

    *Field Cameras in a lovely cherry wood are also something worth noticing.... but I don't think the girlfriend is considering one of those.
  21. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Apr 3, 2010
    personally as my p + s i use a panny DMC-LX3 but its a little to expensive and dosent come in purple !

    but for you ('re girlfriend) take a look at these
    camera 1-has 5x optical zoom and dual is (good for gigs) - comes in a very stylish purple and black mix . and dual screens for point and shoot with friends.Face Recognition,Face Detection,Blink Detection,HD Movie mode,
    Smile Detection and "Smart Auto"!
    camera 2 14x optical zoom good for gigs IS also good for gigs , hd movie mode , big screen and of course purple
  22. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    As others have said, the S90. Since the S95 is out, I'm sure prices on the S90 are dropping as they clear out stock. Large aperture for an P&S, RAW if wanted, small enough to fit into a clutch handbag.

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