Help finding a camera for a technophobe

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by paolo-, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. paolo- macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 24, 2008
    #1
    So I've got a weird one. My aunt has asked me to help her find her first digital camera. Thing is, she's not great with technology but she's been taking quite good pictures and has been a shooting film DSLR since the 80's. Her camera is breaking down and she can't seem to find a decently developing lab where she lives. I guess I could try finding her a used film DSLR for pretty cheap but she finally wants to try digital.

    She doesn't care wether it's a mirorless or slr. Having a good viewfinder (preferably optical) and changeable lenses or a very good one stuck on there are obviously important. Kits lens + normal prime would be best as she shoots mainly with a 50mm f/1.8 and her film rig.

    But most important of all is that the camera must be incredibly simple to use. I think she'll only want to use the basic functions. The easier it is to change the exposure settings the better. And possibly an easy way to change picture styles as she does like to shoot black and white. Which brings me to my next point, she'll be shooting jpegs as developing raws will probably be too much for her for now. She also won't be doing any post at this point.

    As for price lower is better but she's flexible.

    So, I was looking at the fuji x100 and it seems to be the perfect camera. It doesn't seem to have too many gizmos and has a ring for each function. Problem is the price is a bit too high. I'm not sure if the x10 does the job or if it falls short.

    Next, I was thinking of an entry level Nikon+kit zoom and buy a 35mm f/1.8 with it. The picture quality on an entry level DSLR should be plenty and she wouldn't use the advanced features of a more expensive one either way. The thing I'm not sure about is if it's too complicated to use... Having a dial for each function of exposure function would be best, but I'm not a Nikon shooter so I'm not sure who it all works. I find Canon cameras more straightforward (I shoot Canon) but the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 might be worth it as she like to shoot from that distance. I don't think the 50mm f/1.8 would be to useful for her.

    I'm not familiar with the mirrorless cameras, I know she'll prefer an optical view finder. But I guess a decent electronic one might not be too bad. I'll go out and shoot with my t2i today and take it from there.

    Any opinion will be useful, post away! (hope my post wasn't too long and makes sense)
     
  2. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #2
    What's her current SLR camera? I ask because there's a chance that her lenses may work, at least in some fashion, with a new DSLR. To me, that would be a consideration since it would reduce some of the cost to picking up a new camera.

    As for the camera itself, most manufacturers have decent level entry DSLRs which allow for full manual function as well as aperture or shutter priority so she should be able to have as much control as she'd want. Mirrorless can be a good choice but one consideration there is that often some of the controls are buried in menus and not as quick to get to.

    If possible, get her in to a shop to play with a variety, since she'll be the one to use it.
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #3
    Who knows... once she see's what she can do with raw images and, say, Aperture or Photoshop Elements, she may change her mind.

    I'm an older gent (61, but I can be taken for, oh, maybe 60 in dim light), and when I went digital, after years of film, my main worry was not being able to cope with this this new-fangled techy stuff. Maybe the saying is right, and you can't teach an old dog new tricks...

    Well, the change to digital went OK. Not without some minor traumas, 'cos there's plenty to learn. But it's been a lot of fun. I hope your aunt finds it fun too...
     
  4. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    #4
    Heres my suggestion.

    Suggest to your aunt she attend a local photography club. I can guarantee there will be people of all age and skill level, and she should bring her film SLR single lens reflex (the D is for Digital).

    The club I belong too here in Michigan we have 40 ish members age 18 thru 70s, and we have fun.

    Then, she can touch/feel others, heck she might find a great used deal.
     
  5. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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  7. paolo- thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I wish she will take advantage of everything digital photography can bring to the table. And I'm glad to see old dogs can learn new tricks. But I want to make sure she can ease into it and quickly get decent shots. She's not much of a tinkerer at heart which I think makes her a bit uneasy around her technology. When something doesn't go her way she usually backs off rather than try, sadly. I don't want her to dispair with too much on her plate. If I can get her back shooting and maybe email me some pictures, we'll be quite happy. If all goes well, I might try to get her into something like Lightroom (she's a PC users) later on. Not only to organize her pictures but also because the basic changes you can do from there can mean a lot to the photos.

    To answer some of the other questions. She has a Pentax SLR with a couple lenses which I think has a winding issue so she doesn't use it. I'm not sure what the mount on it is, but it could be worth getting some adapters. Her current camera is a Yashika, though I'm not sure on model number or lens mount.

    We played around with my t2i earlier today. She did pretty good and was quite enthusiastic so things are looking good. I also showed her some mirrorless cameras and explained to her some digital basics (crop sensors,...) She seems to prefer the idea of a DSLR mainly for the optical viewfinder but also for the easier controls. She doesn't mind the size either.

    I'll tell her about a photo club or maybe taking a intro to digital photo class.

    tks for the comments guys!
     
  8. lizardofwoz macrumors regular

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    Australia
    #8
    At risk of offending the super-tech guys... have you considered a fully automatic digital non-SLR?

    Lightweight and purse sized with resolutions to match the DSLRs. Something like a Sony with Leica-designed lens?

    No learning curve. Good results. Simplicity. Nice big viewing screen for older eyes. :) (Incidentally... Yashica was NOT very far up the quality index for 35mm cameras)
     
  9. NZed macrumors 65816

    NZed

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    #9
    If you want cheap Leica stuff, might as well buy a Panasonic Lumix POS since all of Leica's POS is made by Panasonic. Lumix with Leica lens, not Leica-desinged lens.
     
  10. lizardofwoz macrumors regular

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    #10
    Before CADCAM, when lenses were virtually hand-made. Leica meant something. As far as I know the Sony cameras feature lenses made and designed by Leica, and mass produced in an Asian factory.

    Let's not get too sniffy about this :)
     
  11. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #11
    Also, DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. You'd be hard pressed to find a "film DSLR" like you said! It's either DSLR or film SLR ;)
     
  12. robgendreau macrumors 68040

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    #12
    Having gone down a somewhat similar route, I'd start less ambitiously. For some the intimidation factor with digital cameras has little to do with the camera, and lots to do with the workflow from camera to computer to finished product. Odds are frustration will start with "how do I get this into the computer?" "to how do I print these?" before you get into whether the camera has decent white balance settings or what ISO to use....

    So I'd start with a small, really small, investment in a no brainer P&S that will connect up to her existing computer and software easily and have her mess with that till she gets set up and comfortable with how the whole system works. Then get into some editing, and only then move on to a new camera. You might even start by introducing her to editing of her old photos by scanning them for her.

    An example of why this is needed is her preference for B&W. Does she even realize that she can do that in editing rather than shooting B&W?
     
  13. NZed macrumors 65816

    NZed

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    #13
    Haha okok, I'm just speaking from experience. I have a Lumix that was remodeled to make a Leica. But if you know the details, i'm off.
     
  14. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    My Yashika uses an M42 mount. It is easily adapted to Canon's DSLRs (maybe other brands too, but I'm pretty sure Nikons won't meter with them). On my T2i, not only does it meter perfectly, but I also bought the adapter with the focus confirm chip, so I still get the audible and visual confirmation when I am in focus. Obviously, autofocus doesn't work as the mount and my lenses don't even support it. This may give the opportunity to reuse some old lenses.
     
  15. joshualee90 macrumors member

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    #15
    A classic 5D can be had for under $1000. She is coming from film world and might like full frame better. Pair it with the 50 1.8 and its a cheaper deal than the x100. I've owned the x100 and its great but auto focus is not that great and manual focus sucks since its fly by wire.
     
  16. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Yeah, if it wasn't made by the gnomes of Bavaria, it's not real Leica.
     
  17. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #17
    If she has some Pentax lenses, you should check to see if they have a bayonet mount (as opposed to a simple screw mount). If so, they will mount and meter on any Pentax DSLR--no adapter necessary. Not having to buy a lens would definitely bring down the overall investment for her.
     
  18. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #18
    Except that Leica are based in Hesse, not Bavaria.
     
  19. lizardofwoz macrumors regular

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    #19
    *Laughing*

    So we are getting sniffy.

    The point is that with current lens technologies for design and manufacture there is probably little or no optical difference between brands.

    All those clever gnomes died off years ago in the post-war paparazzi riots that followed Snow White's Playboy centrefold. Leica replaced them with a Mac.

    Dare I mention Rodenstock, Schneider and Zeiss?

    Sniff :)
     
  20. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #20
    I'm laughing too, but will now show my age by asking you to distinguish between Zeiss-Jena and Carl Zeiss.

    Rhetorial question, of course.
     
  21. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    #21
    Sorry. My Leica gear pre-dates 1960 and was designed by gnomes :p
     
  22. lizardofwoz, Aug 21, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012

    lizardofwoz macrumors regular

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    #22
    Of course.

    I admit that I have never owned a Zeiss lens, but I am still using Schneider and Rodenstock lenses on a Sinar P.

    Lucky it was rhetorical otherwise I'd have to Google it :)
     
  23. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

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    #23
    Further hijacking this thread . . . your response made me think of odd lenses I've had. One of them I picked up at a military-surplus place back in the 60s. It was for aerial photography -- all I can remember is "red-dot Apotar."

    Wasn't Apotar a Schneider line?

    It was a big thing, with focal length specified in inches, but I can't remember how many inches. I cobbled together something to make it mount on an old 4x5 view camera I had, but I couldn't get it to focus, so it went in a drawer and eventually I gave it to somebody.
     
  24. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a

    TheDrift-

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    #24
    Yes but the gnomes commute ;)

    I would buy her an entry level nikon or cannon.

    In my experience the older generation are just as capable with technology as anyone else...sometimes people just need some encouragement to tackle the unknown.
     
  25. ctyhntr macrumors 6502

    ctyhntr

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    #25
    Canon t3i is on closeout in most places, ever since the t4i came out.
     

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