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Thread: Help Me Buy A Present?

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Help Me Buy A Present?

    It's getting down to the wire and I need to make a decision about a camera for my wife. I'm almost convinced to go with the GF-1. I know how many opinions there are likely to be regarding the many fine options available in this category of cameras, but I'm hoping you can provide some simple advice.

    I'm thinking of the zoom and not the pancake. Any other bits of wisdom? Suggestions or even (!) alternatives?

    I thank you and my wife thanks you (in advance).
    Tim

    p.s. I'm guessing this will inspire the usual (and important) questions regarding her shooting preferences and goals for photography. I will offer the following general info in that regard: She has a background that includes 35mm film photography. She's now a casual shooter and wants a camera to perform without lots of menu required. There's some indication she wants to explore beyond what a typical P&S will allow. She doesn't shoot landscape, products, architecture. She likes people, flowers and pets.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    GF1 is a really nice camera to use. The Oly E-PL1 can be found for $399 right now which is a great value.

    If she doesn't want to change lenses I don't really consider a Canon G12 a point and shoot.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    I love my GF1 and lots of sample pictures of Flowers can be found in these sets. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/

    This is a great camera that you can take everywhere, a lot of flexibility and capability. I do not have the kit zoom but did by the Leica D version. The 20mm pancake is a great lens and the 14-45 has been selling in the for sales forum for a little as $200.00.

    I have found the electronic view finder to be valuable for hitting focus. I have noticed that B&H has been running a special with the 14-45, GF1 and view finder for a couple of hundred bucks below original MRSP for just the GF1 and Kit lens.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Having fun with the GF1.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Tim, I shoot sort of the opposite of your wife but thinking she wants to shoot people perhaps in low light and maybe pets moving, the zoom may not be fast enough. As a general lens, though, she'll enjoy the range. I have the original 14-45 and find it a very nice lens on the GF1. You can add the 20 later as I can't imagine the GF1 without it but as a prime she might feel limited by it.

    The only thing that she may find irritating is LCD only coming from DSLRs. The G1s are SO SO inexpensive now that you might consider one. Having that terrific EVF is worth the very little bit of width you pick up with the grip. Actually I like the ergonomics of the G1 better though it isn't as aesthetically pleasing. Just a thought. Either body I think she'll love but I didn't consider video which might make a difference in choice.

    Diane

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    This is encouraging! Sounds like I'm in the right neighborhood. But the responses do reveal my lack of knowledge regarding the various models. So far, all I've done is to disqualify the GF2 because of the touch screen. I have (in the past) read the various threads about these cameras, but I have to confess that since I haven't any interest in them on a personal level, I tend to let the info flow right past me.

    So... a G1 has an optical finder but the sensor is otherwise the same?

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Good Luck!
    I've not had much success with cameras and my wife. What she really likes to use is an old Leica C-lux, or else the v-lux 20. All attempts to get something better have fallen by the wayside.

    Like your wife, she has a history of SLR film cameras, and is really rather good.

    The only exception has been a Sony A33 with the kit lens, which she shot as a backup at a recent wedding, and she DID like that (it takes pictures when you press the shutter, it gets the focus and exposure right and it's not irritating).

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    So... a G1 has an optical finder but the sensor is otherwise the same?
    G1/G2/GH1/GH2 - all have the mini dslr styling. All have an EVF not an optical finder.

    GF1/GF2/E-P1/E-P2/E-PL1 - all have the small brick form factor but all except the E-P1 have an optional EVF that can be attached to the camera.

    The GH's have more advanced video features.

    The G2/GH2 also have touch screen capability but still retain all buttons. The GF2 gave up some buttons to make it smaller.

    The G2 picks up about a stop of ISO capability over the G1 and and the GF1.
    The GH2 looks to be the best of the Panny's for IQ

    Olympus has a very good jpeg engine if your wife is going to use jpegs right from the camera.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Two very important considerations:

    1. Get a camera with the same lens system as you use so that you can share lenses.

    2. Get a camera with a different lens system from your's so that your best lenses are not always somewhere else

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Terry: Thank you! That rundown helps enormously. I sincerely wish companies would use some sort of logical naming sequence since apparently being off by one digit or letter can lead to the wrong choice.

    Jono: My wife's experience is holding her back. It's more nostalgia than knowledge. The one area I tend to agree with her about is the inclusion of an optical viewfinder. Those are rare but at least some of the models offer an option EVF (which I can explain and make vague promises about if it comes to that).

    And to be honest, it's hard to go beyond one's own preferences. For instance, I only shoot RAW and want everyone else to do the same. The reality is that she is not very likely to do that anytime soon. So maybe I should set aside my own bias and think about a .jpeg-maker?

    Dam*, I thought buying a canoe was difficult. Maybe I should skip the whole thing and go for the expensive lingerie? No wait, that's my own preference showing up again!

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Jono: My wife's experience is holding her back. It's more nostalgia than knowledge. The one area I tend to agree with her about is the inclusion of an optical viewfinder. Those are rare but at least some of the models offer an option EVF (which I can explain and make vague promises about if it comes to that).
    They do, but there are plenty of small dSLR's around with optical viewfinders. If your wife is like mine, she's likely to leave one lens on and stick to that. In which case you need to find the camera with the best small zoom.

    I also have this thing about size (within reason), if you can't fit it in your pocket, then you need a bag, and if you need a bag, then there isn't much difference in size between an E620 and a GF1 (for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    And to be honest, it's hard to go beyond one's own preferences. For instance, I only shoot RAW and want everyone else to do the same. The reality is that she is not very likely to do that anytime soon. So maybe I should set aside my own bias and think about a .jpeg-maker?
    Yes you should

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Dam*, I thought buying a canoe was difficult. Maybe I should skip the whole thing and go for the expensive lingerie? No wait, that's my own preference showing up again!
    surely that's one of the absolute necessities of Christmas, it never for a second entered my head that you'd be getting the camera instead of the expensive lingerie

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Good point on the Lingerie. What was I thinking?

    OK, I'm edging in a direction that I hadn't expected. And one that will hopefully get beyond me and more directly to her. However, it's not based on a lot of left-brain-in-depth study but rather a gut reaction and a bit of prayer. I'm fairly comfortable going with the decision since I think all of these cameras will produce results to her liking. The nuances between image quality are likely to be lost on her. So, based on a gut feeling about "coolness" and factoring in the comments made here, I'm going to pull the trigger on an Oly EP-2.

    Plus, I've never owned (or even held) an Olympus camera. It'll be fun to see what all the fuss is about.

    Thank you all for your generous advice and direction!

    Tim

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Tim it comes down to effort. If she does not want to fuss at all than a LX5 which is right up my wife's alley. If she wants to play than the Oly or Pana are good choices. My wife is not a shooter by any means so depends on her amount of time invested is what i would look at. Problem is like me i tend to buy for myself and not my wife's needs when it comes to camera's.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Good point on the Lingerie. What was I thinking?
    Glad to have saved you from a terrible error . . . the Agent Provocateur website is popular around here

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    So, based on a gut feeling about "coolness" and factoring in the comments made here, I'm going to pull the trigger on an Oly EP-2.

    Plus, I've never owned (or even held) an Olympus camera. It'll be fun to see what all the fuss is about.
    I think that's an excellent decision - nice jpgs, plug in EVF if required, and it certainly 'feels' more 'thing' than a GF1.

    Good Luck with it. (pleased to have been of no service )

    all the best

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Tim it comes down to effort. If she does not want to fuss at all than a LX5 which is right up my wife's alley. If she wants to play than the Oly or Pana are good choices. My wife is not a shooter by any means so depends on her amount of time invested is what i would look at. Problem is like me i tend to buy for myself and not my wife's needs when it comes to camera's.
    I tried to get Emma to use an LX3, but, unlike the C-lux, it wouldn't fit in her jeans pocket . . . and was therefore axed!.

    The EP-2 is great to use - no time needed, just switch it to auto and get going.

    The boy did good

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Good point is where will they carry it. Purse, Pocket or throw it in the car.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Thanks for the input Guy. The tricky part here is recognizing the practical while still allowing for the magical.

    Most of the time my wife communicates in a wonderfully straightforward manner and her stance/opinions are easy for me to understand (and to comply with). EXCEPT when she expects me to be omniscient and intuit what she really wants but feels she shouldn't have to say out loud.

    I figure my chances are better than 50-50 of hitting it right with this little gift. If I miss, I'll blame it on Jono. But it's moot now since I pulled the trigger and the gears are turning.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    If I miss, I'll blame it on Jono.
    Hey! that's not fair - I never mentioned the Ep-2 until you said you were buying it
    Still, everyone else blames me for everything, why not you too

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Thanks for the input Guy. The tricky part here is recognizing the practical while still allowing for the magical.

    Most of the time my wife communicates in a wonderfully straightforward manner and her stance/opinions are easy for me to understand (and to comply with). EXCEPT when she expects me to be omniscient and intuit what she really wants but feels she shouldn't have to say out loud.

    I figure my chances are better than 50-50 of hitting it right with this little gift. If I miss, I'll blame it on Jono. But it's moot now since I pulled the trigger and the gears are turning.
    LOL see i don't have to guess mine just goes and buys it and says thanks for the present.

    Even if she told me I would forget in 5 minutes anyway. This is called self perseverance training. You can never get hurt by Oh **** I forgot to do that. Damn hell with the workshops i should do husband training, keep you guys safe. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    I figure an ocean will keep you safe. And I'm happy to return the favor—I don't even have to know what the purchase advice is for, consider this your ticket for one free scapegoat.

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    Even if she told me I would forget in 5 minutes anyway. This is called self perseverance training. You can never get hurt by Oh **** I forgot to do that. Damn hell with the workshops i should do husband training, keep you guys safe. LOL
    Self Perseverance training eh? What a splendid concept, I'm working on it right now!


    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    I figure an ocean will keep you safe. And I'm happy to return the favor—I don't even have to know what the purchase advice is for, consider this your ticket for one free scapegoat.
    Hmm, you're too much of a mate to do that to you. Emma is the nicest person I know, but I wouldn't bank on the Atlantic keeping anyone safe! Before you knew what's what it'd be

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    The only other thing I could have suggested is a lovely wrapped box with a brick, a 'suggestive' photo and a nice note promising a shopping trip to find what suits her tucked inside. Personally my husband knows better than to choose something like that for me so I've had a number of wrapped bricks and other odd sized boxes with notes and pictures over the years LOL

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    The only other thing I could have suggested is a lovely wrapped box with a brick, a 'suggestive' photo and a nice note promising a shopping trip to find what suits her tucked inside. Personally my husband knows better than to choose something like that for me so I've had a number of wrapped bricks and other odd sized boxes with notes and pictures over the years LOL
    Ah Diane
    you obviously have a nicer husband than Emma or Terry's wife!
    Still, perhaps we have good intentions, even if we get it wrong (whether it be a camera or some expensive lingerie).

    Certainly, despite the previous post, I couldn't really be more appreciative; we will have been married for 30 years next summer, and it's better now than it was then . . . . . but I'm british, so I really shouldn't say things like that!

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Diane: There may be a niche for you as a camera buyer for photographer's wives. You certainly have the experience and come with a built-in point of view that's gender-correct. Something to think about. If you need help designing your website, let me know.

    As for the rest of us husbands, in the end we're all mighty lucky to be having these kinds of problems. 30 years of anything is a terrific record. I salute you Jono! (Or maybe it's your wife I should be saluting?)

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    As for the rest of us husbands, in the end we're all mighty lucky to be having these kinds of problems. 30 years of anything is a terrific record. I salute you Jono! (Or maybe it's your wife I should be saluting?)
    You've got it Terry . . It's Emma you should be saluting - I'm the vacillating neurotic (except when it comes to expensive lingerie). Emma is the rock around which it's all built

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Thanks Terry. At one time when it was a bit lean, between jobs for both of us (we're self employed) I actually did something like that. I worked for Best Buy (cant believe I'm admitting this LOL). They snapped me up when I applied and I mostly did exactly what you suggested and worked with people just getting into digital, particularly photography. I have a background of retail in one of my other lives (buyer for large dept stores and a specialty store) so it was up my alley plus my photography work shooting for the furniture and textile industry part time.

    Can I up Jono here? We have been married for 44 years and still really love and enjoy each other. David can appreciate my photography and before that years as a fine craftsperson but he's a designer so I would expect that. He's NOT good at the gear end of photography though.

    I say whatever works as long as there is respect and willingness to compromise. Its also really lovely when one's partner makes the effort to find just the right thing.

    Diane

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    I say whatever works as long as there is respect and willingness to compromise.
    A friend of ours reckons it's all down to whether you think each other smells good!

    Still Diane, 44 years is splendid . . congratulations . . I guess it's 42 years since we first met, but there was a lot of water under that 12 year bridge!

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    A friend of ours reckons it's all down to whether you think each other smells good!

    Still Diane, 44 years is splendid . . congratulations . . I guess it's 42 years since we first met, but there was a lot of water under that 12 year bridge!
    I'll have to think about that LOL. Anthropologically though that makes good sense.

    Well at least you had those 12 years to get used to each other. This was a relatively short relationship. And it was a Southern guy marrying a Yankee young woman who was really out of her element living and working in the South (US). My parents didn't give it much hope LOL. Now my 95 yr old mother lives on our farm next door and thinks of David as her other son. Its been an outstanding 44+ years IMO and I think in David's too.

    But we've digressed, haven't we LOLOL??????

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    I'll have to think about that LOL. Anthropologically though that makes good sense.

    Well at least you had those 12 years to get used to each other.
    nonono - we had those twelve years to marry other people, behave badly, and generally whoop it up! Courting at 29 was just a few weeks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Diane B View Post
    This was a relatively short relationship. And it was a Southern guy marrying a Yankee young woman who was really out of her element living and working in the South (US). My parents didn't give it much hope LOL. Now my 95 yr old mother lives on our farm next door and thinks of David as her other son. Its been an outstanding 44+ years IMO and I think in David's too.

    But we've digressed, haven't we LOLOL??????
    mmmm yes, just a bit . . . but perhaps it's all vaguely relevant to the original post! . . . and affirmation is always worth a shot

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Help Me Buy A Present?

    You folks are an inspiration. I feel like a pup with just 20 years in. Maybe it's just that I'm amazed that 20 years have gone by since it seems like just a few months ago.

    And one tiny correction, it's Tim not Terry. I'd hate to have our moderator upset in any way. I value the place too much.

    Cheers!
    Tim

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