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-   -   DSLR 'wife friendly'? (

mrklaw Jan 18, 2006 4:48 AM


I currently have a Sony V1 which I'm looking to upgrade. Possibly to a DSLR (D50 or 350D) + compact digicam for carrying around all the time.

But occasionally we'll be in a situation where we only have the DSLR. Are these capable of being set up so they are simple to use for my wife? I usually reset the V1 to the full auto mode if I know my wife will be using it (she has neither the time nor inclination to learn how to use it properly, she just wants clean snaps)

pj1974 Jan 18, 2006 5:07 AM

Hi Mrklaw!

Interesting title you gave to this thread / topic! Well I don't know if I qualify, as I'm not married (yet!) BUT my fiancee is probably a bit in the same situation as your wife will be... camera wise. I own a Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT) as well as2x Fuji F601 point and shoot cameras (one Fuji my fiancee has, the other Fuji I have with me 100% of the time... except for some times when I opt to ONLY have the DSLR with me!).

Similarly to yourselves, we at times go places and just have the DSLR. And my financee uses the Canon 350D. (Her name is Tundi... see this recent link I posted for photos of her);forum_id=5

She herself is small and has quite small hands, and finds the light weight and small size very good (especially with the small 18-55mm kit lens). I don't have very large hands myself and find the DSLR no problems (though other males complain that the grip is very uncomfortable if they have larger hands). Actually one review mentioned the Canon's grip seems also marketed for women or smaller Asian sized hands. :!:

About "auto mode", yes there is a full auto mode. Flash pops up if needed, it does all the focussing / aperature / ISO itself. (just be sure the wife uses the neck strap because if the flash comes up unexpectedly it can cause a bit of a fright first time and you wouldn't want her to drop it would you!) But seriously, I'm not being sexist. There are many great female photographers, many outclass me by a long shot. I'm just trying to reply to your needs. My fiancee will generally uses my camera on auto mode, or at least "programme" manual mode (as I might set the ISO and things before for her).

Tundi is learning things, and finds BOTH manual zoom rings of the Canon 28-135mm lens as well as the previously mentioned 18-55mm kit lens both great. Actually I didn't even have to explain these to her. Just I have to remind her sometimes when she uses the 50mm f1.8 prime lens I have that THIS only has a focus lens, no zoom function! :idea:

So I can vouch for the Canon, I'm very happy with it and it also seems to do well in the hands of my fiancee. I also have a (male) friend who has a Nikon D50 and I think it's also a great camera... and I've used it a bit - I would also say it's very suitable for your and your wife's purposes. No major differencebetween these 2 DSLRcameras really. But I just wanted the Canon for IMHO slightly better choice / quality in lenses and I generally liketheoutputquality / colour of Canon a bit more than Nikon. But both really are GREAT cameras, and capable of fantastic photos. As usual, the "weak link" is us, the users... that's why it's good to be on forums like this and get advice / feedback, comments, etc.

I expect you will enjoy purchasing / upgrading to a DSLR. Let me know how you go.. And also tell me what you think of the photos I posted.

All the best, Paul

pj1974 Jan 18, 2006 5:24 AM

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And here are 2 examples of photos Tundi took with the Canon 350D DSLR after she had only seen the camera for a few days and started using it. Just to give you an idea or two.

For this outdoor shot, I already had it seton aperature priority (f14) and ISO 200 for the previous photos Ihad made of her, the lake, etc. She used this setting to make some photos of me!

(PS this way you also get to see me... as usually I'm the one making photos of her... ) :-)


pj1974 Jan 18, 2006 5:25 AM

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And here is another photo.. this time indoors, using the 50mm prime at f1.8 with ISO1600 (so no flash).


rplinga Jan 18, 2006 6:17 AM

Hi mrklaw!

Both the Canon 350D and the Nikon D50 have auto modes that will allow point and shot capabilities as well as several 'program modes'. Visit steve's camera reviews for more information but both these cameras you mentioned will fit that need. Also as pj mentioned the flash will pop up if needed in auto mode.


JohnG Jan 18, 2006 6:34 AM

As the others have pointed out, there is a full auto mode. Having been in a similar situation with my wife, here are the areas which are the most challenging for anyone not used to an SLR:

1. Manual zoom on lens as opposed to button.

2. FOCUS POINTS - can't stress this one enough. Most digicams are litterally point and shoot. Well, with the shallower depth of field (less of image in focus) in a DSLR, this really shows up. So it's just a little learning curve to know that one of the focus points must be over the subject.

3. Weight - Again, just a difference - the DSLR will typically be heavier than any digicam she's used to using. Which also means that with anything but a small lens - how you hold an SLR is different (i.e. left hand supports lens - works zoom etc).

pj1974 Jan 18, 2006 10:15 AM

Hi mrklaw again.

Yes, JohnG and rplinga both write valid points (maybe I wasn't clear enough).

"full auto" mode is a close as you get to point and shoot, it's usually quite full proof in normal situations.

My fiancee did not find either manual zoom on lens, OR the weight issue / new way of balancing the camera a problem. I expect itdoes make a difference person to person..

However yes, especially in low light when camera might select a larger aperature (lower f value) - then it's very true that it's important to make sure one of the focal points is over the subject. My fiancee HAS sometimes found this hard to do sometimes. In all the "basic zone modes" (e..g portrait, landscape, auto, etc) the Canon 350D will have all of the autofocal points active (whatever one covers the nearest / clearest subject will activate and focus on that).

Maybe a bit of basic teaching /explaining will help! Even explaining the basic zone modes.. e.g. putting the camera on landscapemode for outdoors helps to maybe get a better picture, or portrait for indoors (flash automatically pops up).


haivu Jan 24, 2006 11:23 AM

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Most entry-level DSLR (Nikon D50, Canon 350D, and Pentax *ist DS) has Program (P) shift mode, which is close to "automatic". The thing to watch out for is when switching hands between husband and wife, you need to change it to P mode before handing it to your wife. My wife who does not care for any tweaking of the camera, but can take good pictures with my Fujifilm S2Pro (see her sample below). One day, after I was taking pictures in manual focus, I forgot to return everything to fully automatic. Sure enough, when I was gone, my wife grabbed the camera and started taking pictures of our kids. The results? We kept about 8 pictures of of 150+ that she took.

When choosing a camera for you or for your wife, it is important to try it out. I suggest that you go to the store and try them out. I almost got my wife a Nikon D50, but the grip is a little large for both our hands. My Fujifilm S2, while being much larger, has a more comfortable grip. Blame it on our small hands.

Another department to worry about is the lens. I attach on my camera a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens for my wife to use. This lens has several wife-friendly attributes:
- It is very sharp and produces outstanding pictures (I bought new for $130)
- Very small, light, unobstrusive
- No zoom lens to mess around with
- About the right zoom for taking kids pictures indoor as well as outdoor.

As promised, here is what my wife produced:

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