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Old Jul 11, 2008, 9:52 AM   #1
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I guess after watching everyone in the family shooting pictures and email them around my Wife's Granma decided she wants her own piece of the action. When asked what kind of camera she wanted she just said "one with big zoom that is stabilized and under $400". OK!

That narrows it down a bit. My extended family comes to me with "electronics" advice. I shoot with a Canon 20D. Last year we bought two cameras for other family members. Mom got a Panasonic DMC-FZ8 as an upgrade from an Olympus C-730 UZ. We got my Wife's sister a Fuji S700 based on Steve's review and blow out pricing around the holidays.

The problem we are facing with Granny's camera choice is that this is her 1st camera. Super-Zoom, stabilized cameras tend to be pretty complicated in terms of user interface. Gran is pretty sharp and will catch on but we need to find the most intuitive camera with zoom and stabilization.

Below is a list I started. Please chime in with opinions about interfaces and ease of use. Each of these cameras meet her 3 reqs but we live in a small town with no way to get a hands on "look" at any of them. This is a list that I started 2 months ago. I see that several companies have new models out. These are in order of interest based on the 3 needs, my take on operational ease and what she really needs. Love her to death but she is 81, blind in one eye and will be shooting stricktly on program modes if not "green" mode all the time.

1) Canon S5 IS (Hey, I shoot Canon exclusively)
2) FujiFilm Finepix S1000fd
3) Kodak EasyShare Z812 IS
4) Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS
5) Panasonic DMC-TZ4 (Much different than all the others. Compact, no viewfinder)
6) FujiFilm FinePix S8000fd
7) Sony Cyber-Shot H9
8}Olympus SP-560 UZ (570 is out of price range)
9) Nikon P80 (Maybe to complicated but awesome)

From what I could gather from "pro" reviews like here and DPReview is that the Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pany cameras will have superior image quality over the Kodak and Fuji's. Conversely, the Kodak and Fuji's seemed to be easier to use and have more basic and intuitive interfaces while sacrificing some image quality.

Keep in mind that Granny will be spending NO time in front of Photoshop editing her photos. She will either hand the card over to me or head to Walgreens to have 4x6's printed out. I see us mostly posting the on my Smugmug page, emailing and the occassional 8x10. I think any of these camera can do all of this well enough to suit a beginer.

So, please feel free to rule a camera out or in but please tell me why. Add others to the list as long as they meet the reqs. What I am thinking is she doesn't need the latest and greatest. Maybe a last generation camera.

Thanks and sorry for such a long winded post.

Bill


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Old Jul 11, 2008, 10:06 AM   #2
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Two comments, and then I'll step asside.
  1. A photo printer could save her a lot of trips to WalMart and a lot of money. She takes the card out of the camera, puts it in the printer and the prints start coming out. In some All-In-Ones, you can have them print out proof sheets; you cross out the ones you don't want, and pick the sizes of the ones you do want.[/*]
  2. Fuji has a reputation for better in-door/low-light performance. You might consider if that might be appropriate for her.
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Good luck.
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 10:06 AM   #3
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If Granny is not good with tech items, all of the cameras will be too much for her. So if that's the case, be prepared to do a lot of handholding.

I would get Granny the lightest weight camera possible, which limits you to the Fuji S1000fd, Kodak Z812IS, Kodak Z1012IS and the Panasonic TZ4. The TZ4 would be the easiest to use, though as you note, it doesn't have a viewfinder which may be a problem for her. If not the TZ4, I'd go with the Kodak Z812IS as it's very lightweight and I think the Kodak menu system is easier to use than Fuji's menu.
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 5:59 PM   #4
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The no viewfinder of the TZ4 is an issue for many "old" camera nuts. Personally I found I created better pictures using the view screen (more creative or better angles for the shot) than a view finder, BUT my mom freaked out when she was presented a camera without a viewfinder.



Also consider the weight of the camera and the grip. Heavier weight can be handled if the grip is especially good while a lighter weight camera can be difficult to handle if the grip is not layed out correctly for the user. USER, not you and me, but your Granny.




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Old Jul 23, 2008, 10:47 AM   #5
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I have to agree with the poster above.

You should also consider the camera grip. Although most may think it's cool to have the smallest digi-cam out there, for practical purposes, I find a larger grip is better - easier to handle.

I am also in the market for a super-simple, no bells or whistles point and shoot for my mother-in-law. I am pretty much settled on Kodak C-series (probably the C613 or C813). Nice size grip, takes AA batteries, and the EasyShare system is a bonus. The LCD screen could be a little bigger but it's decent. The in-lawswill always be using it on auto mode but there are plenty of presets for them to grow into.

BTW, I want to give a big thanks to the advice given out here. I bought my Canon XSI and I love it!
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Old Jul 27, 2008, 11:53 AM   #6
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In the low-low price range, the Panasonic LZ-8 at $149 is another camera to consider. It offers full manual and auto modes, plus IA (Intelligent Auto) and it even can set a manual WB. Steve has a great review of the LZ-8.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 9:13 AM   #7
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WilliamPC wrote:
Quote:
....The problem we are facing with Granny's camera choice is that this is her 1st camera. Super-Zoom, stabilized cameras tend to be pretty complicated in terms of user interface. Gran is pretty sharp and will catch on but we need to find the most intuitive camera with zoom and stabilization.....
The Kodak Z812, in its 'P' mode, just requires framing the shot and pushing the button. Don't bother with the Z1012; it has too many pixels for its own good. There's a fully-auto 'Smart Scene' as well on my similar Z712, but I've never used it.

If the result doesn't look right in the instant 'quickview', or when reviewing it, the EV correction control is there in the ElectronicViewFinder or on the LCD to allow instant twiddling lighter or darker for another try. If she were to take notice of the other displayed readings(shutter, aperture), it'd teach her what exposure it's about to give and being a clever lady she could 'catch on' nicely.

My Z712 weighs 354g ready to shoot, and you can judge its size at...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...902341#p902341

... and it's very cheap by the standards of such cameras. She could give it to a grandchild if she didn't like it.

That whole thread started by 'SimmiS' is relevant to this discussion.
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Old Jul 28, 2008, 3:23 PM   #8
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AlanT has given you some excellent advice. Now priced at around $(US) 200, the Kodak Z-712 is an excellent camera, and certainly an excellent buy as well. I own one and love it.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jul 29, 2008, 5:39 AM   #9
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Indeed, i had some doubts about my Z812 before i got it, because it would be too heavy, and too bulky and not woth it, and bad quality. So far, it is excellent, it is very easy to use, and the size it much smaller than i imagined. Im sure granny will also appreciate the superior quality images, comfortable grip and long lens. Also in this package is the Kodak Perfect Pic technology or something similar than when used n camera, asseses the image, and perfects it in terms of exposure etc. You can accept or decline the changes

If not the Z812, then definatly a Kodak. they are one of the easiest to use camera brands out there, and also the Easyshare computer software is pretty good too!

Sim
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