Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?

Started Apr 9, 2012 | Discussions
cinemascope
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Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
Apr 9, 2012

Hi there.

Do you guys think an EX1 would be an OK gift for a tech-clumsy mother?

She is almost 60, and uses a PC everyday for email, online shopping, etc, but although she somehow manages, she is quite clumsy with technology. She always gets confused on how to copy the photos over to the PC and stuff like that and forgets stuff after a few weeks.

I guess she can handle a camera as long as its on Auto, but the EX1 is "full of buttons", and I was wondering if you guys think that it might be overwhelming for such a person. She is known to give up on using "complicated things" only to go back to the old device, say, for example, a new mobile phone might be just "too much", so she goes back to the old crappy phone that's falling apart.

The main reason I am thinking of the Samsung is because of the nice lens, and the swivel screen. I think she will really enjoy using the swivel screen. She will be mostly using it for family photos, mostly indoors, and also her dogs and cat, and I guess our newborn, her first grandkid :). She also goes out a lot with her girlfriends, for cake and cards and such, so the swivel screen might come handy for self-portraits and such and might even wow the ladies hehe. She also likes to take little videos of the pets, and although this is not a strength of the camera, it might be good for her as her computer is not the fastest thing.

She currently uses some plasticky Canon Powershot A-whatever from 2004 or so and I think an upgrade is in due order. But I'd hate to buy her the camera, and for it to be too overwhelming, and then see her go back to the old crappy Canon.

Anyway, my main questions are:

1. How does it handle in Auto everything? What about auto-focus, white balance, the colours, etc... Is Auto OK indoors as well as outdoors?

2. What about the handling of the camera itself? Is it annoying to remove the lens cap every time? If I setup the camera a specific way for her, will the settings remain when the battery is changed and such? How do you feel about the camera's size?

3. I know the video is only VGA, but is it good quality at least? Can anyone share some straight off the camera videos? I only managed to find one on the net, and it seemed quite crappy unfortunately...

4. Can anyone share some family/people/pet type photos? Most samples on the net seem to be landscapes and don't seem to help much. And if you do, can you let us know if the given photo was taken on Auto or some other way, and if there's been any photoshopping or not? (She will be using JPGs straight off the camera...)

5. Any tips on where to get it from at a good price? Ebay prices seem to hover around the US$330-360 mark...

Thanks a lot for reading this far

Samsung TL500 (EX1)
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snake_b
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

Very honestly, I'd recommend you pick up any of the new Canons. For compacts, they are foolproof and pretty much great across the board.

It sounds like she's demanding and unrealistic (perhaps you are, as well). The cams in this class are made for tinkerers and not full auto shooters, and IMO, relatively deficient in jpeg output, especially if you're looking for an edge over other types of point and shoots.

There is simply no reason to buy this camera, or most in the class, if you're just going to use "auto". Then any benefit dries up.

It doesn't have a true auto mode, but has "smart", which bases around scenes and is hit or miss, especially for focus

If you must have something in this range, I'd highly recommend an S95 or s100. Otherwise, I'd simply look at any of the IXUS or A series. They really do work well and no lens cap.

"Clumsy with technology" will mean this camera is out for her. Honestly, you've basically answered your own questions. Just get her another Canon.

cinemascope wrote:

Hi there.

Do you guys think an EX1 would be an OK gift for a tech-clumsy mother?

She is almost 60, and uses a PC everyday for email, online shopping, etc, but although she somehow manages, she is quite clumsy with technology. She always gets confused on how to copy the photos over to the PC and stuff like that and forgets stuff after a few weeks.

I guess she can handle a camera as long as its on Auto, but the EX1 is "full of buttons", and I was wondering if you guys think that it might be overwhelming for such a person. She is known to give up on using "complicated things" only to go back to the old device, say, for example, a new mobile phone might be just "too much", so she goes back to the old crappy phone that's falling apart.

The main reason I am thinking of the Samsung is because of the nice lens, and the swivel screen. I think she will really enjoy using the swivel screen. She will be mostly using it for family photos, mostly indoors, and also her dogs and cat, and I guess our newborn, her first grandkid :). She also goes out a lot with her girlfriends, for cake and cards and such, so the swivel screen might come handy for self-portraits and such and might even wow the ladies hehe. She also likes to take little videos of the pets, and although this is not a strength of the camera, it might be good for her as her computer is not the fastest thing.

She currently uses some plasticky Canon Powershot A-whatever from 2004 or so and I think an upgrade is in due order. But I'd hate to buy her the camera, and for it to be too overwhelming, and then see her go back to the old crappy Canon.

Anyway, my main questions are:

1. How does it handle in Auto everything? What about auto-focus, white balance, the colours, etc... Is Auto OK indoors as well as outdoors?

2. What about the handling of the camera itself? Is it annoying to remove the lens cap every time? If I setup the camera a specific way for her, will the settings remain when the battery is changed and such? How do you feel about the camera's size?

3. I know the video is only VGA, but is it good quality at least? Can anyone share some straight off the camera videos? I only managed to find one on the net, and it seemed quite crappy unfortunately...

4. Can anyone share some family/people/pet type photos? Most samples on the net seem to be landscapes and don't seem to help much. And if you do, can you let us know if the given photo was taken on Auto or some other way, and if there's been any photoshopping or not? (She will be using JPGs straight off the camera...)

5. Any tips on where to get it from at a good price? Ebay prices seem to hover around the US$330-360 mark...

Thanks a lot for reading this far

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Greynerd
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to snake_b, Apr 9, 2012

I would check she is happy not having a viewfinder and tries one without a viewfinder in bright sunlight. The Canon A1200 has a viewfinder and might suit her purposes and is going dirt cheap so if she does not like it it will not be a great financial loss. You can buy Lithium AA's or Eneloops if recharging. Also Canon manage to use a standard USB cable which is great if she does not enjoy shuffling all the silly connectors the other brands insist on.

snake_b wrote:

Very honestly, I'd recommend you pick up any of the new Canons. For compacts, they are foolproof and pretty much great across the board.

It sounds like she's demanding and unrealistic (perhaps you are, as well). The cams in this class are made for tinkerers and not full auto shooters, and IMO, relatively deficient in jpeg output, especially if you're looking for an edge over other types of point and shoots.

There is simply no reason to buy this camera, or most in the class, if you're just going to use "auto". Then any benefit dries up.

It doesn't have a true auto mode, but has "smart", which bases around scenes and is hit or miss, especially for focus

If you must have something in this range, I'd highly recommend an S95 or s100. Otherwise, I'd simply look at any of the IXUS or A series. They really do work well and no lens cap.

"Clumsy with technology" will mean this camera is out for her. Honestly, you've basically answered your own questions. Just get her another Canon.

cinemascope wrote:

Hi there.

Do you guys think an EX1 would be an OK gift for a tech-clumsy mother?

She is almost 60, and uses a PC everyday for email, online shopping, etc, but although she somehow manages, she is quite clumsy with technology. She always gets confused on how to copy the photos over to the PC and stuff like that and forgets stuff after a few weeks.

I guess she can handle a camera as long as its on Auto, but the EX1 is "full of buttons", and I was wondering if you guys think that it might be overwhelming for such a person. She is known to give up on using "complicated things" only to go back to the old device, say, for example, a new mobile phone might be just "too much", so she goes back to the old crappy phone that's falling apart.

The main reason I am thinking of the Samsung is because of the nice lens, and the swivel screen. I think she will really enjoy using the swivel screen. She will be mostly using it for family photos, mostly indoors, and also her dogs and cat, and I guess our newborn, her first grandkid :). She also goes out a lot with her girlfriends, for cake and cards and such, so the swivel screen might come handy for self-portraits and such and might even wow the ladies hehe. She also likes to take little videos of the pets, and although this is not a strength of the camera, it might be good for her as her computer is not the fastest thing.

She currently uses some plasticky Canon Powershot A-whatever from 2004 or so and I think an upgrade is in due order. But I'd hate to buy her the camera, and for it to be too overwhelming, and then see her go back to the old crappy Canon.

Anyway, my main questions are:

1. How does it handle in Auto everything? What about auto-focus, white balance, the colours, etc... Is Auto OK indoors as well as outdoors?

2. What about the handling of the camera itself? Is it annoying to remove the lens cap every time? If I setup the camera a specific way for her, will the settings remain when the battery is changed and such? How do you feel about the camera's size?

3. I know the video is only VGA, but is it good quality at least? Can anyone share some straight off the camera videos? I only managed to find one on the net, and it seemed quite crappy unfortunately...

4. Can anyone share some family/people/pet type photos? Most samples on the net seem to be landscapes and don't seem to help much. And if you do, can you let us know if the given photo was taken on Auto or some other way, and if there's been any photoshopping or not? (She will be using JPGs straight off the camera...)

5. Any tips on where to get it from at a good price? Ebay prices seem to hover around the US$330-360 mark...

Thanks a lot for reading this far

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to snake_b, Apr 9, 2012

Thanks for your input.

But aren't you being perhaps a bit too pessimistic? Is the Auto performance really that bad?

I know she is not the target audience for the product, but that's precisely why I am asking this. Lots of people buy DSLRs and use it on Auto too. I know I can buy something else, and I have looked at the S100, but it just feels dull and boring.

Why do you think we are demanding and unrealistic? I just wanted something with a nice lens and a swivel screen, and there aren't that many options, so I just want to know how it performs given the usage case... The G12 and P7100 are even bigger and more cluttered so no go... The XZ-1 and LX5 would be good alternatives as they have nice lenses, but no swivel screen...

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snake_b
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

You're answering the questions you're posing one again.

Looks like you want a camera for yourself, so maybe you should get yourself what you want?

cinemascope wrote:

Thanks for your input.

But aren't you being perhaps a bit too pessimistic? Is the Auto performance really that bad?

I know she is not the target audience for the product, but that's precisely why I am asking this. Lots of people buy DSLRs and use it on Auto too. I know I can buy something else, and I have looked at the S100, but it just feels dull and boring.

Why do you think we are demanding and unrealistic? I just wanted something with a nice lens and a swivel screen, and there aren't that many options, so I just want to know how it performs given the usage case... The G12 and P7100 are even bigger and more cluttered so no go... The XZ-1 and LX5 would be good alternatives as they have nice lenses, but no swivel screen...

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to Greynerd, Apr 9, 2012

Isn't the viewfinder on these compacts almost unusable?

Thanks for your suggestion... I know that if I give up on my requirements of "nice lens / swivel screen" a lot of cheaper options open up.

My question is more like: "Is the EX1 OK for her or not?"

None one here gives their EX1 to other people sometimes, say during a party?
Don't you switch to Auto while others are using it?

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Greynerd
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

snake_b will not like this but what about a Samsung MV800.

cinemascope wrote:

Thanks for your input.

But aren't you being perhaps a bit too pessimistic? Is the Auto performance really that bad?

I know she is not the target audience for the product, but that's precisely why I am asking this. Lots of people buy DSLRs and use it on Auto too. I know I can buy something else, and I have looked at the S100, but it just feels dull and boring.

Why do you think we are demanding and unrealistic? I just wanted something with a nice lens and a swivel screen, and there aren't that many options, so I just want to know how it performs given the usage case... The G12 and P7100 are even bigger and more cluttered so no go... The XZ-1 and LX5 would be good alternatives as they have nice lenses, but no swivel screen...

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to snake_b, Apr 9, 2012

Of course my personal tastes/bias will influence my choices...

I'm just trying to buy something nice... But as the camera is not for me I'm asking for help...

If the overall feeling here is that it is indeed overkill / not-for-her, then I'll sure reconsider...

I just really thought it would be an OK camera on Auto, but I have no experience with Samsung cameras...

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snake_b
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

Maybe look into an X100, in that case.

cinemascope wrote:

Isn't the viewfinder on these compacts almost unusable?

Thanks for your suggestion... I know that if I give up on my requirements of "nice lens / swivel screen" a lot of cheaper options open up.

My question is more like: "Is the EX1 OK for her or not?"

None one here gives their EX1 to other people sometimes, say during a party?
Don't you switch to Auto while others are using it?

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Veducci
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

Personally I think the simpler the better for (most) women unless you want to babysit her photo taking sessions having to re-mind her how it works every time she decides to take a picture.

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JoostL
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

Do you guys think an EX1 would be an OK gift for a tech-clumsy mother?

The answer is plain and simple NO! And the first question I'd ask your mother is if she thinks her Canon is old and crappy? Does she want another camera? Why not discuss it with her and let her choose? I realise that may spoil the nice surprise but she'll probably end up with a cam that suits her better.

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cerberusjf
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 9, 2012

I would recommend going for another Canon like an ixus for the following reasons

Your mother would probably be able to view her old photos easier on a Canon than the Samsung. I found looking at photos made by another camera on the Samsung was very slow - maybe it was just mine. Of she sometimes looks at her old photos on her camera as my mother does, she may prefer the Canon.

She will probably be more familiar with Canon menus if she uses them.

The Ixuses are much smaller and the lens folds up behind the lens door - the lens cap of the EX1 does require getting used to if you're not used to it and it is a bit of a brick by comparison.

I don't kow other people's experience of "auto" mode as I rarely used it. I never used it enough to become comfortable with it. It seemed to overexpose by different amounts in different conditions and it was often just quicker to use in in one of the manual modes than have to retake a photo.

I was swithering between the S95, the X100 and a simple Ixus. I really wanted to get her the S95 as she said a viewfinder wasn't important to her and I wanted to get the best "party" camera I could. Bus she prefered a simple camera where she didn't have to think, just something to point and shoot. If your mother isn't interested in learning photography, maybe the EX1 is not for her.

As a bonus, the one I got her uses the same battery as her old ones, so now she has two spare batteries and chargers and she's very happy with it.

I lent the EX1 to someone and he was very frustrated with it at times, his main complaint being that what the screen shows in preview can be perfect, but the photo it takes is overexposed.

I do like the flippy screen, but I only used it when I was trying to be "creative" or to take shots frm a low angle without bending down.

YMMV

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geroyche
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cerberusjf, Apr 9, 2012

valid concerns have been raised here, and i cannot make up my mind if this is a good idea. the ex1 unfolds its potential once you get past auto mode.

on the other hand, the wide and fast lens of the ex1 make for better pictures in auto mode during indoor family events.

simple as that. if you're inexperienced and use auto all the time, the ex1 will give you good shots where cheaper cameras up the iso and/or exposure time, leaving you with frustrating blurred shots.

also, she might like the sturdier feel (?)

finally, if you end up buying the ex1, throw in a couple of bucks for a jjc alc-6 auto lens cap. remedies a major annoyance.

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to geroyche, Apr 10, 2012

Thanks geroyche. We seem to be on the same wavelength.

There are pros and cons and most here seem very concerned with the cons... not that that is a bad thing... it's good to hear all opinions and that's why I am asking for help... but there are reasons I am considering the EX1, and most don't seem to weigh that in.

Perhaps I should have made it more clear that she really enjoys photography. She has always had some sort of camera throughout most of her life, and she was always the one taking the snapshots at our family events, and on trips while we were growing up and such. She was also a model in her teens, and I guess that also played a part in her interest in photography. Her older brother also had an SLR in the 60's, so she has always been exposed to photography one way or another. These days she very actively likes to share photos with people on the Internet, and she really cherishes her ever growing photo collection - not just the one she takes, but also the ones that people send her. It's just that she is clumsy with tech, but the interest is there and she manages to get by.

So, yes, I think she would appreciate a nice sturdy camera. The EX1 seems to ooze quality and seems like a nice gift, something meant to last for a few years. But of course, no point in it looking nice if one cannot use it well. I did have a look at Canon, more specifically the 310HS, mostly because of the 24mm f2.0 lens and friendly touch screen. But most reviewers say the camera only looks good on paper, and that the lens is quite crappy. I have looked at samples and they looked very washed and quite terrible. So at the moment, I'm thinking, OK, Canon might be easy to use, but where is the quality?

So I have not given up on it yet, although the opinions here seem mostly against it. I guess it would still be nice to hear more about others' experience in using Auto. Someone said it overexposes, but if ones leaves it at some negative EV, does that not fix it?

Also, how about video quality? The only sample I found was quite crappy. Anyone with a couple of samples to share? I know it's only VGA, but I was hoping that despite being small resolution, that the quality would be at least OK.

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geroyche
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 10, 2012

the ten most recent uploads here were made with an ex1:
http://www.youtube.com/user/geroyche/videos

granted, these are all rather similiar. but imho they prove that the video quality is just fine. the mic needs a second before it turns down on loud input.
but i don't think these are the kinds of videos your mother would take

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to geroyche, Apr 10, 2012

Haha thanks for those

Indeed very impressive low light performance... They don't look grainy at all... Did you apply noise reduction of some sort?

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geroyche
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 10, 2012

no. they are straight from the camera.
which means mp4 btw.

i reckon there is some noise reduction involved in the encoding process, just as there is with jpg.

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snake_b
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 10, 2012

The OP has made up his mind that HE wants the EX1, so I think that's the whole thread. No matter what suggestions come about, he wants it and that's final, so I think we should support that decision.

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mendes
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to cinemascope, Apr 10, 2012

Hello

I have three Samsung cameras, EX1, WB2000, and Wb650, and the EX1 is the least I use. Operation is not as fast as I wish, and close distance focus is not as accurate as my WB2000, especially face shots are not sharp. But I don't have those slightly out of focus photos with me anymore as I deleted them all long time ago. I prefer the WB2000 among the three. But the WB650 has a reasonably sharp lense for a 15X zoom DC. WB650 also seems to have the best auto white balance. Why don't you wait for the forthcoming WB850F with built-in WIFI, as your moms likes to share photos with others? It would be similar to WB650. If I remember correctly, WB850, like WB2000, has a CMOS sensor and it'd be fun to take fast shots.

Kind regards,
S

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cinemascope
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Re: Is the EX1/TL500 OK for my tech-clumsy mother?
In reply to snake_b, Apr 10, 2012

Why you keep saying that I want it for myself? I just thought some people dismissed it very quickly. I am happy to look at something else, but since I also think it has a lot of pros, I didn't want to just dismiss it too quickly myself too. geroyche did not say go for it, but he acknowledged some pros and cons, and that's how I feel too.

I started this thread thinking we would have a discussion about the EX1 and it's pros and cons, and perhaps look at some samples, but instead it became more of a thread about alternative options...

Anyway, I am really not sure if this is indeed a good idea, but I have looked at alternatives, and while others may do some things better unfortunately nothing seems as nice as the combination of nice lens, swivel screen and metal body that the EX1 provides. However, from the responses here, I'm starting to feel I really better move on and look at something else...

Thanks everyone for their suggestions. The Wi-Fi thing is also a good idea. If anyone has anything to add about the EX1 or perhaps some samples to share, I'm still happy to hear about it though... In the meantime I'll be exploring a few more options...

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