Recommend lightweight autofocus/autoexposure camera for my wife
2. Program autoexposure preferably with Matrix or other idiot-proof metering
3. As small and light as possible.
Despite that I have many 35mm cameras, my wife still keeps using her cheap Samsung point-and-shoot. All my MF cameras are too complicated to use and all my AF cameras are too big and heavy for her. She likes to take pictures of people.
With her eyesight she has a hard time focusing the manual-focus cameras like my OM2, she is very slow and misses focus a lot, which frustrates her. I can get around the focusing by hyperfocaling the camera for her and telling her not to focus, but that only works when it's bright out and the results are conspicuously deep-focus of course.
She can use Aperture Priority exposure but doesn't appreciate it and would rather use a Program mode. Even in a program mode, she isn't quick enough to dial in Exposure Compensation when needed so frustration sets in over underexposed backlit subjects and so on, when the metering betrays her.
I have an F801 and with Matrix metering on and AF she does pretty well, but the camera is broken and only works on Aperture Priority mode, so I bought an F4 with MB-20 for 'her'. But even I didn't realize how heavy the F4 was going to be. Slap an SB-28 on there for daylight flash and she can barely hold it up by bracing her elbows. I think it's bigger to her than an RB67 would be to me. I realize that she's never going to grab it for everyday photography and is going to keep using her point-and-shoot.
What she really needs is a camera about the size of my ME Super or OM2, only AF with a program mode and matrix metering, but I don't there such a thing exists.
Hi--how about an Olympus OM-77AF. I picked one up on evilbay last year for my wife. She loves the dickens out of it! They run anywhere from $20-$100 depending on accessories. Ours came with a 37-70 zoom and dedicated(aftermarket) flash and a small gear bag. I paid $20 shipping included. There are loads of other brands Nikon 8008 would be another good choice. Look around-if you see something you are interested in GOOGLE it and do a little homework, and you'll get something worthwhile.
I already have one of those. It's still a pretty big camera. My wife is very small. I've never held an N75 but they are supposed to be very light.
One of the smaller non-SLR digital cameras would be perfect, but I don't think there is a film equivalent to the super-zoom style digital cameras.
If she does not really need an SLR and somewhat likes that Samsung camera, she will be very, very happy with an Olympus mju II - it is really tiny, weighs just 135g, has an incredibly sharp lens (f2.8), good AF, very good exposure metering. In addition, it is very silent, has a built-in flash and can even stand a little rain. It looks like a toy, but the results are amazing. I often use mine for... guess... yes, people shots. I have that camera with me whenever even my Leica M6 is too big or heavy.
Other candidates would be Yashica T3, T4, T5, quite similar concepts, a good lens with an idiot-proof P&S built around it. The T3 and T5 have a second "Albada" finder, look into it from the top like you would with a WLF. Nice gadget for candid shots.
Does Ricoh GR1 fit the bill? Have to hunt it down on the used market though.
Or how about the Contax G series?
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I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for, but I also have very small hands and the Canon Elan 7 is pretty comfortable for my small hands. Couple that with a 50mm lens and it is small and light (not bad with a 28-105mm either). The next step smaller and lighter is a bit more money. I've never used it, but the Contax G2 seems certainly fits the bill, but is a fair amount more expensive.
A Nikon N-75 [F-75 outside North America] is light, provides the automatic functions [auto-exposure, auto-focus] you are looking for and can be set manually or manually focused when you want to.
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Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
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I second the N8008 (N65). Had one and it is light and compact. Make sure what you get accvepts any lenses you already have to cut down on costs.
Pentax made the *ist (film version). It's small and light in weight. It's a very simple camera for amateurs.
There are similar models from Nikon, Canon and Minolta (later Konica Minolta) on the used market that should fit the bill. I can't imaging any of them costing more than $100 -- or more than $75.
I would think a Yashica T series camera would fit the bill nicely. I have a T4 and I'm constantly amazed at the quality of the negatives it gives me. Fairly wide lens, really high quality point and shoot. They bring a bit more used than I bought mine for new, but they are still in the $80 to $150 range on that auction site.