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I’m totally a novice to Photography and related gadgets. But I want to gift a camera with a “viewfinder” lens to my wife. She already has a Canon dSLR camera. Is it typical to buy just an “electronic viewfinder” for a DSLR camera like the EVF-DC2? Or, is that a silly question because they’re different technologies?

She’s an avid photographer and has several really beautiful shots of nature and night skies with captures of the galaxy and shooting starts.

I’m largely clueless as to what the good choices for this are. A simple google search shows cameras that don’t really look like the typical DSLR ones. They look more like digital cameras. For instance, a Powershot G5X, Pentax K-70, or Canon EOS M6.

Can someone please help me steer my research and point me to the typical/good choices?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ask the recipient what they would like because the burden of receiving the wrong gift from a loved one is often high. There is no way the internet can make a good suggestion except by random chance. A camera store gift card is also an option. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2021 at 19:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ The canon DSLR has a viewfinder. It is optical. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 8, 2021 at 19:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Buying equipment is always risky. However, if the person has a DSLR the obvious gift would be another lens. You can always use another lens. Best to ask what is desired. \$\endgroup\$
    – Eric S
    Oct 9, 2021 at 0:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ "I’m totally a novice to Photography..." and "She’s an avid photographer..." along with *"But I want to gift a camera". It's the same answer to, "I want to pick out a Bra for my wife..." Don't! Seriously. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2021 at 19:28

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dSLRs cannot use add-on electronic viewfinders. They don't have the communication contacts in the flash hotshoe to "talk" to one. The Canon EVF model you're looking at is only for Canon's mirrorless cameras that do not have a built-in EVF. So, that would not be a good present.

Typically, attempting to purchase a camera as someone who doesn't know anything about cameras for an experienced photographer who already owns camera gear can be something of an expensive minefield. This is like clothes shopping. You have to find something that fits the person's personal style, preferences, budget, and physique, and the chances of screwing it up are legion because of what you don't know.

It all comes down to personal preferences, usage, and budget. And a camera is not the only really expensive thing a photographer might want.

The general advice for folks on boards is that you a) either do a gift certificate with a budget limit to the person for them to spend what they want on camera gear, or b) to give up the happy picture of a cool surprise present, and involve them in the selection process. It's not as fun as surprising someone with a big extravagant gift, we know. But it's also better than disappointing them with a big extravagant gift they actively don't want. She may not want a camera. She might want a subscription for Lightroom/Photoshop, or flash gear, or a better tripod or tracking head or...

If your wife is shooting a Canon dSLR, she might prefer having additional Canon dSLR gear rather than moving to a different system where she would have to leave behind all her Canon dSLR lenses and lights, or would have to adapt all her lenses. She might prefer getting a specialized Canon body that's been modified specifically for astrophotography. She might prefer going Sony or Fuji mirrorless rather than Canon. You won't know until you ask her.

You also linked to three completely different types of cameras. The Powershot is a fixed-lens P&S camera. It's a high-end enthusiast compact with a 1"-format sensor, but it's still got a smaller sensor and no option for changing lenses like a Canon dSLR does. It's more compact and convenient, but it's not as flexible or powerful as a dSLR.

The K-70 is a Pentax dSLR. It uses a completely different lens mount from her Canon EOS camera, but is pretty similar in how it works. Whether she'd prefer it could be questionable, particularly since she's already used to her Canon.

The M6 is a Canon crop-body mirrorless camera, and would also be a complete system shift, but she could use her EOS lenses with an adapter and retain full lens function (e.g., autofocus). It's much smaller and more compact, and has similar function to Canon's dSLRs. But as of 2023, Canon has officially discontinued the EOS M system; and native mount EF-M lenses cannot be adapted to EOS R.

Most folks on messageboards [in 2023], who contemplate moving from a Canon dSLR to a mirrorless system tend to look at the EOS R because they can adapt their current glass. Or if they don't have lenses they want to take with them, contemplate moving to Sony E (A7 and a6x00 bodies), Fuji X system, Nikon Z, Olympus/OM or Panasonic micro four-thirds, or Panasonic S [full frame; Leica L-mount].

Which system they choose depends on personal preferences in handling, sensor performance and size, system size/weight, lens selections, and features. And different shooters are willing to make different tradeoffs. For example, micro four-thirds uses a smaller 2x crop sensor which impacts dynamic range, resolution, and noise performance, but can create a more compact system. And being the oldest mirrorless system has the widest/deepest used market, but also possibly the least secure future). Panasonic S isn't that popular among stills shooters, but is highly attractive to videographers. Fuji X is incredibly stylish and popular, but doesn't have full-frame options. Canon R and Nikon Z don't have the breadth of 3rd-party lens selection Sony E does due to being newer systems.

Unless you know what tradeoffs your giftee is willing to make? You could choose something that's just plain wrong.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you so much for your constructive answer. I completely understand your suggestion on why it is important to let my wife choose the best camera. I feel the surprise element is still worth the occasion. Upon a bit of reading, I find that photographers prefer mirrorless cameras for astrophotography. Is that way better than selecting an appropriate lens for a DSLR that is tailored to capture high-resolution images under low light? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 11, 2021 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pavithran, re astrophotography, not really. Like most things in photography, it's 1) lens 2) sensor that's really important here (while the most important thing, light, is being 'provided'). But with these things equal, dSLR is generally preferable over mirrorless: for astrophoto, you don't want your sensor to work (and warm up) most of the time before a long shot, or the dark noise may increase considerably. Yet mirrorless can only "see" with the sensor. Also, dSLR have much better battery life, which matters if you're actually going in the field. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeus
    Oct 15, 2021 at 0:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you so much guys, these suggestions have been so helpful! I get your points and it seems like the gift card (or letting my wife choose the best camera) is quite the sensible option. I see that there are a few stores around for good camera equipments. Do you suggest I purchase a particular store's gift card? If anyone has a suggestion that is specific to San Francisco (or anywhere in California) that would be really appreciated. Otherwise, I can certainly look into general MasterCard and Visa gift cards that can be used anywhere. I'm having in mind a budget of US$800 to US$1000. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2021 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PavithranIyer, shopping questions are strictly off-topic on SE, because they don't have much life or interest for anyone other than you, right now. I'd recommend asking on dpreview.com's forums. They're all about the shopping, since they're owned by Amazon. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Oct 23, 2021 at 23:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @inkista Sincere apologies, I wasn't aware of this. Sure, thanks for pointing this out and I will take it up at the forum you pointed me to. Cheers! \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24, 2021 at 1:08
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The electronic viewfinder you link to is used with Canon mirrorless cameras. They are like DSLRs but do not have a mirror to reflect the light from the lens into the viewfinder. You can use these cameras with the LCD screen on the back for composition, but some people (like me) prefer having an eye level viewfinder. This goes into the hot shoe where a flash could attach. This will be useless unless she has the right camera already.

The three cameras you link to are very different. The first is a point-and-shoot. It has an electronic viewfinder built in which takes the output of the main sensor. A question is why somebody who already has a DSLR would want one, though there are good reasons. These are smaller, lighter, and do not need you to carry other lenses. The Pentax is a DSLR. The Canon M6 is one of the mirrorless cameras I mentioned above. I have one and like it a lot, but it is similar to a DSLR. It uses changeable lenses. Removing the mirror lets the body get smaller and has good and bad points. With an adapter, this could use all her existing lenses.

I would suggest you talk to her about what she wants.

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If you limit yourself to the concept of "Camera" it is not a good place to start.

You say that she already has a DSLR. I see 3 main options and some subcategories:

  1. Expand the type of lenses she has.

    Probably she needs a wider lens, a telephoto lens, or a prime lens.

  2. Upgrade the camera body, due for some specific reasons.

    Probably it has a lot of noise on High iso or night shots, or she could use more Megapixels without compromising the image quality.

  3. Get additional gear she has not. Either for her main photographic theme (astronomy) or for other types of photography.

Does she have an automated head to track stars? Does she have a good quality ND filter for long exposures of landscapes?

Or probably she has never done portrait photography because she does not have some decent lens or light setup.

This requires a lot of investigation... Probably a good option is to search some wishlist on her amazon account. But of course, this will all depend on how is your relationship regarding that kind of private thing.


But I agree that although the gesture is nice, in the long term a better option is to involve her actively. She can always pretend to be surprised when the present arrives. :)

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Since she's already an avid photographer, ask her for a wish list of items she wants. Have her be very specific so you know the exact make and model of each item. Once you have this, then you go shopping.

While some of the surprise is lost (she'll know something's up), she won't know exactly what item she'll be getting or when.

Additionally, you'll know that you're not wasting money getting her something she doesn't want or already has and you'll know that you'll be getting her the exact flash she's been drooling over, as opposed to "a" flash that looked good to you (for example).

My wife and I have been doing this for years for Christmas/birthday gift lists and it works out very well. When I decided it was time for a laptop upgrade, I did all my research, settled on 2 different ones I'd be happy with, then emailed her links. She made the choice and I was happy with the result. (She actually picked the more expensive one which really shocked me!)

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    \$\begingroup\$ thanks so much for the advice, that totally makes sense. I think letting my wife choose is probably the best idea since a good camera will be worth several hundreds of dollars and it would make more sense if the purchase is worth the product. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2021 at 19:22
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Since you are not a photographer, you can have no idea of the complex paths photography can take - and the right equipment for that journey. Also, since you are not a photographer, your wife may not share her ideas and decisions about where she is going with her avocation and what equipment she most wants with which to take that journey.

Giving her equipment without knowing what she wants may be fun for you but, having gone through this several times, I can virtually guarantee, it is the wrong choice. It might be fun for you but a total disaster for your wife. Giving a gift of your choice also mights sends a signal that you are more interested in being a benefactor than in her getting a gift she will use and treasure.

Gift certificate is the way to go.

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It's tough, and almost impossible, for a non-specialist in the field to buy a good present for a specialist. I agree with most answers here that perhaps it's better to ask.

Still, let's accept the premise that you want to make a surprise. It may still be possible to have a fairly safe and good present.

First, forget about the "camera", unless your wife has indicated that she wants to change hers. The beauty of dSLR is that you can "grow" it almost indefinitely, buying lenses and other equipment, then at some point buying a new body while retaining the lenses (which will accumulate most of the cost), and so on.

Long story short, for someone who likes "beautiful shots of nature and night skies", my suggestion would be to buy a nice fast wide-angle prime lens.

A good candidate would be: Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art or something similar.

For night shots capturing landscape and/or Milky Way, you want something with f/2.0 or lower number, and perhaps 28 mm or wider (again lower number). A very wide lens (<20 mm) is also fun (and challenge) for general landscape/indoor use.

Another alternative is a funky specialised lens she unlikely to have or just buy herself, yet would like to play with. Such things often make a good present. Things like fisheye or Lensbaby come to mind.

Now, before you buy anything, there are two important things to find out:

  1. What sort of Canon dSLR camera she has. The important difference is whether it is full-frame (EF) or crop (EF-S). In the latter case, the 24 mm wide lens suddenly becomes 38 mm, which is not particularly wide. Generally, the choice of fast wide lenses on EF-S is very limited.
  2. Whether she already has something similar.

If you have no idea and don't want to arouse suspicion by asking, you could just inspect her gear. The camera model appears on the front of the body, and the lens type is usually printed somewhere on the barrel or the rim of the front element. Post it as an update to your question or as a new question, and we may help better.

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