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Old May 13, 2007, 10:43 AM   #1
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Not looking for brands or models - other forums for that - just advice.

My son will be going to Ireland next fall for school. Sept - Dec. He is lacking money as any college kid would. He asked me what to do for a camera. He has three choices as I see it:

1) Give him my old Pentax MX with walk around lens and have him use that with 35MM film;

2)Suggest he purchasea point and shoot pocket SLR (he could afford it);

3) Convince him (he has never used a camera) to buy a Digital SLR which is over his budget but conceivably could afford if he cuts costs elsewhere.

What would you folks do, and did I miss any choices?

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Old May 13, 2007, 12:20 PM   #2
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Personally, I think a Dslr is a good choice only if someone is "into" photography. Assuming he is not, I would look for a good ultrazoom point and shoot which opens up lots ofpossiblities without the higher learning curve and extra weight to carry around.

If he is into photography or is likely to get into it, then he is going to end up wanting a Dslr sooner or later so it might as well be sooner. You have a whole summer, why not make your camera available to him and see if it is his thing? If you go on a family outing put him in charge of the camera.

The price of the K100d after rebate is almost down to the price of a good ultrazoom now.

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Old May 13, 2007, 12:50 PM   #3
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A couple of things come to mind. Yesterday we picked up my college student niece's stuff (we always store some of her stuff over the summer - we live much closer to her school), while my sister loaded her car down with the stuff she was taking home. Your son won't be taking as much stuff to Ireland as my niece has at school, but space and weight is going to be a big issue.

Second, as Tim pointed out, is he really interested in photography? If not, then he could easily get frustrated when things don't go right and not take anything. Using film could frustrate him further because of the lag time between taking the picture and getting the film developed. Your learning curve is quicker with a dSLR because you get instant feedback, but there is a lot going on. Because of all that, if he decides he wants to go the dSLR route, the K100 would be better - it is more foolproof than the K10.

I think I'd first look at the smaller ultrazooms, something around 5-6 mp. Don't think I'd go any higher than that because you get into the noise issue. Or go with one of the better pocket-sized cameras so he'd always have it and wouldn't have a rock around his neck all the time.
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Old May 13, 2007, 1:25 PM   #4
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I would believe that in his case a P&S would be ideal. If he is going to buy new, then something with image stablization. Also something small, it is the size of a deck of cards. I picked up several years ago a Canon ELF SD500 - its a 7.1MP p&s (just an example) and it is great. Fits into any pocket I have (shirt, pants & backpack) and takes great shots and movies. I have taken it on several vacations and it is the perfect size.

It is not an SLR, it does not take a continous burst of pictures. Its like 6x zoom with wide angle, but it also does stitching for panoramas and its great, and easy. He is not going to be interested in taking images in the RAW format and converting them. So you might as well just get something that does jpg - and does them well, so he can instantly see it and then he will be taking a ton of pictures.

Something like that. If he is taking a laptop, then he only needs a few SD cards. No laptop, then take more SD cards, or a portable storage unit.

He will not have to change lenses, compose, set up the shots, just point and shoot and then try to keep up with the rest of the group. He can then take it everywhere with him, rather than on just special occasions. He can get all the shots that later in life he wishes he would have taken. - the inside of the pub down the street and around the corner with the perfect --------. The old musty classroom that was just ------. What the school quad looked like between classes - first snow, - change of seasons. The library with all the books arranged on tiers. The old room that he had for a week that was just -------. All of thoes moments that he would not even consider taking a larger camera to.

The batteries are relatively cheap with the recharger. He will need probably 3 batteries (1 for the camera, 1 spare in the pocket, 1 in the charger).

Also, take him out back and give him an hours worth of lessons. How to stitch a pano together when taking images. How to compose and keep the horizon level, the simple stuff so that he comes back with some images that are worthwild rather than ?????

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Old May 13, 2007, 1:41 PM   #5
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P&S is certainly the way to go.

They can be in-expensive, so loss is not such an issue, plus there is no need to luck a ton of lenses around.

To be honest I had great success with my Kodak Z740 bridge camera. Benefits of DSLR but no lens to change.

Unless your son is going to be using it on a regular basis, then any compact with a 3x optical zoom and 5mp will more than do the job, and allow him to upload to myspace or photobucket to share with family and friends.

Another option of course is a decent camera phone. The Sony Erricson K750i has an autofocus camera with several settings and is as good as a P&S, plus it will always be with him.

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Old May 13, 2007, 3:39 PM   #6
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I agree with the P&S idea - but the model should have a real viewfinder. Nothing worse than trying to talk to someone who thinks the only way to capture images is at arms length. A super-zoom might also work out.

That said - with the price of the K100D and other entry level SLR's - That just might be the best starter. If your son does go on to sticking to our addiction - the K100D is a great way to start. You can loan him some of your better glass too --- yeah right.

Not to be morbid - but when the inheritance comes along - your "stuff" won't be first and foremost in the garage sale. Start the legacy now.

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Old May 13, 2007, 4:20 PM   #7
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I would recommend a point and shoot for your son.

Option 1: 35MM film is great for photographers, still love seeing photographers out there still using film, but for a college student digital is the way to go. The learning curve of a point and shoot is going to be minimal and with digital the results are instant. He will be inclined to take more pictures with a digital than having to worry about how much film he has left, or worry about when and how much it is going to cost to develop those 3 rolls he just snapped. Have him get a SmugMug or Flickr account and upload all his photos to share with friends and family.

Option 2: That's my recommendation... or buy one for him as a gift.

Option 3: Digital SLR's are nice, and would be the ultimate solution.... but I doubt he is going to Ireland just to take photos, but rather wants to take photos of Ireland while he is there. There is just so much more flexability built into a point and shoot with a moderate tele-zoom. Toss it in a backpack, or slip one in a pocket.

Hope this was some help to you.

Whatever he gets, the important part is to take a camera to capture the memories of Ireland. I traveled all over the US and overseas when I was in the Air Force. Never once thought about taking a camera with me only when I went to Hawaii. One of those things you live to regret. Now I always have a camera with me! I keep an Olympus SP-350 point and shoot just for those moments I don't have my K10D or my *ist Dl with me.
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Old May 13, 2007, 4:45 PM   #8
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Yeah, a decent digitalpoint & shoot with a good zoomis the way to go. They are easy to use, cheap to buy and use, and convienant. Keep it simple starting out.If he does become really interested in photography, he`ll find his way to a dslr. I imagine right now he`s got so much on his mind like the trip, his education, life in general,...and girls. :G
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Old May 13, 2007, 4:58 PM   #9
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I'll just add my vote for a P &S.
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Old May 13, 2007, 6:45 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice very much appreciated.
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