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djd Dec 6, 2003 2:04 PM

suggestion for young photographer on digital cameras
i am interested in buying a low cost digital camera (as in cheap but decent) for my 12 year old son. this is more experimental to see if he has a true interest in photography. any suggestions?

BillDrew Dec 6, 2003 3:55 PM

I'd suggest just looking at advertisements to find the cheapest 2 or 3 Mpixel camera available in your area. There are very few total disaster cameras, but do a quick check of the reviews to make sure that isn't one of them.

bradg Dec 6, 2003 5:07 PM

i'm 13 and i have a 7hi :P
but i have worked my way up from a kodak dc3800 (2 meg,cheap!!)i don't think they sell them anymore
i wouldn't say i am the worlds best photographer but i'm better then my parents :wink:

Mike_PEAT Dec 7, 2003 3:27 AM

What you get depends on the child's apptitude...but you may be better off getting a cheaper camera but which also has more advance features to start growing into.

The first camera I had as a child most adults couldn't handle due to the complexity.

BillDrew Dec 7, 2003 6:05 AM

I agree that *IF* the child is interested in photography, the features on the camera shouldn't be limited because of age. Much like computers, youth will be able to figure it out quickly. However, there is a fair chance that the camera will become a paperweight because the child is not interested in using it. I recomended the cheapest camera possible for that reason.

That does have the drawback of perhaps having to buy another camera within a few/several months. There is still an advantage to buying cheap now since by that time the child will/should have an idea of what they want in a camera: flash, long zoom, wide angle, light weight, ... Since you cannot get everything in one camera, picking out a new camera will teach something about trade-offs. Even if you can spend lots of money, there will still be trade-offs.

Likely prices will be lower in a few months as well.

Mathilde uP Dec 7, 2003 8:27 AM

As a contrast with Mike Peat, I had to wait till my 18 birthday to get a ultra simple compact camera. I was eager to learn more about photography for years, but this camera lacked everything and most of all quality; ergo summ I rather had a clumsy 2' hand camera with lots of manual overide instead of being frustrated by that stupid thing.

You could also consider to buy a decent camera and allow the kid to use it. If over time experience develops, minimize the 'watch patrol' on the camera. If he does not pick up an interest in photography, well give him a 'Barby' cam for his 18' birthday :twisted:

gibsonpd3620 Dec 7, 2003 8:43 AM

My sis bought a 2mp digital with no optical zoom off a discount table at walmart for $100. She loved the camera and love the digital processing of her own photos. She then used her friends camera with a 6X optical zoom and discovered that she needed a better camera with more zoom. She gave the 2mp camera to her 9 year old granddaughter. That girl takes pictures of everything. My sis bought her new camera with a 10X zoom and loves it. You really have two choices:

1. Buy a very low end camera and if the child does not like not much is loss. There are seveal 2mp cameras with no zoom. You many end up dumping the camera for a better camera later if they like it. Investment $100.

2. Buy a camera that they can grow into with manual controls, ultrazoom, etc. Investment $300.


Mathilde uP Dec 7, 2003 11:26 AM

Adding to Gibsons list a third one, that might also be in place (depending on the kind of education/ interest the boy has);

Building a pinhole camera as a test and education. If he likes to fiddle with his self made camera (beyond 'yes finished and duh 1 photo'), you have a green light on his interest in photography.

In any case saving money on a fixed focallength camera seems to make sense. He can always add a magnifying lens infront of it if he wants more macro power (yes I strongly believe in the power and fun of experimenting and fabric things for kids aswell as adults)

slipe Dec 7, 2003 12:04 PM

If your secret location is in the US I have a couple of suggestions.

CompUSA has an Argus 2Mp with no optical zoom for $80 after a $20 rebate mail in rebate. It takes SD cards but I have no idea how much it comes with.

If it were my kid I would probably spring for the Fuji A205 at Target for $150. You get an instant free $30 gift card with it, so the cost is $120 if you do any other shopping at Target. It has a 3X optical zoom and comes with 16Mb of memory. That isn’t a lot of memory but he can shoot at standard quality until you find out whether photography “caught” with him. It would give 25 shots – more at lower quality. This is the camera: Go to the conclusions page where Steve seems to like it as a first camera for a youth.

It is limited in advanced features, but an optical zoom might let him take pictures that are good enough to be proud of and want to progress.

Anything you buy you would want to get a charger and NiMH batteries. Alkalines don’t last very long and their price inhibits freely experimenting. They are pretty cheap. Maybe you could use the gift card with the Fuji for the charger and batteries. Get 4 batteries so he has a spare set in case interest is high enough to get a bigger memory card. The gift card should cover it.

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