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Old Nov 27, 2009, 2:15 PM   #1
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Default Best Camera for Child With Special Needs

I'm looking at cameras with some sort of image stabilization system. I am buying for a 14-year-old who has a hand tremor. He cannot manage small buttons or dials for settings. A child's camera, e.g. Fisher Price, is not appropriate. He has mobility issues but is a typical 14-year-old otherwise. More than any thing else it needs to be something he can use independently. It is no longer cool to ask Mom's help for anything.

I have a compact Canon and while he can manage the large button to take a picture he cannot turn the camera on or off or change the settings. This is ok because the camera works well in point and shoot mode. He cannot work the dial that changes functions from auto, to video or preview pictures. He can rock the wheel that changes the flash and macro settings. His pictures are often blury, which is why I think image stabilization would help. I've looked at every camera I thought might work but lack real life experience to make a decision. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Can anyone suggest a camera that has large buttons, a strap that can be put over the wrist and is very easy to use? Do you think image stabilization would allow for clear pictures for a child with a noticible hand tremor? Ideally image stabilization would be a default and not something that has to be turned on or off. I've been looking for 3 months and need to narrow my search. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old Nov 27, 2009, 6:49 PM   #2
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We bought a Fuji point and shoot for my FIL who had Parkinison's...mainly because it had a shake reduction system...which seemed to work OK for countering his shaking hands when he held the camera to take a pix.

My suggestion is to investigate cameras with a shake reduction (quite common) feature.

Another suggestion I have is that just you alone....first... might want to go down to a few larger camera shops in your area and discuss your son's camera needs with a knowledgeable clerk. My reason for suggesting this plan of action is that you can check out the variety of models first hand...then maybe whittle the number down to the models that would seem to meet your son's requirements for a camera.

I also think a larger camera shop is better, as they generally have a wider range of product due to their size.

I suggest this rather than a particular make/model as I'm not all that familiar with the range of cameras .

I then think after your individual tour of the camera shops, it would be an idea for you and your son, to go down to the camera shop and check out the models that have features and controls that work for your son .

He would be able to try them out, check out the controls, take pix inside the shop and see if the camera works well for him.

Being a 14 year old teenager it would be important (as you suggest) for him to make the final decision.

I know my kids (adults now) back when they were that age, know what's 'cool', know what they want and what works for them.

Another suggestion is to check out things with a Physiotherapist as they do a lot of adapting of equipment to meet an individual's specialized physical needs.

There might be a local physiotherapy association that might be able to make some suggestions (hopefully at no or little cost) that might work out well. I know at our provincial public school system, students with physical special needs often have physiotherapy time, from physiotherapists who work through the school system (no charge-part of the educational package).

I don't know if this is a similar situation in the States..that's why I'm suggesting you check out first if there are any finacial costs first to obtain advice.

Last edited by lesmore49; Nov 27, 2009 at 7:10 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 1:20 AM   #3
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Thank you for the suggestions. I'm not involving my 14-year-old in this because he needs a gift beneath the tree to be surprised with. Being able to return the camera if it does not work out or he does not like it is how I plan to get around not having him test it out.

We do have wonderful occupational and physical therapists who are great with adaptive technologies. I spoke with his occupational therapist and it was her opinion that he could use a regular camera if we can find the right one. While manufacturers are not always sensitive to designing products for kids with disabilities they are hooked into the elder market. Lots of adaptive technologies are built in these days to accomodate the needs of senior citizens.

Strangely enough I got the most informed help from a teenaged sales associate at Best Buy. I tried looking at the two speciality camera shops in my community and felt I was being sold to rather than having my needs met. I was hoping for a suggestion not biased by the potential for making a sale. I will check out Fuji cameras. Any one have any suggestions for another camera that might work?
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 1:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelnot View Post
Thank you for the suggestions. I'm not involving my 14-year-old in this because he needs a gift beneath the tree to be surprised with. Being able to return the camera if it does not work out or he does not like it is how I plan to get around not having him test it out.

We do have wonderful occupational and physical therapists who are great with adaptive technologies. I spoke with his occupational therapist and it was her opinion that he could use a regular camera if we can find the right one. While manufacturers are not always sensitive to designing products for kids with disabilities they are hooked into the elder market. Lots of adaptive technologies are built in these days to accomodate the needs of senior citizens.

Strangely enough I got the most informed help from a teenaged sales associate at Best Buy. I tried looking at the two speciality camera shops in my community and felt I was being sold to rather than having my needs met. I was hoping for a suggestion not biased by the potential for making a sale. I will check out Fuji cameras. Any one have any suggestions for another camera that might work?

My advice, which may or may not be germane to your son's situation.

There are small point and shoot cameras and many have a design priority it seems to be small and fit into a purse or a pocket. Attendant with the small dimensions is that buttons are correspondingly small.

I'm a fairly big individual with large hands and I find many of these small P + S cameras not large enough to give my hand an adequate grip on the camera when taking pix. I also find many P + S cameras with buttons so small that I have difficulty turning them on and off, adjusting them, etc.

I also always wear the neck strap around my neck as I note as I get older (in my '60's now) my coordination and strength isn't what it used to be...I don't want to drop the camera, I feel safer with a neck strap then a wrist strap. That maybe just me though.

I have DSLR (Pentax) cameras which are larger and I find the on/off button easier to switch on and off, adjustments etc. are easier for me.

DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex) are expensive and usually not a camera to start with for a beginning photographer.

What I would suggest you check are cameras that are called I believe DSLR -like. They don't have interchangeable lenses...just one zoom lens that is attached permanently to the camera.

I'm not sure of your budget, but they are cheaper then DSLR's , probably around the price range of a mid class to expensive P + S and I understand they take pretty good pix.

Because they are bigger than a point and shoot, I believe the buttons, on/off switch...grip area to grab, etc....would generally be bigger...more area for your son to put his hand around.

Here's a link to a DSLR-like type of camera (Fuji)...I took this from the home page of this website...there are more cameras there under reviews and you just click on the links. This one id $ 199 US I think, maybe cheaper depending on the shop. I think it has image stabilization, but you want to check and ensure, no matter what camera you buy. Note the button sizes...larger, easier to access than P + S.

This one says for advanced amateurs...but they do have DSLR-like models that are marketed for beginners...and with many cameras you can just leave it on auto program and the camera does most of the work. Again this is just a picture of one to see the button size, etc.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camer...ix-s1500-zoom/



Companies use a lot of different names for camera systems that reduce shake. Pentax calls it shake reduction, other companies call these systems image stabilization, etc.

DSLR like cameras are made by many top camera companies like Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Panasonic...just to give some examples.

You might want to check out a store that has a wide variety of DSLR-like cameras. I'm not sure if that's what they call them, but a good clerk should be able to know what this means re: makes and models.

Another thing I do when buying camera equipment is to check out the store's extended warranty for the equipment they sell...I usually buy this, but I first check out and see what they cover, do they cover accidents...like dropping, etc... I do a lot of photography outdoors and although I'm careful, accidents do happen.

I think most extended plans don't cover accidents, but I always check when I buy in Canada.

Also try it out...in the store before you buy, as you know best what your son's needs are. I always try equipment out inside the store or sometimes ask the clerk if they could accompany me outside the store while I try outside pictures. If they don't want to do this, I wouldn't have confidence in their after sales support and would go somewhere else.

Hope this helps.

Les

Last edited by lesmore49; Nov 29, 2009 at 2:50 PM.
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Old Nov 29, 2009, 3:39 PM   #5
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one other suggestion. i am not sure if the modern image stabilizers are powerful enough to combat a hand tremor, without knowing the magnitude of his tremor. however, there is a line of small flexible tripods called gorillapods available. they are quite small and light and can function as a short tripod, or can be wrapped around poles, tree-limbs, or about anything to provide a stable base of support. this could be a very nice accessory to consider.

http://joby.com/gorillapod/original/
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 1:31 AM   #6
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Thank you lesmore49 and Hards80. I will look at the the larger cameras. I had in mind spending around $200 but no more than $250. The gorillapods are certainly cute and I'm guessing rather cool. As soon as I figure out what camera I'm buying I'll order two-- one for me. Thanks again.
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Old Nov 30, 2009, 11:13 PM   #7
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angelnot-

I came across a user review of the Kodak C-190 camera today and they mentioned that it had "large buttons". I do not own the camera nor have I seen it, but that could be a possibility.

Sarah Joyce
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