Starter camera for 12 yr old

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Pappy17, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Pappy17

    Pappy17 TPF Noob!

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    Looking for a Christmas present for my daugher. She wants to get started in photography and our Christmas budget is about $200. Is that possible?
     
  2. --ares--

    --ares-- TPF Noob!

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    I doubt you can pick up a DSLR that cheep. And I doubt even more that she wants to go into film. You can pick up nice point and shoot cameras for under 150$ now probably. My only input I can give is don't buy a fuji film more specificly one that is very similar to this...

    Fujifilm | FinePix S1500 Digital Camera | 15929469 | B&H Photo

    My brother uses one and it bugs the crap out of him and it is a total pig with batteries.
     
  3. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    The son of a friend of ours started with a little P&S for a birthday present when he was 11.

    Started doing photos for relatives, friends, pets, Church, Scouts, etc. started getting small amounts of $$ for them sometimes when he could. Finally saved enough to buy a D40 (with help from dad), and he seems to know more about PP than some adults do.

    Now he is a freshmen, and is a photographer on the HS newspaper and yearbook staff.

    I think that is pretty cool for him! Being HS photographer will get you out of all kinds of classes you don't want to go to...
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2009
  4. ecnal

    ecnal TPF Noob!

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    Adorama has a refurbished Nikon D40 with the kit lens for 375. That's about what I paid for mine, I bought it refurbished from B&H. I've had no problems with it.

    I actually like that it's refurbished because you know it went through the quality checklist, as opposed to one straight off the line where they most likely only quality check every couple of hundred cameras.

    25420B Nikon D40 6.1 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera 3X Zoom Kit Outfit, with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Zoom Nikkor Lens - Refurbished by Nikon U.S.A.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would check here Budget Camera Group Test (Q4 2008) Review: 1. Introduction: Digital Photography Review

    for a list of last year's Christmas point and shoot digitals. This summer, I bought my 14 year old niece the Canon A470 for $99 in June, which is one of the big camera buying months. In the tests, the camera acquits itself pretty well.

    Much of photography is about learning how to see things,and how to translate that human vision into something a camera can capture. At age 12, I would have been positively *thrilled* to have had a digital, zoom lens camera like this Canon. Instead, I had a 25-year old Kodak 35mm camera.
     
  6. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    ^^^ My kids use a Canon A430, they love it - plus it has a viewfinder. :)
     
  7. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First camera I got was a Canon A-series. I liked the grip, and it got the job done. It's a good introduction to dSLR's as (I imagine) they allow one to adjust the same controls as those found on all SLR cameras.
     
  8. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are plenty of compact cameras in that price range.

    If she wants to learn more about photography, make sure your camera choice has the modes: Auto, P, A, S, M. It's also good to get one with a viewfinder instead of just a screen (though there aren't many of those at the cheapest end of the market).

    There are actually plenty of decent compacts on the market sub $200, the link that Derrel posted above is a great place to start looking though.

    If she likes wildlife/animals, try to choose something that will zoom in as far as possible (so the biggest focal length is, for example, equivalent to as much over 200mm as you can find). On the other hand if she'll want to take pictures of groups of friends indoors, or landscapes, you want the wide angle end of the lens to go to as small a value as possible (you can find a few under 30mm). Some cameras will cover both ends well.
     
  9. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I also agree that for a 12 year old, a Canon compact would be best. I've had Sony, Nikon and Canon compacts and preferred the Canon, which is why I went with a Canon dSLR.

    Things to remember:

    - dont be fooled by higher megapixels. High MP doesnt mean better camera. For a P&S and something that she will probably use to post online and maybe a 6x4, 8mp is PLENTY. 8MP could print out a nice 8x12.

    - Get something with image stabilization. I find that with a P&S, and specially used by a 12 year old who is often on the go and probably moving herself when she takes the images, IS is key.

    This is where I preferred Canon. Canon had optical image stabilization, which is considered true IS. It has components in the camera that move to compensate for hand movement and such.

    Digital IS, which is present in Nikon P&S, essentially pushes up your cameras ISO to allow for a faster shutter speed. However, the higher ISO, the more noise appears in the image, and thus noise-reduction is applied making an overall not as appealing picture.

    So Optical IS over Digital IS

    - Same goes with the zoom. Look for a zoom that is Optical, forget about Digital. Optical zoom is the lens actually zooming. Digital zoom is the camera doing what is equivalent to someone using an image software to crop or zoom in.

    So Optical zoom vs Digital zoom.

    That being said, on today's market, I'd go for something like the Canon PowerShot 10 MP camera ( Canon - PowerShot 10.0-Megapixel Digital Camera - Black - SX120 IS )
    Its on sale at Bestbuy for $199 instead of $249.

    10MP, Digic 4 processor, Optical IS, 10x Optical zoom, water resistant design.
    It runs on 2 regular AA batteries

    A little lower on the scale is the Canon Powershot Digital Elph ( Canon - PowerShot 10.0-Megapixel Digital ELPH Camera - Pink - SD1200 IS ). Its $179, but from what I see, its only a 3x zoom, smaller screen, no IS. But it is Pink.

    I really do like the first Canon I listed though, it looks like a nice camera.
    If she sticks with photography, then the next step would be a bridge camera in a year or two, something like the Canon SX1 IS. It has a better sensor, a nice 20x optical zoom and more functions to learn how to better control a camera. Or even, if she is responsible enough, a used Canon Rebel dSLR to start with with some nice quality lenses
     
  10. Pappy17

    Pappy17 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone for all their input.

    I think I have decided due to cost limitations and your advice to go with a point and shoot.

    I think it is down to these 4
    Canon - PowerShot 10.0-Megapixel Digital Camera - Black
    Canon PowerShot A470
    Canon PowerShot A590 IS
    Panasonic LZ8

    A few questions though,

    Is Canon the go to brand on the market?
    Why would I go with the A470 over the A590?
    Panasonic won the 2008 test, why not go with that camera?


    I am looking for something that will teach her about photography basics. She is a gifted child and I am looking for something to stretch her limitations.
     
  11. PatrickHMS

    PatrickHMS TPF Noob!

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    Good luck!

    Sounds like a PROUD pappy, as you should be....
     
  12. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    I got my twin 12 y/o's a Panasonic Z28 when we went to Alaska last June. Aside from fighting over who gets to use it, they treat it incredibly well and use it often. It has excellent IQ, a true viewfinder, and manual modes. Unfortunately, it is over your budget, but my point is that you don't necessarily need Canon or Nikon. They had showed me over the past couple of years that they were able to take care of a camera and that they would really use it rather than relegating it to their toy bin (as many things have been), as I had previously given them my old cheap Nikon L4 P&S.

    I would avoid a dSLR, even if you could find one in the price range. At this age, they want something easy to pick up and carry around all the time. Even the Z28 is on the big end for that. If they had to deal with changing lenses, etc., they would lose interest fast.
     

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