Camera recommendations for an upcoming 9th grader

Nevermore1

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I've been very out of the loop lately and am looking for recommendations for a decent DSLR for my daughter. I currently use Canons (70D and 6D Mark II) it doesn't need to be a Canon. Looking for something that isn't the bottom of the line but also not too pricey since it will be going to school with her as she's planning on taking photography next year. Thanks.
 

JoeW

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First, I strongly suggest you look at a Canon. And that's because there will be questions at on the onset and the two of you can teach each other. And eventually trade gear (like speed lights or lenses).

That said, I shoot Nikon. So I am more knowledgable about Nikon options. If you were to look at a Nikon DSLR (and excluding used options because those are all over the place), since she's taking photography next year you need a DSLR with lens you can exchange and the ability to manipulate settings (exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed, etc.).

So a good camera to look at is the D5600. It's not entry level (that would be the D3500). It's a crop body (so cheaper, smaller, lighter). And the D5000 series is smaller and lighter because it uses the autofocus motor in the lens (most cameras have a motor in the body and the lens has one as well). With a kit lens and then the absolutely wonderful 35mm f1.8 DX lens (light, cheap, great for landscapes and indoor photography because of the wide open aperture) new will cost you less than $800 (probably more like $750).

Another possibility to look at (that I think would be initially attractive but ultimately not the direction to go) would be some of the Olympus 4/3 cameras. Nice little cameras. They're initially attractive because they're so small and light--very good travel options for a teen. But the sensor is so small, they're so menu driven that I think once the novelty wore off, she'd find her phone to be more useful.

Having taught a number of photo classes and summer school programs, most teens I've encountered with their first camera like a kit (it's cool to get a camera bag with the camera and a few other nonsensical items in the package) so rather than buying stuff separately you may want to consider a kit.

If you're considering a range of possibilities (and so many people in their teens and 20's are going "why do I need a camera when I've got my phone?") then look for a camera that will perform in areas her phone just won't cut it. So low light capability (where most phone pictures are all grainy). Or multiple FPS (to shoot a bee hovering over a flower). Or can take a speedlight attachment. Or remote trigger. So even if she loves to shoot with her phone she has some clear initial insight that "hey, this can do some useful stuff my phone can't do!"

I'd absolutely avoid all the point and shoot options--they are going to limit her tremendously in her photography class. And frankly, some phones are better at taking pictures than a lot of point and shoots.
 

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I've been very out of the loop lately and am looking for recommendations for a decent DSLR for my daughter. I currently use Canons (70D and 6D Mark II) it doesn't need to be a Canon. Looking for something that isn't the bottom of the line but also not too pricey since it will be going to school with her as she's planning on taking photography next year. Thanks.
Might be time for a chat with the class instructors.
 

snowbear

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^ This.

When my youngest took Photography in 9th Grade, they had to shoot film.
 

ac12

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I agree about staying with the same brand of camera that YOU use.
The primary reason is so that you can help her.

I shoot Nikon and I often had problem when a student wanted help with their Canon. I was "stumped/confused."
The Canon does the same things as the Nikon, but DIFFERENTLY. And it is those differences that was confusing for me.
There are operational differences between the 2-wheel pro/semi-pro cameras that you have, and the 1-wheel entry/consumer cameras. But those are easier to deal with than the difference between Canon and Nikon.

Secondly, she can use some of your EF/EF-S lenses on her EF-S camera.


Camera:

I am not familiar with the current line of Canon dSLRS.

READ the specs. The camera specs have to match your requirements.

Caution, Canon has a T7 which is often confused with the older (now discontinued) T7i. But, they are two very different cameras. To me, the T7 is a "crippled" T7i. Compare the specs.
The T7 is fine as a day-time camera, but NOT for shooting in LOW light level. That is one place where Canon crippled the T7.

For a day-time camera, even the old obsolete T3i will work just fine.

KEH (used gear) has the T7i for $590, and the newer T8i for $650 (new about $750).
Canon USA refurbished Canon Refurbished Cameras & Accessories | Canon U.S.A, Inc. Currently no cameras listed.


Lenses:

I highly recommend the Canon 18-135 as her primary GP lens.
I use the Nikon 18-140 as my GP lens, and I love it. And I made the Canon 18-135 and Nikon 18-140 the standard lens for my school's yearbook and sports leadership cameras.

Alternatively, the 18-55 is a smaller/lighter lens. But, then if she wants more reach than 55mm, she will need a 2nd longer lens. Whereas the 135 on the 18-135 may be long enough to not need a 2nd longer lens, for more situations.

Caution: in MANY 2-lens kits, 18-55 + 70-300 (or similar); the 18-55 is stabilized, but the longer lens IS NOT stabilized. IMHO, the longer lens NEEDS to be stabilized more so than the 18-55.
Example. B&H has a kit, T7 (NOT the T7i) + 18-55 + 70-300 for $600. This seems like a good deal. But personally, I would NOT buy it because of the unstabilized 70-300. I would build my own kit with the lens(es) that I want.

KEH (used gear) has the 18-135 for $200 (note, the 18-135 is not currently included as a kit lens for any of the Canon non-pro cameras. It used to be available as an alternate kit lens with the T7i, which is how the school bought it; T7i + 18-135.)


Other:

She will be taking photography next year, but . . . does she have any desire to shoot high school sports or theater. She may want to take pictures of her classmates.
The reason for that question is, sport and theater place a different requirement on the gear than "general" photography. Many high school sports are at night, under lights or in the gym. A camera and lens that is just fine for daytime shooting may NOT work for gym, night sports or theater. The problem is the LOW LIGHT levels in those venues.

At my school, the only sports which are DAY time only are: track and field, tennis, baseball, softball and swimming.
The rest are afternoon/night or in the gym.

I say this because I am a photo advisor at the local high school. And I have had students wanting to take pictures in the gym or on the field at night, and their cameras and lens are just not up to taking pictures in the LOW light conditions.

If I am shooting at ISO 12800 at f/4, they have to shoot at ISO 25600 at f/5.6. Their cameras max out at ISO 6400, or less, and their lens maxes at f/5.6. So rather than shooting at 1/800 sec, they have to shoot at 1/200 sec or slower, and struggle with subject motion blur, or have underexposed images. And the situation is worse at another school, with a DIMMER field. Same situation in the gym for basketball and volleyball.

The theater is also DIM. But at least the performers are not moving FAST, like the athletes on the field or court.

Actually, if your daughter goes into performing arts or sports, it will be YOU taking those pictures. 😁
 

MitchP

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I've been very out of the loop lately and am looking for recommendations for a decent DSLR for my daughter. I currently use Canons (70D and 6D Mark II) it doesn't need to be a Canon. Looking for something that isn't the bottom of the line but also not too pricey since it will be going to school with her as she's planning on taking photography next year. Thanks.
Canon EOS R10
 

ac12

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I've been very out of the loop lately and am looking for recommendations for a decent DSLR for my daughter. I currently use Canons (70D and 6D Mark II) it doesn't need to be a Canon. Looking for something that isn't the bottom of the line but also not too pricey since it will be going to school with her as she's planning on taking photography next year. Thanks.

What is pricey?
People have different definitions of the borderline.

I made an APS-C comparison chart (in summer 2022) for one of my video lessons.
This is the Canon section.

1674533414654.png


The SL series is confusing vs. the T series.

Now that Canon has the R series APS-C cameras, I would ignore the M50. I don't know if Canon will dead-end the M50 or not.
 
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Nevermore1

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^ This.

When my youngest took Photography in 9th Grade, they had to shoot film.
My oldest daughter took the class in the same school (about 8 years ago) and most students used their cell phones for the class, the teacher didn't know most of the settings on her DSLR (unfortunately my daughter ended up in the class that wasn't being taught by the teacher that actually knew how to work cameras). My younger daughter said she wants to learn on a "real" camera so that's why I'm looking to get her one and I plan on using the next few months to teach her some of the basics on how to use it and what different settings do and how they affect the final photo. I didn't find out until about halfway through the school year that my older daughters teacher didn't know how to use a DSLR and ended giving her a crash course in it over one weekend and her teacher couldn't believe how much her photos improved so quickly.

I do have an old film camera laying (an older Canon and a big box of various cameras from my husbands late grandmother) around as well as the stuff for developing film if she decides she really likes photography and wants to attempt film. I might try teachin her how to develop film as well as some of the old cameras from grandma still have film in them.
 
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Nevermore1

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What is pricey?
People have different definitions of the borderline.

I made an APS-C comparison chart (in summer 2022) for one of my video lessons.
This is the Canon section.

View attachment 263344

The SL series is confusing vs. the T series.

Now that Canon has the R series APS-C cameras, I would ignore the M50. I don't know if Canon will dead-end the M50 or not.
Thanks. I'm willing to go up to $600, maybe $750. My main concern is that it will be going to school with her and while I trust her to take care of it properly I don't necessarily trust all the other students to not be messing around.
 

ac12

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Thanks. I'm willing to go up to $600, maybe $750. My main concern is that it will be going to school with her and while I trust her to take care of it properly I don't necessarily trust all the other students to not be messing around.

I know what you mean.

I was a yearbook photographer in high school, and the camera lived on my shoulder.
Luckily, I did not have classmates that hassled me.
Those that might have, also wanted their pictures in the yearbook. And if they hassled me they would NOT have their pictures in the yearbook. So that worked out.

But, recently, at the school that I advise at, in the classes that I have been photo advisor in, there were students that had an "attitude," and some that would not calm down and listen to the teacher. And there are some students that just want to play with other students stuff. So I do understand.
In which case, I would go with a used older but still good camera. That reduces your financial risk, and can easily meet your budget.
Just understand the limitations of the older gear.

Examples, from KEH
Camera:
You can get a current model Canon T7 for about $330
Or an older Canon T5i for about $280
Or a Canon T5 (I have no idea what the differences between the T5i and T5 are), for about $200

note: KEH does NOT include the strap with the camera, so you have to get that separately. About $4 to 8.
It was a bummer to discover that.

Lens:
Canon 18-135 for $262
Or a Canon 18-55 for $70 to 85 depending on which of several versions. Get a version with IS.

You will have to get the lens hoods separately, if the KEH package does not include the hood.
I got them from KEH or Amazon.

Get her a good padded case for her to keep the camera in.
A knapsack does not provide much if any protection from banging around.
 

JoeW

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Thanks. I'm willing to go up to $600, maybe $750. My main concern is that it will be going to school with her and while I trust her to take care of it properly I don't necessarily trust all the other students to not be messing around.
Useful information.

I won't comment on Canon options (because again, that's not my expertise--though I suggest that's what you start with as your default considerations because it will be useful for the two of you to trade equipment). That said,....if you go used (with say KEH or Adorama) you can get a Nikon D5600 with a 35mm f1.8 and a speed light for $600. And as long as she won't be put off with a used camera, my thinking is: if this takes off and she loves it, you'll be upgrading cameras in 1-2 years anyway (to something much more sophisticated and capable of her growing skills).

Since backpacks are so ubiquitous in HS these days, unless she really absolutely positively wants a separate camera bag, I suggest you get an insert for her backpack. That would cushion her camera gear. And in a conventional daypack would make it less obvious to classmates she's carrying a camera (as opposed to a camera bag). You can get them on Amazon for $20.

I wouldn't start her out on your film camera. Learn first on the DSLR. If she loves it, then expose her to film. Then she'll have the expertise to appreciate the differences. But for right now, a substantial difference is that with a DSLR, you are freer to experiment--you aren't rationing your shots. And you get immediate feedback ("crap--too dark!") that you don't get with film.
 
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Dave Maciak

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I've been very out of the loop lately and am looking for recommendations for a decent DSLR for my daughter. I currently use Canons (70D and 6D Mark II) it doesn't need to be a Canon. Looking for something that isn't the bottom of the line but also not too pricey since it will be going to school with her as she's planning on taking photography next year. Thanks.
Well, if you have not yet made up your mind, my suggestion would be look at KEH or some other online seller for a good, used DSLR and you can get one from $1oo and up. I would also say look at he DX format because of price. I've been a Nikon shooter for over 50 years and recently bought a D3100, used, listed as excellent, for $125.00. Excellent it is, and in addition to my D780 it is in my travel bag. Also, lenses in that format are really bargains.
Doesn't really matter the brand, I believe it is a good place to start. Some would turn up their noses at the DX format but it's a starter, and a good one that's reasonably priced. Give a look.
 

ac12

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Since backpacks are so ubiquitous in HS these days, unless she really absolutely positively wants a separate camera bag, I suggest you get an insert for her backpack. That would cushion her camera gear. And in a conventional daypack would make it less obvious to classmates she's carrying a camera (as opposed to a camera bag). You can get them on Amazon for $20.

I LIKE the idea of the insert.
 

JoeW

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I LIKE the idea of the insert.
Part of the advantage of the insert is: if you add more gear (like a good distance zoom for shooting sports or wildlife), the insert is adjustable. You don't end up buying a new camera bag. Also, bags and backpacks with camera logos on them are magnets for thiefs. So an insert in to a daypack makes the backpack just a little less interesting.
 

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