Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?

Started Nov 15, 2011 | Discussions
meanwhile
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Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
Nov 15, 2011

If you had a budget of $250-300, which digital camera would you buy an 8 year old?

I'm currently wavering between a rugged one like the Panasonic TS3 (that would hopefully last longer and be worried about less), and something with more reach like a Canon SX230 HS that would be more flexible. Pretty sure it has to have a zoom.

Thoughts?

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Canon PowerShot SX230 HS Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 (Lumix DMC-FT3)
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Mark_A
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 15, 2011

meanwhile wrote:

If you had a budget of $250-300, which digital camera would you buy an 8 year old?

I'm currently wavering between a rugged one like the Panasonic TS3 (that would hopefully last longer and be worried about less), and something with more reach like a Canon SX230 HS that would be more flexible. Pretty sure it has to have a zoom.

Thoughts?

It would depend on how much interest they had shown and how dilligent you thought they would be with it.

When my then 11 year old went on a school trip I bought him two disposable film cameras and he was happy with that.

Mark

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Bruce Miller
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

I would buy the cheapest one I could find ($50 or less)

meanwhile wrote:

If you had a budget of $250-300, which digital camera would you buy an 8 year old?

I'm currently wavering between a rugged one like the Panasonic TS3 (that would hopefully last longer and be worried about less), and something with more reach like a Canon SX230 HS that would be more flexible. Pretty sure it has to have a zoom.

Thoughts?

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Bruce

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meanwhile
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to Mark_A, Nov 16, 2011

It would depend on how much interest they had shown and how dilligent you thought they would be with it.

They've shown a solid interest, and are pretty careful, but they are also eight, so it depends what other distractions are happening at the time. She wants a dSLR, but that, obviously, ain't gonna happen.

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meanwhile
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to Bruce Miller, Nov 16, 2011

I would buy the cheapest one I could find ($50 or less)

She's already had a couple of cheap cameras, and shown solid interest, that's why I'm looking at the next step.

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ABA DABA
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

Then you might consider a refurnbish intro DSLR.

Personally I would agree with the other poster suggesting disposable but instead of having prints made, have the processor put the images on a CD so you could work with them if necessary. We have had very good results with that method for now. Put them on the screen enlarge etc have fun.
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Glen Barrington
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

I wouldn't. . . They simply aren't ready for anything over about $50 US
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meanwhile
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to ABA DABA, Nov 16, 2011

Personally I would agree with the other poster suggesting disposable but instead of having prints made, have the processor put the images on a CD so you could work with them if necessary

Interesting, why film over digital?

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Morris Sullivan
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

meanwhile wrote:

If you had a budget of $250-300, which digital camera would you buy an 8 year old?

I'm currently wavering between a rugged one like the Panasonic TS3 (that would hopefully last longer and be worried about less), and something with more reach like a Canon SX230 HS that would be more flexible. Pretty sure it has to have a zoom.

Thoughts?

I say get the rugged one, doesn't matter much which one as long as it's durable. Reach probably isn't going to be much of an issue to a typical 8 year old. You would know better than I if she's planning on shooting wildlife etc. Most kids I've met like to take pictures of people and macro type shots typically.

I don't agree with going disposable or super cheap for two reasons. First, a broken cheap camera is useless but a scratched mid-priced durable camera still takes pictures. Second, it's just stuff, life happens and if she breaks her camera she'll learn a good lesson about taking care of her stuff.

Some kids can handle delicate items and some will break anything. I assume that since you're considering spending $300 on her camera she must be the more careful type. If she was the break anything type I'd say go with the $50 one but at 8 years old she may very well never break a durable camera. Water is probably the most likely camera killer for an 8 year old (spilled drinks, dropped in the pool, etc.) I've beaten my old canon p&s around in my backpack for years and dropped it a few times and it's still kicking but it's never gotten wet..

I think going the disposable film route may end up costing more in the long run with processing etc especially at 24 shots per camera and will likely hinder her learning potential because she won't be able to experiment and get feedback like she will with a digital. Those cameras don't have many (if any) controls either.

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tkbslc
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

I would get the something without an extending zoom. That's the most fragile part and it will break if camera is dropped or bumped just right. Other than that, I doubt it matters much as long as it is a "real" camera and not a toy camera.

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photodanceau
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

I haven't looked at prices recently and not sure what country we're talking about but what about a waterproof, rugged compact, good for snow,beach, pool as well as general pics, easier to carry everywhere than a dslr too.

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ABA DABA
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

Because it is a temporary thing and relatively inexpensive compared to dropping, damaging, losing or getting a digital stolen. But since it is the OP's daughter nothing will be to good for his "8" year old.
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meanwhile
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to ABA DABA, Nov 16, 2011

But since it is the OP's daughter nothing will be to good for his "8" year old.

Not quite sure how to take that (or why the 8 is in quotation marks ...).

The point about mainly macros and portraits is a good one.
The point about the extending lens is a good one too.

The reason I wouldn't go with a $50 camera is that she's had those, and the build and image quality is terrible. It's not because I want to spoil her, they just don't produce good quality images.

I can understand trying to develop patience (pardon the pun) with film, and being processed, and learning to not be wasteful and pick your shots, but this is 2011 and it's competing with iPods, television, computers, as well as the regular sports, music, art, etc. Delays, films that are anticipated and then don't turn out properly, "only" 24 shots, lack of control unless it's a proper film camera, and a big one in 2011 - no video, mean that would be a hard sell, and likely a turn off from photography. I know that a lot, including myself, grew up with film cameras, and appreciate them, but they just have too many disadvantages over today's cameras at the day-to-day level.

I found another that may suit, for a little less, the Panasonic TS10. Just evaluating the image quality now to see if it's good enough.

I know that there are plenty on here that are thinking it's too much, but I'm looking for something that will last, will help her learn, and will produce results that will keep her interested in the longer term. The cheap end of the digital camera market has pretty rubbish build and image quality, and they don't last.

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IcyVeins
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

Either a Canon S95 or some travelzoom like Nikon S8200 (if willing to sacrifice some image quality for a lot more zoom). Those cameras fit in the pocket. The people who are telling you to get a film cameras have no idea what they are talking about. Like you said this is 2011. Teaching a kid how to shoot film is like teaching how to use a typewriter or write in cursive.

A used or refurbished DSLR is probably not a good choice either, because it will be heavy and bulky to carry for an 8-year-old girl. and obviously a lot less portable which means less time for taking pictures. Don't bother with a "tough" camera, they are just gimmicks and generally perform poorly in all other categories. You can drop a regular digicam and nothing will happen to it, other than maybe a tiny scratch or crack in the screen which isn't a big deal really.

If you want an interchangeable lens camera, you could get a used E-PL1 or G1 with the kit lens for within your budget, if you buy used. The image quality will be superb but the focal length of the kit zoom will of course be limiting.

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pforsell
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My 2-year old uses ...
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

My 2.5 years old daughter uses Nikon D200 with 18-55 lens. She's quite happy with it. The magnesium body can take quite some abuse and the flimsy plastic lens is cheap to replace if it breaks.

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PicOne
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Used Sony V3
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

After hobbying around in digital for the last dozen years, I rely on older cameras that I've collected. One of these, the Sony DSC V3, I might suggest finding used for your 8-yr old, though not sure how much they sell for today (though a search on Amazon suggests about $200). Basically its a well built, camera-shaped camera, with an optical viewfinder, ability to shoot in raw, has a mode dial, 7mp, etc.. Might be a good step toward an eventual DSLR if the interest holds.

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quietude
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It really depends on the 8 year old.
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

Most of the 8 year old children of my acquaintance simply don't have the dexterity in their hands to use a delicate instrument without dropping it, banging it, and breaking it. (they also don't, in general have long attention spans)

If the child has good dexterity, buying a camera is a good idea, but I dont think a DSLR is what she needs.

I would recommend something like the Canon G11 or G12 if you think there is a chance the kid really wants to be a serious photographer.. These aren't particularly "cheap" but they dont require the purchase or a number of lenses and a camera bag "full of stuff".

(Im not a Canon fan.. Im recommending a TYPE of camera, not a BRAND).

They offer good enough image quality, and enough flexibility to let her decide what she really wants to take photos off, and how she wants to do it.

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GarageBoy
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Re: It really depends on the 8 year old.
In reply to quietude, Nov 16, 2011

At age 8, I used a Yashica FXD and 50 1.4 Planar just fine
A p&S should be a cake

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nelsonal
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to meanwhile, Nov 16, 2011

My take would be either a Go-Pro Hero (they seem like the toughbook version of cameras), a film SLR (presuming you have a camera store nearby that sells them cheap, used) or an old dslr (D50/70, 10D, E-500 or similar) which are all around that price range, and then add either a prime lens or kit zoom). I agree with the build quality of point and shoots, and would guess the slrs could take a little more abuse.

The reason for the film reccomendation, is unless she's thinking of taking thousands of shots, there's no cheaper way to get a 16ish MP image, and older film SLRs are frequently tanks with few moving parts to break, metal case and lens bodies, etc. A Yashica FX-3, SRT-101 or similar runs under $50, has a meter, uses cheap lenses, are well built, and have a great viewfinder relative to most digitals. Yes, film development takes time, so the option isn't for everyone, but is a very inexpensive way to ease into photography. If the camera still looks to be in good shape after 6-12 months, you can probably sell it for what you paid for it, and consider getting her a DSLR, because you'll know she'll take good care of it.

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GarageBoy
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Re: Which camera would you buy an 8 year old?
In reply to nelsonal, Nov 16, 2011

I'd suggest Nikon EM if you go film. AE is awesome

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