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Thread: DSLR for a 9 year old?

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    Member smallfooties's Avatar
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    DSLR for a 9 year old?

    Hi All!!!!!
    I have been away for so long because of work... been too busy at work and when i get home, the last thing i want to do is face the computer.
    I bought my niece a samsung point and shoot when she was 7 years old and then i bought her a video camera. Looking at her shots, i'm thinking she has a lot of potential and i really want to cultivate that.
    She also has a keen interest in photography and sometimes i wish i have the child like view of the world cos' it's just so innocent and pure.
    Anyway, I'm looking to get her a DSLR for Christmas this year and i'm just wondering if 9 years old is a bit too young?
    Yet, i really want to nurture the craft in her and assist her with her interest.
    You know it's difficult to get a child interested in anything these days - my older niece doesn't want to do anything but sit in front of her computer or television all day long.
    So i'm really excited that my younger niece would even bother to do photography.
    Anyway, is a DSLR too complex for a girl her age? if not, which DSLR is best to get for her?
    I'm looking at something 2nd hand...hopefully be able to get her a pentax or nikon.
    Any suggestions or views would be greatly appreciated.

    Nikon D700 in all it's glory!

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    (Hmm! Motives and perceptions, viewed through ideals and hopes. Always so hard to get a handle on. (Maybe go eeling instead?))
    At 10 yoa I had an Agfa box camera. (And then it was really only borrowed. But I thought it was great, because "awesomeness" had not yet hit the shores.)

    Suggestions? I could only offer impressions and reflections.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    What does a DSLR bring?

    My concern would be that you risk scaring her off by making photography a complex task and not a fun thing.

    What sort of photography is she doing, and why is her current camera holding her back? The only thing I think a DSLR brings is the absence of shutter lag. I suspect the other advantages are beyond a 9 yo.
    Regards, Rob

    D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
    Photos: geeoverbar.smugmug.com Software: CS6, Lightroom 4

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    I've seen 9 year olds with iPads, smart phones, laptops etc. so don't see why one couldn't have a DSLR.

    I agree that it could potentially scare a young child as it might be to complex but if you start her of on auto mode and slowly work her way up rather than throwing her into the deep end with everything manual, she should be fine.
    As she gets more and more confident with it help her out with getting the camera of full auto.

    in regards to what camera to get her, I'd think a second hand Canon 1000D or Nikon D3000 would be the best option, could pick up either one with a lens second hand for under 300 dollars if you're lucky and if not definitely under 350
    Canon 60D - 24-105 F4 L - Sigma 10-20 - Kit lenses - 50mm F:1.8 - Tamron 90mm F:2.8 Macro - 430 exII _ Extension Tube Set


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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I gave my son my 'old' D70s way back when he was 8.
    That is, I got myself a D300, very rarely used the D70s ever since so naturally he ended up with it.

    He used to borrow any of my lenses, (that he could safely handhold) and it turned out that he had a preference to zoom in and out.
    I didn't have any super zoom type lenses, and a while later I got him an 18-105VR for his exclusive use.

    He's very on and off with respect to using it, he loves too when he does(use it that is), and then he may not even remember he's got it for a few months.

    One thing he definitely loves to play with is getting up close, and he knows the capability of the 105Micro, he has a very minimal understanding of VR, but knows when to turn it on and off.

    He's now 11 1/2, and surprisingly for an occasionally overly energetic, sometimes bordering on ADD syndrome and generally thoughtless kind of kid .. he still hasn't broken it!

    AutoISO is important for them not to get too hung up on technical aspects. High ISO capability would also be good to have.

    Even tho the D70s is pretty woeful at any ISO above 400, I've set it to Auto and it shoots up to 1600 for him .. this way he just keeps on shooting rather than get frustrated with missed shots.

    VR on his kit lens is a very handy feature too!

    As for 'what to get' .. price considerations!

    D90 with a kit lens to start with is probably ideal.

    It has those Auto modes that really dont' work, but more importantly, it has aperture priority(which I've instructed my son to stick with).

    Give 'em a brief run down as to why, how to change stuff(front dial) and they will pick it up quite quickly).
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    She would love one! Something cool in a girly colour that will be her pride and joy! Go a little Pentax kx or kr .......she would have no problems with one of those.....what good fun!
    cheers
    Jan

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    Thanks guys! she is indeed a smart cookie when it comes to technology... and when i mentioned getting her a better camera she was really excited and kept asking me about what camera i would get her and how would she use it.
    indeed she's into ipads and iphones... geee she has a HTC touch screen phone!
    I understand the scaring her away with the complexities with a DSLR but i think the more exposure i give her the more she'll learn... she currently just has the point and shoot with no manual functions...
    I know i will have to put in some hard work to teach her how to use a DSLR but i am willing.
    starting off with auto mode is a great idea too!
    she likes taking pictures of insects and birds... perhaps i'll get her a macro to go with it... hmmm!
    and my thinking to get her a pentax is cos it comes in pink! (her favourite colour)

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallfooties View Post
    .....
    and my thinking to get her a pentax is cos it comes in pink! (her favourite colour)

    LOL! that'll change in a few weeks.

    Note that my daughter is now 9, and she's already changed from pink (to black for now!!) ... so when did this happen??

    I only found this out the other week when we went Christmas shopping, and while out, we also nipped into a department store to get her e anew nightie sleeping apparel.
    Basically a long T-shirt(but of course it's a nightie
    (damned well beats me why she just couldn't wear one her other three long t-shirts tho! )

    So there I am looking at the purples and pinks, and had two or three in a bundle for her to choose her fave, and there she was already having chosen one ... in black!

    This sudden and apparent change of favourite colour has taken me by surprise(she's going to be mightily disappointed with her Chrissy pressie too! )

    So the saying goes ... Black is the new Pink
    (although I may have just made this one up, and it's not a real saying )

    Just make sure it's not too 'big an heavy for her too'.

    My daughter hates the DSLRs and will only use her lil hot pink Samsung P&S too.

    Kx/Kr sounds almost ideal for your niece.

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    Member Tom J McDonald's Avatar
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    I'd get her a Polaroid or a Fuji instant camera. When I was 9 (or so) they were the coolest things ever and I cherished having one-off prints to put in a little box. She can share them with friends and family and you can keep her away from the idiot box (computer)...
    Have fun.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom J McDonald View Post
    I'd get her a Polaroid or a Fuji instant camera. .....
    Refer:

    Quote Originally Posted by smallfooties View Post
    ....
    I bought my niece a samsung point and shoot when she was 7 years old and then i bought her a video camera. Looking at her shots, i'm thinking she has a lot of potential and i really want to cultivate that. .....

  11. #11
    Member reflect's Avatar
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    My soon to be 8 yo Daughter has a Panasonic Lumix, go in the water, drop from heights P&S and loves it, but watch her face light up when I give her the D5000 with 18-200 attached. She waunders around shooting all sorts of things and is now downloading to Picasa and playing with images. Will it last, who knows, but its fun having another thing to do together for now. My son takes pics with his Ipod, close ups of Lego battles and other such boy stuff. The Nikon D5000(D5100 now) is easy but capable and I am sure that the dark side (Canon) have something equally as good (Did I really type that out loud!).
    Andrew
    D700, D5000, Various Nikon and Sigma Lenses and lots of other expensive thingys with buttons and knobs (some even go Bing !!)
    www.andrewplacephotography.com.au

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    Member Tom J McDonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Refer:
    If what you're saying is she can't grow as a photographer with anything other than a fancy SLR that's bullshit.
    If that's not what you're saying please clarify.
    Tom.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallfooties View Post
    ......
    Anyway, is a DSLR too complex for a girl her age? ........
    Umm, no. Kids these days have an intrinsic understanding of technology that I'll never have. And as a starting point, on full auto and focus mode a DSLR is a P&S kinda.
    For Christmas, buy yourself the camera you want to upgrade to, and give her your D700.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallfooties View Post
    I know i will have to put in some hard work to teach her how to use a DSLR but i am willing.
    Sounds like a new AP member is on the cards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Umm, no. Kids these days have an intrinsic understanding of technology that I'll never have. And as a starting point, on full auto and focus mode a DSLR is a P&S kinda.
    For Christmas, buy yourself the camera you want to upgrade to, and give her your D700.
    No way am i parting with my D700!!!!!
    hehehehe....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
    Sounds like a new AP member is on the cards.
    how exciting would that be??? it'll be a good bonding thing too!!!

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom J McDonald View Post
    ...
    If that's not what you're saying please clarify.
    Tom.
    LOL!

    if you read the OP's original post, you would have read that he's already gifted her a P&S.
    Why would she want another P&S .. she can grow with that one!

    The thread is about cheap DSLR alternatives, and whether they are practical for a small child.

    In some cases yes, in other cases no.
    My (then) 8yo son never found the D70s to be unweildy or problematic in any way.
    OTOH, my now 9yo daughter doesn't like it ... it's too big and heavy.

    My son does the lego wars too, usually with the 105VR lens .. sometimes he wants to get into reveal all manner of detail.
    My daughter takes happy snaps (and mainly video) of her bunny(pet rabbit) .. she then processes them on the camera itself .. stuff like heart shaped frames, and bunny ears!! yep bunny ears on a bunny!
    ie. she's not interested in 'photography' as such and is as happy to capture bunny with her DSi, and do whacky processing to the 640x288 images.

    My son is different again. He generally shoots with a purpose, and if something went wrong generally tries to fix it himself or asks how to fix it!


    OH! and FWIW, a DSLR is a better tool to grow as a photographer anyhow.
    No one ever said that photos can't be captured with a P&S nor that you can't learn photography with one.
    But to expand the creativity of the operator, a DSLR is a better tool than a P&S ... but that's another story.
    And that's not BS .. it's simply another perspective.

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    Member Tom J McDonald's Avatar
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    Sure, SLRs are great. But in the end it's just more gear and gizmos.
    I'm sure she'll love and SLR and 9 isn't too young.
    I hope you can encourage her to be a photographer - f-stops and focal lengths have nothing to do with that.
    Tom.

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    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    If she likes photography, she'll love an SLR!
    It will make her think she is now a good photographer and her friends will be envious of her (and kids love that).

    I have my first SLR at age 11, and it was a purely manual camera (an Exacta) which didn't even have a built-in light meter and I handled it fine using a hand held light meter.
    Kids today are made for technology and there is very little that daunts them at all.
    I think most of them just love complex things and enjoy doing all those adjustments that even scare us oldies.

    Get her the camera and you'll have a friend for life.
    At least if you give her the camera, you'll be able to buy her stuff for her camera for many years to come, so it will make gift-giving very easy (if not expensive) for many years to come.

    A used SLR can be relatively quite cheap.
    I wouldn't be buying her a top of the line camera, but I think you should stick to giving her a Nikon, so you can share some of your accessories with her, and when you've finished with something, you can always hand it down to her.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom, is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I think it may even be important for her development that if she had a compatible camera to yours(ie. Nikon!!) you could not only help her in teaching, but also lead by example and allow her the options of other ways to look through the vf.

    Contrary to others opinions, I think photography is about aperture and focal lengths.

    What the camera allows us is to see in a manner that we can't by ourselves.

    Aperture and focal length give us this alterante view of life..

    If they weren't an important consideration, then any old P&S and their massive DOF will do!

    A DSLR will open up options that are just not available to a P&S shooter( eg. as with my son .. macro!).

    Even if you help her out in acquiring oddball cheapie lenses for next to nothing .. manual if need be.

    The other day, I found myself in possession of two strange lenses of the same brand and manufacturer. They came in at $15 landed at my mail box, and about 3/4 of this was in the postage!
    As I've seen through them, they look fine .. and are brand new .. unused items.
    Once the adapter for them comes, I'll start using (one of them) for something ... have no idea on what as yet tho!

    Too many times I read this idea that forget the techs and concentrate on the issue of just taking pictures.
    But without the techs, there is the issue that there may be no purpose. Without purpose, things become random. Randomness doesn't really breed an environment of consistency.

    There needs to be a healthy balance of both .. tech stuff helps with realising the vision.

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