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Digital Camera for 7-year old Child

Doug Brightwell , Nov 30, 2003; 01:55 p.m.

I want to get a digital camera for a child who's seven and in the 2nd grade.

Something that's simple to operate, has a large LCD screen, whose zoom goes pretty wide angle.

I'd like it to be capable of shooting available light in low light levels -- not night scenes, but normally lit rooms in the house -- so that the feeling of a scene isn't automatically obliterated by the flash unless it's really necessary. Ideally, I'd love a feature where the flash wouldn't fire until the shutter speed drops below 1/30th second.

Most important, the camera can't be as brain-dead as my Nikon CoolPix 990. If it has as much trouble auto-focusing as the 990, and builds in such a long and unpredictable delay, the child will only experience frustration, and learn to associate taking pictures with failure.

Ideally, it'd have a dock or base station to drop the camera into for downloading into iPhoto on her Mac computer, but she can also plug in a USB cable. However it's connected to her Mac, seamless integration with Mac OS X and iPhoto is essential. I don't want to have to deal with some camera manufacturer's software.

Naturally, if the camera were physically kid proof and could survive being tossed into her backpack or falling on the floor of the car, etc., that'd be a plus.

Cost is a factor, but not the primary concern. I'm hoping to not have to spend over $300.

Any ideas?

Responses


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Alex Di , Nov 30, 2003; 05:24 p.m.

An ISO 400 disposable film camera. Seriously.

DI

Walter Degroot , Nov 30, 2003; 06:18 p.m.

the one use ISO 400 film camera makes sense BUT the cost and trips to wal-mart will add up quickly (* don't tell him to use a custom lab) any B&W is not good as a 7 year old has only seen color. tv & photos. why not a low end digital. wal-mart had a 1.2mp for under 100.00 your thinking is good but you're wanting too much. you are overthinking the needs and results. digital is better as she can share photos and only needs to recharge batteries. no other costs. having restrictions on the equipment 's ability may teach her. ald let her learn more. we don't always have the easiest situations.

40-50 years ago it would have been a 120 box camera and 4 rolls of verichrome. no flash or some kind of brownie. my first was a baby brownie special 8 exp on 127 and no provisions for flash. times have changed .. give her something simple first and let her learn it's limitations and move up . also teachers will not watch out for a camera and if some idiot/bully takes it you are out of luck. do engrave /scratch a name or drivers licence number on it any cop can run a drivers license but not a ss number.

Todd Frederick , Nov 30, 2003; 07:34 p.m.

I recently gave my Fuji Finepix 1300 1.3 to a friend's son about the same age. He was delighted, but it is a learning experience even at that level. Often he pointed the lens at himself, covered the lens with his hand, and so on. He is not old enough to understand anything except the very basics. He has captured some nice photos by chance, and he's delighted. However, he also needs someone at home who can help him: camera use, downloading images, printing, etc. I do think it's a good way for a young person to get involved in photography with zero film costs.

Steve Gray , Nov 30, 2003; 08:51 p.m.

I got the bottom of the line HP (a 120 I think) for my daughter last year. She actually went digital befor I did! In any case it's not a great camera but it's cheap, has few moving parts and produces acceptable snapshots for consumption by a kid. It has a 2X digital zoom which produces results as expected. She was abaolutley thrilled with it and has taken a ton of shots. If I had it to do over I would have gotten her at least a 2M pixel camera. But still no zoom. The fewer moving parts the better. Trust me, you are tempting fate getting anything but a simple rugged camera for a 7 year old. It will break.

Jon Austin , Dec 01, 2003; 11:48 a.m.

BestBuy.com sells a 2mp with no (optical) zoom that takes SD/MMC cards and costs $90:

(link)

Doug Brightwell , Dec 01, 2003; 03:01 p.m.

" get involved in photography with zero film costs"

That's part of what's motivating me. Something she can shoot anything and take tons of pictures and feel free to experiment, and never feel constrained by the notion that there are only 12 pictures to the roll, and to shoot more means loading another roll, and that means money, and it means she can't view the photos herself under her own initiative. We'd have to take them out to get processed. I want her to have the feeling of being more in control, and that it's her own little feedback loop where she can shoot and view, shoot and view, and select some images to email to Grannie, or make X-mas cards, whatever. I want it to be something that could be a Saturday afternoon activity for her, complete from shooting to printing. Not a 2-3 day activity while waiting for prints she can't do anything with.

She has a Barbie Polaroid that we got her when she was maybe 4. It takes such crappy pictures, it can't be exciting to her. It's not that she has the refined visual awareness of an adult photographer. But she know what the TV looks like, and she knows what my photos look like, and what her Mom's photos look like. I think her's need to look on par in order to become excited about it.

She somethimes shoots with her mom's camera, which is an APS camera. She's familiar with the zoom rocker button and can zoom between wide angle and telephoto. She's got that down.

I want to be able to set the iso for her at maybe 800, and ideally keep the flash from firing at below 1/30th second, and let her go to town.

She likes printing out images she creates on some Disney kids site, so I think she'd like printing out her own photos.

Alex Di , Dec 01, 2003; 04:18 p.m.

".. never feel constrained by the notion that there are only 12 pictures to the roll, and to shoot more means loading another roll.."

Lord, man, let her be constrained! The essence of photography (and life, for that matter) is overcoming limitations. That's what makes it interesting. Even at seven, if it's easy, it becomes boring in a hurry. Ultimately, if you remove the constraints, you remove the value of the picture.

"It takes such crappy pictures, it can't be exciting to her."

Who are you trying to convince? And since when does the camera have anything to do with picture quality; if she can't take good pictures on a film camera, why would they be any better on digital?

If she really doesn't like it, perhaps photography isn't her thing.

DI

Richard Thompson , Dec 05, 2003; 06:12 a.m.

I would recommend the sony one which is water proof. Water proof means drink/food proof too !

Its about £250 and has a U in its code.

Doug Brightwell , Dec 06, 2003; 09:17 p.m.

Thanks, Richard for the suggestion. Will check out the waterproof Sony.


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