I want to teach my son. SLR or P&S

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by vadtel, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Hi guys! Need your advise. My son will be 11 in 2 weeks. He is interesting in learning photography (and, probably,
    to spend more time with me!). I have 3 Canon SLR bodies (all in use). So he is asking for camera. I thought about
    some point and shoot but recently found used 30D body for $400. Should I go for it?
    That way I will be able to teach him real technic - apperture, shutter speed, flash, DOF etc. P&S with their too small
    sensors wouldn't be able to give him that opportunity, I'm afraid. Even with large f-openning it will have much bigger
    DOF (I beleive as I don't have any experience with that).
    So pros for SLR - same system as mine, real photography... Cons - more weight and maybe a little complicated for
    his age.
    What do you think?
  2. $400 for a 30D, why not? It's a lot cheaper than having your kid learning the piano, the violin, martial art (at least before he wants L lenses and 1D series cameras). The 30D has the best of both worlds, full manual and full automatic. The kid can get use to the camera by using the auto modes in the begining.
  3. >>>"That way I will be able to teach him real technic - apperture, shutter speed, flash, DOF etc."<<< That would be enough for me, and even more so if you found a 30D for $400.00. I am sure there are plenty of Rebels for that much or maybe less. As stated above, he can use P mode to get started.

  4. BTW, if you ask this question in one of the P&S forums, you will get completely different answers. But who are ya gona trust? :eek:)

  5. Maybe you want to look into G7/G8/G9 ?
  6. I think a DSLR may be an overkill, but it depends on your son's interest in this... I think ISO, f-stops, depth
    of field and white balance will be too complex notions for a 11-year old to comprehend, when all he may want is
    to play and be creative with a camera. Technique and technology can sometimes get in the way - unless you are
    really interested these things can be real show-stoppers, I've seen this in a number of occasions.

    But you would know better what your son's interest is and how keen he is. I've seen lots of kids playing taking
    pictures with P&S cameras but none below 16 interested in an SLR. But that doesn't make it a rule, and it doesn't
    mean that it's out of the question...
  7. What about a smaller Version like the Rebel Series? smaller but still more than enough for a little guy..
  8. Hmm must not have read all of Jasons posts as he alraedy said the same thing.

    Cheers, I hope he has fun!
  9. I was using my father's spare AE-1 when I was about 8 or 9 and got an EOS 1000 when they first came out. I would
    have been 13 or 14 I guess. I never had any problems.

    Go for an SLR. I'd echo the person who suggested a Rebel or xxxD though. Much smaller and lighter. Less
    intimidating. I'm sure a 300D would be very cheap these days.

    P&S cameras can be great but not really much use for learning photography or if you shoot because you enjoy
    making pictures, rather than shoot to keep a documentary record.

    Good luck and it's great that your son wants to share your hobby!
  10. I'd say definitely go for the SLR, or at least an adjustable camera with a decent sized sensor. My only concern is that your son's hands are likely too small for the 30D which fits like a glove to my 20-something adult male hands. That aside, teaching him on an adjustable camera will be the most valuable to him in the future by providing him with a solid foundation to build from. Alternately, have you thought about the possibility of a small 35mm rangefinder? That would provide your son with a good learning tool without having to worry about breakage and/or size. The olympus XA is a full-featured yet compact rangefinder with aperture priority and can be had for ~$80 on ebay. Hope that helps. Most importantly, be sure to have fun. THis sounds like a great bonding opportunity for the two of you.
  11. I don't think that it's so much a stretch for an 11-year old to comprehend, but don't drown him in it, if you get my meaning. Don't force it.

    I would think that you could find, as already suggested, cheaper dSLRs in the Rebel line that might be a better "fit" for his hands, and would still be capable enough to start off with automatic modes and then proceed slowly to more complex control as he discovers for himself that he can do more that way than on automatic.
  12. My 3 year old daughter (just turned a week ago) knows how to hold my 40D and knows how to take pictures of me with it (and certainly knows how to chimp!) and luck or not, she's not half bad at getting me in the frame :D

    Buy him the 30D. He'll be just fine :)
  13. At his age I had already learned to develop and print B&W from my 127 Brownie, which I had been given aged 8. A
    year later I was shooting with a rangefinder (Zorki 4) and half a dozen primes and using a light meter. A year
    later my results were good enough that I graduated to the loan of my father's Leica IIIf. And I still remember
    fondly lessons in technique both for shooting and for D&P (now it's DPP?). If the interest is there, he'll grow
    into it quickly enough. Giving him a serious tool and you'll nurture that.
  14. the other option is a G series camera, some of the G5 and G6 can be found used for a very reasonable price, they have a lot of the bells and whistles that a DSLR has and much easier to carry around, I very seldom leave my G9 at home, while I hate lugging my any of DSLRs around.
  15. Go for the DSLR. My daughters love shooting with my 400D plus 50/1.8. This is a high quality ánd lightweight combination. Some of their pictures are really good. They're way too young to understand anything but "look through the little window, move closer if you want it bigger and hold it really still when you press the button." They're 4 and 6 and I hope they'll keep on being interested in taking pictures. If they do I will teach them all about composition and DOF that I can.
  16. Vadim, at 11 I owned a little Kodak box with no features at all, straight shooting and that was about it. But so much fun and pretty amazed when there were real images after developing! Give your boy a try with a p&s first and let him enjoy nowadays technology and possibilities, he will love it. Save the DSLR for a bit later. My Niels (6) loves the Ixus, even learned how to obtain a steady shooting position!
  17. I think ISO, f-stops, depth of field and white balance will be too complex notions for a 11-year old to comprehend
    It really depends on how quickly he learns. When I was ten I was using an all manual Agfa Isolette and a Weston light meter. Just because we now have auto-focus, built in meters, program modes, etc. doesn't mean we have to use them. If you were asking the question fifty years ago, manual would have been the only choice.
  18. There is a lot of variety with a DSLR, and with a 30D he will keep it in Auto mode for a while... then you
    introduce him to a single feature like aperture, or Aperture Priority mode one week, he takes pictures, makes
    mistakes, learns from mistakes...
    since DSLR is the way to eventually go, why learn how to use a Point and Shoot with its own things to learn,
    especially those annoying, discouraging, picture-missing, 2second delays, looking at a picture from 10inches from
    your face, a little square on the back of the camera?!?!?! That's not photography, you need to look through the
    view-finder, through the lens, get instant response to pressing the shutter -- otherwise you're teaching
    something else with the Point & Shoot, a lesson on missing photos, frustration and camera making all decisions,
    at all times, while using up excessive battery power and just...... low success rate, no room to grow...
    with 30D he can take night time photos, sunset photos, bigger aperture, smaller aperture, a tripod... silhouette
    of a person with sunset behind... and there are shortcuts like setting up a 5 stop bracketing so one doesn't have
    to know the proper exposure and still getting the right one...
    and it's motivational seeing photos done with 30D and him trying to do something similar, knowing he can, rather
    than "oh that photo is with a DSLR"...
    <img src="http://www.robertbody.com/panoramic08/images/2008-09-04-supers-stars-23820sp.jpg">
    so a DSLR with something like 18-55mm range, or 18-70mm and lots of photo opportunities of different kinds.
  19. Definitely an SLR. Digital. With the same lens mount as you have. A 20D or a 30D would be good. FWIW, I gave my son a Canon A1 around that age.

    He probably already has a P&S in his cell phone.
  20. i was shooting, developing, and printing b&w film by the time i was 12. i started on a p/s and was itching to
    start using an slr. don't know what, if any, effect starting on a p/s had on me except it made me want the
    control of an slr, and when i finally got one i took full advantage of it.

    i'm afraid giving a kid that young an slr might make him feel like he's pressured to create something worthy of
    the camera whereas giving him a p/s would seem more regular. also, if he shows no particular interest in
    photography it won't be so dramatic if you give him a common p/s -- he won't feel guilty letting a p/s collect
    dust. on the other hand, if he takes thousands of pictures with a p/s, and is constantly hitting photo websites
    and reading all the magazines, it'll be a clear sign he should move up to an slr. also, a p/s isn't conspicuous
    at school, when he's out with friends, etc (most kids have one, they're small, easy to carry). an slr would be,
    especially for a kid that age -- there's the potential the other kids would feel weird, or feel the slr is a
    really special instrument, or something. it might inhibit a natural ability or have a negative effect on your
    son's interest in picture taking.

    it might be a tricky situation, might not be -- who can tell...
  21. I was given a Nikon FM when I was 13 (way too many years ago). I too would recommend an SLR. One thing I don't think I saw (in a
    quick view of the thread) is limiting his choice of lenses. If I were doing it I would go with the 30D (gives room for growth) and fixed
    focal length lens. NO ZOOM. It would add a level of confusion in formating. With a 1.6x body you might think about a 28-35mm,
    50mm, and/or a short tele. None should be too big for him to handle. He will begin to learn how to see photographically faster and
    will learn the differences between the settings more quickly. Let him learn the basics of exposure and the basics of formatting before
    adding another thing to learn.

    What I'm jealous about is the fact he won't have to suffer through the joys of a wet chemistry darkroom.
  22. I am so thankful that when I became interested in photography at age 8 my grandfather took me under his wing and shared his photographic knowledge. I had seen my mom's 110 but the only thing I found interesting with that camera were the flash cubes and the neat "POP" sound they made when you step on them. I can't tell you how many rolls of film were wasted by me on my grandfathers Nikon but it was part of the learning process and within a couple years I had a general understanding of what worked and what didn't work, a couple years later I understood why.
  23. My dad bought me a Canon AE-1 Program when I was 12. I'd never previously owned a camera. That camera was the
    catalyst that began my love of photography. I totally recommend an SLR over a point and shoot.
  24. I would choose the 30D. If he has to learn photography, you are not going to explain to him the possibilities of a P&S. And I suppose that you are not going to teach him just to press the button. Before learning the basics of potography in DSLR's I used the P&S in full auto and just knew how to press the button to focus the target. Now I use a pocket P&S everyday but can use all the camera functions.
  25. When I was 9, my mom got me a Kodak 126 X-15F instimatic. I immediately took to it and wanted much more after a
    few months. I ended up learning the ropes with a Kodak Retina 35 and a 120 Zeiss-Ikon folder from my dad's garage

    Within a year later, I had worked enough in washing cars, mowing lawns to buy my first SLR, an OM-1 with a 50 1.8.

    It was at that point, I learned very quickly what I wanted to do in photography and have been doing it ever since.

    I would say a G9 would be a great start as it is small and would fit the active lifestyle of a child's mind. But if you go for
    an SLR, better yet and keep it small.

    And be open to letting him shoot some film too. In teaching some workshops, I have noticed that a lot of the younger
    folk want to try film out as a means to get away from the computer and all the peripheral process.
  26. I had a similar issue crop up last year. I had just bought a 40D and also had a 10D & 30D. My son seemed to
    take an avid interest in learning about photography - not just clicking the shutter but in learning the basics of
    composition, exposure, dof, etc. I went looking around for nice P&S that had some manual settings too and came
    to the conclusion that I could give him my 10D cheaper than I could sell it and buy him a P&S. He loves it
    (especially when he wants to borrow my 70-200 L lens).

    So give him your oldest SLR and buy yourself a new one! :)
  27. An alternative to "getting away from the computer", I would suggest going once a week to Kinko's to use their print 4x6 photos, you can just push a few buttons and have "Print All" on a memory card option, probably $0.30 per photo but it's a together-activity..... or at Costco or elsewhere you could drop off/pickup. What I like about Kinko's is using the same machine always and that consistency has some benefits, rather then overused machines working on maximum profit.
    And those $1 albums that hold 36 4x6 photos from Michaels... that could be part of the together-activity. Many times Michaels are quite close to Kinko's. Of course computer is an important part of the process, but maybe not right away if there is too much new... but computer just adds to the variety and fun, especially for those Special photos.
  28. SLR. You can share gear and trade stories. A used 20 or 30D and a short zoom and he will be in heaven
  29. My dad taught me to use his Nikon F2 when I was 6. He showed me how to load the film, explained aperture, shutter speed, focusing and depth of field. It seemed pretty easy when I was 6, an 11 year old should have no trouble.
  30. I say got for it, the 30D would be a great camera for him to start with and that is a pretty good price.
  31. I think he's old enough to use an SLR at 11, but he's not necessarily old enough to take care of it... so, both for the learning value and the economics, get him an older, decent quality 35mm SLR that's cheap enough that you won't be mad at him when it gets broken or lost.

    I learned at 10 with a Voigtlander Vito folder, and then my parents gave me my "own" camera - a brand new Kodak Instamatic. After learning to adjust the shutter and aperture and focus, a one-speed, one-aperture fixed focus camera was a crushing disappointment even at 10 years old. One of the great things about the Digital Revolution is the quality of 35mm equipment that you can get at don't-worry-about-it prices.

    The idea of giving him a $400 autofocusautoexposureautowashyoursocks DSLR does not appeal to me at all, but that's just me; I guess the instant gratification will help keep him from getting bored with it.
  32. I think an SLR for sure. Though i am only 22 now, i was around 10 or so when I first started shooting on my dads Canon Ae-1. We were on the Murray river on a houseboat and there was an amazing bird just sitting on the deck that I wanted to take a picture of. The rule that he made was that i can use it whenever I like, but I have to read the manual start to finish first. At the time i thought it was terrible mean! but in hindsight it was definitely the best way for him to go about it. So I read and read, and went over and over the bits I didn't understand until I did. And from then on I was always taking pictures. Kids are smart, aperture and depth of field etc, they can handle that stuff, and so i used to be quite expensive for the first year or so, taking pictures, some that worked and some that didn't, I think it was vital that I learnt on a film camera as i really appreciated that every picture I took cost money and to really concentrate on what I was doing. After a year or two when I started taking abstract pictures of rocks and bark, I had to save my pocket money up to pay for the film and processing but I did and have never looked back. I think you should get your son a good old fashioned simple SLR. It will teach him to concentrate on the technical side first, which i definitely think is really important to know early on, and know well. Im 3rd year fine art photog student at RMIT and have students around me still stumble on things like aperture and shutter speeds etc, I think you need to know these things like you know the alphabet, they make everything alot easier in the future. By giving him a film camera, he can appreciate his photos more as he has to wait for them to come back from the shop, if there is one that is too dark or blurry, you can help him learn why that happened. If he shoots digital then digital mindset of Ill just keep shooting till it looks right might set in, rather than learning how to not make the problem in the first place. Just my thoughts! Bridgette
  33. Going with a DSLR wouldn't hurt. I had my first SLR at around 12 or 13 (still have that Canon FTb...). And if you son can understand shutter speed, dof, etc. great! But even if he doesn't yet, don't forget to teach/encourage good composition and teach him about good light.

    I was self taught and studied lots of books on photography, and these were too topics that I didn't get when I was a kid - yet they are just as, if not more, important thant the technical stuff.

    Cheers and good shooting
  34. I think kids are often much brighter than we give them credit for. I'd go with the slr. I'd get a short prime, and I tell him to
    shoot in aperture priority for the first year. I might turn off the autofocus too. An adult might take months to get a hang of it,
    but a kid will get it within a week. Depend on how careful your son is you might get a cheap 35mm camera, which will cause
    little concern if destoyed. Around that age I was playing with my dad's om2. I am glad I learned how to control the camera
    early. Of course you know your son. Any advice anyone gives should probably be ignored. :)

  35. Thanks everybody for your warm advises! All your stories touched me and I really appreciate you decide to share them! I'm still thinking what to buy (or maybe give him some old film camera I already have?!) but your responses gave me some GOLDEN LIGHT feeling - thanks and thanks!
  36. [First let's get rid of the d!&^ italics.]
    The fundamentals are not f-stops and shutter speeds. The fundaments are composition and light and decisive moments. A P&S may even be better, because its simplicity will let him concentrate on what really counts.
    For whatever it's worth, I just ordered my older son a Canon PowerShot A1000 IS for his ninth birthday. I think he will enjoy it without having to learn too much technical stuff. Not that the technical stuff doesn't ultimately become important--it does, and I normally shoot with a DSLR, and also enjoy my 4x5 (and other cameras). Also, some point-and-shoots have manual, aperture priority, and shutter priority modes; the Canon PowerShot A570 IS that I got for my wife a little over a year ago does (although apparently the A1000 does not).
  37. I would get him a camera that is compatible with the same lenses and accessories you have. That way you only have to buy him a body and one general purpose lens. If he needs an accessory you have he can just borrow it. If he needs a polarizer loan him yours. If you buy him a camera that is not compatible with your lenses you can expect frequent requests for new expensive photo toys.

    I would not get him a film camera at this time. Kids can loose interest in something very fast unless they get quick feedback. A digital will do that. As long as he is interested, take him out as often as you can. You will be surprised at how fast he will learn. He might loose interest in a year or so as frequently happens when they are young and have multiple interests. If that happens don't drag him out to take pictures. That could kill his interest in photography. Instead continue to invite him out and entice him with locations such as the zoo, the fire station or Disney Land. That would help restore his interest.

    In stead of buying him a used camera, I would suggest upgrading and give him one of your older bodies. In time "Dad's camera" could add something to his memory of the photo trips you had together. As his skill and interest increases you can get him accessories such as a lens, tripod, or a film body (especially if he has interest in taking star trails).

    Have fun!
  38. In my mind, just shooting is enough for a start, i e learning to find subjects and frame them. What is important is that a kid feels free to explore. Interesting photos come from daring to try new things.

    Therefore, I would get him the new Olympus SW 1030 point & shoot. It is vitually indestructible (water proof and shock proof). My children have smashed a camera and cracked the base of an expensive flash already. Not on purpose, but because children do not have the dexterity of adults. Nevertheless, when they now reach for my kit I get a bit apprehensive, and I'm sure they sense that which is probably not good for their enthusiasm.
  39. I would get him an inexpensive DLSR (the DLSR will let him identify with being a photographer more than a P&S). Then just
    let him shoot it in program mode and enjoy himself. If you inundate him with technical matters, he will probably just put it
    away and go on to something else.
  40. Whether film or digital, giving him one of your old cameras may be a very good idea, as Steven suggests. Thinking back to that age, something that was Dad's Camera is by definition Real, fundamentally a more adult thing than an equivalent item bought for me... it is likely to take on more importance and seriousness for that, and it may enhance the experience all around.
  41. What a wonderful thread. I agree with everyone just about. In a sense it should be both. If he wants pictures I agree with
    the P&S. My daughter, 15, is so creative with her mother's Ixus 50 and would not want to be bothered with aperture and
    all that stuff. My son got a similar camera for his 11th birthday recently and has a similar interest in the picture
    possibilities. One of his first efforts was of a tree reflected in a puddle. A beautiful shot. On the other hand, they both
    love my old film cameras and sense the magic just holding them. But this is partly the photography as hobby rather than
    the business of making pictures. My 11 year old has a very scientific outlook but seems more interested in the pictures
    than the process at this stage. It is gratifying to see that someone as young as Bridgette C has learnt the traditional way of us older ones,
    but our children are half a generation younger again. Whatever your age nowadays, the first tugs to more serious photography are the bitter
    disappointments of the P&S
    capabilities. At some point this leads to the desire for a more controllable instrument. Trying to understand a point and
    shoot and how to defeat its automatic functions seems very difficult without knowing the rudiments of aperture, shutter
    speed and ISO, and ultimately the important difference between incident and reflected light. It was also the shallow
    depth of field I wanted that took me from a point and shoot 35mm to a rangefinder with faster lenses. These
    fascinating aspects of photography will either have their own intrinsic interest for your smarter than us 11 year old, or the
    pictures will demand it of him when he sees the blown highlights, noisy interiors and blurred faces from his point and
    shoot experience. Whatever you decide, you can't lose. I've also been looking at a G9 for myself which could be the best of both worlds.
    Thanks for generating this thread.
  42. My son will be 11 in 2 weeks.
    11? For the love of all things holy, don't corrupt his young mind with useless technical minutiae like aperture, shutter speed, DOF etc. Just give him a camera, any camera, put it on auto and let him shoot away. Take him to galleries and museums and show him paintings and drawings. Start him on the right path by teaching him how to see. Anyone, even with Down Syndrome, can learn the technical part of photography - that's easy. And with the sophistication of light meters and exposure computers built into cameras these days, the technical is pretty much a non-issue. It's the SEEING part that most people have trouble with, and you should try to encourage him to develop it early.
  43. The suggestions for an older film SLR strike me as a mistake unless both (1) he is uncommonly patient for an eleven-year-old and (2) you will yourself develop and print, on a reasonably timely basis, B&W film that he shoots. One of the great things about digital is the virtually instant feedback; for that reason it is great as a teaching tool, and also keeps people with limited patience (like most eleven-year-olds) engaged. Cost is another issue; if he shoots 100 pictures for every keeper, ditigal costs virtually nothing, but film, processing, and (except with transparencies) printing are significant costs. And I will let you judge how important this will be to your son: his friends are much more likely to think a digital is cool, or a nice present, or whatever.
  44. Your son needs to shoot 10,000 pictures before he worries about stuff like apertures and shutter speeds. Just give him any old camera and let him have fun with it. The equipment doesn't matter.
  45. Dear Mr.Vadim Telesh,

    My feeling about your question is that, to develop a 'sense of photography' should be the basic learning for a new and very young photographer, if already he is not so mature. Any P&S is enough for this purpose. At least he can concentrate more over the basic aspects with out keeping himself busy in the hastles of adjustments. If you get any good camera cheap, you can buy it and keep for his future use. To develop the eyes is the very baisc and very important thing in photography like like to develop the ears for music.


  46. El Fang , Sep 10, 2008; 09:23 a.m.

    "It's the SEEING part that most people have trouble with, and you should try to encourage him to develop it early."

    Wow! Is this ever true! And make it fun.
  47. My kids could handle a p/s at age 6 or 7. Get him the SLR. He'll feel more like a real photographer and that will boost his
    confidence and desire. (I remember the difference it made for me when I was 12)

    I also like the idea of slowly teaching him exposure, dof, etc... then sending him out with a film SLR and a 50mm to really teach him.
  48. In photography, seeing is not just about framing the image. Or perhaps it is better to say that choice of depth of field and exposure (both level - e.g. creating silhouettes, or exposing for shadows or highlights, and shutter speed) are themselves key framing devices that are part of the language of photography. Exploring the range of photographic control is just as important as classical composition technique such as "rule of thirds" or using warm foreground colours on cool background colours. That is why I would pick a serious camera over a simple, automated P&S.
  49. Just get him something and encourage him to have fun. He would probably love to have a camera that was yours. There was always a special meaning in that for me. I "inherited" lots of cameras from my siblings and my dad before I bought my own. Just let him experiment and be creative. If the passion for photography is there, the technical stuff will come easily later on.
  50. Start him off on a full-manual 35mm film SLR and a ton of black and white film -he don't need no color!

    or, better yet, a pinhole camera... muhahahaha

    Be like... Son, you see all these DSLRs? I EARNED these... okay? You'll thank me in the end.

    If he still likes photography after that, he is worthy ;)
  51. Get him the DSLR or one of the inexpensive bridge cameras like the Canon Powershot S5 IS or the others similar to
    it. This way he can learn the techniques without too much focus with too much power. Also, he has a high quality
    video mode with that DSLR. There are a lot of fun things to play with in this Canon - lots of gimmicky things but
    for an 11-year old these spell out lots of fun.

    I think the most important thing for him right now is having fun with it and too much is well... too much. The
    bridge cameras are priced great and are great for him to learn on.

    I think another important aspect is: what happens when he breaks or loses the camera? If he misplaces it or loses
    it.. or the most likely thing, breaks it on accident? Can you replace it easily? The film cameras do not give him
    the satisfaction of looking at it on screen and making prints of his favorites. He can pop in a 4 or 8 gig card
    and let loose on the shutter to his hearts content.

    You will also be teaching him more than just taking pictures... you might show him post processes, how to upload
    his images, and all sorts of stuff....
  52. How about give him a P&S for when he just wants to run around and take photos without you there, that will give him
    learning on shooting subjects, framing, lighting (all basically). Then when you two are together, you can teach him the
    SLR. Like you too go to a place for shooting, you can teach him how to use all the buttons and settings. The reason I
    chose the suggest this way, is most 11 year olds probably wouldn't be too careful in caring for such an expensive item.
    What if he went out to play and "shoot" his friends and fell on it or what not. So I'm not against you getting it for him, just
    maybe under your supervision for a while.
  53. I say get him the 30D , and it wont be hard for him, remember he is better in the computer then you....lol
  54. No-way would I give an 11 yro a $400 camera. That's insane in my book, but that's just me. That's just how I was raised and where I come from.

    I would get him a $40 AE-1 film slr *OR* a P&S with manual control (e.g. Canon A580).

    Those technical aspects are actually very easy and very predictable. I don't see why an 11yrold wouldn't be able to grasp them, given the right mentoring.
  55. If he's genuinely interested in photography I'd say get him the 30D, give him about 10 minutes worth of instruction, and let him shoot to his heart's content. A DSLR is a great camera because he won't have to worry about developing pictures, which is expensive and takes too long, but it lets him grow with more features than a P&S. Don't bore him with details after those first 10 minutes until he comes asking. He'll definitely ask for advice, especially if you get interested in what he's doing, trade stories, and make him feel comfortable and confident.
  56. You know your son best. How responsible is he? How smart is he? I know 11 year olds that I'd entrust a $400 camera to. I also know 30 year olds that I wouldn't trust.
  57. I agree that a film SLR is a great starting point. New manual film SLRs like the V3800n can be found new for around $150 and used ones like the Minolta SRT-101 can be had on ebay for under $40 with multiple lenses. Then get him a load of cheap slide film and some Fuji mailers. The exposure technique for the slides is similar to that for digital and should prepare him well for any future camera.
  58. I would teach him to go all manual mode and MF too. Explain that this is the most accurate way to go, and through it he will gain much more experience and control. In getting used to this, he will then automatically monitor any auto mode he may use later, which is a good thing because auto modes are not entirely dependable. He's old enough to handle it. I'd also teach him that this is valuable equipment requiring care, not a toy for being careless. Also to expect that his results will improve with experience over time.

    It is a good thing that he is taking an active interest in photography. And would be a good thing if you would be encouraging for him.
  59. <img src="http://www.robertbody.com/panoramic08/images/2008-03-21-sup-can-5436sp.jpg">
    I think if a camera can do it all, as a DSLR can, there is an interest to try the variety... if he has the
    interest to do it. If you take pictures he wants to take, or if he sees some somewhere..... if you talk to him
    about it you could find out... and if the two of you go to take pictures, just the two of you... wherever the
    right setting might be, in a park, in a zoo, city at night
    I would vote for something with hiking involved at some point, so it's an "engaging" kind of setting... and all
    kinds of variety of destinations, year round
    <img src="http://www.robertbody.com/panoramic00/images/2007-09-03-rm-longs-0767-sp.jpg">
    I think with a Film camera you are counting on a lot of patience from him from the time the picture is taken to
    the time of seeing the picture, and... then what?
    ------ as opposed to seeing the camera (and having feedback) immediately, so he can try something else on the
    camera -- variety -- and then at home emailing the picture (wherever that might be, remote family, local
    family... feeling some pride, sense of accomplishment... a drive)
    DSLR (not too heavy) and Automatic mode at first, work on framing, then try a new feature once in a while, A
    mode, or depth of field... pictures of each other. Also film cameras have a cost/picture which discourages
    excessive experimenting, and the more experimenting, the more variety, success and rewards.
  60. I would get him a manual Pentax K1000 with 50mm lens, maybe a flash.

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