Camera for my son

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Wmcgowin, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. Wmcgowin

    Wmcgowin Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Mobile, Alab
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    OK-I posted this in the 35mm forum, but will take any responses.

    I have a 10 year old son who is showing a real interest in photography. I started photography when I was about 14 or so, so he seems a little young, but that's OK.

    Anyhow, this weekend, he grabbed my Canon A-1 and wanted to take pictures. I was astonished-he didn't want to take snapshots of the dog, or me, or anything else. Instead he started arranging candles to create some still life shots. And his ideas were really impressive for a 10 year old! He spent about an hour taking various "artistic" shots, working on lighting, background, etc. So then we went to the college nearby and took more pictures in the chapel on campus and the old cemetary nearby. The kid had some really good ideas.

    The camera had Ilford HP5 400 speed film in it-I shoot exclusively B&W, and that seems to interest him.

    Anyhow, I want to foster this interest and I want to get him a camera that is his. He has used my Holga, but I want to get him a "real" camera-but nothing too complicated right now, as I don't want to overwhelm him. I want to stick with film, and preferably 35 mm. I have no problem with him using my Canon A-1 on a permanent basis (I have moved on to a 645 for the most part, so we can shoot photos together), but if anyone has any better ideas, I am all ears.
     
  2. SteveH

    SteveH Member

    Messages:
    554
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2006
    Location:
    Wilmington,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    What about a little Point 'n Shoot in 35mm ? Can probably get a nice one CHEAP now. Plus, he can play with the zoom, etc.
     
  3. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Mabyif he wants an slr Get him a canon fd witha 50mm. i would recomend a t70 or mabye an old pentax spotmatic, he will learn about shutter speeds and apeture. teach him to develop film and print.
    he will love photography for the rest of his life!
    Marko
     
  4. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you want to share lenses with him, you could do no better than an FTb or FTb(n). He'll have to learn to focus and choose shutter speeds and apertures with a match needle meter and the body is very well built. Metering is also somewhat selective, the 12% center rectangle that's a little darker, so you can teach him to choose what to meter on as well. My sons both learned on similar camera bodies at about the same age as yours. Both now complain if you hand them a body that doesn't let them make their own choices manually.

    Lee
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The only disadvantage of the Canon FD system is that it's obsolete and you can't easily buy new things for it. The stuff you can get is very affordable, though, so it might not matter.

    If you have some lenses for your A-1, you could get him a decent Canon body (the AV-1 is good; it has aperture priority... the AE-1 is cheap... the AT-1 and FT-b are fully manual and are great for learning).

    Let him shoot and find out what he wants. The A-1 is a good camera, but encourage him to use modes other than program mode. The only bad thing about the A-1 is that manual mode is a pain to use because it's uncoupled.
     
  6. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I just purchased a couple Nikon FM-10 cameras for my 13 & 15 year olds. I want them to learn on manual cameras and my 35mm system is a Fujica AX-3 (vintage 1980). They both have Ax-3 bodies that I purchased on Ebay about 2 years ago with the hope that we could share lenses, but the 13 year old's meter doesn't function properly, and the 15 year old's has a light leak and the fast shutter speeds don't function properly. I figured the hell with sharing my lenses, I would rather get them cameras that they could use for quite a while and that at least worked properly. Got them from B&H for $219 each with a 35-70 lens. Now if I can find a nice Nikon FM3A for myself :smile:
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

    Messages:
    3,247
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The AV and AT bodies are fairly rare, as they sold poorly against the AE-1 and AE-1 Program bodies. I seldom see them used. The AE series seem to be suffering two somewhat common problems these days, a squeaky mirror box and failing shutter electronics. The common shutter problem can be fixed with a new capacitor and/or scavenged electromagnet if you want to order parts and can do a bit of reasonably fine soldering in places that are easy to get to. You can find the squeaky mirror fix online. I think it's more complex.

    The mechanical shutter on the FTb doesn't have these electronics problems. That doesn't preclude mechanical problems, but I'd personally prefer to take my chances with an FTb.

    Lee
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was learning on an Argoflex at age 10 or so, so I would start him on something with the basics, a meter and through the lens or twin lens focusing. I personally think TLRs and other cameras with waist level finders are better for learning composition, and that medium format is more forgiving when you start, but other than that a 35mm SLR is fine. The off-brand (non-Pentax) screw mount ones are almost free these days ($10-$25 at auction) and have depth of field preview. In TLRs, it's hard to go wrong with an old Ciroflex or Graflex 22 and an old hand held meter (though I learned using the sheet of pictures in the film box meter), or you could spend a bit more on one of the older Japanese models. My observation of the kids that age I have seen around my old cameras, and the ones I have given cameras to, is that they are more fascinated by things without automation. With a little encouragement and some freedom to make mistakes he'll be hooked - my cousins have produced a fourth generation of avid photographers, which makes christmas a little odd, flashes going off everywhere.
     
  9. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,561
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't get him a toy camera, get him a real camera and don't forget the tripod and cable release. You can get a decent camera at a decent price these days. If he likes architectural and still lifes and you develop at home then what about a medium format camera? The film isn't that much more than 35mm. Do it right and you won't regret it.

    Curt
     
  10. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Id love a medum format but its 1000 for a used mamia
     
  11. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,380
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My advice is give your son custody of the Canon A-1, sounds like for a 10 year old, he has the gift and should be fostered. He will take care of the camera I think. I remember when I was little my dad would shoo me away from his Nikon F, Nikkormat and Leicas, I played around with a 1970's version of the Holga with 120 film, but I wanted a real camera. I wish I knew where the negs were from thoses days.

    Bill
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,561
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They don't have to cost a $1000.00. I was suggesting a twin lens like a C220 or C330 etc. I just checked eBay and there are 120's for a little money.
     
  13. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    True of the Mamiya rangefinders, but the Mamiya TLRs are as little as a quarter of that. Or you can put together a Bronica system for under $400. And an Arax tweaked Kiev 60 is $329 new, used ones can be less than half that. Decent TLRs can be well under $100, and if you are willing to forego automation they can be pretty cheap. I've paid anything from $125 for an early Mamiya C to $9.99 for an older Ciroflex. The Yashica 12 in particular seems to be significantly cheaper than its successor, but has equal performance. Folders can be just as inexpensive, and some have surprising good lenses. Frankly, there has never been a better time to enter medium format.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

    Messages:
    2,266
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Can
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    No the mamia slrs. they look like hasies
     
  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,378
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    While the advantagesof MF are nice, the truth you must face is What would your son like to use? If he's content to deal with the 35 with 24-36 exposures/roll or MF with 12. They do handle differently and input from him should be of great importance in the decision. It's a very responsible choice and he needs to be encouraged to participate.
     
  17. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    I second this suggestion.
     
  18. Kino

    Kino Member

    Messages:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well you have a Canon System and might want to stick with that, but I vote the Minolta SRT series; very inexpensive, very rugged, very high quality, MD mount lenses are inexpensive and great performers.

    A SRT 100 or 101 match needle SLR with a 35mm, 50mm and 135mm lens shouldn't set you back more than $150-$200 and you can always build with time.

    Plus, if anyone ever charges him in dark alley, he can drop them with a swing of the camera and then get a photo of them before they hit the pavement; the SRT won't blink an eye.

    I agree to give him a solid, quality camera to start with and remove one of a myriad of hurdles you face when just starting out; no need to have to fight the camera while trying to master the craft -- it could be very off-putting.

    Myself, I started with a Minolta SRT MCII; the Montgomery Wards rebadged version of the SRT 100; a fantastic camera that would still be here IF I hadn't let a (ex) friend attempt to reposition a viewfinder shim.

    Frank
     
  19. DBP

    DBP Member

    Messages:
    1,896
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Location:
    Alexandria,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Still plenty of other choices out there. If your heart is set on an SLR, then Bronica, Pentax, Kowa, and Kiev, to name a few, offer less expensive options. For that matter, the Mamiya RB67 and M645 are often both well under $500. Check out www.keh.com. Their "bargain" cameras often look better than other people's "9+". These days, the only medium format SLR systems in the $1000 range are the Rolleis, Hassys, and Mamiya RZ67.
     
  20. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

    Messages:
    659
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    You might look into an OM-1 or OM-2. They are great little cameras. They are about a 1/3d smaller than a manual Canon or Minolta and would fit better into the little guy's hands. Zuiko glass is superb and the OM bodies are durable as well. There's no substitute for his learning how to manually focus a camera and set the shutter spreed and aperture. His natural penchant for still life shooting is perfect for b/w analog film photography- slower paced and more creative. Get him a tripod. You have all the makings of a future LF shooter!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2006
  21. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

    Messages:
    4,913
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Northern Aqu
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    The logic of sticking with Canon seems unanswerable to me. MF sounds like a bad idea as does anything else that's too inconvenient to use. In his situation I'd want the best results for the least effort -- it's PICTURES he wants, not a camera -- and that says 35mm SLR to me, preferably with through-lens metering and with at least one auto option that he will understand and usually ignore.

    Yes he could get great results with a used 4x5 but does he (and do you) want to get into that much hassle? And if you're going for 35mm, anything other than an SLR with full manual control would be very frustrating indeed to a still life photographer.

    Perhaps you could ask him if you could post some of his still lifes? It's a much underrated area of photography. Some of mine appear in the gallery at www.rogerandfrances.com.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2006
  22. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If he;s happy with the A1, then stick with the A1. Good to see the craft fostering in a young one, isn't it?
     
  23. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,536
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I read the title "Camera for my son" and my immediate thought was, what a good trade !
     
  24. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

    Messages:
    1,148
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Near Tavisto
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The more basic, the more he'll learn. How about a Spotmatic, or even a non-metered SLR and a separate meter? I started when 11 years old with a non-metered camera (and no meter!) and soon became quite good at gauging exposures - always a useful skill to have.

    Steve
     
  25. Wmcgowin

    Wmcgowin Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Mobile, Alab
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Great ideas everyone. Thanks. I think I'll stick with the A-1 for the time being. If he complains about it being too big, then I'll reconsider.

    And I will post some of his photos. I plan to have them developed in a lab right now-mainly so I don't screw up his work!
     
  26. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

    Messages:
    1,932
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2004
    Location:
    Best/The Net
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    i would give him a pentax lx.
    very good camera which are very cheap now.

    light measurement system is unique, because it measures curtain reflection in stead of direct light measurement. Very low number of knobs on the camera, easy to use.