Cameras for young children

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Jay Schrotenboer, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Jay Schrotenboer

    Jay Schrotenboer Member

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    Hello APUGers. I am looking for a good 35mm camera to get for my two young children. I have some needs and some wants so I will just make a list and then ask for your help finding the best choice.

    First the needs.
    Cheep (I did say "young" children )
    Small(ish)
    Easy to use
    And functional (obviously)

    Now the wants
    Good glass available
    A system that can grow with them
    Availability for camera leather replacement (red for him and pink for her)
    Black body
    Two identical setups

    The wants are definatly not necessary, and I plan I giving them to the children for Christmas so I am in no big hurry. Also something beat up and a little ugly is fine as that is likely to happen anyway with them being so young (6 and 8 if you were wondering)

    Any help with this is greatly apreceated
     
  2. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Went through same with my son At 8 years we started with a Chinon SLR. Light,small and simple, easy to find lens for.Picked one up for 5.00.He now understands how to operate a camera and is confident with a bigger Mamiya ZM.The biggest issue is ergonomics with small hands.Rest is quite easy really.Though pink leather may be hard on your eyes..:smile:
     
  3. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    No sure what you consider cheap, but I just gave my grandson, age 7, a Yashica MG-1. It took a while to find a working one on the bay but I believe I payed about $35.00 which included shipping. Not a real light camera but he had no trouble with it. His first few rolls of film he missed focus some and he would not always set F stops correctly. But his only other film camera had been a P&S. Not sure if Ive ever seen pre cut coverings in pink. I'm sure you will find more help here, great bunch of folks much more knowledgeable than me. Good luck.
     
  4. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    Opps missed the system to grow with, any of the older slrs. All brands have some small slrs, I use a Nikon FG and a FM-10 which would fit what you are looking for. Lots of glass and some good non Nikon lens can be had for cheap. I have a coulpe of Vivitar lens which give me great results.
     
  5. ArtO

    ArtO Member

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    Nikon EMs might be a good solution to your problem. They're readily available, small, light weight, and quite easy to use.

    Good luck with getting them started. You should all have fun with this project.
     
  6. dslater

    dslater Member

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    How young is young? My son is 9, I got him his first camera when he was 3 or 4. Instead of a 35mm, I got him a Polaroid. It was the one that shot those little pictures that came out of the camera on a strip of paper. When he was a bit older, I got him one of the ones that takes 600 film.
    I think you can still get Polaroid 600 sized film, although it's not made by Polaroid. The thing that makes Polaroid so good for small children is the instant picture. I have yet to see a child who doesn't get excited the first time he watches the image come up from nothing as a Polaroid develops. At that age, they really don't have the paientience to shoot 35mm, and then wait for processing. Digital cameras give that instant feedback, but only on a screen. It's much more fun to have a print you can pass around.

    Just something you might want to consider.
     
  7. Jay Schrotenboer

    Jay Schrotenboer Member

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    Just to clear some things up. Cheep for me is under $100 for both cameras combined (with every thing needed to use them). But cheaper is good to.
    I would prefer all manual SLR's to teach them the basics of cameras and photography. A meter is not nesisary as I have a hand held one and could always get some for them down the road. I am not stuck on SLR's and if finding a fixed lens camera is easyer I am willing. Any ideas on where to look is also appreciated. I am currently looking at KEH and creagslist so other options are always good.
     
  8. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    I have an Nikon FG and it's a solid little camera. It's relatively inexpensive on the bay, can use lot's of Nikon glass (as someone else mentioned) and will allow them to learn all the principles of photography.
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I would start with something cheap and easy to use. A child's attention is very volatile and in six months they may have no interest in photography. Be careful not to appear that you are pushing them to take pictures.
     
  10. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    My 12-year-old son's 1st 35mm SLR is a Pentax ZX-30 (aka MZ-30). Lots of good Pentax A glass (this one has to have the KA lenses, K and M lenses won't work :sad:) and decent AF.

    An EX body from KEH set him back the princely sum of $12. The lens I picked for him was a Sigma 70-210 zoom, and I think it was $20 in BGN condition. BGN condition from KEH is very good IMHO.
     
  11. Matthew Wagg

    Matthew Wagg Member

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    Olympus om 10's. Camera leather do covers for them, you can pick the bodies up for about £10 upwards. The 50 1.8 is a killer lens and in cheap. They're rugged, sound nice and will grow up with the kids opening them up to film.
     
  12. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I have two Minolta Maxxum 5000 35mm autofocus cameras that work fine. The two cameras cost me less than $50 with shipping. They have small 35-80 autofocus zoom lenses and they load Kodak Gold 400 film in them. I buy film on special whenever I can find it so it usually costs me less than a dollar per roll. My grandson is seven years old and my granddaughter is nine. They both love their cameras and have decorated them with stickers and even a bit of paint (which has to be renewed once in a while because it wears off.) The cameras have been in use for about a year now and have been very reliable and pretty sturdy. Both cameras have been dropped several times and I cringe whenever it happens. I am learning though that plastic is actually tougher than I had thought. The lenses are both equipped with UV filters in the hope that they will protect the lenses. The granddaughter asked for a 50mm lens about a month ago and I was able to get her one for about $15 with shipping so now she's happy primarily because it focuses quicker then her old zoom (maybe one of the bounces slowed it up).

    We started with Vivitar V3800N cameras with the 50mm 1.7 lens, and I still have them, but neither of the kids have really mastered the art of manual focusing yet. They have a lot more fun with the Minoltas. I have kept the Vivitar cameras and if they are still interested when they get older we'll probably try them again.

    We develop the film ourselves and both kids load their own reels and put them in the tanks for developing. That took a little practice and a few rolls of film didn't quite survive the process but they stayed at it and they are pretty good now. Grandpa handles the chemicals and although I am still learning color developing, so far nothing has been totally ruined in the developing stage. We have also developed some of it in black and white which works out all right as well. They prefer color but are not terribly particular that it be perfect. We had been scanning things, which they like, but we have printed a few negatives and they love that part. I shudder to think how much this part is likely to cost me, but watching them is certainly worth it.

    Printing is fun but unfortunately I may have to buy another enlarger because they are threatening to monopolize my poor Beseler. If someone knows where I can get an old but useable Leitz Focomat for a really good price I would be forever grateful.
     
  13. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    I would imagine the simpler Pentax ZX/MZ models would be suitable.

    K-mount / M42 with adapter
    Auto exposure
    Cheap as chips
    Cheap lenses (lots of Pentax F/FA autofocus lenses for really no money)
    Can be upgraded later to more interesting bodies
    Supports lenses way back to M42, lots of good Pentax glass out there.


    I use the ZX/MZ system myself, and have a range of different bodies, from the manual MZ-M to the feature filled af MZ-6 (that even supports P-TTL).

    The ZX/MZ-50 would probably be a good start (P, Av, Tv, M, B modes).

    http://www.pentaxforums.com/camerareviews/Autofocus-film-slrs.html
     
  14. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I agree with this. I had a ZX5 and it was a nice small body that a child could handle easily. An old Pentax (Spotmatic era) would be sturdier, but has less auto features.
     
  15. Jay Schrotenboer

    Jay Schrotenboer Member

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    Thank you all very much for the great recamendationd. This gives me a lot to check out.
     
  16. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    When I was 9, my first camera was a Pentax H3v (nee SV in the rest of the world). 55/1.8 Super-Takumar. Shot decent pics.

    -J
     
  17. bladerunner6

    bladerunner6 Member

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    This weekend, until Sunday 7/29, KEH has free shipping on orders over $100.

    If you pick just the right items to be a bit over $100, this will save you a few bucks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2012
  18. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    On first sight of the title " Cameras for young children", I thought you wanted a trade, because when my children were young I know the feeling :D.
     
  19. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    How did this proceed? Did you decide on a system to equip your young ones with finally?

    :tongue:
     
  20. Jay Schrotenboer

    Jay Schrotenboer Member

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    I did end up buying two Minolta SRT 201's with 50mm f/1.7 rockor lenses. They are a little big and awkward in their hands but I think that they will work out all right. Thank you again everyone for your help and suggestions.
     
  21. blockend

    blockend Member

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    System cameras and young children don't go together. They lack the motor skills and unless they're of an unusually boffinish persuasion, the kick is getting the pictures, not twiddling with knobs and dials. They also get fingers on the lens all the time, so good glass isn't a great idea. I'd go for a 1990s P&S, there are lots of them and they cost buttons, and have fun developing the film afterwards. Buy an old 35mm enlarger and take over the bathroom one night a week and show them the magic of the development trays.

    Get them an SLR when they're older, something like a Canon AT-1, light to carry, fully manual and with batteries you can still buy and lenses that won't break the bank.