Point and shoot for a kid?
My soon to be seven year old daughter really likes to help me in the dark room, even though my pictures must be quite boring to her. She has been playing around with our old digicam that is now broken, and she has an eye for interesting pictures, as a lot of kids have before they start to worry about what other people think.
So, I am thinking about a 35 mm point and shoot loaded with Tri-X that I will develop, so we can enlarge her images together instead of mine. I got my first Kodak Instamatic camera when I was about her age, maybe a bit older and had fun with it.
So I am thinking about a small point and shoot camera with automatic exposure, an ok preferably slightly wide angle lens, and scale focusing or autofocus.
Would Olympus XA 2 be a good choice? I think I have a Lomo in a drawer somewhere, maybe that should do it? Or a Minox? That is not auto exposure but not that difficult to set either.
What do you think?
If you don't want auto focus then I think the XA2 would be ideal to start with as it is sort of manual focus with three positions given for distant, medium and close with the usual mountain, full length people and head and shoulders of people as distance indicators.
So technically it's not quite point and shoot as you need to put some thought into the focus (which I think is a good thing) but in all other respects it sounds ideal as it has the wide (35mm) lens you want and is auto exposure..
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
Or... seeing as she is a kid (soon to be a teenager... he he) you could consider a Holga, which is very cool here among the young folks. If she'd be loading her own film, you could pop a 35mm cartridge in for simplicity's sake. 35mm in a Holga yields a wonderful panoramic image... definitely worth a try.
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
An XA2 isn't a bad choice. The only disadvantage I can think of is no built-in flash - an external flash makes it somewhat bulkier than other "true" P&S cameras out there. Depending on what she likes to take pictures of, that might be an issue.
For size and still very good picture quality, with autofocus and an integrated flash, I would suggest an Olympus Stylus Epic - going for $100 or less on eBay. It's very compact - I think the smallest P&S I've seen, and is a decent performer, as long as the fixed 35mm lens isn't a problem. On the downside, I had one break in a pocket while on vacation (reason unknown), but I seem to be in the minority there. Also, in a zoom, the Stylus 80, 120, or 150 are also good choices - I now have a Stylus 120, it *hasn't* broken in my pocket, and it's still quite good.
Otherwise, on the total P&S front, I've heard very good things about the Canon Sureshot Classic 120 - so much so that I've bought one myself and it just arrived the other day. The advantage it has is they go cheap (it cost me about US$35 on eBay for very good/near mint condition), it has a decent lens (but a bit slow - it's f/4.5 - 10.6), and it has +/- 1.5 EV exposure compensation (not incremental, though, it's all or nothing one way or the other if you decide to use it). Lots of positive reviews if you search around for it.
Of course, the disadvantage to "true" P&S cameras vs. the XA2 is that most P&S are limited to DX-coding only for film speed (other than the exposure compensation of the Classic 120), so if at some point you wanted to teach her about pushing/pulling, or the limits/flexibility of film, the XA2 might be a better choice.
Anyway, just some thoughts...
i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.
- phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds
At her age I think that instant success every time she takes a picture is very important to keep her interest growing. I'd consider an Olympus Mju II. It is small and will just about fit a 7 yr old's hand and is auto everything but with a great wide angle sharp lens and built-in flash. It also has a few nice additions such as red eye reduction etc. Until I got my Pentax it was the family camera. Anyone could use it and get great negs and prints.
She will probably be able to load it with film herself as well and feel that she is in control of things.
Nice to know we probably have a new member in a few years.
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the lomo might be cool ---
i wish i had a lomo when i was 8
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I just wanted to point out that the Mju II and the Olympus Stylus Epic are one and the same; a very nice 35mm f2.8, flash options, small (4.7 oz, as I recall), weather-proof, and $80 at B&H. I love them, and they are my standard "I must have a camera with me at all times" camera.
here's a nice review I found:
She's almost 7, so I would go for a fixed focus p&s, built in manual flash if she wants to take inside. I'd forget focussing and just let her experiment with composition and subject matter, or at least that's what I'd do with my 7 year old. I reccommend an old Konica C35 type. I have a C35 EFP with built in flash that's a joy to use. Good little lens, about 38mm, fast recycling flash manually set. Go for about £5 on e-bay. Bargain.
Thanks for the help! I did go for a cheap Olympus XA 2 with flash at an auction site. I think the focusing is simple enough with three zones. Fast film outside should be good enough, I suppose. It also has the A11 flash so she might use it indoors with that. I suppose I will send her out in the garden with it next weekend if she wants to. Or maybe she will chase her little brother around with it...