Hello everyone! This is my first post here as you can all see. I have looked around the site before and have enjoyed all of the information on here. This time I came back looking for some help/advice. We recently picked up my son from his first week of summer camp. This was a special camp put on by American Cancer Society called camp UKANDU out on the Oregon coast. My son is a cancer survivor and is going to be 12 years old this November (though he is really around 10 mentally and slowly catching up). His "BIG interest" up till lately has been getting a laptop. Well, with 5 siblings and us still living in a 3bdrm 2bth home that wasn't too feasible. His siblings were more likely to destroy it before he could figure out how to use it. When we picked him and his oldest sister up from camp though we received quite a surprise. Almost all of the camp counselors were coming up to us unsolicited, somehow knowing that we were Zachs parents, and telling us what an amazing photographer he is and how much interest and passion he had for taking pictures. Well, now that Dad has something a bit more feasible for him to get ahold of I'm not quite sure what to get him. I have a Canon IS2 that I use regularly and LOVE! My wife has a Canon A620 that she loves also. The dilemma is how "good" of a camera should we get him to learn with and which ones are good for this purpose? He used everything from a $20 point and shoot to the camp photographers digital SLR at camp. So we came up with we don't want to spend more than $200 and would like it to use the same SD cards that our Canons use and take AA batteries so we can use the same re-chargables. Also, what is everyones opinion on buying from a place like Circiut City for something like this with that "accidental damage" plan they have? It sounded like a good idea to us for a camera that is intended for a child but we don't have any experience with them. OK, hopefully I haven't put anyone to sleep with my LONG explanation. Thanks in advance for your time responding!! I'm looking forward to hearing the different suggestions!
Well first off, congratulations to you all on your son's being a survivor! But I know what you mean about how good a camera you should get him. After all, if he's got a real interest in photography, you want to get him something he can grow into and learn from, yet laying down a big chunk of change for something which might get rough treatment makes you cringe.
Boy, are YOU ever in luck! In the past few years, camera technology has made some pretty rapid advances and this has left some amazingly good cameras sitting there in the USED market.
Back in November of 2000 I purchased a Nikon CoolPix880. This was when a "good" camera produced a 1mpxl file; the 880 produced a 3.2mpxl file. It had a Nikkor lens made of real glass instead of plastic. It had a LOT of great other features too, including electronics which were state of the art at the time. I paid about $1,100 for a kit containing the camera, a case, two extra batteries and a charger and all these years later it STILL WORKS and still produces wonderful files easily capable of being printed in 8x10 format.
About a year ago, I happened across a used one at my local camera shop and bought it for $100. When I saw your note here, I went to eBay to see if there were any more. There certainly are - HERE is a list of them there now in the $40-$50 range. This isn't a new camera, but it's certainly a GOOD camera.
I picked this particular model because I'm familiar with it but there are lots of cameras out there which, though good, aren't popular at the moment because they're behind the technology curve. This brings the price way down and I'm certain that you can find something which will give your son the challenge he craves without hurting your wallet. If he really falls in love with photography, he'll gain the experience of knowing what he really wants when the time comes for him to upgrade.
I hope he has a long life filled with the pleasure of photography!