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03-13-2011, 02:38 AM   #1
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K-r for Kids?

OK, so my 14 year old son would like a camera for his birthday. Of course, he wants to shoot stills, but is also interested in taking video, mainly of the action at the skate park. So, what do I do? Go shopping for a K-x or K-r (in which case we can share lenses) or go for a decent quality P&S? I have to say that some of the 'indestructable' P&Ss appeal to me because they aren't likely to die if he drops them and are small enough to stuff into a pocket, reducing the chance of theft when he's scooting himself. Anyone got any suggestions? I'm sure I'm not the first parent to have gone thru this.

Qiki

03-13-2011, 03:00 AM   #2
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Well, Pentax has a fairly "indestructible" P&S, with an even newer model coming out. Perhaps that would be good (and cost much less). If he really gets into it maybe he'll want something more later, and if he doesn't then this was a good choice. I especially like Nikon for P&S, and Panasonic for alternatives like a good superzoom or an LX5.
03-13-2011, 03:11 AM   #3
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The k-x/k-r seem to be doing less than a stellar job in AUTO PICT in low light even / especially with flash; kind of long shutter times and soft pics from motion blur seems to be a common enough complaint here. This can be intepreted as a motivator for learning the basics of exposure though .
03-13-2011, 03:27 AM   #4
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I'm not a parent, but I have a few nephews and cousins who are aged 8-15. I think 14 year olds should be responsible enough to take care of a DSLR, also K-x's are very cheap these days. A lot of school kids these days have iPhones, those things are more expensive than K-x's if bought outright, I personally think its fine to let him have a K-x, especially if he is very interested in photography.

03-13-2011, 03:49 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback guys. My son has already spend a bit of time fooling around with lower-end P&Ss, so if I decide to go that way it will be for a more 'upmarket' model. Not too sure about the Pentax P&S offerings. I was leaning more toward the Lumix DMC-FT2 Lumix DMC-FT2 Digital Camera, tough, waterproof, shock, rugged movie HD camera. I'm just torn bewteen the image quality of the K-r (which I can currently get cheaper than the K-x) and the durability of the Lumix. To those who'd recommend a Pentax P&S, what model should I look at?

Ta,
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03-13-2011, 06:35 AM   #6
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A kx would be perfect for stills. But I think the video is pretty useless for skate park action (on any dslr really..), due to lack of autofocus while filming. I have the k-x and have never used the video function for anything useful because of this. Maybe look at something like the panasonic gh2?
03-13-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Qiki Quote
I'm just torn bewteen the image quality of the K-r (which I can currently get cheaper than the K-x) and the durability of the Lumix. To those who'd recommend a Pentax P&S, what model should I look at?
I got a Pentax W90 which is quite good as a P&S, but no where near the quality of a K-x or any DSLR. And frankly, the video may always be in focus, but its grainy! Almost no ruggedized P&S's are going to beat a DSLR for stills, though Panasonic are the kings of P&S quality! Also from Pentax, the WG-1 is now out with built-in GPS for geotagging, if that appeals to your kid. No idea if the video is improved or if the still quality is up to snuff.

My thought is that at 14, he's just at the age where what the device looks like can have as much of an impact on its use as what it can do. (Okay, some of us may never have gotten over that!) I think a DSLR would get a lot more "respect" as a tool for taking pictures than a P&S would... if taking pictures is his main goal. The "video problem," as pointed out, is that the Pentax DSLRs suck for video. Actually, pretty much all DSLRs struggle to produce decent video unless you are a cinematographer (in which case you can film a stunning movie!). Audio is universally bad without a mic, and only Sony has decent autofocus in DSLR video (A33 and A55 SLT).

Maybe get him a Hero HD "helmet cam" with a fisheye attachment for video if he finds he's really into that?
03-13-2011, 07:33 PM   #8
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From personal experience, 14 year olds are less than happy with dSLRs, my 14 year old thought it was way too cumbersome but was really happy with a waterproof, indestructible P&S mainly because of the pictures that could be taken underwater.

03-13-2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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I personally think the K-x would be a good choice for stills, but agree with others that there are probably better choices if he wants to shoot a lot of video.

My oldest also wanted a camera too, but he just turned 4 so it's not quite the same situation I tried giving him my old Fuji F20 P&S but he didn't seem to like it because he wanted a viewfinder to look through (which I completely understand). He seemed to handle the K-7 like a pro last summer

03-13-2011, 08:29 PM   #10
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While the PENTAX K system can do video well, depending on how much video your son wants to shoot, you may want to consider the Nikon D3100, Sony α55 or α33, or any one of the recent Canon EOS Rebel cameras. Micro Four Thirds should be looked at as well. While it is probably a good idea to stick with the K system, other camera systems should not be ruled out. For PENTAX, both the K-r and K-x make good choices, but if the objective is primarily video, the K-x would be a better value.

--DragonLord
03-14-2011, 05:20 AM   #11
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If he has a p&s already, and the the focus for upgrade is video, get a minicam that can do stills - they're lighter, and more compact than a dSLR of any make. He can also set it up on a tri-pod, walk away and continue to take stills.

Love the kid pic dgaies
03-14-2011, 06:37 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input guys. My favourite camera store offered me a K-r with 18-55 WR for $675. At that price it was hard to find a P&S, 4/3 etc that offered as much bang for my buck. So, after much discussion we've decided to go with the K-r. I'll post some of his pics once he's up and running.

Qiki
03-17-2011, 01:36 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
I personally think the K-x would be a good choice for stills, but agree with others that there are probably better choices if he wants to shoot a lot of video.

My oldest also wanted a camera too, but he just turned 4 so it's not quite the same situation I tried giving him my old Fuji F20 P&S but he didn't seem to like it because he wanted a viewfinder to look through (which I completely understand). He seemed to handle the K-7 like a pro last summer
Great shot - thanks for sharing it!
03-17-2011, 01:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DragonLord Quote
While the PENTAX K system can do video well, depending on how much video your son wants to shoot, you may want to consider the Nikon D3100, Sony α55 or α33, or any one of the recent Canon EOS Rebel cameras. Micro Four Thirds should be looked at as well. While it is probably a good idea to stick with the K system, other camera systems should not be ruled out. For PENTAX, both the K-r and K-x make good choices, but if the objective is primarily video, the K-x would be a better value.

--DragonLord
I tried both the Nikon D3100 and D7000 - AF while shooting video is a joke, unless you want video that looks more amateur than most camcorders take! I was really excited about this feature until I tried it. It's better just to learn to manually "pull" the focus on a DSLR (not that it's easy).

I've never tried them, but the Sony a55/a33 actually sound like plausible alternatives AF-wise, based on the way Sony brags about them in their ads. And like all the DSLR brands, Sony has some nice lenses in their lineup.
03-17-2011, 04:46 AM   #15
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I certainly think fourteen is a good age to begin shooting with a "real camera." By that, I guess I mean a camera with an optical viewfinder that also allow for relatively easy adjustment of settings without diving into menus. There are several young photographers (teenaged) that do amazing work. I am thinking of Yeatzee here and his macro work with the K200 and K7 -- pretty amazing.

I am sure your son will enjoy it and with a little guidance can blossom into an excellent photographer.
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