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11-14-2013, 07:01 AM   #1
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Seeking gift-buying advice (or, "what's a decent camera for a 7-year-old?")

So, I have a 7-1/2 year old son who wants a camera for Christmas. When he was 2 or 3, we got him one of those kid-specific (Fisher-Price, I think?) ruggedized digital cameras. He loved it, and I loved how it was virtually impossible to break, but the pictures it took were...well...crap. I mean, I knew they weren't going to be good, but I was shocked at how bad they were. The phone on my Treo 650 (circa 2005) took better photos.

So, now he's 4-5 years older, much more responsible, and wanting a digital camera. I could get him one of the countless compacts out on the market for under $100, and I know that will take better pictures than his old camera, but in the interest of getting something significantly better, I've been looking at some ILCs. In particular, one of the Pentax Qs, which have been popping up in various forms on Woot and other such sites at seemingly reasonable prices.

So, I know there are some decent lenses available for the Q, and reviews of all models are relatively favorable, but am I nuts for giving something this (potentially) complex to a kid of that age? Might I be better off going with a compact, like the Optio line, or maybe a WG-something? Budget-wise, I'm not averse to paying more for better gear. I'd rather pay $2-300 for something that will last him a few years (from both functionality and durability standpoints) than $100 for a cheap compact that he'll outgrow or break within a year or two.

-Chad

11-14-2013, 07:14 AM   #2
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I'd get a WG or other ruggedized camera (I like the Olympus ones too). Then let them take it to the pool, the beach, the park etc. Get a nice lanyard, too.

The Q is nice, but it's not really a rugged camera. I don't think most 7-10 yr olds are really going to take care of the camera. If he outgrows the WG and is still interested you'll find a bridge camera in a couple years on Woot or somewhere.
11-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
I'd get a WG or other ruggedized camera (I like the Olympus ones too). Then let them take it to the pool, the beach, the park etc. Get a nice lanyard, too.

The Q is nice, but it's not really a rugged camera. I don't think most 7-10 yr olds are really going to take care of the camera. If he outgrows the WG and is still interested you'll find a bridge camera in a couple years on Woot or somewhere.
agree with ter-ror. A 7 year old is too young for a Q, they'll drop it or get confuddled. Emma who is now 10 had a great time with her WG, it went on holiday with us many times and she took pictures of turtles in Barbados underwater etc.
11-14-2013, 09:23 AM   #4
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If it's going to be beaten around and exposed to the elements then the WG series compact becomes a no-brainer.

If it's going to receive gentler, kinder use then the Q becomes and option. But remember even with the most careful of younger folk, loose bits go missing - like itty bitty lenses and so on . . . So consider the MX-1 as well then.

11-14-2013, 09:52 AM   #5
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Sounds like you are saying he wants something more creative. Sometimes I let my 6-year old use an old *ist DS, with the old-version kit lens. Then again I only paid $75 for the whole setup. If she breaks the lens I wouldn't care too much. Anyhow for your budding little H.C. Bresson, you might be well served by a used DSLR, with a manual lens. Honestly, any DSLR would do. You can find Nikon D3000 refurbs on Adorama for like $200 from time to time.
11-14-2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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Another vote for the WG series. A 7 yr old is still a bit young for an ILC camera, imo.
11-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #7
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I think you should get him a K-3 and a WG for yourself, then talk him into a trade.
11-14-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm leaning toward the WG-10 (Target's got it for $159 now and my wife gets another 5% off) or possibly the WG-3. I'm kind of weighing whether the better lens and extra 2 MP of resolution is worth the ~$50-75 premium in cost.

He's definitely not ready for a DSLR, at least from an ergonomic standpoint; but when he is I'll likely hand him down my backup K-x. I occasionally let him take a few shots with that now, but for hauling around to scout events and school outings, I think a WG-something would be much easier to handle and definitely less fragile.

11-14-2013, 09:43 PM   #9
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You won't have anything to worry about with the WG models, as far as durability goes. One thing that I noticed I did not like about them, and what the in-depth review here on PF also points out, is that the shutter button is a bit hard to push, probably because of the heavy waterproofing. Not sure if it will be harder for him to push due to having a weaker hand, or possibly easier since his finger is a little smaller and maybe he can concentrate the pressure better, where it matters.

I guess if it turns out to be a problem for him, then you can keep it for yourself and get him something else.
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