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03-02-2009, 01:02 PM   #16
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Just a thought. I can really see both sides here and it may just depend on how interested this 12 year old is. My son just turned 12 and I would love for him to take out my old K1000 and learn. But he just is not interested. I would say if he just wants to have fun, let him have fun with p&s or a dslr with auto focus. Its true... composition is very important and he could get frustrated otherwise. If he really gets into it, I bet he will learn more on his own. But I think it depends on the person.

03-02-2009, 01:07 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
I have to agree with NAVCOM here. 30 years ago kids who were fortunate enough were shooting with fully manual cameras since there were no fully automatic alternatives.
Why not give the kid the option to choose?

ps 35 years ago, I was one of those kids but then I was 15 and not 12 and I had used something simpler for some time.
Fifty years ago I was one of the "unfortunate" ones, no one in my household heard of a an SLR. I got my start on a box shaped camera with right angle viewfinders. You held it waist high and looked down at the viewfinders. And yes, it had two - one for horizontal and one for vertical. It had only one shutter speed, very slow. I took my first astrophotos with it of the full Moon. Unfortunately I got a white speck on black background.

Twelve years ago my wife gave me one of her SLRs, a Pentax K1000 and I was hooked on astrophotography.

Last edited by LeoTaylor; 03-02-2009 at 01:08 PM. Reason: cosmetic fix
03-03-2009, 12:04 AM   #18
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I think the camera would be ieal for your son, but, as others have said, a auot focus lens (perhaps DA50-200??) would be an ideal starter.

I hope he takes well to it and succeeds. All the best.
03-03-2009, 12:37 AM   #19
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I think pairing up screw mount manual lenses with an AF camera body for a 12yo camera newbie might be a mistake. He's going to be very eager to learn all there is about that camera and right off the bat he's going to learn that there are things he can not do with the camera because of the "limitations" of the lenses. His 12yo brain will equate this to the camera being broken or crippled and his interest will lapse.

I would suggest starting him with one or two basic AF lenses; definitely a prime in the 28mm to 55mm range, and possibly a medium telephoto zoom - a 28-105 would be good. Go with FA series lenses rather than the DA's so he gets the aperture ring to help him understand lens mechanics more readily. And let him go crazy with that kit for a while. He'll be able to use all the buttons and dials on the camera this way (he's gonna want to ya know) and still go manual if he wants.

Then later once he's learned the basics and if the interest is still there then introduce the screw mounts.

03-03-2009, 11:38 PM   #20
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I think that the *ist DL would be a great starter camera, but I do not think that the autofocus is the ideal lense. A manual focus lense will help your son think about the photos that he is taking.
03-04-2009, 12:43 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Why? manual focus, manual exposure, the need to teach him exposure shutter speed, apature control, etc. along with changing lenses, and dust etc. add screw mount and a little more patience required to mount lenses and I thik it will be frustrating,
If the kid is frustrated that means he's learning. If it's already easy, then he already knows it and there is nothing to learn.

The North American attitude of dumbing everything down is...not...uhh...good.
03-04-2009, 08:23 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
The North American attitude of dumbing everything down is...not...uhh...good.
Rather. Of course, half of any population is below average. Pentaxians are hopefully in the other half. Meanwhile, recall that Pentax kept the stripped-down K1000 in production for over 20 years, due to perpetual demand by students. MF is THE way to learn (and apply) the basics of photography.
03-04-2009, 09:31 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
If the kid is frustrated that means he's learning. If it's already easy, then he already knows it and there is nothing to learn.

The North American attitude of dumbing everything down is...not...uhh...good.
I can't speak for Lowell, or anyone else, but my thoughts on AF vs MF in this situation have nothing to do with dumbing down anything.

The father clearly stated he's not a shooter himself, and did not indicate he would be putting his son(?) into any type of structured learning environment. He's contemplating putting an *istDL and a bunch of M42 lenses in his hands and basically turning him loose. This in my mind is unwise. The frustration that awaits will not be an indication of learning but rather discouragement.

If the body in question were a spotomatic, K1000 or other fully manual camera then absolutely I would say those M42's would be the perfect choice. But we're talking about a fully automatic, computerized digital camera here - so we've already "dumbed down" the process from the start.

Personally, I wish every budding photographer started out in a structured learning environment armed with a K1000, an M 50mm/2.0, a case of Tri-X and Alfred Stieglitz as their mentor/instructor (I suppose Bryan Peterson would suffice since Alfi is currently unavailable). Not gonna happen.

03-04-2009, 10:01 AM   #24
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I’m with the kit lens idea. It is affordable and convenient; the marketplace in this forum usually has at least one for $60-$80. I think your son will want to take some snap shots of his friends, his school or some party shots. Having fun with the camera is the biggest motivation to learn photography. The kit lens is perfect for this purpose.

The istDL is a great starter camera and has plenty to learn to begin with; ISO, white balance, flash compensation, PASM modes…etc. I personally would leave the manual focus lens as a second/third purchase.

The worst case scenario is your son gets tired of photography later and not using the camera any more. Then the istDL + kit lens can still be used as a family camera that takes pictures better than most point & shoot.

Just my $0.02.
03-04-2009, 10:33 AM   #25
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Can you believe....

I would recommend a film camera?
I remember when I started ( I was also 12 yo)with a Zenit E , full manual, only one light meter built on. One lens.
This is how I learned this law: if you take some, you have to give some in return. Let me clarify: (I will split the hair now)
I see the problem like this: for taking a picture you need to adjust the distance (focusing) on one side; and adjust the amount of light you let pass to the sensor/film on the other side (metering).
Leave the focusing apart (manual or auto - either have advantages).

About the metering part:
-Digital has the great disadvantage of having so many variables: White Balance, ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed.
-In film, (with a cheap ZX-50 for ex. ), you have only two main choices: Aperture priority or Shutter. It has also Manual mode for more control, or picture for automatic exposure. No WB, no ISO to worry. The hell with them. and there is also the autofocus there.

The most important stuff is: HOW YOU TAKE THE PICTURE.
In my regard:
- Digital approach is the way to loose the essence. Fast, easy and low quality. Like a burger. Your boy's common sense will see the lack of substance, and he will abandon it just as fast he learns all the camera buttons.

-on film, he has the chance to take his time.
He will take less pictures, but he will learn how to love this wonderful world of Photography. It has to do a lot with the eager waiting you need to pay before you see your results.
But the most important: he has the chance to make some mistakes to learn from.
It's a life lesson, really. It can come very cheap.

B.R.
03-04-2009, 10:41 AM   #26
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Interesting how such a simple question can generate so much discussion!!

Last Christmas I gave my 13 year old grandson and my 12 year old granddaughter cheap P&S cameras - first camera for each. Both were very happy and excited - both started taking photos immediately. I figured (and still do) that if either (or both) keep at it and show some real interest in taking photos - NOT snapshots - then I'll work out something with their parents and see about getting them "real" cameras. This way I can get a good idea of their interest level without spending a bunch of money. My .02!!

By the by - the DL is a real nice camera for a "starter"!!
03-04-2009, 01:07 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChipB Quote
Interesting how such a simple question can generate so much discussion!!

Last Christmas I gave my 13 year old grandson and my 12 year old granddaughter cheap P&S cameras - first camera for each. Both were very happy and excited - both started taking photos immediately. I figured (and still do) that if either (or both) keep at it and show some real interest in taking photos - NOT snapshots - then I'll work out something with their parents and see about getting them "real" cameras. This way I can get a good idea of their interest level without spending a bunch of money. My .02!!

By the by - the DL is a real nice camera for a "starter"!!
I had a similar experience with my nephews (12 and 14). They got P&S cameras for Christmas and went wild. Unfortunately for them, P&S equates to the same experience as using their cellphone to take pictures (which unfortunately their parents have also given them...:ugh. No art or thought...just a cool gadget that soon lost it's interest when they figured out it was less work to send the images from their phone to their friends than it was to upload the ones from the camera and then attach them to an email. Their first and most influential exposure to photography was completely lost.

Their younger cousin is the one I gave my *istDL to for the day last year. He had never used a P&S before, so his only exposure was a camera that he had to do a little interaction with. He had the opportunity to use his cousins P&S cameras and was not impressed. What's the point he told me...which equates to "no challenge". His exact words were "that's not a real camera".

First impressions are forever. The first set of nephews now have a simplified view of photography and thus have no interest. Why have this "complicated" camera when this one on my cellphone works so much easier...all I have to do is push the button. My other nephew has the impression that there is more to taking a picture than pushing a button. (ahhh, finally one after my own heart!). Also, he doesn't have a cellphone.

Please note: no P&S cameras were hurt while writing this email. I have two P&S cameras and love 'em both!
03-04-2009, 01:26 PM   #28
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Moved to DSLR section.
03-04-2009, 02:39 PM   #29
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Having just upgraded from the *istDL to the K20D, I would say that the DL is a good starter camera for sure if you can get it at a cheap price, assuming of course that it comes with the kit lens of course. I'm selling my DL to one of my sisters because she's interested in getting into an SLR and I think it's a great step. I loved my the DL, as a novice I think it took some great shots, despite being pretty much an entry level DSLR. I don't think it would be a bad thing that your son starts with an auto lens, but maybe also throw in some manual focus lenses that you could probably get for cheap just so he can learn that route as well. If your son is motivated enough to want to really learn about photography I don't think they would mind going manual.
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