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03-02-2009, 08:29 AM   #1
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Looking for input

I have a 12 year old son who wants to get into photography. A friend of mine at work has a Pentax 1st DL 6.1 camera he wants to sell me for a price that I can afford and I have some older Pentax lenses (screw on type) that this friend says I can mount to this camera with a adapter.

I can purchase the camera and adapter assuming he is correct. My question is do you think this would be a good start for my son, as I say I can only afford so much and the price is right for me.

I just do not know much about cameras myself and would love to get something like this set up for my boy.

Any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

03-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by breiser Quote
I have a 12 year old son who wants to get into photography. A friend of mine at work has a Pentax 1st DL 6.1 camera he wants to sell me for a price that I can afford and I have some older Pentax lenses (screw on type) that this friend says I can mount to this camera with a adapter.

I can purchase the camera and adapter assuming he is correct. My question is do you think this would be a good start for my son, as I say I can only afford so much and the price is right for me.

I just do not know much about cameras myself and would love to get something like this set up for my boy.

Any input from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
I think it'd be a superb starting point. I presume it comes with an automatic lens. If so, he can progress gradually in his skill and understanding of photography as well and expand his technical, social, and artistic knowledge in general. At minimum he'll have a good, easy-to-use camera. Any progress beyond that will be icing on the cake.

Dave

PS if it doesn't come with a lens, we can help make sure it isn't a frustrating experience taking the first photo.
03-02-2009, 09:10 AM   #3
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That's a tough one considering that the lenses in question are both manual focus and manual exposure. It would help if he had someone to provide a bit of guidance as to how to get a proper exposure.

Then again, 30 years ago, everyone's first camera was manual focus and manual exposure. I used such a camera for nearly 20 years before switching to digital. There's a learning curve, but kids are good at learning if they are well-motivated.

Old packages of Kodak film used to contain a table of camera settings that would lead to an acceptable exposure under different circumstance (sunny, cloudy, indoors). They might still do that, and those settings would still apply.

I would find someone who could show you how to use the equipment first, and gauge the level of difficulty yourself. You know your son's capabilities better than we do.
03-02-2009, 09:19 AM   #4
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Although that arrangement will work, it is not the best way to get a child started.

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,

The best approach is to let him have a P&S, (ideally an older bridge camera) so he can go out and shoot. Turn him loose, and then go over the photos. explain why some work and some don't (technically not artistically).

It is interesting because children's perspective on things is quite different than an adults.

edit note. I suggest a bridge camera because when it becomes time to teach all the technical points, the camera will be able to do it

03-02-2009, 09:33 AM   #5
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I'll weigh in here. I think the *ist DL would be a great camera for your son. I would recommend that you get an autofocus zoom for it though. Doesn't have to be an expensive one, but would help him along to begin with.

I don't think 12 is too young to start learning about exposure, aperture, ISO, and all that good stuff. Don't sell him short. I started learning at that age (or younger) and it was during that time that I developed my love of photography. My parents gave me a Brownie Hawkeye (basically an old P&S) but I got bored with it pretty quickly. It was only weeks before my father started letting me use his Canon film SLR. It didn't have all the automatic bells and whistles but that was what made it interesting...a challenge.

I started a thread last summer about my 7-year-old nephew and a photo outing we all went on in one of the local state parks. I gave him the exact camera you are looking at getting your son...an *istDL....to use for the day and told him to go wild. I was absolutely amazed what he was able to do.

Check out the thread at..... https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-pentax-photography/32638-eyes-seven-year-old.html
03-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
I'll weigh in here. I think the *ist DL would be a great camera for your son. I would recommend that you get an autofocus zoom for it though. Doesn't have to be an expensive one, but would help him along to begin with.

I don't think 12 is too young to start learning about exposure, aperture, ISO, and all that good stuff. Don't sell him short. I started learning at that age (or younger) and it was during that time that I developed my love of photography. My parents gave me a Brownie Hawkeye (basically an old P&S) but I got bored with it pretty quickly. It was only weeks before my father started letting me use his Canon film SLR. It didn't have all the automatic bells and whistles but that was what made it interesting...a challenge.

I started a thread last summer about my 7-year-old nephew and a photo outing we all went on in one of the local state parks. I gave him the exact camera you are looking at getting your son...an *istDL....to use for the day and told him to go wild. I was absolutely amazed what he was able to do.

Check out the thread at..... https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-pentax-photography/32638-eyes-seven-year-old.html
I don't mean to sell any one's son short, but it is just that starting all manual is not the best approach in my opinion. They will first want to just go out and shoot. After some time, and the time to boredom is different for everyone, you can start teaching the good stuff.

If you go the slr route, however I agree, get a reasonable (price) all in one AF zoom. It will want to go pretty wide, because kids do like doing odd perspectives, and it needs to ahve macro, because all kids like to do close ups
03-02-2009, 10:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I don't mean to sell any one's son short, but it is just that starting all manual is not the best approach in my opinion. They will first want to just go out and shoot. After some time, and the time to boredom is different for everyone, you can start teaching the good stuff.

If you go the slr route, however I agree, get a reasonable (price) all in one AF zoom. It will want to go pretty wide, because kids do like doing odd perspectives, and it needs to ahve macro, because all kids like to do close ups
Oops...didn't mean to imply that you were selling him short. I think we were writing about the same time! I didn't see your post till after I posted mine.

I think an AF zoom lens, such as a cheap 28-75mm type lens, would be a necessity, but teaching how to use the manuals alongside the AF would be a great learning tool. If he is mechanically-inclined and loves to tinker, he will get a kick out of both.
03-02-2009, 10:17 AM   #8
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I think it would be a good starting point as long as you have a decent auto zoom he can also use. The 18-55 kit lens is quite inexpensive. It's always a tough decision for a parent when trying to decide whether or not to spend money on things like this. He may get excited for a few weeks and take lots of pictures and then get bored and it ends up on the shelf and something else comes along or it may become a lifetime hobby. I have raised 3 daughters and gone through all the phases with sports, musical instruments, and also cameras. With my kids I found that the cheap camera ended up in a drawer and they ended up borrowing my Spotmatic. I'm guessing your son probably already has a cheap P&S and wants something more. If the cost is something you can do this deal is very good and with an auto zoom along with your older manual lenses he has a great starting point. Get him a few books on photography also. All 3 of my daughters have become avid amatuer photographers and own SLR's.

03-02-2009, 10:17 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by navcom Quote
I think an AF zoom lens, such as a cheap 28-75mm type lens, would be a necessity, but teaching how to use the manuals alongside the AF would be a great learning tool. If he is mechanically-inclined and loves to tinker, he will get a kick out of both.
That sounds like a good approach. I started with a Brownie, then a 35mm PNS, then an ancient rangefinder with full manual controls, etc... but times ain't what they used to be. The auto-zoom will be a good start, the manuals will be a good education. In my teens I was absorbed by all the technical aspects (nerd time!) and surely wished I had more hardware to play with and master.
03-02-2009, 10:35 AM   #10
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I think the others have pretty well summarised what I think... it would be a good camera, BUT I would look at getting at least 1 autofocus lens.

That way you can set him up with an auto lens for quick snapshots, and his fancy screw mount lenses for artistic and high quality shots. Make sure you sell him the idea that the all the manual screw mounts are "pro equipment" and a "treat" to use.

Personally I would just look in the forums here and on ebay for a used DA18-55 lens, you can get one for a song as many people upgrade their kit lens for a faster one.

Pat
03-02-2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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i don't agree with auto-zoom approach as a good approach for learning photography.
i think that's the worst way - it'll make your son lazy and technology-dependant.

*istDL will happily meter the light with any lens you attach to it, it will set the shutter according to selected lens aperture, it's really no more complicated than with fully automated lens, but it does require some thinking. i would say, that's good thing.

after all, 30 years ago kids were shooting with fully manual cameras without problems, so why should it be a problem today?
03-02-2009, 12:02 PM   #12
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I, too, think that a zoom lens is inappropriate for a first camera. A fixed lens -- 50mm or perhaps even a 28mm -- would be much better.

And let me revise my comment above: Although the screw-mount lenses might be okay as long as the boy has someone to provide guidance, an auto-exposure lens would be a far better fit. It would remove a variable from the operation of the camera, and allow him to learn composition first.
03-02-2009, 12:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by elkarrde Quote
i don't agree with auto-zoom approach as a good approach for learning photography.
i think that's the worst way - it'll make your son lazy and technology-dependant.

*istDL will happily meter the light with any lens you attach to it, it will set the shutter according to selected lens aperture, it's really no more complicated than with fully automated lens, but it does require some thinking. i would say, that's good thing.

after all, 30 years ago kids were shooting with fully manual cameras without problems, so why should it be a problem today?
I agree with you to a point. Having the automatic option allows his son to experience it all and not walk away frustrated if he isn't one that will learn manual exposure real fast. Learning composition is just as important as learning exposure, so when the aperture and ISO get confusing, he can still flip to auto and learn composition.

Also, I think kids are different today...they are always different with passing generations. Think I'm wrong? How many boys 40 years ago were into typing? That was "girls" stuff back then. Today, you can't get them away from a computer. Different application and technology...technology that allows them to use an old skill (typing) in a whole new arena of communication. Now they are motived to learn because they see a benefit to learning. If they see the same benefit with their camera (i.e. can see the end result with automated settings), they will be more apt to want to learn the how and why...more of an "instant gratification" turned into a learning experience approach.

While at their heart all generations of kids are really the same, every generation grows up in a different technological world which in turn shapes their experiences. Today's generation is one of "instant gratification"...not every kid, but as a whole this is true. This is because the world is so "automated" that they have a hard time seeing why it's important to learn the "old way". Having the automatic as well as the manual abilities maybe easier for him to relate to and makes it easier for him to learn the right way rather than just pushing him in the deep end of the pool.

Now, that being said...if he is one of those that loves a challenge and can motivate himself, by all means go manual!
03-02-2009, 12:47 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by elkarrde Quote
...after all, 30 years ago kids were shooting with fully manual cameras without problems, so why should it be a problem today?
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.
03-02-2009, 12:57 PM   #15
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To the OP, does your deal beat this deal?

Pentax *ist DL with kit lens for $270 at Wolf Camera

I bought this as a backup to my K20D a few weeks back and have been reminded just how nice the little DL kit is, especially for this price. I'd say it would be a great camera for starting out.

If you take this deal at Wolf, be aware that it's a closeout and the fine print says you may get an open box. I got a factory fresh, sealed kit, as did at least one other poster on FatWallets.com (where I first found the deal). However, one other person there received an open box and wasn't happy with it. Even if it's open box, you should still get a full factory warranty, so I think the person just didn't want something that had been handled by someone else.

Anyway, just wanted to give you another option.
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