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Camera for young beginner

edited November 2016 Posted in » General Discussion
Hi, I have an 11 year old daughter who loves wildlife, taking pictures in general, and wants to animate. I bought a used, like new, Canon Rebel xti with a pro master XR EDO 18-200mm lens. Now that I played with it, I think it's too complicated for her.
Please let me know opinions for a camera for an 11 year old, hopefully with live view.
I looked at Nikon cool pix L340-L840, but no lens change on them.
Does she really need a lens change at 11? I'm starting to think I should trade lens change option for video. I'd like to stay at $200-$275 used like new, refurbished or new. Any advice would be great.
Thank you.


  • Speaking as a former kid and as a parent of a variety of people, I would hold off on the "too complicated" aspect until you find out what she herself would be willing to learn.

    I am not familiar with this particular camera, but most of the lower end DSLR's, complicated as they can be at times, also include modes that allow "point and shoot" capability, with the difference that they can also deliver high quality.

    11 is a bit young, but they don't stay 11 for long!
  • edited November 2016
    Hi, thank you for your advice.
    I might turn around and sell the one I just bought. There's a Canon rebel EOS T5 I EF-S 18-55mm with a lens kit and live view that I may bid on. Of course that means I have to pay more than my price range, but like you said, they don't stay 11 for long. This camera I'm looking at now will do for at least a few years. Maybe I won't have to buy another camera until she's 18-20 if I pay the price now.
    Thanks again.
  • edited December 2016
    A great way to slowly build up a photography kit is to introduce a new piece of equipment at every big gift giving event. For example, I always treat myself to something small on birthdays and at Christmas. Let's face it, photography is an expensive hobby but not if you start to build the kit up in small batches.

    I agree that a DSLR is a great starting point; I'd go for it! As Christmas is fast approaching, maybe you could start to introduce some other smaller vital pieces of kit into her photography routine? There are loads of well priced gifts for photographers around at this time of year - I just got a small camera bag here -
  • edited January 2017
    Hi! I think that your daughter is too small for a camera with changing lens. In my opinion, Nikon Coolpix camera is enough for her right now. They are not that bad, you can read about them on . Maybe later her passion for photography will disappear (children can change their hobbies), and if it doesn't you can buy more serious camera for her later. By the way, it's better to learn using a camera that's not complicated.
  • edited January 2017
    I think it really depends on the kid. 11 is pretty young, but the original post suggests she's already taking pictures with something. It's ultimately up to you and your perception of what works to decide the delicate balance between what she's ready for, what she can handle, and what she might see as limitation.

    One of the big questions, of course (and again, one that can be answered only by the parents) has to do with how well she takes care of things. An SLR, while pretty robust, is not pocketable, droppable, etc., and needs a good bit more careful handling than a point and shoot, many of which are nearly indestructible.

    I would suggest that if she seems to be really interested in photography itself, in addition to getting pictures, you look for a camera that offers at least some manual features that can be experimented with. I'm not sure what is offered by various Coolpix models. I know there have at various points been Canon point and shoots that offered fairly complete manual operation in addition to the usual automation. Whether that gets used or not, having it and not using it is easier than wanting it and not having it.

    Of course, the question of used versus new is also one that makes a big difference. I've seen older DSLR's, which were once considered close to the state of the art, going for very low prices. If you sacrifice a couple of generations of pixel density and high ISO, you can get a lot of bang for the buck, cheaper than many good point and shoot cameras.

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