As a guardian, one of the satisfying features of pictures for me is sharing my love of photo-taking with my two children. My spouse and I take pleasure in taking photos of our two boys, wanting by way of previous household pictures with them, and involving them as a lot as we will once we are utilizing our cameras.

Nevertheless, when our oldest was about 5 years previous he began eager to get in on the motion as properly, and that’s once we hit a little bit of a street block. We needed to get him and his youthful brother a digicam, however with so many choices we didn’t even know the place to begin. Thankfully we discovered an answer that has labored wonders for us and may very well be nice for you too.

The Choices

Once we began wanting extra critically into cameras for our children we realized we had a number of choices, all of which we ended up discarding for the next causes.

Allow them to use our cameras. As a lot as we needed them to get an actual hands-on expertise with pictures, the cameras and lenses we use for formal picture classes are a lot too costly handy over to our little boys. Once they’re older we will definitely allow them to use our digicam gear, however not at such a younger age.

Spend money on rugged point-and-shoot cameras. Some cameras made by Olympus and Panasonic are designed to take a little bit of punishment and appear ideally suited for teenagers, however we didn’t wish to spend tons of of {dollars} on a digicam that our children would possibly take pleasure in for a couple of days after which put apart in lieu of one thing else. (As dad and mom now we have realized that our children’ enjoyment of a specific toy or object isn’t correlated with the quantity it prices, and simply because one thing is dear certainly not ensures they are going to prefer it or use it greater than as soon as!)

I don’t know why, however my six-year-old is obsessive about taking photos of ceiling followers. This has led to some good discussions about shutter speeds and likewise the impact of flash when freezing movement.

Buy a kid-oriented digicam. When you search on-line you will discover dozens of kid-oriented cameras which have large buttons and brilliant colours, however all those I’ve used have been fairly unimpressive. Tiny low-quality LCD screens, sluggish response instances, horrible picture high quality, and terrible sound results all seem to be they’re designed particularly to suck the enjoyment out of pictures altogether.

Allow them to use an previous cell phone digicam. This appears to make numerous sense given the prevalence of tablets, telephones, and different units with cameras and touch-screen applied sciences, however we finally determined towards it. We didn’t need the trouble of coping with web restrictions and app downloading, particularly when our children are so younger. Sooner or later we’d open this door, however for now we’re extra snug giving our children an precise digicam as a substitute of a tool that has many features, together with a digicam.

The extra we checked out decisions out there to us the extra we appeared to hit lifeless ends, till we got here up with an answer that appeared to examine many bins : we’d purchase every of our children a used point-and-shoot digicam.

Previous point-and-shoots can’t match fashionable cameras, however they’re not too shabby both. And when a child can snap an image of a dawn with their very personal digicam, it’s a enjoyable second to witness.

The answer

A used point-and-shoot digicam hit each certainly one of our standards. And the extra analysis we did, the extra we realized that this plan had nearly no drawbacks and a wide range of advantages together with…

Worth. You’ll be able to look on eBay or used gear websites like KEH.com for used point-and-shoots and discover loads of choices for $25 to $50. That’s properly inside the vary that we’re snug spending on a toy, and if our children lose curiosity or break their cameras unintentionally, we haven’t misplaced some huge cash.

Choice. The sky actually is the restrict in relation to deciding on a used point-and-shoot, and irrespective of your price range you’ll be able to in all probability discover one which fits your wants – particularly if the objective is to provide it to a toddler. As a place to begin seek for “Powershot”, “Coolpix”, or “Cyber-Shot” and kind by worth to see loads of low-cost point-and-shoot choices.

A fast eBay seek for Canon PowerShot digital cameras between $25 and $50 turns up dozens of outcomes.

Options. I owned a couple of small pocket cameras method again in faculty and through the years I had forgotten what number of options these previous issues had! A lot of the ones we checked out included issues like optical viewfinders, video recording, optical zoom lenses, self-timers, restricted guide controls, white steadiness choices, numerous metering modes, macro/portrait modes, customized scene settings, and instagram-style filters. A few of these require digging by way of menus, however it’s all there for kids to discover and work out, which is a part of the enjoyable of pictures within the first place.

Picture high quality. Can a decade-old point-and-shoot match the standard and megapixels of a contemporary DSLR or smartphone? In fact not. A lot of the cameras you’re more likely to discover can be within the 3-megapixel vary, which pales compared to any fashionable digicam. And good luck taking photos at excessive ISO values. However the level is to make use of this as a approach to get children fascinated by pictures, and no youngster I do know goes to balk at having solely Three megapixel photographs. That’s loads large enough to crop and print. (Bear in mind, a 4×6 picture at 300dpi is barely 2 megapixels.)

Picture high quality on a used point-and-shoot can’t rival a DSLR, however it may be simply and cheaply changed if dropped in water when taking photos of turtles. And that’s nearly what occurred when this picture was taken.

In spite of everything our investigating we ended up getting our boys every a Canon PowerShot DS450 Digital ELPH from eBay. We paid $27 for one and $29 for the opposite, together with delivery. Our children (age 6 and three once they acquired them) had been so thrilled they may hardly put them down. They referred to as them their “Skilled Cameras” and shortly began taking photos, experimenting with totally different choices, and figuring issues out within the menu screens whereas instructing one another what that they had realized.

Over time our children have realized much more about pictures and use their cameras to get the photographs they need. They usually actually take pleasure in experimenting with the self timer and taking brief movies too. We made albums for every of them inside our Apple Images app. Over the previous 12 months they’ve constructed their libraries up with 1000’s of images which they like wanting by way of and sharing with others.

This image of grandma and grandpa’s canine isn’t going to win any awards, however my son had enjoyable taking it and it helps him bear in mind this go to.

At instances their curiosity has waxed and waned, and typically a month will go by with out them choosing up their cameras. However that’s how children are with most toys, and I don’t assume the scenario could be any totally different had we spent $200 on a brand-new kid-friendly point-and-shoot. The scenario isn’t all sunshine and roses although, and there have been some drawbacks and dangers that any guardian would wish to take into consideration when shopping for a used digicam.

The dangers

Buying something used, whether or not it’s a digicam or a automotive, carries with it its personal set of dangers and fogeys ought to pay attention to what they’re stepping into.

Gear situation. When you get a brand new digicam, whether or not it’s a brightly-colored toy digicam or a complicated drop-resistant point-and-shoot, you could be pretty sure that the product you pay for is identical because the product you obtain. It’s going to additionally seemingly include a guaranty, however neither of those is the case with used cameras. Respected websites like KEH, B&H, and Adorama charge their objects with a scale that provides you a reasonably good expectation of their situation, however what you get within the mail may need scratches, dents, or different defects you won’t anticipate.

Each of the cameras we received on eBay had dings and dents, however my children didn’t thoughts in any respect and I’d suspect most youngsters (particularly very younger ones) wouldn’t even discover.

Watch out for public sale websites. If in case you have by no means used eBay or different public sale websites earlier than, navigating their choices can seem to be a little bit of a digital minefield. Look carefully at vendor rankings, return insurance policies, and buyer-protection choices earlier than making a purchase order. And in case you come throughout a digicam deal that appears too good to be true, it in all probability is. The identical goes for cameras you would possibly discover on Craigslist or Fb Market. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the vendor.

Equipment not included. Relying on the place you get your digicam it could or could not include niceties like a wrist strap, a reminiscence card, or perhaps a charger or working battery. The cameras we received for our children had batteries that hardly held a cost, so we received a pair of third-party batteries for about $15. It wasn’t too large of a deal however it served as a superb reminder of the distinction between shopping for used vs. shopping for new. Issues like this aren’t deal-breakers and your pocketbook can be nonetheless be a lot happier, even in case you do have to purchase a few of these further objects.

On a current journey to the native botanic gardens my children lastly received to be those taking photos of daddy, not the opposite method round. Easy wrist straps positively helped them maintain monitor of their cameras within the course of.

The lesson right here is one which has rung true for ages, ever since people started buying and selling for items and providers: caveat emptor—let the customer beware. If you perform a little little bit of analysis, ask questions, and belief your instincts you’ll in all probability find yourself with a wonderfully good digicam that can be nice for teenagers.

It’s been properly over a 12 months since my spouse and I received used point-and-shoot cameras for our boys, and regardless of a couple of hiccups, the experiment has been a convincing success. It has not ignited some latent ardour for pictures, however our boys have had enjoyable experimenting and exploring and creating – and to this point they haven’t damaged their cameras both.

My three-year-old took this with the pocket digicam we purchased him for underneath $30. I requested him why, and he informed me he simply preferred the colours of the bike.

In the meantime my spouse and I relaxation straightforward figuring out that they will’t entry dangerous web websites or obtain unusual apps onto their 2005-era digital cameras. And if our children do find yourself breaking or damaging their point-and-shoots it will likely be a really low cost downside to resolve. (As a bonus, in the event that they do break their cameras we plan to make use of it as a monetary lesson and make them save up for replacements.)

When you or somebody you recognize has children who’re fascinated by pictures, I extremely suggest trying out the various used cameras out there to you earlier than shelling out tons of of {dollars} on a brand-new mannequin or shopping for an inexpensive kid-friendly digicam with precise bells and whistles, however restricted capability for pictures. The chance is pretty minimal, the outcomes could be fairly rewarding, and also you would possibly even end up renewing your individual pleasure for pictures just by serving to educate the youthful technology what makes the artwork type so particular to you.

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