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Best option for a 14 year old who is new to photography

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by wrxspdwgn, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. wrxspdwgn

    wrxspdwgn Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Nov 12, 2012
    Wisconsin
    My 14 year old nephew has expressed an interest in photography and has taken some pretty good shots with his phone. I would like to give him a camera and have been thinking about what would be a good starter setup that he could use while learning. One option is my original EM5 kit with the 12-50 lens that I’m not using. I have also noticed that Olympus has some pretty good deals on refurbished EM10 Mark ll kits. Any input is genuinely appreciated.
     
  2. There used to be a school of thought (maybe there still is?) that budding photographers should be forced to learn their craft from the ground up with completely manual cameras. I think you would struggle to buy one these days so there needs to be a rethink.

    My view is that the EM5 with 12-50 would be a good choice because he'll get instant results on P mode at 50mm which are unachievable with his phone (the wow factor).

    You could set him a series of challenges to 'get the background out of focus', 'freeze action' and 'add some motion blur' - it won't be long before he figures out the relationship between apertures and shutter speeds for himself. He can then explore the rest of the things that the camera will do.
     
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  3. wrxspdwgn

    wrxspdwgn Mu-43 Regular

    74
    Nov 12, 2012
    Wisconsin
    I remember learning the basics in high school (late 1970s) with a Minolta SRT-202 film Camera. . If I give my nephew the EM5, the good part would be I would just have to pick up a Black Rapid or similar strap as the strap lugs are a weak spot on what otherwise was a good camera.
     
  4. Cederic

    Cederic Mu-43 Veteran

    480
    Nov 14, 2012
    Nottingham
    If you have a spare EM5 and lens then that's a perfectly good start point. There may be better 'first purchase' options but I can't think of any sufficiently better to justify the expense.

    Incidentally I never use a camera strap, so don't be shy of inviting him to carry it handheld - hell, makes it more easily available for use.

    Rather than specific photographic assignments I think I'd demonstrate the key camera functions, provide a copy of the manual, chuck a couple of the free 'how to do digital photography' ebooks towards him and say, "Just photo what you want"

    You can follow up in a few weeks with an offer to help with post-processing, and that's the opportunity to discuss different framing or shutter/aperture options and how those might have changed the photos he took. None of that matters though unless he's enjoying taking photos in the first place, so let him pick the subjects.
     
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  5. Gidget

    Gidget Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    353
    Apr 22, 2010
    Indiana
    Leah Hallett
    Better lens - more excitement if you ask me. What about a Zuiko 12-60mm f2.8-4 that's a great cheap lens that will give some background blurr...or a prime 25 or 45mm f1.8's? I know Robert's has some older Zuiko lenses on ebay with best offers available.
     
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  6. LilSebastian

    LilSebastian Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    319
    Feb 28, 2017
    Pasadena, CA
    If the original E-M5 doesn’t have WiFi, he might enjoy the E-M10 II or similar with that feature. I can only imagine how a 14 would feel about having to connect to a computer in order to review and share their new photos.
     
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  7. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    Rob
    I've just recently passed on my old Panasonic G3 to a 12 year old who is showing some interest in taking photos with something more sophisticated than a phone. I bought a copy of the mk2 Panny 14-42 to go with it for very little, on ebay. Seems to be doing the trick so far!
     
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  8. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    911
    Sep 20, 2014
    The EM10-II is a great camera, starter or expert, it has a lot of scope for varied uses. The lens is OK for starting, then find out what he wants to try next. Example: No point going for a telephoto or fast lens if he wants to try macro and visa versa. Lots of great lenses can be had used on ebay, you just have to be patient and be willing to walk away once the price gets too high and wait for the next one.

    If you have a spare EM5 then offer that first before spending money. It's still as good today as it was when new and everyone was raving about it.
     
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  9. Giiba

    Giiba Something to someone somewhere Subscribing Member

    Aug 19, 2016
    New Westminster, BC
    Spend money once they're getting more interested. An m5 with 12-50 lens is enough for many people so cannot be a bad starting point.

    If anything the wifi might be the only deal breaker.
     
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  10. relic

    relic Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    635
    Oct 21, 2010
    North Carolina, USA
    I learned on an Agfa Silette and a separate light meter that I got as a Christmas present many years ago. I would find it very hard to learn on any digital camera as they all have auto-exposure and the tendency would be to avoid manual mode in the interest of getting the picture. But there are some on-line simulators that can give a beginner a good grasp of the relationships between shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and depth of field when "manual" is selected, such as
    Andersen Images
    For what it's worth.
    I just tried it: it even simulates the increase in noise with increasing ISO.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  11. StephenB

    StephenB Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    497
    Aug 29, 2018
    Somerset UK
    Steve
    I don't want to rain on anybody's parade, but my granddaughter-in-law expressed an interest in photography, she's a twenty-something web designer and runs her own internet site selling stuff I can't believe people want (but I'm an old fart). I gave her my Canon G12 along with a dedicated guide book, as I thought she could delve into a bit of photography a few steps up from her phone - she's just not interested, the results aren't instant enough I guess.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2018
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  12. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Ack! Not if you ask me. Photography is about light and composition, not hardware. Please, please, do not set your nephew up to be an equipment geek. Granted, starting with film is unrealistic but I thnk @StephenB@StephenB's suggestion of a Canon Powershot Gxx is a good one. Those cameras have enough features to seem serious, but can easily be used without the shooter needing a lot of technical knowledge. Plus (and important IMO) they are small enough to be easily carried. The best camera being, of course, the one you have with you.

    I would also suggest buying your nephew a few books with pictures by people like Dorthea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson, W. Eugene Smith, and maybe WeeGee. The right picture books are probably more important than the "right" camera.
     
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  13. Gidget

    Gidget Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    353
    Apr 22, 2010
    Indiana
    Leah Hallett

    The lenses I suggested aren't particularly sought after by people with GAS? I feel it is all about light, shadow and composition and a bit of geek - a wider aperture lets you do more with all of that! By all means visit a library or online website and look at as many photos as possible taken by renowned photographers.
     
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  14. IMO don't bother giving him anything at all except constructive feedback and guidance until he discovers the specific limitations of shooting with a phone and has some idea about what he wants to be able to do with better gear.

    Foster his interest and passion(?) by giving your time and attention. There's plenty of practice with composition, timing, posing, learning about light and general creative exploration before you even need a better kit. I feel like jumping into a high tech camera now would just throw too many gear related distractions in.
     
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  15. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The ZD12-60 SWD lens is best kept for PD-AF models, like the E-M1 models.
     
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  16. Gidget

    Gidget Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    353
    Apr 22, 2010
    Indiana
    Leah Hallett
    :hiding:
     
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  17. ADemuth

    ADemuth Mu-43 Veteran

    300
    Jan 27, 2017
    Koror, Palau
    I'm with the less is more crowd here - wjiang has a great point - maybe wait bit before handing that EM-5 over? Maybe take him on a few photo shoots with it over the next few months? See where he going with this.

    Also, I don't think anything Olympus offers will sate the "shareability" that a 14 year old wants or is used to. Heck, I'll mimic my own vacation shots with my wife's P&S because uploading them to Flickr can be done directly from her camera over WiFi with a couple of button presses. He's used to even more seamless sharing than this. Besides, I think that the import process on a big screen provides time to reflect on your session and really critique your own work.

    Also, the kit you are considering would be great for a beginner (that's a seriously great bit of gear). I'd recommend a prime, but that's just because I like shooting primes :) .
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  18. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I don’t have a kid, so I can’t speak to the best way to nurture his interest; but as lenses go, the 12-50 has enough versatility to introduce him to a number of genres. The fact that it isn’t the best lens or easiest to control DoF could be a teaching point of its own. The E-M5 was a good camera for beginners too (it’s what hooked me, though my kid days are long gone). It doesn’t have an overwhelming set of features, and it forces good fundamentals. And you can’t beat the price.
     
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  19. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    671
    Apr 24, 2018
    Before I would gift your nephew an EM5+lens, I would really make sure that he is interested and will use it.
    I've seen a few too many interest for a little while, then want nothing to do with it. Or he seems interested in photography, only to please his uncle.

    What I suggest is taking him out on a few photo shoots and let him use the EM5, and see how he takes to it. Find out what he wants to shoot and go shoot it. With you helping and teaching him, you can determine his true interest level. Then if it seems like he is REALLY interested in photography, give it to him as a Christmas gift.
     
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  20. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I remember my son enjoying using the Olympus E410 when I got it. He would set it up the way he liked it, which wasn't how I wanted to use it, so I bought the E520 enthusiast's kit (with 14-42 & 70-300 lenses) for myself as soon as it was out (shortly after I had bought the E410 prior to being updated with the E420). It didn't take him long to lose interest in it though.
     
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