Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/12/03

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Request for Advice
From: Mark Walberg <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 10:11:53 -0600

Bill Cassing asked:
>I would appreciate some advice regarding a gift for an eight year old

Bill, About a year ago, I gave my son (now 7) his first camera.  I tested
him on focusing a rangefinder.  He would focus on something, then I'd look
to see if it was right.  I found that he learned how to focus a rangefinder
fairly well in a few minutes.  So, I bought him a Fujica Auto M for $9.  It
actually has a very nice rangefinder, a surprisingly good f 2.8 lens, and
either manual or auto mode.  It uses a selenium meter, so no batteries are
ever needed.  My son has had a great time with this camera.  What amazes me
more than anything else is that he even takes good care of it.  He
documented his building of a sun dial made for the school science fair, he
takes decent pictures of the family, and he often catches things on film
that I hadn't noticed.
  He really likes the rangefinder, and doesn't have much of a problem
getting reasonably good focus.   He has considerable trouble getting good
focus on my Nikon F2 - the rangefinder is much easier for him.
    He doesn't use flash, though.  He is an available light kind of guy.
No Twinkies here. I really fell that it is a good idea to not provide a
flash at the beginning.  It gets the new photographer to start thinking
about how the light will look on film right from the start.
  A Konica Auto S2 or a Canonet (especially one of the older ones with a
working selenium meter) or an Olympus SP or any of these old rangefinders
would be good choices.  Their auto modes will allow him to learn how to
compose without having to learn exposure.  Learning to focus the
rangefinder is fairly trivial for kids.  Cameras like this will later allow
him to learn all the other stuff because they have real manual modes.  If
they can manage to keep the camera, they will still have fun using it as an
adult.  -Mark Walberg