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

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Subject: [Leica] Camera for 8-year-old- Request for Advice
From: "Bill Larsen" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 22:51:49 -0800

First, I have no good advice.

Sometime around September 1997, there was a thread in which
many people on this list exposed their photographic
experience.  The commonalties that I interpreted were that
most began to get interested in serious photography in their
early to mid teens.  Serious in this sense means a camera
that they could control in terms of exposure via shutter
speed, f stop and depth of field.

Most started "messing around" with their parents or
grandparents cameras.  And than began to accumulate their
own cameras (through whatever need we seem to have).

All I can say is that, at 8 years old, find a camera that
fits his/her hand that is simple.  If you want to teach
composition first, don't worry about controls.  Expect a lot
of pictures that you would not take.  Expect the subjects of
the pictures to be what an 8 year old would be interested
in.  (My kids are still taking pictures of every cat and dog
in the neighborhood).  Throw some money in to enlarge some
of the pictures to 8x in. or 12x inches.  This will give
them a different idea of what pictures should look like as
opposed to the typical 4x6 print.

For whatever it is worth, my personal progression was
(pre-teen) Kodak box camera (the old box) to scrounging the
grandparents for really old Kodak folders with adjustable f
stops --- then early teen --- an Ansco folder with
adjustable f/stops and shutter--- no rangefinder  - I am
still pretty good at estimating distances and depth of
field --- to first 35 mm -- Minolta post war knock-off of
Leica --- Rolleicord ---.  This was about mid-teens.  Next
was a personal darkroom with a Spiratone enlarger.  (My dad
was really patient by letting me wall off part of the
garage).  Once I got the "bug" the cameras were bought with
my own money (as it were).

Anyway, the point is that I alway wanted more after using a
camera for a while.  So I guess my best advice is to find a
suitable camera that will satisfy his/her learning curve,
but not so great that it will satisfy every want and desire.

Regards,  Bill Larsen