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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎11-13-2017

Re: Camera for a beginner

Last night I heard an owl in the dark a block away and I decided to grab my daughters camera to see what it could do. It took me about 5 minutes to try the different settings. By that time the owl was gone , but I snapped the tree it was sitting in and the picture I took turned out fairly nice for being dark and a block away. Idk what the setting is really for , but I chose the AV setting and played with the wheel. It really captured a good shot of the tree and all it's branches. So what I'm saying is my daughter has to start playing with these settings and let go of her fear of changing them. After all that's why they're there! I also found out how to use a setting for macro that worked pretty good too. She claimed she couldn't shoot a butterfly close up , but with the macro setting. I captured a nice shot of a flower head close up in the dark with only porch lighting in the background. No it wasn't as nice as a professional macro lens, but it was good enough for now. I do want her to have a more powerful lens. So I think I'll go with the better bridge camera. It should be enough for hawks and vultures a block away as well as the song birds in our yard. I think getting her a camera with different lens would be a mistake because she can't even take the step to learn all the settings. Like I said before. I want her to continue her love for wildlife photography because it's 75% of her weekly fun and enjoyment. As for the tripod. I will definitely look at the nicer options and would never buy one from a box store. Unfortunately our local camera shop closed down and I'm left with online which is fine if I do my research. Once she gets comfortable with most of the settings. We'll take the next step to changeable lens. Maybe by that time Canon will make a different upgrade for a fair price as they always seem to do every year or two. I'll most likely buy it refurbished from Canon with a warranty. It will also give my daughter time to interact with other young photographers which I believe will help her with her issues. I'll definitely get her involved with the young birders group. That way she'll learn about photography and birds at the same time . Exactly what she wants. I'm glad I reached out and got an amazing positive response from you and so many others in this forum. Thank you for your patience, kindness, advice and knowledge. I would have made a poor decision other wise. My daughter has plenty of time to grow and along with her growing so will her gear.
Super Contributor
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Camera for a beginner

[ Edited ]

I wrote to you last night but it took so long that my efforts disappeared into the web! Smiley Frustrated

 

I don't know how old your daughter is, or any details of her temperament, so take the following comments in that context. What I am going to say is pretty universal, however age will have an impact on a young person's learning profile.  I say this having at one time been a teacher for quite a few years, in some cases teaching blind and autistic people to use computers.

 

Photography is a wonderful mixture of art and science, which is probably why it attracts so many technical types who have an artistic streak! Smiley Very Happy  Becoming a good photographer needs one to learn the elements of artistic design - how images should look to be pleasing to the eye if you will, and that can be achieved by studying the works of successful artists: painters and photographers.  The basics can be achieved by going to classes, reading some of the many great books on photography or going to sites such as Lynda.com.

 

The second element is to understand how light behaves and how to manipulate the controls of the camera that help us manage those characteristics.  There are options here with most modern cameras: initially one could stick to the automatic or program settings and concentrate on getting the elements of image layout right.  Eventually however, one should move to at least the semi-automatic controls such as Av (Aperture Priority) and Sv (Shutter speed Priority), in some cases one may move to fully manual mode to make images that the built-in algorithsm cannot manage.

 

The issue, from what I understand, is that your daughter has not learned the controls of the camera and perhaps the understanding of how light works.  It may be that she has a sense of what a good image layout may be but can't control the equipment to get what she wants - which would be very frustrating for her.  This will not be solved simply by getting a new camera, but if you do decide to get her one, as an incentive you could make it conditional on her learning how to use the controls: she could do that with her existing unit as the controls should be very similar.

 

I understand that she has a fairly high degree of anxiety and that can be a big block to the learning process. Stress shuts down the neocrotex, the higher learning functions of the brain, and we revert to the lymbic part of the brain - basically the fight, flight or freeze reaction. To reduce this possibility it is important that she has a structure within which to learn, and that the learning style matches her personal pedagogical profile.  It is important that she sees a learning path that can be achieved in manageable steps, so as not to overwhelm her.  Without doubt her age, maturity and emotional state will have a significant impact on her learning potential.

 

People have different learning styles: some learn by reading books, some watch videos, and some prefer the interactive experience of the classroom or the coach.  These days children’s brains are generally wired more to short, discrete learning experiences that may be best delivered through the web, with which they are usually very comfortable.  If that is the case with your daughter I would recommend using web-based tutorials – there is a host of them available through Youtube.com, (some are better than others), but as I suggested previously I would recommend seeking to see if you have free access through your library to the lynda.com website.  It has excellent training paths from absolute beginner to advanced topics.  The lessons are structured into a learning path, they last usually a few minutes each and in some cases have sample files one can download to practice on (for learning image post production if that is a consideration).  After completing each course, related topics are offered for further education.

 

If she is comfortable with doing so, it might be a worthwhile thing to consider for you to learn alongside her – you seemed to get a kick from taking that photo last night!  You will be familiar with what she is doing and you can help her if she gets stuck on a subject.  In that case if you each have a camera you can work side-by-side - perhaps you on the existing camera, and her on the SX60HS.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy
Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,849
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Camera for a beginner

Do a web search for this phrase “ you go to B&H “.

 

I stil think a new camera could be counter-productive.  A newer camera would only be more complicated.  Unless you have already broken the news to her that a new camera is on the horizon, I would not be inclined to buy a new one, until she masters this one.

Besides, if she masters her current camera, you will most likely want to move straight to a DSLR, instead of buying another bridge camera, and then the DSLR.  I think a tripod would be a good investlment.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent sitting in a chair with the camera on a tripod in front of me, and going through the menus and trying settings.

 

I use to sit and watch video tutorials, pausing it every so often and experimenting before continuing.

 

I do not know if her current camera has a “P”, Program, mode like DSLRs, but it is the best shooting mode to use on a Canon DSLR to learn how to use the camera, and exploring settings.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Super Contributor
Posts: 129
Registered: ‎10-18-2016

Re: Camera for a beginner

[ Edited ]

Waddizzle wrote:

Do a web search for this phrase “ you go to B&H “.

 

I stil think a new camera could be counter-productive.  A newer camera would only be more complicated.  Unless you have already broken the news to her that a new camera is on the horizon, I would not be inclined to buy a new one, until she masters this one.

Besides, if she masters her current camera, you will most likely want to move straight to a DSLR, instead of buying another bridge camera, and then the DSLR.  I think a tripod would be a good investlment.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent sitting in a chair with the camera on a tripod in front of me, and going through the menus and trying settings.

 

I use to sit and watch video tutorials, pausing it every so often and experimenting before continuing.

 

I do not know if her current camera has a “P”, Program, mode like DSLRs, but it is the best shooting mode to use on a Canon DSLR to learn how to use the camera, and exploring settings.


Like you I think that a camera ON ITS OWN will not be helpful, but if it becomes part of an incentive to learn, especially if both father and daughter do it together - and there are sound pedagogical reasons to support this - then a new camera with the range she craves COULD be a reward for engaging in the learning process.

 

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to consider the technology less and the learning process more.  By that I encompass the goal-setting, learning path development, execution and reward.  Children do not engage with study as well as adults without incentive, and if she is young and suffers from anxiety, it is even more important that the learning process be as free from trauma and positive as possible.

 

Having a parent learn alongside, especially if that parent is starting from scratch will be a positive thing.  The parent should not engage as an authority figure, more a partner in the learning process, and the triumph shared between the two as they master each element will be a great bonding mechanism and further incentive.

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy
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