Hive Mind: Camera talk

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Chinavision and dayo can tell you, I barely know what a camera is. And now I'm in charge of spending some money on photo or even rudimentary video equipment for a school, in order to support what we hope will develop into, like, a media club and/or student exploration of photography either as art or to capture sports moments or as school & community citizen journalism?

Basically we have money to spend but only NOW or we'll lose it, and we have no photo/video equipment of any kind or any staff to pick out what we need.

So ummmm...what do we need? 6th - 7th - 8th grades, should be sturdy, not too finicky, but with room for them to grow into the craft? Maybe 3 lower level cameras and one better one? Or...??

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 15:32 (nine years ago) link

Apparently there is a thing ess ell arr?

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:12 (nine years ago) link

What's yr budget? How fancy

, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:16 (nine years ago) link

My budget is actually kind of flexible and less is better than more, but let's say I have up to $5-7K to buy enough equip to last for maybe the next 5 years? So there should be some room to grow.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:21 (nine years ago) link

We have kids who may never have operated a camera before fyi.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:21 (nine years ago) link

No film cameras, it's not sustainable in our budget long term.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:22 (nine years ago) link


, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:23 (nine years ago) link

Instinct would be to say the first major decision is to decide ess ell err (bigger, tends to be more expensive, but what the majority of 'pros' use) or mirrorless (smaller, lighter, cheaper)

, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:25 (nine years ago) link

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:26 (nine years ago) link

Mirrorless = smaller size, lighter, cheaper, and a good introduction to photography that allows us to buy multiple cameras to sign out? With interested students moving up to be allowed to use a DSLR that we could also buy?

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:28 (nine years ago) link

Yeah maybe you could do one or two DSLRs and then the rest mirrorless?

, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:48 (nine years ago) link

Assuming you would want students to be able to change lenses etc.

, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:49 (nine years ago) link

That may be a bit advanced for us tbh. I want the DSLR(s) for having kids function as staff photogs for some school events, since no one is currently doing any official photography and I don't want to put it on a teacher if kids can step up. But if the DLSR is too complicated or too valuable to entrust to kids outright, I need something for them to work up toward it on.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 16:56 (nine years ago) link

Might be easier to do just all DSLRs, they feel 'cool' to use (make you feel like a pro), are more durable, and the cheapest DSLRs are not that much more expensive than mirrorless now, and they should all have 'dummy' modes

, Friday, 22 May 2015 16:59 (nine years ago) link

What about getting some inexpensive point and shoots as starter rigs? Or is that a bad or somehow ineffective idea?

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 17:01 (nine years ago) link

Maybe something they can't break, like


Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 17:05 (nine years ago) link

Honestly any point and shoot you get won't be that much better than the kids smartphone cameras

, Friday, 22 May 2015 17:37 (nine years ago) link

The unbreakable cameras are unbreakable, but they also have worse image quality than the kids smartphones

, Friday, 22 May 2015 17:37 (nine years ago) link

Hmm. Noted. I'm not sure how many of our students have vs don't have smartphones but I gotcha.

Thanks, btw, you are always the most helpful person on ilx/ever.

Orson Wellies (in orbit), Friday, 22 May 2015 18:03 (nine years ago) link


Anyway I was thinking probably just safest to go with entry level Nikon/Canon DSLRs

They have the most market penetration, meaning if yr kids get to use photographic equipment further down the road there's value in knowing how to use one of the big two

But yeah idk for 6-8th graders, a point and shoot might be better? TBH I'm not sure I know of /any/ camera that is sort of that user-friendly

Feel like high school is a good time to start messing around with DSLRs, dunno what the experience would be like for a 6th-8th grader

, Saturday, 23 May 2015 12:37 (nine years ago) link

i have zero expertise w/this but one thing i thought, just as a thought experiment, is that remembering being at school & university the thing that was maybe most important was just resources & availability, not so much quality, & i feel like in this case with quality being in some way not the biggest variable - like in which cellphone-quality photography wouldn't be radically poorer than real camera quality - maybe resources could instead think about quantity and use. like maybe seven not great cameras, but with memory cards that don’t need clearing all the time & which can hold a bunch of video, are superior to two or three high quality cameras. like will people be clamouring to use them? i don’t know. also processing hardware/software, if that’s part of the same budget. maybe just as useful or even-more-useful for kids to have time & space to to learn photoshop & video editing if that isn’t already available. i don’t know. i just remember hearing that the actual photography students at my school had always already signed everything out.

tender is the late-night daypart (schlump), Saturday, 23 May 2015 17:08 (nine years ago) link

sorry can’t help (filmhead, know next to nothing about digital cameras)

one potential advantage to consider of dslr over p&s (at least one you linked to) is option to learn about, control, play around with aperture, shutter speed, depth of field, focal lengths, etc.

key things to learn about if one wants to learn “photography” ; only way to do so is with camera that has relevant optional (manual/ custom) settings

(on the other hand i assume many point & shoots have relevant options/ controls)

not all kids will want to learn/ mess around beyond auto settings, but maybe good for that to be available to them in a camera, if they do

drash, Saturday, 23 May 2015 18:15 (nine years ago) link

I shoot mirrorless μ4/3 (Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic GX-1 modded for IR/UV photography), because I wanted portable for travel/scuba.

I'd suggest the cheapest Canon DSLR, something in the EOS REBEL series. Canon is the standard for DSLR videography, is extremely well supported with third party lenses, and isn't nosebleed expensive. They offer education discounts.

Sanpaku, Saturday, 23 May 2015 20:11 (nine years ago) link

I'd add:

μ4/3 isn't any cheaper than APS-C format DSLRs, once you add in lenses. This is largely because the only third party lenses are large aperture manuals. μ4/3 is all about halving volume/weight.

For dusk/nighttime flashless photography, its hard to beat the recent Sony sensors (also in high end Nikon and Olympus cameras).

Nikon arguably also has the best high end lens lineup, but doesn't support videography as well as Canon. So for student use, I'd start with something like a Canon T3i, with 3rd party portrait/macro/sports zooms.

Sanpaku, Saturday, 23 May 2015 20:21 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

Leica made the Q with a 28mm lens because a 35 or 50 would completely cannibalize M sales, right?

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Monday, 13 July 2015 16:08 (nine years ago) link

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