First off let me give you a little background on my son. He is eleven and is somewhat careful this things (but not always.) I didn’t want to purchase something too advanced, but I wanted something like he could grow into over time instead of out off quickly.
We recently had the opportunity to try out Sony mirrorless cameras and while they were very different than my Canon there were some amazing feature that I really liked on them for young learners and ultimately those feature won me over.
I knew he didn’t need an expensive camera or the latest and greatest model. I bought a Sony A5000. It has all of the features I thought he needed without being overkill. This camera doesn’t have a viewfinder which honestly if it were a camera for me would bother me. He didn’t mind. I actually have a “loupe” that is like a viewfinder I can put over the LCD screen. This would only be an issue on bright days when the sun would make it difficult to see the screen. I thought about retuning the camera and purchasing a a6000 that has a viewfinder but the cost different was more than a loupe. So if you find this to be an issue I would just find a loupe on amazon. This one is about 18.00.
I really liked the electronic viewfinder. In my Canon when I look through my viewfinder I am essentially looking through glass. If I fiddle with my exposure I don’t see any realtime changes. But with an electronic viewfinder or with live view, as I change my settings I see the result. This is great for our Lightseekers because they can quickly make real time adjustments.
I liked the wireless features in the camera too. I don’t think they are critical for my son because he has to have instant sharing abilities, but I don’t necessarily want him to have to use my computer to share his images. I thought this would be a simpler “kid workflow.”
The camera was light weight and small. While my son is almost as tall as me I wanted something that both he and my daughter could use and their hands are smaller and not as strong. The size is really ideal for them.
I opted to not get the kit lens that comes with the camera and bought a 50 1.8 lens for him. I love this focal length. It works great for indoor and outdoor shots. It is also night in low light. I feel like he can get more creative with this lens. Plus… when I am shooting with the camera I wanted something I would like!
I bought a used camera off of Amazon warehouse. As I mentioned above he is pretty responsible but also a little forgetful. Overall, I spent about 500.00 for a used camera body and new lens. I liked that if I wanted to upgrade the camera body the lens would still fit on a more expensive body.
In conclusion, even I was overwhelmed by the choices and had to really like about what he needed in a camera. I ended up purchasing a camera that I could use as well on the go. I liked the video abilities of Sony cameras and felt like this camera could pull double duty for him and me.