Is this camera good?

Last night one of my former coworkers asked me about a starter camera for his daughter.

Sony-HX-20V
Sony-HX-20V

She’s looking at getting into photography.  As with all kids, do you go all in and get something amazing or will it collect dust in the closet with the guitar, keyboard, science kit, etc?  That’s a parental prerogative question and for you to answer.

However, I’ll post the text of the email.  It’s low risk to start with a $130 camera and if your child gets into it, great, keep it, buy her a much nicer once to dramatically improve her photographs.  And, if she really gets into it, the choice will be easy.

Ultimately, you’ll want something with at least aperture control so you can take over depth of field.  Here’s the email text:

_______________________

The Nikon L610 looks like a fun starter camera.  No guarantees on quality as I’ve not used it, though but it reviews well:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/886605-REG/Nikon_26345_COOLPIX_L610_Digital_Camera.html#ReviewHeader

 The only negative on it is shutter lag.  Article here on how to deal with that:

http://aaronlinsdau.com/gear/articles/digisnap1.html

 It uses AA batteries, so buy a pack of Eneloop batteries – love those things, as they’ll last a long time.  Alkaline will die immediately and Li are terribly expensive unless she’s going to a very cold place:

http://www.amazon.com/eneloop-Pre-Charged-Rechargeable-Batteries-Position/dp/B004RP2VNI/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1370527627&sr=1-4&keywords=eneloop

I use these batteries on my product shoots all day.  They don’t lose their charge sitting on the shelf like regular NiMH batteries, either.

I used this (gf’s camera)

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Cyber-shot-DSC-HX20V-Digital-3-0-inch/dp/B006K551WQ

in Antarctica – highly recommended, cannot recommend it enough.  It’s a lot more $ than the Nikon but it takes amazing pix in difficult conditions, has a great zoom.  It’ll take better shots than my DSLR without photoshop.  It’s discontinued, so when Amazon is out, that’s it, it’s gone.  It’s not discontinued because it’s bad, just a Sony thing I’m sure.  Maybe the Sony HV-50V is a good replacement.

But if you want to spend more $$ and get an awesome camera, the only one that’s better is the Sony RX-100.  If she doesn’t get into it and finds the L610 is not enough camera, then you have an upgrade path.  But, if she doesn’t get into it, you’re only out $130 with the Nikon.  Parental risk/reward assessment.

Let me know if you have a camera question – I’ll do my best to answer it!