As a core part of my work is family safari I am often asked by parents what camera they should buy for their children. My answer is almost always the same, don’t! At least not for their first safari. Cameras can be cumbersome and are expensive and most teenagers have their own cell phones, all or at least some of the function of which they already know. However, cell phones are limited by their quality over distance which is often the case when photographing wildlife as many of us know. Experience dictates that it takes time to get a great shot and the younger generation often don’t have the patience for this.
On numerous safaris and this has always been my advice, that spending money on a great pair of binoculars that (a) will last you a lifetime and (b) will fulfil the role of a DSLR camera and accompanying lenses when coupled with a cell phone. What’s more, it’s a lot of fun. I love spending time with children at the end of the day watching and listening to them compare the photographs they have taken using their binoculars.
I use Swarovski 10x42s the distance magnification and aperture of these binoculars is perfect for this application. They are easy to focus and as a result the quality of the images achieved by young people on my safaris often astounds me. Once I have managed to spark their interest in photography using this technique, it is then easier to encourage them to take up photography as a more meaningful hobby and only then would I suggest investing in a more sophisticated camera.