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Seeking camera advice (vanity)
The mush between my ears | 21 Jan 2012 | moi

Posted on 01/21/2012 10:07:27 AM PST by FourPeas

I've done a bit of looking for a camera for my 12yo son, with little success. Hopefully some more knowledgeable FReepers can give me some good advice.

I want a camera that he can use to actually learn about photography, not just use to take pictures. I'd like a camera that has the capabilities to manually set shutter speed and aperture, not just one with a lot of snazzy automatic features. Actually, I'm afraid all those features will just get in the way. At the same time, I'm not looking to spend more than a couple hundred dollars.

I have no problems with a used camera from a reputable dealer, in fact that's where I've been doing most of my looking.

I waiver on whether to stick with a digital or revert back to a film camera. The immediate ability to review a photo on the digital is nice, but I've not come close to finding a good digital option.

Photography's been an on-and-off hobby for me for 35+ years. I have several old film cameras, and I may end up using one of them, but all would require me to very closely supervise him so wouldn't allow him to just have fun when he just wanted to take snapshots. My old digitals are too complex and maneuvering through the menus would be more confusing than the old-fashioned rotating dials.

Which brings me to the final complexity. This kid is my daredevil. Any camera will need to be pretty rugged to be really useful to him.

So, is there something out there that fits my needs? Maybe a better plan is a two camera strategy: one snapshot fun-only box, and one more educational manual box? Any ideas?


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; Hobbies
KEYWORDS: photography
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Anybody have any ideas while we wait for the SC results to come in?
1 posted on 01/21/2012 10:07:33 AM PST by FourPeas
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To: FourPeas

I’ll do some research for you.


2 posted on 01/21/2012 10:10:42 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: FourPeas

What is the budget?


3 posted on 01/21/2012 10:13:09 AM PST by BreezyDog (PLAN A: A Peaceful Restoration of the Republic.....PLAN B: A Restoration of the Republic)
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To: FourPeas

Needless to say, cameras are not what take good pictures, rather the photographer is the key. For somebody as young as 12, I don’t think a fancy camera is going to help foster interest or skill in photography. So, any modern camera, even smartphones, would suffice.

That said, either a high end point and shoot or an entry level DSLR would allow the person grow into. Being a Nikon guy, I suggest a high end point-and-shoot Nikon J1 or an entry level DSLR like Nikon 3100.


4 posted on 01/21/2012 10:14:42 AM PST by sagar
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To: FourPeas

Nikon EM 1 - old camera, totally manual. Excellent.


5 posted on 01/21/2012 10:18:02 AM PST by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: BreezyDog
From the narrative: At the same time, I'm not looking to spend more than a couple hundred dollars.
6 posted on 01/21/2012 10:19:15 AM PST by JohnG45
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To: FourPeas

Good selection of Kodaks here:

http://www.target.com/c/toys-kids-electronics-cameras/-/N-5xt9n

And here:

http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Point-Shoot-Cameras/2358/subcat.html?TID=VS:DigitalCam:A1


7 posted on 01/21/2012 10:20:23 AM PST by illiac (If we don't change directions soon, we'll get where we're going)
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To: illiac

Second link has other brands....


8 posted on 01/21/2012 10:21:22 AM PST by illiac (If we don't change directions soon, we'll get where we're going)
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To: FourPeas

As the son of a professional photographer, I grew up on manual film cameras and find that my Canon Power Shot G9 is a great little digital camera. You can shoot it full auto or manual, has dials just like the old film cameras to set F stops and shutter speed. You can probably get a used one for $150 or so.


9 posted on 01/21/2012 10:23:08 AM PST by Inyo-Mono (My greatest fear is that when I'm gone my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them)
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To: FourPeas

Im looking also, so I’ll keep an open eye on this thread.


10 posted on 01/21/2012 10:23:56 AM PST by hope
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To: BreezyDog

Around $200.


11 posted on 01/21/2012 10:25:41 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas
I want a camera that he can use to actually learn about photography, not just use to take pictures.

Making every shot count helps. To achieve that, start him out with a fixed focus 35mm chemical film camera. The time and cost of film purchase, processing and limited number of exposures will make him consider each shot carefully. Also get him a flat bed scanner and get him started with photo editing software like GIMP.

After two years, move him up to a chemical film SLR. After two years of chemical film SLR photography, he should be ready for a DSLR.

12 posted on 01/21/2012 10:27:56 AM PST by fso301
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To: FourPeas

Get him a modern camera and Photoshop or other editing software. If that gets his interest, great, then he can read about film history and the way it was done when everybody walked to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways. Otherwise, you’ll put him at a disadvantage to his peers, which is what my parents did, and you don’t want him to turn out like me.


13 posted on 01/21/2012 10:29:09 AM PST by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

Thank you. Having enjoyed your photo threads, I highly value any input you can give me.


14 posted on 01/21/2012 10:29:59 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

Go with digital. Way cheaper for a learner and he will get instant results so he can correct and adjust while shooting.


15 posted on 01/21/2012 10:31:25 AM PST by stuartcr ("In this election year of 12, how deep into their closets will we delve?")
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To: FourPeas
A lot of quality used cameras such as this can be found on EBay. Beginning with a single lens reflex that allows for adding lens capabilities as (if) his interest grows is a good start.
16 posted on 01/21/2012 10:32:11 AM PST by Baynative (The penalty for not participating in politics is you will be governed by your inferiors.)
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To: kabumpo

Thanks, I’ll take a look at it.


17 posted on 01/21/2012 10:33:16 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

I’ve worked for over thirty years as a pro and must say that I believe you’re doing the right thing by having him learn the manual settings on a camera. Bravo!

I have had to sell my older cameras as they became obsolete (in a year!). That’s a good market to survey, because as your child learns more he’ll want a better camera.

Here’s a tip for his learning the real science of photography: a hand-held light meter. He will learn the difference between reflected and incident light. The exposure dial will show the various settings and he can select the effect he wants. When you understand lighting, you’re on your way to being a real photographer.


18 posted on 01/21/2012 10:33:58 AM PST by gortklattu (God knows who is best, everybody else is making guesses - Tony Snow)
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To: FourPeas
First, I'd go with digital over film. A lot easier and faster to learn from mistakes.
Sounds like you want a digital SLR, but your cost limitations rule them out.
Many "cheap" digital cameras have manual setting capability, along with all the other features.
As an example - Kodak EasyShare Z981 14.0 Megapixel Digital Camera (~ $200): Unfortunately, Kodak is in deep doo-doo but I wouldn't let that stop me from buying their products ... yet.
I do my research at Digital Photograpy Review. Check out the Forums for first hand feedback.
19 posted on 01/21/2012 10:34:46 AM PST by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: FourPeas

Canon Rebel is a good beginner camera although it is kind of pricey. (north of $500)

My wife is getting pretty good with it. And if she can do it, anybody can (sorry honey, it’s true).

I just got her a Nikon Coolpix S90 because she wanted a point and shoot for her purse. Man, that thing takes AWESOME pictures even in low light. About $250.


20 posted on 01/21/2012 10:34:50 AM PST by hattend (If I wanted you dead, you'd be dead. - Cameron Connor)
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To: Inyo-Mono

Thanks, I’ll take a look at it.

Great tagline, btw.


21 posted on 01/21/2012 10:35:56 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

Take a look at the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28K or equivalent. It has the look, feel (and functions) of a 35mm body with digital output. Used price: under $200.00


22 posted on 01/21/2012 10:38:49 AM PST by Donkey Odious (I can explain it to you. I can't understand it for you.)
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To: fso301

Interesting idea. I’d not thought about that angle. Thanks.


23 posted on 01/21/2012 10:45:54 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Donkey Odious

You might also want to consider some basic art classes, preferably drawing or beginning painting, if his school offers art. He will learn about composition, light, shadow, perspective, color.

If his school doesn’t offer drawing classes, see if there’s anything available in your community.


24 posted on 01/21/2012 10:48:45 AM PST by Radagast the Fool ("Be Brave! Be Brave! Be Brave!" -"War Horse")
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To: sagar

Thanks.


25 posted on 01/21/2012 10:49:25 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Donkey Odious

Thanks, I will take a look at the Panasonic.


26 posted on 01/21/2012 10:52:20 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

First question to answer is how responsible is this 12 year old daredevil kid? That can be a starting point for the type of camera you select.

Is he the one that wants to learn the manual aspects or is it you who want him to learn those aspects? Is this for a class or fun for him? Sort those kinds of questions out first.

Then I would start at the lowest cost you can find for a camera and go digital..You can check with a good camera shop and maybe find a second hand camera...but beware there are lenses etc that can be had and changing lenses is something that must be done carefully. Personally I shoot with Nikons ( I have several and professional level cameras) but my cousin a professional, shoots with Canon and both are very good. I would not get the most expensive one at the outset. Our daughter got her son a Nikon D80 a few years ago for her son and he did not take care of it, ended up using hers and he broke that one too..


27 posted on 01/21/2012 10:55:42 AM PST by celtic gal
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To: gortklattu

Good tip on the light meter. Somewhere I have an old one that I used as a kid. It’s probably time to dig into a few old boxes and see if it still works. That might even be something to show him while I’m still in research mode.


28 posted on 01/21/2012 10:58:36 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Radagast the Fool

You read my mind. We’re homeschoolers and photography, including the tie-ins to art and physics, are part of what we’re studying this spring/summer. I think I’ve found a good class at a local camera store, although I may have to talk them into holding it for just my kids or drive an our to another one of their locations, but that’s another story...


29 posted on 01/21/2012 11:03:41 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

Great site for all kinds of info from a very experienced guy who’s good at cutting through the fog.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm


30 posted on 01/21/2012 11:04:04 AM PST by moonhawk (Romney tucks his tail and licks the hand that beats him. Newt rips it off at the shoulder.)
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To: FourPeas

I bought both my kids Kodak digitals. My daughter went on a trip and took over 400 pics along with a number of videos. Getting a kid a film camera is buying them into a dying technology and they like the ability to do video which they post on You tube to impress their peers. Us old geezers might well prefer film but the future is digital. The things to look for are the time it actually takes the camera to take a picture and by all means go for the rechargeable from USB rather than disposable batteries. If you absolutely must have an old style camera check out yard sales I sold my Nikon with several lenses speed winder and case for $35 for the nostalgia factor and buy them a digital too but do not go overboard the idea is to get them to carry and use it and if it is too high dollar the temptation is to leave it home where it will be safe.


31 posted on 01/21/2012 11:08:45 AM PST by scottteng (Tax government employees til they quit and find something useful to do)
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To: oh8eleven

Thanks. I’ll take a look.


32 posted on 01/21/2012 11:10:17 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas

I’m glad you’re homeschooling! That’s awesome!!

A class at a camera store will help- and maybe you can talk them into holding a class JUST for kids? Not only your kids, but other kids, too? Also, if you have an art store nearby, maybe they have something, too.


33 posted on 01/21/2012 11:10:28 AM PST by Radagast the Fool ("Be Brave! Be Brave! Be Brave!" -"War Horse")
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To: moonhawk

Thanks for the link.


34 posted on 01/21/2012 11:11:41 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: FourPeas
Digital will save you money as he will see what the “film” would see without the cost of processing.
I would strongly recommend a “single lens reflex” type of system where you're viewing the shot through the lens. This will greatly help in the composition of the shot.
A moderate type of zoom will give him greater range of capability in what he will be able to compose. A 35-210mm range will allow him to play with the image. Lighting can be compensated for using any photshop/imaging program.
Look for a used SLR with one good variable range lens then learn photoshop. Other lenses can be added later.
I bet ebay will have a decent Konica Minolta digital SLR as many folks upgraded to “newer & better” when they got bought out by Sony a few years ago.
35 posted on 01/21/2012 11:13:49 AM PST by outofsalt ("If History teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything")
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To: FourPeas
Adorama Cameras --> point and click

I second Ken Rockwell as a resource.

I started in photography sixty years ago.


36 posted on 01/21/2012 11:17:12 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: FourPeas
I grew up using film cameras and the foundation of learning on a film camera is the way to go. You have a limited number of shots so one has to choose their subject and framing carefully. Not to mention, you learn about controlling the light to get the image you need. It would be best if you supervise him on a bunch of shoots and ask him why he is choosing to shoot a particular subject, what he likes about it, how he is framing it and what his metering looks like. You will be able to guide him to understanding all of the considerations needed to take a shot.

After a while, he will figure out what he likes to shoot (landscape, portraits, street life, urban landscape, photojournal, sports nature, etc.) although it's best to be well-rounded. After he understands the manual function of a camera, you could consider getting him point-and-click but he might be unsatisfied by that.

There are a number of photography sites that feature great art. In the initial stages, you may want to show him these sites to see what's possible and maybe take him to an art gallery that features photography so he can see the breadth of what's out there. Here are a few online photographers I like:

Kristen Westlake, Wisconsin
Jessica Marcotte, Virginia
Michael Grecco, California
Arnold Newman, NY
Ansel Adams
The Strobist, a blog
Masters of Photography

Nowadays, you can't be a good photographer without learning Photoshop. Photoshop Elements is an inexpensive piece of software, comapred to the whole Adobe suite of creativity. Lots of places to learn how to use it, in addition to classes at community colleges or certified trainers. Good luck and have fun!

37 posted on 01/21/2012 11:18:48 AM PST by rabidralph
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To: FourPeas

Grab one of your old digitals.... scroll through the menu... set the beebers to stune... you will be all set


38 posted on 01/21/2012 11:20:47 AM PST by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: Inyo-Mono; FourPeas

This is the route to go - G9 -
here is a good place for info -http://www.dpreview.com/

Ebay or Craigs list Canon G series. Else - a cheaper older digital Rebel. I’d rather have a G series - unless my plan was to start building lens collection - then Rebel.

If you can get a G9 for $150 - full speed ahead. if not - G7. But - if you can go to $200 - G9 is a better camera.

In fact - one of the sweeter little old cameras I have is a G3.


Summary - Used Canon G series.

Study the series a bit - in my opinion - up to G7 is a bit weak because you can only go iso 400.

BUT - they have that sweet F2.0 lens.

I would go G9 - because there is so much you can do nowadays with high iso (G9 goes to 3200) - that it is worth giving up a bit on that F2.0 ( F2.8 for G9).


I have about 15? Cameras. (Not counting antiques). Starting from Minolta X-700, Canon Elan II, digital - Canon A20? Canon 400, 450, 500, a couple of Panasonic Lumix, Waterproof Olympus (very robust), Canon G3, G7, but ... the the best by FAR - my Canon 5D.

The only camera to ever have - the Canon 5D. (Unless you can afford 5D-II).


If you need something tough - Newegg has the Canon waterproof point and shoot for $200 this weekend. It is a better camera than the Olympus I use. Not like a G series, or 5D - BUT - can make a movie of yourself going down a water slide!

Oh - every camera I have - was bought off ebay - (expect the 25 year old film cameras). Same for my lenses. Every single one has worked fine. I usually break the small point and shoots - because I put them in backpacks, coolers, etc. The Olympus has stopped that mess.


39 posted on 01/21/2012 11:21:36 AM PST by Eldon Tyrell (question,.)
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To: FourPeas; gortklattu
Good tip on the light meter. Somewhere I have an old one that I used as a kid. It’s probably time to dig into a few old boxes and see if it still works. That might even be something to show him while I’m still in research mode.

A free download from iTunes to
an iPhone, iPad or Ipod touch => Light meter.

40 posted on 01/21/2012 11:23:06 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: FourPeas; gortklattu
Good tip on the light meter. Somewhere I have an old one that I used as a kid. It’s probably time to dig into a few old boxes and see if it still works. That might even be something to show him while I’m still in research mode.

A free download from iTunes to
an iPhone, iPad or Ipod touch => Light meter.

41 posted on 01/21/2012 11:23:25 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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To: Inyo-Mono; FourPeas
I've had a Canon A1000 for a few years, and it does okay, within its limitations. At highers speeds and zoom settings, the photos get grainy, but you can't expect too much from a camera in that price range. The nice thing about some of the Canons, they still have a good old-fashioned viewfinder. If the sun's at your back, you don't have to struggle with a washed-out LCD screen. I think that's something to consider.

I dropped mine on the pavement once. I thought that would be the end of it, but it survived with a few scratches.

42 posted on 01/21/2012 11:24:56 AM PST by FlyVet
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To: FourPeas
I've been pretty happy with my Canon SX120IS. Its manual mode allows you to set both the aperture and speed like you want. I think they are up to the SX150IS now, but it looks like they mainly increased the zoom and pixel count a little.
43 posted on 01/21/2012 11:26:27 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Herman Cain: possibly the escapee most dangerous to the Democrats since Frederick Douglass.)
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To: FourPeas
B&H Photo Video is a great online site to buy equipment and software from. They are very reliable, below retail on most things, and I bought all of my gear from them. They also have a good selection of used equipment.
44 posted on 01/21/2012 11:27:56 AM PST by rabidralph
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To: FourPeas

oh - one more thing - to learn - ABSOLUTELY digital -

You get immediate feedback. You can IMMEDIATELY - see the difference between depth of field at F2.0 and 4.0. You can see - should i unerexpose 1 stop? Set flash to underexpose 1 stop? 2 stops?

Can I hand hold at 1/15th?

With digital - I can set Iso to 3200, underexpose 2 stops, no flash, and have a dark picture of a kid reading a book, or blowing out birthday cake candles, or etc. Similarly - I can shut that flash down to -2 stops - and not blow everybodies faces out of the photos.

If I underexpose too far - I see the results in 1 second - twist a dial - and shoot at maybe -2/3rds of a stop.

If I get it all screwed up (of hand camera to wife) - I set camera on “green dot”.


Canon G series is not like other cameras.

I’m sure there are similar Nikons - but to me - they aren’t similar. For instance - they aren’t quite as good as G series, and they don’t have a real equivalent of 5D (excpet for $1000 more).


45 posted on 01/21/2012 11:29:42 AM PST by Eldon Tyrell (question,.)
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To: oh8eleven; FourPeas
I would second your Kodak Z-series. I have had three different ones and any one of them would fulfill "fourpeas" needs...

My nine year old will be learning on my Z712-IS. It's shaped like a DSLR, is smaller in size and has full manual modes. And, they are virtually indestructible. I had to leave on out in the rain to lose only half of its functions.

46 posted on 01/21/2012 11:33:07 AM PST by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
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To: joe fonebone
set the beebers to stune...

LOL


47 posted on 01/21/2012 11:34:14 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: UriÂ’el-2012

Looks like I need to put cracking my android to the top of my list.


48 posted on 01/21/2012 11:56:02 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: raybbr

That’s certainly a good recommendation for the Kodak Z-series. Virtually indestructible is high on the list if it’s going to be his to use for snapshots.


49 posted on 01/21/2012 12:08:43 PM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: Eldon Tyrell
Ken Rockwell on Nikon D7000, D300, D3 (D700) and Canon 5D Mark II High ISO Comparison

50 posted on 01/21/2012 12:11:03 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your law is my delight.)
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