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Buying a point-and-shoot for someone who is elderly


An automatic camera that is easy-to-use and that gives good results is ideal for inexperienced older photographers.
An automatic camera that is easy-to-use and that gives good results is ideal for inexperienced older photographers.

Recently we were asked what automatic, easy-to-use, inexpensive, 35 mm point-and-shoot camera would we recommend for someone who is elderly.

OUR REPLY

We wish we could point you towards just one outstanding 35 mm point-and-shoot camera that does it all and is also inexpensive, but there are just too many good cameras available from quality manufacturers in a variety of price ranges.

As you go beyond simple models, prices increase based on additional features such as better zoom capabilities, more-advanced metering system, macro-focusing capabilities, remote-control and many other bells and whistles.


Your best bet would be to visit a reputable camera shop (especially one that offers consumer products but also services the needs of professionals), find a salesperson who is knowledgeable and give him or her your price range, also stating that the camera is for an elderly person who is not an experienced photographer. You should be shown a number of models that will meet your needs, and given enough information on each so you can make an intelligent choice and get the camera you want.

FEATURES TO LOOK FOR

If we were buying a simple-to-operate 35 mm camera (a film camera) destined to be used by an elderly person, we would look for the following features:

If the elderly person is computer savvy, a digital camera may be ideal.
If the elderly person is computer savvy, a digital camera may be ideal.

No one is happy with a complicated camera that almost requires special training to operate - seniors especially.
No one is happy with a complicated camera that almost requires special training to operate - seniors especially.

- good quality zoom lens in the range of 35 mm to 85 mm;
- simplicity of use (no complicated settings);
- large, bright viewfinder;
- large controls, easy to find & operate (preferably just 1 or 2 buttons);
- large, easy-to-see lettering and symbols;
- autofocus;
- auto-exposure;
- built-in automatic flash;
- light-weight;
- drop-in film loading;
- reads DX encoded film (so film speed is automatically set);
- automatic film advance;
- automatic rewind when the roll is fully-exposed;
- self-timer;
- automatic shut off after not being used for three to five minutes;
- neck strap;
- nationally-known manufacturer;
- durable construction;
- a good warranty period;
- a well-illustrated, simple to understand, but thorough, manual, and
- a lens cover that automatically closes when the camera is shut off or not in use.


Many seniors are not computer savvy and might therefore shy away from a digital camera. But if the senior is familiar with using a computer, a digital camera may be the ideal present.

If so, the list of desirable features would have many similarities with the above list for a 35-mm film camera:

- good quality zoom lens in the range of 35 mm to 85 mm;
- simplicity of use (no complicated settings);
- large, bright viewfinder;
- large controls, easy to find & operate (preferably just 1 or 2 buttons);
- large, easy-to-see lettering and symbols;
- autofocus;
- auto-exposure;
- built-in automatic flash;
- light-weight;
- simple to load media card;
- automatic white balance;
- easy to change sensitivity settings;
- rechargeable NiMH battery;
- self-timer;
- automatic shut off after not being used for three to five minutes;
- neck strap;
- nationally-known manufacturer;
- durable construction;
- a good warranty period;
- a well-illustrated, simple to understand, but thorough, manual, and
- a lens cover that automatically closes when the camera is shut off or not in use.

Many good camera manufacturers have their own internet web sites where a great deal of information can be learned about their camera products from your own computer. Most are simple to search. Look for "consumer cameras" to begin your search. If you use one of the above lists of desirable features as a guide, you should be able to quickly narrow your search to cameras that have features suitable for elderly photographers.

You will find pictures and descriptions of cameras on manufacturers' websites.
You will find pictures and descriptions of cameras on manufacturers' websites.