Jacob has been working to learn how to adjust the aperture and shutter speed to turn out the type of exposure that he is looking for. Unfortunately, one of the shortfalls of the Finepix S6000 is that it will not allow him to set the ISO to automatic when in full manual mode. While I have no doubt he will be able to figure out where he needs to set the ISO as he continues to practice, it would be nice if he could only concentrate on the first two elements of the exposure and allow the camera to handle the ISO. Changing the ISO is also a confusing endeavor on this camera, so at the present time, he usually will have me help him set it to an acceptable speed, and then continue to shoot with it throughout the day. He has done a pretty good job of adjusting the shutter speeds to match what is needed for his other settings.
Because this camera is only 6.3 MP, he is able to take a lot of pictures without completely filling up my hard drive. He is also learning to use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Student and Teacher Edition, which he helped to purchase with his own money for this project (instead of purchasing the camera, which we decided to give to him). As side note, Adobe allows homeschoolers to purchase and activate their educational products. We have purchased both Lightroom 4 and Adobe CS 5.5 Design Suite Student and Teacher. Of course, now Adobe CS6 Design Standard Student and Teacher Edition is out. You can save a lot of money by purchasing these versions, and they are the full versions, without limitation. While both have a steep learning curve (which we are obviously still in) it has been quite enjoyable to work with them and try to teach them to Jacob.
While on our recent field trip to Babcock State Park, and some other West Virginia landmarks, Jacob took about 300 pictures,completely on his own. We have not had a lot of time to edit and upload them, but one of his best was this picture of the Grist Mill at Babcock (click on the pic to see a larger version). We hope to get more edited soon, and posted to our Facebook page. If you want to keep tabs on them, you can visit this album on the Facebook page. Be sure to “like” our page while you are there!
Another real problem problem with Jacob’s camera is that the viewfinder is digital, and the screen on the back is not very clear. This creates a problem because looking at the picture on the screen may look like it is coming out well, when in fact it may have quite a bit of blurriness. We are going to have to scrap quite a few of his pics from the field trip, simply because he could not tell that he had his shutter speed too slow, and was getting a lot of camera shake in the photographs. As he gets more familiar with the camera, I am sure he will cut down on these problems.
Overall, I have been pleased with this camera, and Jacob has enjoyed having a higher quality camera that he can use when he wants to. It has enough features for him to learn the principles behind photography, allowing him to leave the concept of “point and shoot” behind. And best of all, I don’t have to endanger my DSLR in the hands of a 9 year old!