I receive a lot of mail asking for camera recommendations for young adults.
On one level, it's like asking me what car to buy. There are so many factors involved, it's difficult to formulate a generic answer. But I've learned that people want answers, so I've come up with some basic responses.
First, you have to consider how kids work. They are connected and often in a hurry. I have two teenage sons. I know this. So the first thing I recommend is a camera that can talk to their devices. Put WiFi on the list.
Next, I like system cameras over fixed lens compacts. A system camera can grow with the photographer. I typically recommend a mirrorless body with a kit lens and a second optic that suits their style. A long lens for action photographers, bright prime for existing light artists, etc.
The push-back I often get is, "I don't want to spend too much." Then you should encourage your child to pursue another hobby. On average, figure $750 to get started. Yes, that's a lot of money.
My parents bought my first camera when I was 11 years old. If they were to calculate their return on investment, I'm sure they would be thrilled.
Not every kid with a camera becomes a successful photographer. But the pursuit of that craft may lead to benefits yet unimagined.
I'll take that risk.