Micro 4/3 Camera / Lens Recommendation for a Young Newbie

Gloucester, UK
My DD has at last expressed an interest in photography. Inevitably this will lead to a request for a camera of her own to replace her old, now broken Kodak Easyshare. Second hand, just in case this proves to be a fad, but not too old as, if she develops an interest and my M5iii is commandeered, I'll be left with 'her' camera and so will need something usable.

As I suspect she'll want it to be portable and as I already have a lot of Oly M43 stuff, I was looking at the PEN range possibly with a kit lens for general use.

Any thoughts or suggestions, M43 or otherwise, gratefully accepted.
Any of the entry level Olympus or rangefinder style Panasonic bodies will do nicely; both pancake kit lenses are worth it, but the Panasonic 12-32mm is the more desirable one (the Olympus 14-42mm powerzoom pancake is okay, too).

Anyhow, since you already have a OM-D E-M5 III, I'd suggest a E-M10 IV kit (with 14-42mm PZ). Second would be a GX9 because it's a powerful camera in its own right, and a good companion (or backup) for the E-M5 III. It's actually how I handle things ...

If you want to get a better lens, the 12-45mm f/4 PRO beckons ...

It seems to me that there is real merit in starting with a single focal length and manual controls, and learning to use it well before adding a lot of equipment. The X100 series offers this simplicity, and the option of wide- and tele-convertors for later. It also side-steps the issue of dust on the sensor that comes with interchangeable lenses.

I think the camera that taught me the most was a GRDIII purchased several years ago from Luke on Serious Compacts. The 28mm really rewarded thoughtful composition. It could do a lot, but demanded full attention.
Consider anything that would demonstrate the advantages over the phone camera that is in most young peoples minds when it comes to photo time.
An Olympus Pen with a kit lens might be a good place to start. The zoom lens would be much more versatile that a phone camera zoom.
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Even non-photographers these days are usually somewhat used to the concept of a prime lens, if they have photographed with cellphones over the past decade. Less so now, with multi-lens cameras, but there was a time period where single focal lengths (and diminishing returns if you tried to zoom in digitally with them) were the way of the day. Maybe an Olympus 25mm f1.8 prime would offer some creative opportunity with bokeh, as well as light-gathering ability. A GX85 or EM10 body makes for a really nice pairing with that lens. In fact the GX85 with the Oly 25 is one of the gear setups I miss the most from my earlier days shooting.
Thanks for the input.

In theory, a single lens with a PEN would be great. However.....

After a chat with my daughter, it seems she's most frustrated with the inability of her iPhone to zoom in without losing quality. She has a natural eye for composition with her drawn and painted art and I want to encourage that in her photography rather than nudge her down the traditional one lens route that, I suspect, a lot of us followed. I'm therefore looking at mid range compacts with large zoom range and a fully articulated screen. I started looking last night and realised that the compact market is far from dead. More research required. Unless someone has any suggestions? ;)
An original EM-5 with a four-thirds 14-54mm II f/2.8-3.5?
(needs to be the "II" model for CDAF - and requires a 43 to m43 adapter... So might not be the most straightforward option - but would be good quality)

Or maybe a 14-150mm plus the Oly 60mm macro?

I love the ability to randomly pick out details from the landscape - and go from wide to close at will... which is a benefit of a wide zoom-range...
Plus the 60mm can double as portrait lens and is a great macro...

Both would add a very different experience from the smartphone - and some people (myself included) work better with longer focal lengths (to pick out details
rather than trying to capture everything in front of you)
E-PL7. I have one and I still use it. Small, the 16 MP sensor and the short-lived three axes IBIS. The older 2 axes IBIS wasn't very good, but the 3 axes is surprisingly good. Like most Pens, there is no EVF but the screen tilts our for waist level shooting. Of course, most modern folks have no problem shooting off the LCD screen.
Sony RX100 maybe?
(if size and weight matters)
I considered that one (and the Fujis) but ruled them out, partly due to cost but mainly because of the zoom. The hot two favourites were the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95 and the Sony DSC HX99. Both have insane zooms: 30x optical, 24 - 720. The other features on them also fit the remit of "something like the iPhone camera but better". But the Sony has the daft EU video length restriction whereas the Panasonic doesn't seem to. Plus, comparing the sample images I've seen, the Panny comes out on top.

I think we might have a winner. Now all I need to do is find one: everyone in the UK seems to be out of stock. :(
The hot two favourites were the Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95.
You could have a look at the TZ-70 as well, if I am not much mistaken, it is some kind of watershed model in the TZ line-up and would be quite a lot cheaper than the 95: Graham Houghton on the TZ70

I dont use my 70 enough, but thats not the cameras fault, more of a preference for grabbing either the LX7 or the Olympus Stylus 1S, if I go semi-compact.
I have no idea about bluetooth control of the camera, but a nice 2-lens kit is a
EM10-m4 + 14-150 + 17/1.8
  • I would look for the latest EM10. Or watch for a sale on an EM5. One advantage the EM10 has over my EM1, is the pop-up flash, which I have used many times.
  • The 14-150 is a bit long, compared to the 14-42. But it has a lot more reach, which you said is one of her complaints about her cell phone camera.
  • I have the even smaller 14-42EZ, and I don't really like it. The power zoom and I just don't get along. But it is a compact lens, so I keep and use it when I want a "small" lens on the camera.
  • The 17/1.8 or 25/1.8 makes a nice lens for shooting in dim light. The wider 17 would be better for indoors, where things are more cramped.
A random thought - do you have a camera store nearby(-ish)?

Might be worth for her to hold/try some of the cameras before buying... If there's a camera she feels more comfortable with, she's bound to use it more
(even if the specs on paper may not be the biggest/longest/fastest :) )
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