Children are quite curious by nature. And in today’s world, many parents find themselves with budding photographers in the homes, especially with smartphone photography. And what once an all-or-nothing hobby for many is now a curiosity of most. Kids’ cameras are a great way to explore a new hobby, educate, and give kids a creative outlet to explore the world around them. And putting a camera in your child’s hands allows them to develop as a visual storyteller, document their adventures, and capture precious memories. Not to mention, it also gives you an interesting viewpoint on family vacations and holidays.
Today’s kid’s cameras have gotten increasingly more powerful and affordable as technology has improved. And once toy-like devices, with only modest image quality, are now quite powerful devices. But when it comes to picking the right camera for your child, you have many options. And there’s no one-size-fits-all camera that’s best for every child. Instead, the options vary based on age, interest, and skills. And some cameras offer the bare minimum, not to overwhelm the youngest children.
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Others are designed with older kids in mind and provide more room for growth. So you’ll want to strike the proper balance between price, features, and room for growth. With that, we’ve compiled a list of the most important factors you may want to consider while shopping around. And we’ve also compiled a list of the best cameras for kids on the present market.
Nikon Coolpix W150
The Nikon COOLPIX W150 is a fun waterproof compact camera aimed at family adventures. It features a 13-megapixel sensor, 1080P video, a 2.7-inch screen, a built-in flash, and a 3x zoom lens.
Design with simplicity in mind, the W150 uses a fully automatic mode, with large identifiable buttons and a simple layout. But, this model brings the Underwater Face Framing Mode, which automatically captures selfies when swimming underwater. It also features both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can wirelessly transfer images to a smartphone as you shoot. And this camera is also dustproof, shockproof to 1.8 m, waterproof to 10 m, and freezeproof to 14ºF. So it’s ready to withstand the toughest of conditions.
Overall, Nikon’s Coolpix W150 is the perfect option for families looking for an inexpensive yet rugged digital camera. But one that’s easy to use, stylish, and ideal for young, highly active children.
Olympus Tough TG-6
The Olympus TG-6 is the ultimate suit for adventurers looking for a rocksteady companion. It features a 12-megapixel sensor that shoots raw images, 4K 30, and 1080p 120 FPS video. And it also has a 3-inch LCD, stabilization, time-lapse, and wireless connectivity.
The TG-6 is one of the toughest cameras around. Not only is it crushproof to 100 kgs and shock-resistant to 2.1 m. But, it’s also freezeproof, dustproof, and waterproof to 15 m. So, together, it’s nearly indestructible. Even so, it’s quite an advanced camera at this price point. And it bears features such as HDR, focus stacking, a 1 cm super macro mode, and a fast optical zoom lens. Plus, it even offers temperature sensors and a compass, along with standard GPS to ensure kids are aware of their surroundings.
Overall, Olympus’ TG-6 is the perfect suit for extreme adventure-driven kids wanting a camera ready to withstand the elements. And it’s a must given its design and durability.
GoPro’s Hero7 ups the standards in the line but doesn’t break the bank to do so. It features a 12-megapixel sensor that captures raw images, 4K 60, and 1080p 240 FPS video for 8x slow motion. It also can shoot pictures at 30 frames per second and has a 2-inch touchscreen.
The Hero7 was GoPro’s first camera to debut HyperSmooth image stabilization, which reduces handshake to create smooth and stable videos. And unlike the previous model, it now features a refined user interface and the SuperPhoto mode for a smartphone-like shooting experience. Additionally, they’ve added live streaming support so you can stream directly from the camera. And it receives TimeWarp video, which combines traditional Timelapse shooting with stabilization to create a moving hyper-lapse video. Otherwise, it retains the intuitie voice control support and water sealing to 10 m from its predecessor.
Overall, GoPro’s hero7 is far from a basic camera. Instead, it represents one of the best value action cameras around. And it was a giant leap forward in technology at the time that doubled down on what GoPro does best. As such, it’s a solid option for adventure-seeking kids wanting to document the greatest highlights.
VTech Kidizoom Duo
VTech’s Kidizoom Duo is the family’s latest member and the perfect entry-point for young kids. This camera captures 5-megapixel images and is loaded with fun filters and games to keep photography fun. It also features a built-in flash, a rear selfie camera, a self-timer, 4x digital zoom, video recording, and a micro SD slot for expandable storage.
With this new model, VTech has improved the front camera’s resolution, now to 5-megapixels, substantially improving image quality. And with the updated resolution, you can now capture 8 x 10 prints in excellent detail. But, crucially, this camera is designed with three-year-olds in mind. And this new model sports a shockproof rubber design and chunky grips to accommodate even small hands. But like other models, it features a color LCD with easy operational buttons and a simple image-rich interface. It also has various filters to enhance images and games preloaded to keep kids entertained. Some of these highlights include the voice changer, frames, stamps, the shake effect, funny faces, and more.
Overall, VTech’s Kidizoom Duo is a fun, easy to use, and capable camera perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. And it’s undoubtedly one that’ll make photography both fun and enjoyable along the way, now with greater detail.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 11 is an update to an all-time fan favorite, particularly amongst first-timers to film photography. This camera features a 60mm lens, a selfie mirror, and a built-in flash.
The Mini 11 pays homage to analog film photography. And it borrows a similar design and concept as earlier models, that’s refined. Namely, Fuji added a selfie mode to the lens to reduce its focusing distance for convenient selfies or macro shots. They’ve also adjusted the camera settings, namely, the aperture and shutter speed, to improve low light photography. But, even so, it remains equally easy to use. And it maintains the full auto-exposure and automatic shooting modes that beginners quickly master. And this camera, too, uses Fujifilm INSTAX film and holds a total of 10 exposures. And in 90 seconds, you’ll get a physical keepsake print from the camera.
Overall, known for its bold colors and affordable pricing, Fujifilm’s INSTAX Mini 11 brings instant printing to the masses. And it refines an already proven platform with better versatility and image quality.
How to choose the best camera for a kid?
There are many factors to consider when looking for a camera for your child. But, bar none, the most important consideration is age. Each age group prefers different cameras. And not every camera suits every age group. Not to mention, the functionality we appreciate in cameras as adults aren’t necessary for children.
But, generally, younger kids between 3 and 6 years old enjoy shooting with durable and easy-to-use cameras. And they’ll treat photography as more of a game. So for them, a toy camera is best. Additionally, they’ll likely drop it a few times. So at this age, it’s better to focus on a fun camera that’s affordable.
But, as they grow up, they find the technicalities of photography more enjoyable. So 6 through 12-year olds won’t find a 5-year olds camera particularly interesting. Instead, they’ll want more advanced features such as zoom, video recording, and higher quality photos. And they’ll find simplistic cameras limiting and lacking creative expression. At this point, they’ll also become interested in action, digital, or film cameras. And these cameras are the right choice for capturing action shots, like skateboarding. But, they’re easy to use, and most of them are point and shoot. From there, teens will want a serious camera, such as an interchangeable DSLR or mirrorless camera.
But outside of age, you’ll also want to consider their hobbies. Your child’s hobbies may likely change as they grow up. And they may want to use the camera to document sports, food, travel, or film videos. But, not all cameras are suited to each of these mediums equally. Some cameras are durable enough to photograph beaches, swimming pools, and sports scenes. But, others, not so much. So consider their hobbies as they develop and look for cameras that suit them accordingly.
The next consideration is how often is your child going to use the camera? And what’s their level of interest in photography? If it’s only a temporary hobby or a vacation fling, it makes sense to go for the cheaper models. But, if you think they’ll enjoy it, investing in something more advanced is a worthy option.
Are kid’s cameras safer than smartphones?
Yes. While many kids’ cameras lack Wi-Fi functionality for sharing online, they offer more durable constructions that can survive falls, nicks, and scratches. And some include built-in games and editors, so you get some similar functionality, without the fear of damages. So there’s no need to potentially risk a $1,000 plus flagship smartphone at the hands of a toddler.
Types of cameras for kids
When it comes to kid’s cameras, there are several different types, each having its pros and cons. Let’s cover each now, so you can better understand which works best for your child.
Toy cameras are designed for the youngest photographers, typically ages 1-5. These cameras are the most sturdy and the most affordable options. And they’re the right choice for young children who aren’t ready to handle a fully functioning camera. However, these cameras don’t produce the best images. And they often have small memory cards, which don’t hold many photos.
Underwater cameras are the next level up from toy cameras. These cameras offer waterproof constructions, making them incredibly rugged and robust. But, despite being designed for capturing images underwater, they’re also a good option for holiday and family trips. And they’re perfect for high action and adventurous kids. However, they’re a bit more expensive than standard cameras. So if you don’t need a waterproof camera, consider the next style instead.
Action cameras, like GoPro’s, are excellent alternatives to underwater cameras. These cameras are perfect for capturing fast-moving action, particularly for kids who enjoy filming videos. And they’re rugged, durable, and easy to use. However, newer models are a bit expensive, so it’s best to look at a second or third-generation model.
Digital cameras are the next step up. And they offer more advanced features and customization. These cameras also allow you to offload the images to edit them on laptops or mobile devices. There, you kids can develop even more artistic skills. Additionally, you get to see the images in real-time. So it’s easy to capture another if they’re unhappy with the result. And most cameras store thousands of images. However, most digital cameras are rather expensive. There’s also the potential worry your child may damage them. Even so, they’re a good option for enthusiastic kids and teens looking to take photography seriously.
These cameras are slightly less common but still readily available. Film cameras are a good option for children who would otherwise damage their cameras. And most basic film cameras tend to be easy to use with fully automatic modes. They also provide the benefit of printed images once developed. Or you can opt for an Instant Camera, which prints images directly in-camera. But, you do have to purchase film continuously and bear the hassle of developing photos. You only have a set number of images on each film pack. So, it could be a slight inconvenience if you have to take the film to a lab to develop it. Even so, these are a great option if your child prefers actual printouts.
With the significant factors in mind, let’s continue with the other considerations you may want to know as well.
Image quality & resolution
The camera’s resolution determines the quality of its photos. We notate resolution in megapixels, where the higher the number, the better the images in most cases. However, most kid’s toy cameras offer as little as 3-megapixels of resolution. Higher-end digital cameras for teens, however, capture 16-megapixels and more. And today’s latest flagship smartphones 40-megapixels and higher. As such, some kid’s cameras pale in comparison to others. But, even so, that’s not the point. This is more of a notation if anything. And you don’t need to purchase a high-resolution camera. Instead, the idea to get kids interested in photography. And if they capture a great moment, you can still enjoy a lovely 4×6 print photo with a 3-megapixel camera.
Cameras for kids must be affordable and relatively inexpensive. The reason is that it’s likely they may accidentally break or damage these cameras. But, depending on your child’s age, you may have to get a higher-end camera to suit their creative desires and current skill set. Even so, it shouldn’t be necessary to spend thousands of dollars. And the cameras should be affordable.
Ease of Use
Young kids pick up things quite quickly. But, unless the camera is easy to use, they’ll get overwhelmed and lose interest in photography. With that, the camera should be fun and easy to use. The last thing anyone wants is to struggle with complicated menus and clunky controls. As such, cameras for kids from ages 3-7 should have large buttons that are easily identifiable. And they should have a large easy to understand display. But, as kids get older, they’ll grasp more advanced cameras.
Kids enjoy pushing things to the limits, so a camera must be ready to withstand being handled by young children. Older kids can handle more delicate and expensive cameras. But, for kids ages 3-7, consider getting a shockproof or waterproof camera for peace of mind. And factor the durability of a camera into your purchasing decision, as these cameras will provide the most protection against accidental bumps and scratches.
Young children don’t need a wide array of features. Instead, the fully automatic modes included with the camera are sufficient. But, with age, they’ll likely find a more simplistic camera limiting. As such, children that take a liking to photography may want more advanced features to challenge them and pique their interest. And for children older than eight years old, getting a camera with more customization and features is a worthy move. Some of these features include optical zooms, self-timers, filters, video recording, and more.
For younger children, size is a crucial consideration. Three and four-year-olds typically don’t have fine motor skills. So you’ll want to find a camera that’s big enough for them to use comfortably. In general, match the camera’s size to the size of the child. Younger children will want something relatively small, while teens something larger to fit their hands.
Kids’ cameras come in a variety of styles, colors, and designs. And each appeals to a certain age demographic.
For young children, an attractive and fun-looking camera is best. And, ideally, you want the chosen camera to appeal to your child, so they find it fun to pick up and play with. But, not so much; they find it intimidating. When kids are young, they’ll view cameras as another toy. As such, the style and color are both critical. So look for more fun colors rather than the standard silver and black schemes.
But, for older kids, these are less important factors. They’ll prefer something more sleek and professional. So instead, focus on more advanced features and control.
Most kid’s cameras will come with rechargeable batteries, so there’s no need to purchase a supply of disposables. But, the battery life on these cameras varies wildly. Some will only provide enough life for a few hours of shooting. Others, days. The last thing you want is your child becoming upset when they miss a great moment due to a dead battery. So, if the manufacturer details how long the battery lasts before dying, that would be something to consider when deciding between two cameras. If the cameras have an Auto Shutoff function, that would also conserve battery when not in use.
If your child enjoys taking many photos, then storage size becomes another factor to consider. Most kid’s cameras have internal storage, which saves a small selection of images. But, not all include an option for external storage. So you’ll want to look for options with an external SD card slot, so you can install more memory as needed. Without an SD slot, there’s no way to increase the camera’s storage ability.
Some kids quickly grow bored with taking pictures alone. And some will like to film their adventures as well. Therefore a camera that captures both photos and video may be a consideration. This is a standard feature on digital cameras for teens. But, it’s not always a feature included on cameras aimed at younger children.
Some cameras come with bonus features to encourage your child’s creativity. Some of the features include photo editing, video editing, built-in games, selfie cameras, self-timers, viewfinders, digital zooms, and more. If the features covered in this post’s listings sound interesting, consider looking for them during your search.
Last Updated on December 5, 2023 by Photography PX Published February 18, 2021