Which cameras for kids are best?
Kids are naturally curious about the world around them. A camera for kids is a great way to nurture that curiosity. Perhaps your child is developing a serious interest in photography but isn’t quite ready for an adult camera. Perhaps your grandchild is too young for a smartphone but wants to take selfies like their older sibling. There are many reasons why a digital camera for children can be a great gift.
Cameras for children come with a broad array of features. The top pick, the VTech Kidizoom DUO Selfie Camera, has both front and rear-facing cameras plus five games to play when you’re not snapping photos.
What to know before you buy a camera for kids
Cameras for kids are targeted toward three distinct age groups. Cameras for kids ages 6 and under are hard plastic and designed to withstand drops and spills. They typically have molded handles to keep a steady grip. Cameras for kids ages 7 to 9 are more streamlined, with advanced features and better image quality.
Cameras for kids ages 10 to 12 are akin to simple point-and-shoot cameras for adults. The cutesy designs from the younger categories are long gone. The focus instead is on durability and function. This is the final step before your teenager graduates to an adult camera.
Digital photos are made up of tiny dots called megapixels. Adult digital cameras capture anywhere from 5-20 megapixels per photo. This range will be sufficient for any hobbyist’s needs. Professional cameras go much higher. Cameras for kids capture anywhere from .5-2 megapixels per photo. That’s a significant gap. Buy bigger if you want better quality.
Another mark of image quality is the size of the image sensor, the digital chip that records the actual photo. Most cameras for kids will have an image sensor that’s a third of an inch or smaller. Once again, for better quality, buy bigger.
Toy or tool
Think about your intended recipient and how they will use their camera. You know your child better than anyone. Would they get more enjoyment out of a toy or a tool? If you’re unsure, buy a toy camera. Since they’re relatively inexpensive, it’s a good way to test the waters.
Kids today are so adept with technology that they may be ready for a more adult camera at a very young age, especially if they have a serious interest in photography. Don’t be afraid to upgrade if you feel like it’s time.
What to look for in a quality camera for kids
Taking a photo is second nature to most adults. It’s easy to forget that learning how to frame a photo is a skill that takes time to learn. One of the most frustrating things for kids can be squinting to look through a single tiny viewfinder. To combat this, many models will have two viewfinders so kids can keep both eyes open while they learn.
Some models will have an LCD screen on the back, just like an adult camera. Not only is this helpful for taking photos, but it also provides immediate feedback to a child about the photo they’ve just taken.
Zoom and optimization
Zoom quality is one of the most notable differences between adult cameras and cameras for kids. Determine whether your prospective model has a digital zoom that’s controlled by a computer or an optical zoom that’s controlled by a lens. Digital zooms can lower image sharpness quickly, resulting in blurry or muddy photos.
Some models will also feature an image optimization feature that takes several photos simultaneously and automatically saves the best one. This is similar to the burst feature found on many smartphones and can be a helpful tool.
Toy cameras often feature games. This is perfect for a vacation where your child will want to take photos of interesting new things and experience a lot of downtime during transit.
Most of these games are simple, like the type you would’ve found on a pre-smartphone cell phone. Others are more sophisticated and use the movement of the camera itself to control gameplay.
How much you can expect to spend on a camera for kids
Toy cameras for young children with basic features are typically $20-$40. Cameras that are both a toy and a tool for older children run from $40-$70. You can find action cameras, cameras for pre-teens and cameras with self-printing features for $60-$100.
Camera for kids FAQ
Do cameras for kids have any ongoing or hidden expenses?
A. Some cameras for kids come with a rechargeable battery, while others run on AA or AAA batteries that need periodic replacement. If you want to swap out the memory card that comes with the camera for one with more storage, that’ll cost extra. So will printing any of the masterpieces your child creates.
Are there any waterproof cameras for kids?
A. Yes. Many models, especially those intended for action shots and older children, will feature some type of waterproof feature. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for how deep the camera can go and how long it can be in the water. Communicate these limits to your child to avoid disappointment.
What are the best cameras for kids to buy?
Top camera for kids
What you need to know: This option is two cameras in one with tons of great features.
What you’ll love: It has both a front and a rear-facing camera. Photo optimization feature saves your best shot. Parents can control the game usage.
What you should consider: Picture quality isn’t the best.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top camera for kids for the money
What you need to know: This is a great budget option that’s built to last.
What you’ll love: It comes in four color options, including light blue, dark blue, pink and purple. Images are eight megapixels, more than most other models.
What you should consider: The camera is quite small and it may not be the best choice for older children.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is a toy camera that still takes great pictures.
What you’ll love: Auto-focus feature makes learning to take photos easy. Includes the ability to add filters and frames.
What you should consider: It has a lot of buttons that can take a while to figure out how to use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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