The 10 Best Cameras For Kids
Images In Training
As children, the majority of us incurred continuous costs to our parents if we showed any interest in photography and wanted to do any significant amount of shooting. That's because the cameras of our childhoods ran on film, an expense that only ever got more expensive as the years wore on, racking up costs on both ends of the shooting process.
Now that everything photographic is digital, cameras for kids have an amazing and inexpensive experience to offer young, budding artists. Starting your kids out early has never been easier either, as a lot of the cameras on our list offer features that help your little ones figure out some of the most important techniques that go into capturing a great image.
For starters, they're going to have direct access to a camera that isn't your smartphone, helping to greatly reduce the risk kids present to anything both electronic and expensive. Just like the phones they see you using, however, they'll get instant and progressive feedback from the scene in front of them and from the pictures they take, teaching them instantaneous and invaluable lessons about composition.
Timing is one of the other incredibly important aspects of photography, and while getting to look back over their shots immediately will help teach them where they went wrong, it isn't where the lesson stops. Some of the cameras on our list have a smile capture feature, for example, that snaps a photo automatically when it detects a smiling face.
Cameras for kids are usually priced to sell, but even if you don't think that these cameras are particularly expensive, you don't want to get stuck replacing them if you don't have to. That's why a lot of the manufacturers of kids' cameras include waterproofing and shock-proofing technologies to ensure that their camera will last as long as possible in the hands of even the most reckless children.
Older, Wiser, And Better At Photography
If the digital age bores you, or scares you, there are old-fashioned kids' cameras out there, as well. For example, some children's cameras shoot an instant film akin to the old Polaroid stock that was so popular in the 80s and 90s. It isn't quite the same, as the film sizes are different, and the development times are ever-so-slightly longer (Polaroid, even in bankruptcy, has held their chemical development formula under lock and key), but the experience is much the same.
Of course, one of the most important things for you to consider when evaluating the kids' cameras on our list is age appropriateness, and exposing children under a certain age to little envelopes of deadly chemicals probably isn't a good idea, especially if they have an oral fixation of any kind.
Along that same line of inquiry, you'll notice that some of the cameras on our list look significantly as though they were designed for use by much younger children. Their buttons are bigger and there are generally fewer of them, their view screens tend to be a bit smaller and a lot cheaper, and their colors and patterns are louder and more eye-catching. These tend to be the safest and easiest cameras to use with the youngest photographers.
If you're dealing with a slightly older child, somewhere closer a range between five and ten, there are more professional-looking cameras on our list with little design features meant to maximize lifespan and performance in the hands of a child. These cameras look like slightly more rugged point-and-shoots, and their menu systems are significantly simplified compared to their adult counterparts. Additionally, these are the cameras on our list that are waterproof and shock-proof, so you don't have to worry about drops and spills damaging valuable hardware.
Still further up the age range, there are a few cameras on our list that are intended for kids getting closer to their teenage years. These are the kinds of cameras you buy for a kid who's already shown an interest in, and even a talent for, photography, as they will allow young shooters to take that next step toward professional quality. They're not much different from a lot of the full-fledged point-and-shoot models out there, but we've chosen them for our list based on their simplicity and ease of use relative to that market.
A Coming Wave Of Artists
From the early days of photography in the 1800s on through to more recent decades, photography as a kids hobby wasn't a particularly safe idea. If you wanted to take your film to a professional lab for development and printing, you'd pay pretty high premiums for the pleasure. Having a child in the darkroom with a bunch of chemicals, however, wasn't the best option either.
Once smaller, mechanized photo processing labs began cropping up in department stores in the 80s and 90s, more and more parents handed their 35mm cameras off to their kids from time to time, allowing them to get a taste for the medium. After that, disposable cameras hit the market, flooding households with easy, reliable cameras that posed no financial risk to the family, and that overwhelmed department store photo labs with NSFW pictures.
With the advent of digital photography and cell phones with cameras built into them, more and more kids can find photography at earlier and earlier ages. With the kinds of digital and film cameras on our list that manufacturers design specifically for younger demographics, it's only a matter of time before we see an explosion of work from new, young artists.