The 8 Best Kids Cameras
8. VTech Pix
- also records audio clips
- 35 fun photo effects
- software is prone to errors
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
7. Intova Duo
- floats if dropped in water
- available in several colors
- images aren't the highest quality
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Dragon Touch Vision 1
- extremely compact form factor
- includes a remote trigger
- small parts aren't safe for toddlers
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Kidizoom Duo
- programmed with five games
- auto-shutoff conserves battery life
- very limited 256 mb internal storage
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Pixlplay by Pixl Toys
- rugged rubberized design
- looks like a real camera
- fits over most popular smartphones
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
3. Powpro Kfun PP-J52
- yellow housing is easy to spot
- live view on 2-inch screen
- fully automatic exposure
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. Fujifilm Instax Hello Kitty
- fits nicely in small hands
- built-in selfie mirror
- simple one-button operation
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Amkov Digital
- body is reinforced with silicone
- runs on three aaa batteries
- records stills and videos
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
Capture With The Kids
It's understandable that kids are drawn to cameras. They produce flashing lights, they have bright screens on their bodies, and adults seem to have a strange love-hate relationship with them. When a child actually sees what a camera does–how it freezes a moment in time that can be preserved for years–that fascination only grows.
Photography is a great tool to teach a child early on in his or her life. It gets them out and about on the lookout for subjects, which is vital to a culture of kids battling obesity and diabetes more or less straight form the womb. It also helps them begin to hone an artistic eye. If your young one has even the slightest inclination toward artistic expression–which pretty much every child has to some degree–the act of selecting subjects to shoot will be one of the first interactive experiences he or she has with a sense of taste in that expression.
The majority of these cameras is built to similar specs you'd see on a lot of consumer point-and-shoot digital cameras. Manufacturers often gear their cameras toward children by reinforcing their designs with waterproofing and shock-proofing technologies. Those technologies cost money, however, so those same manufacturers find corners to cut that children would never notice.
For example, a camera's lens is one of its most expensive components, and its quality bears heavily on the quality of the images the camera can produce. These elements are often much more cheaply made in children's cameras.
The display screen on the digital cameras we have listed is another area of savings, as its resolution is significantly reduced compared to its adult counterparts. A couple of these cameras have no screens at all, however, as they either shoot to an instant-development film like old Polaroids, or they come with a built-in projector to create an immediate slideshow.
Kid-proofing New Technologies
Outfitting your child with the best camera to bring out his or her most artistic self begins with a little knowledge about the child in question. I'd argue that the most important thing you can ask yourself before buying anything for your kid that's representative of an expensive technology sector–even if the pieces designed for children aren't terribly expensive–is how destructive your child is.
I broke pretty much everything I could get my hands on when I was growing up, so I would have been an ideal candidate for one of the shock-proof or waterproof cameras on this list. If you have a zen monk for a child, you might not have to worry, but those are some of the most important features you find among the cameras on our list.
Leaving aside questions of impact-resistance for the moment, we can look to your youngsters for additional inspiration in your selection process. Take, for example, the camera on our list that's covered in Disney princesses, the one whose color scheme looks from a distance as though the camera were dipped in Pepto Bismol. Depending on you and your child's adherence to certain places on a gender spectrum, there's a good chance that your male-identifying children wouldn't take too kindly to receiving a princess camera as a present, though the girls would love it.
One of the more exciting features on one or two of these cameras, which you'll see from time to time on consumer point-and-shoots, is a second lens on the other side of the camera for selfies. Another popular component to look for is wearability. If you've got a smart watch on your wrist that your kid can't get enough of, this might be a good opportunity to get them one of their own.
You also get to make the choice as to whether your kids will shoot film or digital, a choice most of us didn't have growing up in the film age. Take note of the age ranges on that film camera, as well as each of the cameras on our list, as they aren't all directed at the same group. This is especially important with the instant film camera, as its chemicals can be dangerous to kids.
You Know...For Kids
For the first 150 years of photographic history, cameras were almost exclusively meant for adults. Sure, they could take pictures of children just as easily as they could adults, but they weren't intended for use by kids.
In the 1980s and 90s, toy companies and camera manufacturers ramped up their marketing and development toward a child demographic, with cameras like Polaroid's i-Zone (they beat Apple to the lower-case "i" thing, but Apple went ahead an erased it from the collective memory).
The digital photography revolution changed all that, and among the earliest digital cameras marketed toward children was Nintendo's Game Boy Camera in 1998. The camera fit into the Game Boy handheld gaming unit like any other game cartridge, but that had a big ball of a lens element on the top of it.
In the past decade, as camera makers found it easier and less expensive to pack a fair umber of megapixels onto inexpensively produced sensors, they began to pair them with simplified menus and more rugged designs that could stand up to the rigors of childhood.