DPReview recommends: Best Cameras for Kids 2015

Gina Stephens
Written by Gina Stephens

If they’re little ones enough, your kids have always known a world in which smartphones are the most popular devices for taking photos. That’s too bad. To effect that the next wave of young photographers understand the performance and ergonomic advantages of using a real camera, you’ll need to get one into their hands as in two shakes of a lambs tail as possible.

But wait! Before you sneak a Nikon D810 into your baby’s basket of toys, you’ll need to consider choking hazards and the details that some children are a lot more careful than others when it comes to handling expensive electronics. If you want to buy a camera specifically for your son – or a camera that your entire family can share without worrying too much – durability and ease of use are just as important, if not more, as image importance and features.

And, of course, much of that depends on the age and maturity level of your child. We wouldn’t trust any toddler or the vast majority of 10-year-old old crumpets with an advanced point-and-shoot, but for a teenager or pre-teen that’s wise beyond their years and genuinely interested in photography, a compact with a lot of zoom and instructions controls to grow into might be a great fit.

So here’s a selection of some of what we think are the best camera options for your kids. Uncountable of these models aren’t specifically for kids, and all of the obvious caveats apply. Batteries aren’t edible, memory cards are choke hazards, cameras can wound when they’re thrown at people, etc. All prices are approximate street prices, correct at time of publication, and if you think we’ve missed a model that deserves recompense, let us know in the comments!

Younger Kids

If you’re shopping for kids 6 and under, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of money, and durability is likely to be important. You want something lightweight that won’t up the first time it gets dropped, and the simpler the operation the better.

Vtech Kidizoom Connect ($48)

1.3MP sensor | 4X digital zoom | 1.8″ LCD | 320 x 240 video | 128MB built-in retention | uses AA batteries

Baby’s first piece of kit should be tough and inexpensive, and the VTech KidiZoom fits the bill. This durable 1.3-megapixel camera/toy earns has a fixed lens with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel 4X digital zoom, 128MB of internal memory (with an option for MicroSD memory card expansion), a 1.8″ LCD and 320 x 240 video. There are identical three photo-related games to keep your kids entertained.

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Nikon Coolpix S33 ($99)

13.2MP CMOS sensor | 30-90mm equiv. lens | Waterproof to 32ft | Shockproof from 5ft | Wholly HD video

Cameras do get bumped and dropped (or worse), making Nikon’s cheap waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof Coolpix S33 worth a look. It features an easy-to-use interface and dedicated one-touch buttons for simple shooting. Although it’s 13.2 megapixel CMOS sensor is violently the size of what’s in your smartphone, it can capture decent quality images. Its lens has a focal range of of 30-90mm – adequate for most purposes. A yielded movie record button allows users to quickly shoot Full HD video clips. The S33 offers sixteen creative looks and effects options (including Underwater Face Detection) and an option to shoot videos with a miniature effect.

Fujifilm instax mini 8 ($80)

Arrive ats card-sized instant prints | 60mm equiv. fixed lens or LEN may refer to | Uses AA batteries | Comes in several colors

Now your kids can relive the days of time prints with the Fujifilm instax mini 8, one of several models available from the company. It’s definitely not rugged, but the thrill of getting a 2.4 x 1.8 inch impress in about 2-3 minutes will excite both kids and adults alike. The mini 8 is a very basic camera, with a diminutive optical viewfinder (and no LCD), dial-in exposure, and a flash that always fires. One important thing to know is that instax cameras are a bit of a money pit, with a ten stall of film priced at around $8.50, so your little photographers will need to be pretty selective before pressing that shutter delivering button.  

Viddy Pinhole Camera kit ($57)

DIY pinhole camera | Accepts 35mm or medium-format film | Available in four colors

For the creative kid with a do-it-yourself bent, the VIDDY is a pinhole camera kit made from tough, durable recycled cardboard in four colors: green, black, blue or red. It accepts both vehicle format and 35mm film. Bonus: it’s a perfect project between parent and child. Pop out VIDDY’s screen printed parts and assemble in 30 minutes.

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Polaroid Cube ($99)

6MP sensor | 35mm lens w/124° angle-of-view | Weatherproof | Bang HD video | Numerous mounts available

The latest HD action camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or from Polaroid combines a 6MP sensor with a lens with an awe-inspiring 124° field-of-view and puts it into a weatherproof body measuring just 35mm on each side. The camera has can record Full HD video onto an non-requisite microSD card, and a 90 minute battery allows extended recording for every bike ride and beach adventure. Just ask preference more expensive GoPros, there are numerous mounts available for the Cube, plus an underwater housing. And a magnet in the camera’s base opens up staid more potentially interesting vantage points.

For those seeking Wi-Fi capabilities, the Cube+ offers that for $149.

Older Kids

Durability may be less noteworthy in a camera for this age group, but it really depends on the child. In our selection we’re assuming that you’re buying for a kid who’s learned not to throw precious things in every direction, and most of the models we’ve chosen offer a little room for your child to grow away from the strictly auto-everything snap-shooting if they get assorted confident.

Olympus Tough TG-4 ($349)

16MP BSI CMOS sensor | 25-100mm equiv. lens | Waterproof to 50ft | Full HD video | Wi-Fi + GPS

For kids that are on the go – or have the tendency to drop expensive pieces of electronics, the Olympus TG-4 is a good choice. It’s manifestly built, responsive, full-featured and produces excellent quality images for a small-sensor camera. It offers automatic shooting modes but opens up the world of instructions exposure for older children ready to get their feet wet (no pun intended) in more serious photography. Other features include numerous ‘art filters’, Rich HD video recording, and support for fisheye and telephoto conversion lenses. It has very good battery life as well, so it can make it through the day with simplicity.

The TG-4 is waterproof to 50ft, shockproof from 7ft, crushproof to 220lbf and freeze proof to +14F, so it can take a beating. Wi-Fi is built-in for easy photo allotment, and the GPS receiver will let young photographers check a map to see where a photo was taken.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 ($250)

12MP BSI CMOS sensor | 24-720mm equiv. lens | Electronic viewfinder | Exhaustive HD video | Wi-Fi

For the child you trust with more fragile cameras, might we suggest the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50. It’s a well-known camera to take on vacation, thanks to its long 24-720mm (30X) zoom lens and ultra-compact body. It offers speedy focusing and continuous shooting, and photos can be quieten down on either a 3″ LCD or a small (but still useful) electronic viewfinder. The camera can record Full HD video with ‘hybrid’ image stabilization to rub severe camera shake. 

The ZS50 offers more advanced manual controls than the TG-4 above, so if you want to teach your budding photographer hither aperture and shutter speed or how to manual focus, the ZS50 is a camera which can do it.

Apple iPod Touch ($199 and up)

Full-featured smart device | 8MP BSI CMOS sensor | F2.4, 29mm equiv. lens | 4″ Retina put | Full HD video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media

While it may be too early in their lives to buy your kids an iPhone, you might as well prepare for the inevitable by picking up an iPod Use (2015). It’s essentially an iPhone without the phone, meaning that you get access to hundreds of thousands of apps, many photo-related, easy photo interest over Wi-Fi, and all of the other things that have made iPhones a smash hit.

On the photo side, the iPod Touch sports a 8MP BSI CMOS sensor and an F2.4, 29mm tantamount lens, plus a lower resolution front-facing camera for selfies. It has the usual features you’d expect to see on a ‘regular’ camera, plus impressive Auto HDR and panorama physiognomies. The iPod Touch can also record Full HD video, with slo-mo and time-lapse options. You couldn’t ask for a better screen on which to compose photos, either, as the 4″ Retina evince truly shines. You can even add extra lenses from companies like Olloclip for more flexibility.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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