Discovering the best kids’ cameras
If your child begins to show more interest in your camera’s phone each time you take her photo, it might be time to give her a camera of her own. The best cameras for kids vary, depending on age, responsibility and how often you want to print photos or charge batteries. Find the best fit for your family with our roundup of the best kids’ cameras, from beginning, ultra-protected cameras to easy-to-use video cameras for older kids.
Start with a simple kids’ camera
Kids from around 3 to 8 will love the VTech Kidizoom Camera Connect (Target, $34). Little hands will fit perfectly on the rubber grips, and it’s basically impossible to break. I can personally vouch for the durability of this one; my kids literally toss their VTech into bins, bags and sometimes even on the ground. The camera stores up to 800 photos or 10 minutes of video, there are some simple games and kids can edit photos by adding backgrounds and accessories to their photos. The Kidizoom takes batteries, so you might want to try rechargeable ones if your kids love the camera.
Curious kids will love building their own camera
Tactile learners will adore the concept and the implementation of the Bigshot Camera (Bigshot, $89). The camera pieces arrive unassembled, and kids can put the camera together on their own before shooting their digital photos. Charged with a lithium polymer battery, you can also supply backup power with a hand-crank that gives you enough power to keep taking pictures until you have time to recharge the main battery.
Don’t get stuck on automatic
Shooting on automatic is a fabulous way for kids to capture the shots they want, but when they’re ready to learn a little more about photography, considering moving to a camera like the Polaroid iF045 (Polaroid Store, $70). The Polaroid doesn’t have games or kitschy photo effects, which kids may expect from their own camera, but it does let interested photographers adjust shutter speed and white light balance. Learning about how to make the photo look the way they want, including the ability to manually or automatically focus is a crucial part of photography education.
The perfect waterproof camera for little fish
If your family spends a lot of time at the beach or a pool, and your child has expressed an interest in checking out what’s happening underwater, the Nikon COOLPIX S31 will thrill your little photographer (Amazon, $180). The S31 is a lightweight when you’re carrying it but a heavyweight when it comes to durability and toughness. Built to withstand weather, heavy use and shock, the camera films in the rain — and underwater — so kids can film the minnows they’re always trying to catch at the beach.
Give them the tools for great live-action video
When kids are ready to graduate to making films, try a GoPro – HD Hero3 (Best Buy, $200). While they can definitely take still shots, the GoPro takes fantastic, high-definition video recordings. It’s compatible with a wide variety of mounts, so cinematographers-in-training can attach it to bike helmets or other gear to record physical activities from their point-of-view. The camera even has built-in WiFi, making it perfect for tech-hungry teens.
Cover your tech
If your kids are used to using your iPad — or are lucky enough to have their own — don’t discount the camera on the tablet. Be sure to use a durable cover, like the iPad Air Defender Series Case (Otterbox, $100). Using the camera on a tech device they already use will give kids the chance to take and edit photos easily, and it will feel a little more like a game — giving them the freedom to experiment with their skills.
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