Best Digital Cameras for Kids

If they're young enough, your kids have always known a world in which smartphones are the most popular devices for taking photos. That’s too bad. To ensure 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 soon as possible.

But wait! Before you sneak a Nikon D800E into your baby’s basket of toys, you’ll need to consider choking hazards and the fact that some children are a lot more careful (read: girls) than others (read: boys) when it comes to handling expensive electronics. If you want to buy a camera specifically for your child - 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 quality 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 boys with a DSLR, but for a teenager or pre-teen that's wise beyond their years and genuinely interested in photography, an entry-level DSLR or mirrorless camera may be a great entry point into the world of photography.

So here's a selection of some of what we think are the best camera options for your kids, sorted by age range. Most 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 hurt when they're thrown at people, etc. All prices are approximate street prices, correct at time of publication, 'buy now' links go to amazon.com and if you think we've missed a model that deserves consideration, let us know in the comments!

Ages 5-8

If you're shopping for an under-10, 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 break the first time it gets dropped, and the simpler the operation the better. 

VTech KidiZoom | www.vtechkids.com | buy now

Baby's first piece of kit should be tough and inexpensive, and the VTech KidiZoom fits the bill. This durable 1.2-megapixel camera/toy comes with 128MB of internal memory, has a 4x digital zoom and can also shoot video. The more expensive 'Plus' model features a 2MP camera, 256MB internal memory and an SD card slot, for kids that have grown out of putting memory cards in their mouths.

Key Features

  • 1.2MP CCD sensor
  • 4X digital zoom
  • 128MB built-in memory 
  • AA batteries

Nikon Coolpix S31 | www.nikon.com | buy now

The KidiZoom is a toy, but this waterproof Nikon model is a real entry-level camera built specifically for kid/family usage. Its wide-angle, 3X optical zoom lens (29-87mm equivalent) only offers digital image stabilization, but this 10 megapixel camera’s key selling points are its durability and ease-of-use. It’s rated to withstand drops of up to 3.9 ft., and you can also bring it underwater to depths down to 16.4 ft (or of course into the bath or shower).

There’s an underwater scene mode for capturing photos in the pool, as well as a tilt-shift simulator (Diorama mode) and a single-color-isolation feature (Highlight Color mode) that allows your kid to get a bit more creative. The S31 shoots 720p video, and its ISO range of 80-1600 means your kid will be able to keep on shooting even when the light gets low. 

Key Features

  • 10MP CCD sensor
  • 3X optical zoom (29-87mm equivalent)
  • 720p HD video
  • Waterproof, shockproof and dustproof 
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in multiple colors including pink, yellow and blue

Ages 8-10

Durability is still a concern at this age, and there are a few rugged cameras that may be a good fit for middle- to late-elementary school students. All the following models also come in a range of colors, which younger kids might appreciate, but also offer a degree of manual control which will be useful for older children as they get more curious about photography. 

Pentax WG-10 | www.pentax.com

Most 8- to 10-year-old boys will probably love the WG-10’s race-car-like styling, and the ring of LED lights that surround its 5X zoom lens (28mm to 140mm equivalent) will also augment its cool factor. This 14 megapixel camera’s rugged/waterproof features are the icing on the cake: It’s submergible to depths down to 33 ft., droppable to heights of 5 ft., crushproof to weights of 220 lbs., and it’s freezeproof and dustproof, as well.

The WG-10 shoots 720p video but while it only offers digital image stabilization, its ISO range is a generous 80-6400. The five LED lamps that surround its lens are employed in 'Digital Microscope' mode, which is essentially an illuminated macro setting. the WG-10 doesn’t have manual controls, but it’s not short on scene selections, with 25 options that include program auto, panorama, underwater, and underwater movie.

Key Features

  • 14MP CCD sensor
  • 5X optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent)
  • ISO 80-6400
  • 2.7in, 230k-dot rear LCD
  • 720p HD video
  • Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and 'freezeproof'
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in red and gray
*Note that in the US, the Pentax WG-10 is available exclusively at Target stores

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TF1 | www.sony.com | buy now

Still tough, but a little more stylish, the Cyber-shot TF1 has a lot to offer. Sony's in-camera automation features are some of the best in the business, and the ruggedized TF1 should be fun to use for young photographers. It offers an optically stabilized 4X zoom lens (25mm to 100mm equivalent) in front of a 16 megapixel CCD sensor, and it’s also waterproof (submersible down to 33 ft.), shockproof (5 ft.), freezeproof, and dustproof.

Kids will enjoy the camera’s Sweep Panorama mode - which also has an underwater setting - and its selection of Instagram-like retouching options (Toy Camera, Partial Color, and Beauty Effects). The camera’s ISO range spans 100-3200, and it shoots 720p video. One important thing to note is that the TF1 records to MicroSD/MicroSDHC cards instead of normal-sized SD/SDHC cards. You may be less likely to have one of those smaller-sized cards laying around, and they're also small enough to be choking hazards for younger kids, so beware.

Key Features

  • 16MP CCD sensor
  • 4X optical zoom (27-108mm equivalent)
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 2.7in, 460k-dot rear LCD
  • 720p HD video
  • Waterproof, shockproof, dustproof and 'coldproof'
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in multiple colors including black, red and blue

Fujifilm Finepix XP60 | www.fujifilm.com | buy now

The ruggedized, waterproof XP60 is a bit pricier than the two models above, but it’s the first camera in this roundup to offer a CMOS sensor (16 megapixels), sensor-shift stabilization, and 1080p video recording, making it a little bit more capable all-round. The XP60 has a 5X-optical-zoom lens (28mm to 140mm equivalent), an ISO range of 100-6400, and it accepts full-sized SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.

This colorful camera is waterproof down to 20 ft. underwater, shockproof up to 5 ft., dustproof, and freezeproof. Action-minded kids will love the maximum framerate of 10fps at full resolution (or 60fps at a reduced 2MP resolution) and a high-speed movie mode is also available, allowing you to capture slow-motion 240fps video at 320x240px resolution.

Key Features

  • 16MP CMOS sensor
  • 5X optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent)
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 2.7in, 230k-dot rear LCD
  • 1080p HD video
  • Waterproof, shockproof and dustproof
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in multiple colors including yellow, green, red and blue

Pre-teens

Durability may be less important 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 that's learned not to throw precious things around, and all of the models we've chosen offer a little room for your child to grow away from the strictly auto-everything snapshooting if they get more confident. 

Canon PowerShot A1400 | www.canon.com | buy now

Canon's A series point-and-shoot cameras may not be the most exciting in the company's lineup, but they consistently offer simple operation and solid image quality for their price. The PowerShot A1400 has a 16-megapixel CCD sensor tucked behind a 5X-optical-zoom lens (28mm to 140mm equivalent), and it runs on a pair of AA batteries. This is arguably a plus for younger photographers - they won't need to worry about charging or recharging an internal battery, and the relatively large bay that houses the batteries makes for a big, comfortable hand grip.

While you don't get manual exposure controls with the A1400, you will find a wide selection of scene modes that add to its versatility: A dedicated low light mode, a long-shutter mode, and a program auto mode are among them. The camera also has a few Instagram-like features, such as a Miniature Effect setting, a fisheye lens simulator, and a Toy Camera mode. The camera records 720p video, and ISO ranges from 100-6400.

Key Features

  • 16MP CCD sensor
  • 5X optical zoom (28-140mm equivalent)
  • ISO 100-1600
  • 2.7in, 230k-dot rear LCD
  • 720p HD video
  • Built-in optical 'tunnel-type' viewfinder
  • AA batteries

Nikon Coolpix S01 | www.nikon.com | buy now

While other cameras have small pieces and components that might be considered a choking hazard, this entire camera is small enough to be a choking hazard in itself. Kids who want an ultra-pocketable, ridiculously cute point-and-shoot will likely love the Coolpix S-01, which is both of those things. It sports a 10 megapixel CCD (albeit a smartphone-seized one) with a 2.5-inch touchscreen, a 3X optical-zoom lens (29mm to 87mm equivalent) with digital stabilization, and 7.3GB of internal memory.

ISO sensitivity ranges from 80-1600, and the camera shoots 720p video, but all those basic specs are secondary to the fact that it’s barely larger than a DSLR’s lens cap. At 0.7 inches deep, 3.1 inches wide, and 2.1 inches tall, it should fit in the smallest pockets and purses, and at 96 grams, including battery and memory card, it's light enough to take anywhere.

Key Features

  • 10MP CCD sensor
  • 3X optical zoom (29-87mm equivalent)
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 2.5in, 230k-dot rear LCD
  • 720p HD video 
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in multiple colors including white, silver, pink and red

Olympus SZ-15 | www.olympus.com | buy now

None of the cameras listed thus far have offered much telephoto reach, but the Olympus SZ-15 is a good option for a child that loves to take wildlife, sports, and landscape photos. The SZ-15 offers the widest-angle lens of any of the aforementioned cameras, and its 24X optical-zoom (25-600mm equivalent) reach gives it plenty of power on the telephoto end. Luckily, it has dual sensor-shift/digital image stabilization to keep those long-zoom shots reasonably steady. 

The SZ-15 is also a highly capable camera for close-up shots, with a minimum focus distance of about an inch. This 16-megapixel camera has a CCD sensor, and it’s able to capture 15fps at a reduced 3-megapixel resolution. Video capture tops out at 720p, and it includes Olympus’s 'Magic Art Filters' offerings to add anything from line-art effects to tilt-shift simulators to a warped fisheye look to your kid's pictures. The very similar SZ-16 features a 16MP CMOS sensor, and offers 1080p video for a little more cash.

Key Features

  • 16MP CCD sensor
  • 24X optical zoom (25-600mm equivalent)
  • ISO 100-1600
  • 3in, 460k-dot rear LCD
  • 1080p HD video
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in black, silver and red

Canon Powershot SX160 IS | www.canon.com | buy now

This is the first camera in this roundup to offer manual exposure controls, making it a nice first foray into more advanced photography. Another long-zoom model that offers AA-battery power, the SX160 IS has a 16X- optical-zoom lens (28mm-448mm equivalent) with optical stabilization. Full-manual, aperture-priority, and shutter-priority modes are accessible via a top-mounted mode dial, and you can manually adjust focus, shutter speed, aperture, ISO (80-1600), and white balance.

A nice selection of imaging effects are available in the Creative Filters menu, including Miniature Effect, Fisheye, and Toy Camera, and the SX160 IS can also record 720p video.

Key Features

  • 16MP CCD sensor
  • 16X optical zoom (28-448mm equivalent)
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 3in, 230k-dot rear LCD
  • 720p HD video 
  • AA batteries
  • Available in black and red


Teenagers

If they're getting serious about photography, young teenagers may be ready for an interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera or an entry-level DSLR. The models we've selected here stand out for their relatively compact physical size, ease-of-use, and range of both automatic and manual features. They're all small and easy to use, but they also offer enough advanced functionality to allow a keen young photographer to learn the basics of photography and take their hobby further if they want to.

Nikon 1 S1 (inc 11-27mm zoom) | www.nikon.com | buy now

It’s not that much bigger than a point-and-shoot camera, but the Nikon 1 S1 offers the benefits of a 1-inch-type CMOS sensor (the same size as the one found in Sony’s RX100) and interchangeable lenses in a small form factor. It eschews a traditional mode dial and other buttons and knobs for on-screen controls, but that may not bother your kid as much as it might bother you.

Some significant step-up features are in included, including full manual exposure, aperture- and shutter-priority  modes, an ISO range of 100-6400, 12-bit NEF RAW capture, and a fast hybrid phase-detection/contrast-detection autofocus system that’s employed in the camera’s 15fps continuous-shooting mode.

There are even faster burst shooting speeds available in the camera - 30fps and 60fps - but both require focus to be locked on the first frame of the sequence. The Nikon 1 S1 records 1080 video at 60i and 30p, and there are two slow-motion movie modes that capture footage at 400fps (640x240) and 1,200fps (320x120).

Key Features

  • 10MP CMOS sensor
  • Nikon 1 lens mount
  • ISO 100-6400
  • 3in, 460k-dot rear LCD
  • Maximum 60fps continuous shooting (15fps with autofocus)
  • 1080p HD video 
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (included)
  • Available in multiple colors including white, black, red and khaki

Olympus E-PM2 (inc 14-42mm zoom) | www.olympus.com | buy now

Another diminutive mirrorless camera, the Olympus PEN E-PM2 (also known as the 'Pen Mini') offers a FourThirds sensor, sensor-shift image stabilization, and a 3-inch touchscreen LCD. Like the Nikon 1 S1, it doesn’t have a mode dial. Its 16-megapixel Four-Thirds CMOS sensor is the same one found in the high-end Olympus OM-D E-M5, but the E-PM2 has a form factor and an interface that’s designed with novices in mind.

Dubbed the 'PEN Mini', the E-PM2's Live Guide feature lets you adjust in-camera settings (aperture, exposure compensation, shutter speed, white balance, color saturation, etc.) using simple terms such as 'Blur Background' and 'Express Motion' instead of diving into aperture and shutter adjustments. Of course, you can adjust those settings the traditional way in the camera’s manual, aperture-priority, and shutter-priority modes.

Its touchscreen supports touch-to-focus and touch-shutter operations, and autofocus speeds are a major strong suit. ISO settings also reach into the stratosphere compared with most compact cameras, with a range of 200-25,600. Continuous-shooting speeds max out at 8fps for full-resolution shots (with fixed focus), and the camera also records 1080p/30fps video. And as is the case with many Olympus cameras, the creative filters included in the E-PM2 are extensive and very effective. We reviewed the E-PM2 recently and were very impressed.

Key Features

  • 16MP CMOS sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds lens mount 
  • ISO 200-25600
  • 3in, 460k-dot rear LCD (touch-sensitive)
  • 1080p HD video 
  • Available in silver, black and red

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 (inc 18-55mm zoom) | www.canon.com | buy now

A lot of people think there’s no substitute for a proper through-the-lens optical viewfinder, and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 offers that DSLR-only feature in a body that isn’t much bigger than a mirrorless camera. Canon proudly bills the SL1 as the 'world’s smallest and lightest DSLR,' and it has the same 18 megapixel APS-C sensor and DIGIC 5 image processor as the bigger EOS Rebel T5i.

Its small size is definitely a key selling point of the SL1, which despite its slimmed-down body remains comfortable to use. Core specs include an ISO range of 100-12800 (expandable up to to 25,600), aperture- and shutter-priority modes, 4fps continuous shooting, RAW capture, and a fixed 3-inch touchscreen that supports touch-focus and menus. There’s also a traditional mode dial and control wheel on the top of the camera, so you’re not stuck with the touchscreen as the only way to dial everything in.

The EOS Rebel SL1 is also the best fit in this roundup for any aspiring young filmmakers, as its 1080p video mode (which records at both 30fps and 24fps) supports manual exposure adjustments while shooting movies. You can read more about what we think of it here

Key Features

  • 18MP CMOS sensor
  • Canon EF/EF-S lens mount 
  • ISO 100-25600
  • 3in, 1.4 million-dot touchscreen LCD
  • 1080p HD video 
  • Rechargeable iithium-ion battery (included)
Check out the Canon Rebel SL1 / EOS 100D in our Product Database

Tim Moynihan is a freelance technology writer based in New York. After two years as Home Page and Features Editor at CNET, Tim joined PC world in 2007, and worked for six years as a senior editor for camera, camcorder and HDTV content. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by dpreview.com or any affiliated companies.

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Comments

Total comments: 141
12
d10694
By d10694 (5 months ago)

My wife manages a playgroup, 2-4 year olds, and has around a 8 Canon Powershots of the A4xx era, she still has all the original ones, and they all date from early 2005-2006. They manage around 400 photos a week, taken by staff and children, get dropped, banged, wet, left outside overnight - and they all still work.

The best feature - they all use standard AA batteries which can be charged overnight.

Gold Recommendation.

0 upvotes
tom237
By tom237 (5 months ago)

OMG, the person who wrote the article really does not know kids. My daughter has no interest in toy camera even at age 3. Now she is first grader and 7 years old. Her main camera now is the Sony NEX F3 mirrorless. Occasionally she will try to get my Nikon. All the kids now can play ipad so well at age 4 or 5. Yes, she does not understand all the technical features like aperture priority etc, but she understands the basics like composition and scene modes. We need to change our mind. Why do we adults think we can take better picture than kids, think twice, really. The technology has advanced to the point that the camera is intelligent enough to have proper exposure, focusing, and having the proper zoom range, good composition, and get the right moment, then there are good pictures.

0 upvotes
jev2000
By jev2000 (6 months ago)

My 4 year old granddaughter has been using an Olympus e3 and a Lumix g10 for about a year now. For the e3 she needs a hand to support the weight, the g10 she can manage by herself. She has one of the Vtech cameras, but she really prefers the bigger ones.

0 upvotes
12345ccr
By 12345ccr (6 months ago)

5D mark 3 is the best kids camera. Trust me, I'm 13 and I held one once. I was so happy...

0 upvotes
maky
By maky (6 months ago)

nice looking list. my kids love camera and takinng photos.
also check out http://www.childrens-camera.com

0 upvotes
madmaxmedia
By madmaxmedia (7 months ago)

I just wanted to say, that the cover photo of the girl holding the tripod arm is TOO CUTE!! :-)

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (8 months ago)

This needs to be redone, in light of the Sony A3000 and other announcements for September.

1 upvote
Angelo78
By Angelo78 (8 months ago)

I'm letting my 16 year old niece use my Nikon N80 (F80) with a 50mm 1.8D. She's a little bit old school. :)

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
PanzerfaustNL
By PanzerfaustNL (8 months ago)

me: Have you seen the D300?
wife: that large camera with extra battery and a zoom?
me: yes
wife: no
me: where is that camera?
walking back to my car, I see in the car the D7100 and my old Canon 5D. But no D300
Where is that camera.
Walking back to the stables. Ah Wendy is riding her new horse. Hmmm what is my 6-year old daughter doing?
Heeee, she is taking pictures with my D300.

:-D

4 upvotes
WhyNot
By WhyNot (9 months ago)

How about the Lomography Konstruktor? Seems like a great gift for a preteen or early teen and his father.

1 upvote
TheFlunn
By TheFlunn (9 months ago)

I got a used Nikon D70 for my tenth birthday and am now passing it down to my younger brother for his 12th. It did exactly what I needed it to do for the past 5 years and was perfect for learning about photography. Also it's really cheap on ebay. Less than $200.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Mark3M
By Mark3M (9 months ago)

My four year old has been shooting with my oly uz2100 for about a year now. I put a uv filter on it and let him shoot away. He uses the neck strap faithfully and hasn't dropped it yet. I'm working on showing him all of the controls and features. Some he understands, others, not yet. If it breaks we'll get him a new camera. Or maybe a new/used camera. We still have a fuji f30 waiting in the wings.

0 upvotes
ragmanjin
By ragmanjin (9 months ago)

The Pentax Q series seems like it was made for roundups like this...

6 upvotes
CyberAngel
By CyberAngel (10 months ago)

ERROR
"The WG-10 shoots 720p video but while it only offers digital image stabilization"
VS
"Image stabilization Sensor-shift"
http://www.dpreview.com/products/pentax/compacts/pentax_wg10/specifications

1 upvote
Jacques1981
By Jacques1981 (10 months ago)

I'm considering a Ricoh PX. It's waterproof (3 m/10 feet), shockproof (1.5 m/5 feet), it's fairly cheap (e.g. £85 on amazon.co.uk), and if it works (?), it has a cool feature of combining 4 pixels to 1, for handheld night photography. It's the same size as the Nikon S31, except for the protruding lens, so it is 21 mm thick instead of 42 mm. That matters to me if I'm going to be the one carrying the camera in my pocket between the kids' photo sessions. The one question that remains unanswered is how does the picture quality compare to e.g. the Nikon S31 mentioned above or similar cameras? And how important is this, if the purpose is just to spark interest in photography and provide a much better alternative than a smartphone? Can anyone recommend it (or against it)?

Any input will be appreciated!

1 upvote
emilio74
By emilio74 (10 months ago)

From my experience video is something that kids
appreciate most. Maybe that is angle to search.....
All I'm saying is that photo quality is already good
from all cameras from above (video too) but few more
video features will be nice.
I was amazed how my nine years old girl was creative
in video and photo.
So, with every new feature kid will think of
something great.
Hope this was helpful.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
emilio74
By emilio74 (10 months ago)

My nine years old girl run over canon a3000 :(
But camera still works (no flash, lens ring loose, few drops....)
This article was just what I needed.
Going to buy this fujifilm xp60.
Hoping it's tough enough.... :)
Thx

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

check image quality tests before you buy

0 upvotes
peruchox
By peruchox (10 months ago)

I gave my 12 years old my old Lumix FZ35. It has decent IQ and has manual PASM control wheel, it does HD Video and has 12x Zoom. She loves it and uses it a lot.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Osval
By Osval (10 months ago)

My 31 month old boy is starting to shoot with an old Canon SD1000. He just point and shoot but with an idea about what he wants. Obviously at that age it's impossible that he understands how a camera works, and of course, 90% of the pictures are with fingers across the lens or moved. At least, he knows how to turn it on and off and how to play the pictures he took. If you have enough patience and don't care about the possibility of breaking an old camera, the kids can start taking pictures quite early in their life, more if they see their parents doing the same. As Royce Lowton says below, the grow really fast.

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (10 months ago)

It seems fitting to see a nikon1, MFT, and Rebel, in the group of cameras for kids. ROTFL (especially the nikon1 !) I'm just surprised to not see the Samsung Android cameras in there too! True fun toys for kids, yeah! LOL

Personally, I like the idea of the waterproof Nikon for first time users - can be dropped, taken swimming, and forgotten in a pocket while jumping over a sprinkler. I already have the Panasonic TS3 (DPR winner but with horrible IQ) which my daughter uses, but I'll probably get her an MFT as they get pretty much beat up in pricing making them a good purchase.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
gooseta
By gooseta (10 months ago)

I'm 15 and not only am I a regular poster here but I recently got my 6D after much hard work. I got my first SLR, a horrid Sony A230 at 11. I shoot on full manual and I think the difficulty of understanding the technical aspect of photography is exaggerated. The exposure triangle and all of the compositional rules are all basic concepts easily understood by children.

9 upvotes
RoyceLowton
By RoyceLowton (10 months ago)

My 6-year old son took a look at VTech KidiZoom and told me it is for toddlers only:) They grow too fast, don't they. So his choice is Sony Cyber-shot.

3 upvotes
elemenoP
By elemenoP (10 months ago)

When I was buying my 8 year old a camera (upgrade from a Fisher Price camera she got when she was 3), I looked into the shockproof/waterproof cameras and decided against them for 2 reasons: 1. higher price/lesser image quality, and 2. every waterproof camera I looked at had reviews on Amazon claiming the camera stopped working when they dropped it in the water... and the warranty doesn't cover getting wet! How does it make sense for a manufacturer to advertise a waterproof camera and then not cover it in the warranty?

If I am wrong and you know of a waterproof camera with a warranty that covers water-damage, please let me know.

Anyway, we ended up with the Canon A810 (like the recommended A1400, but no OVF) and my daughter loves it.

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

those people complaining are the idiots who weren't careful when they closed it, and left dust or dirt in the seals. simple as that.

IQ on a 1/2" sensor is bad, whether it's waterproof or not.

0 upvotes
systemBuilder
By systemBuilder (10 months ago)

Got my twin sons, 11 years old, Panasonic SZ-7's. Canon-Elph form factor, 10x Zeiss zoom, 25mm wide angle, all the software of the ZS30, optical image stabilization, takes Full-HD MP4 (AVCHD) video and has a high-dot screen, and was on sale at walmart for $99 including SD card and case (bargain of century). Couldn't be happier! Any price under $130, worth it!

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Henrik Herranen
By Henrik Herranen (10 months ago)

This article goes all wrong right on line 5:
Quote: "[...] the fact that some children are a lot more careful (read: girls) than others (read: boys) when it comes to handling expensive electronics"

I call bullsh*t.

A statistical assumption is not a fact. Not even close to it. If that was a fact, how could it be that I bought my son his first camera when he was five years old, and now, four years later, it is still without a single scratch?

Averages are NOT universal truths. People are individuals.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (10 months ago)

there's a chance it was't meant entirely literally/seriously.

8 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (10 months ago)

you gotta be kidding me hehe

1 upvote
Shadestalker
By Shadestalker (10 months ago)

This.

There are no gender-specific cameras that I've ever heard of, unless you count the abhorrent practice of putting pink flowers and ponies on products aimed at girls.

0 upvotes
AndrewG NY
By AndrewG NY (10 months ago)

I call bull too. It really depends on the individual -- I've seen many horribly disfigured mobile phones owned by girls, either from them getting battered inside their handbags or from dropping them. Not all boys will be taping their cameras to the undersides of their skateboards.

0 upvotes
chipmaster
By chipmaster (10 months ago)

Smartphone is all they kids need / want and then they share it on instagram. Nobodiy uses a P/S these days.

3 upvotes
endika
By endika (10 months ago)

Maybe true for a teenager, but how many children do you know that uses a smartphone?

0 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

My kid isn't going to get a smartphone anytime soon!
I want her to learn in school, not facebook on her phone.

5 upvotes
Overcranky
By Overcranky (10 months ago)

I found that some of the best cameras for under 8 age group are older waterproof models with fixed, focus free lenses (fewer but larger buttons and no lag).

0 upvotes
Cope
By Cope (10 months ago)

My grandson has had a Nikon D60 since he was 9. The P&S cameras are OK, but the shutter lag makes them all but useless for many shots.

2 upvotes
Tony Milner
By Tony Milner (10 months ago)

Personally I think the best camera for kids is the one you've just replaced... (assuming you have not replaced it because it broke!).

6 upvotes
Fingel
By Fingel (10 months ago)

Yep, I agree. I let my 3 year old son use my old 6mp Panasonic lumix. It is very small, perfect for his hands. Now he can be just like dad.

1 upvote
Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen
By Graxxor Anandro Vidhelssen (10 months ago)

I agree... My little girl old loves her 'new' Nikon D70. It's old and the rubber has gone all tacky and all the plastic bits are now shiny from cleaning, but it still pumps out the pixels and she uses it every time we go out. She had an old canon ixy digital, but gave that to her older sister because it was too slow, she said. I put an old 35-70 zoom on it, which I bought for 2000 yen ($20) on Yahoo auctions. She's so thrilled, she shows it to everyone...
She currently know how to frame a picture, half press to get focus and full press to take the shot. She knows how to delete blurred pictures, 'lock' nice ones. She knows how to set the camera to Auto mode or portrait mode etc. but usually keeps it in full auto... This week, she switched the flash off by herself because it 'makes the pictures look bluey'. She has just turned five... I supervise her with it, make sure the strap is firmly around her shoulders. She hasn't broken it yet.

1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (10 months ago)

Would sample photos have been too much to ask?

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (10 months ago)

The Pre-teens cameras are cool for most of photographers worldwide.

0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (10 months ago)

SZ-15... maybe, for 24x range. The rest... is the kind which many companies don't even produce anymore because they got superseded by smartphones.

0 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (10 months ago)

Yes it is true, surely we will see fewer people with this type of cameras and increasingly gripping the camera as smartphones. One day the only photographic camera they know is the smartphone.

0 upvotes
LFLee
By LFLee (10 months ago)

as usual, dpreview forget the PENTAX Q series, e.g. Q7 is well fitted for kid! + with all that colors?

3 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

yup, that's what it's good for LOL

1 upvote
EXX
By EXX (10 months ago)

What I would buy for a +/- 8 year old would be a Konica-Minolta Z-series camera, like a Z5. Can be bought for next to nothing second hand and they are great for children, fitting right in their little hands.

1 upvote
ProfHankD
By ProfHankD (10 months ago)

A camera for a kid who has a cell phone must be better than the cell phone's camera. Most kid cameras are not.In fact, the $100 Nabi Jr droid tablet we got our 2-year-old foster kid had a better camera built-in than most kid cameras.

My daughter has (with supervision) used a DSLR/SLT/NEX since age 10 or so. On her own, she takes an Olympus waterproof, which works out pretty well. The waterproof rugged ones are also a good compliment to daddy's camera, rather than yielding inferior duplicates of dad's shots, she gets to take shots dad can't.

4 upvotes
Timmbits
By Timmbits (9 months ago)

well said. totally agree.

Comment edited 23 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Binary Hulled Ion
By Binary Hulled Ion (10 months ago)

Here's an alternative that we use for my four-year-old:

First, as long as she's supervised and it's not for more than two or three shots at a time, she can use the DSLR in program auto or auto mode. I haven't yet been able to show her the nuances of exposure and depth of field :-)

But, most of the time what she uses is a prepaid smartphone that has a parental control app installed, with a somewhat rugged protective case. The phone has no service (and, the one she's using at the moment is one I bought off of eBay that wound up with a broken 3G antenna) but does just fine for what she wants to take pictures of.

We've thought about digging out our old CyberShot and letting her go to town since she's done such a good job of taking care of her phone. Parents: it's not too early to teach kids responsibility.

But she prefers the DSLR. With these options at hand, I definitely wouldn't buy her a dedicated toy camera with poorer quality than her smartphone.

3 upvotes
Picturenaut
By Picturenaut (10 months ago)

I'd not recommend a 1.2 MP toy camera such as KidiZoom even for 5 yrs old children, because its IQ, in particular of its LCD screens is ways too bad for kid's eyes. My experience is that even very young kids are quickly bored and dissapointed by such bad cameras and abandon them. With their sharp eyes and fresh minds they see so much more than we adults, and they are fond of small things and tiny details. A camera must meet this challenge.

So I think it is much better to start early with a rugged compact with much better IQ and LCD screen . IMO a camera such as a Coolpix S31 is a much better entry even for very young kids. They are smart and quickly discover how to use it.

5 upvotes
Anepo
By Anepo (10 months ago)

And the one my brothers daughter owned broke after just dropping it ONCE

0 upvotes
CAClark
By CAClark (10 months ago)

My ex-girlfriends 6yo had one of the vtech kids cameras, and contrary to your evaluation, it was perfect. Kids can be rough and clumsy, so something of decent size was ideal, and I don't believe many 6yo are so discerning that a small LCD screen is of any concern. And that's before you get to the often fleeting attention spans for such things as cameras and other toys/gadgets. That said, all children like people are different, but it's not as black and white as rubbishing a basic kids camera as poor quality. Often that's more than enough.

3 upvotes
Picturenaut
By Picturenaut (10 months ago)

I have two cases of 5yo kids in my family that used their new Kidisortof-camera for maybe half an hour and then wanted their parent's much better compacts/ mobile phones ;-).

2 upvotes
cplunk
By cplunk (10 months ago)

My 5 year old has had the vtech camera for several years now. And of course he'd rather play with my DSLR, because that's what daddy uses. He'd also rather drive my truck than his toy electric 3 foot long plastic jeep.
He is able to use the DSLR in auto mode, but it's not something he get to do unsupervised, that's what he has the vtech camera for, when he disappears into his room to experiment with stuff. And he drops it repeatedly, has thrown it a few times, get frustrated with the full memory and slams it. It still works.

0 upvotes
Expat Nomad
By Expat Nomad (10 months ago)

What a fun article.

Based on my experience, I think you may have forgotten the most important part - to always use the camera strap!

7 upvotes
xmeda
By xmeda (10 months ago)

10+ years

Pentax K20D/K7 with 18-55WR or K30 with 18-55WR

If you mean to teach them something about photography.

Olympus XZ-1 might be good if you are looking into compact range.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (10 months ago)

Good finds for young kids, but selections for preteens and teens are ridiculous - except maybe Canon SL1 if your house is already full of Canon lenses.
Kids this age maybe are beyond throwing their cameras around, but could easily put them in a pocket and then fall from bike/skateboard/snowboard. What will happen to Canon PowerShot A1400, Nikon Coolpix S01, Olympus SZ-15 etc? That's right, they will die. Besides, kids this age already have their phones, no point buying cameras with worse image quality than those, they will not use them. Only tough cameras with significantly better image quality than phones are Olympus TG-1/2 and Pentax WG-3/3 GPS - here is your answer for active kids. Maybe used/refurbished if you want cheaper.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
peevee1
By peevee1 (10 months ago)

For more nerdy kids who actually want to learn what shutter speed and exposure compensation are, its better to have a camera which actually has those controls as clearly marked physical dials. Used Canon G12 should be very cheap by now.

2 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (10 months ago)

These are cool, I'd have loved the waterproof Pentax. And the Nikon 1 series are great little cameras.

My Dad gave me his old Contaflex to play with when I was that age, complete with external meter and non-return mirror! When I demonstrated that I wasn't going to trash it he lent me his Pentax Spotmatic F which was state of the art at the time. Kids can cope if they understand the cost of these things which was hammered into me!

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (10 months ago)

me too, i used my dads nikormat until he replaced it with an fe2 then i got that when he replaced it and so on

i started to use slrs at around 4 and its not that a four year old cant manual focus or cant watch a needle matching another needle, but the point is that you could drop those cameras and in 97% nothing happend to them. of course i didnt have the best lenses on without one of my parents watching me.

i think if you really want your kid to learn photography and also develop a certain way of photographic viewing, then give them your own material to work with.

same with music, if you want your kid to develop a certain feel for music, then give them a real keyboard with white an black keys tuned in halftones, not some kids toy thats not even tuned to 440Hz ^^

0 upvotes
Mikko Hamunen
By Mikko Hamunen (10 months ago)

At the age of 2+ years my 2 granddaughters began to use Minolta S414s. The twin daughters learnt even to review the photos. Of course, the S414 is quite clumsy and the batteries run out very often, but they are good (cheap) for practicing. Now (3+) they use Sony V1s and are very happy with them.
V1 was at the time on of the best in its class. I paid about 100 euros in eBay for two cameras. S414s costed some ten euros with delivery. The quality of the pictures is good enough even today.

1 upvote
Abratech
By Abratech (10 months ago)

Start them off properly - my son started using my Canon EOS 5D when he was 3, but once I bought a set of 'L' series lenses it was a bit heavy for him. For his 5th birthday I bought him an EOS 1000D with a kit lens and gave him my set of older, non-L series lenses. Even at 5 years old he was able to take a photograph that was accepted by the Alamy international picture library (unsupervised by myself). Don't under estimate your kids! Give them the right equipment and they might surprise you. My son is now 8 years old and he still uses the EOS 1000D I bought him more than three years ago - no, he hasn't destroyed it!

4 upvotes
Mikko Hamunen
By Mikko Hamunen (10 months ago)

I totally agree. I am not afraid of to let my 3+ yo twin granddaughters use also my equipment. They use Nokia Lumia 920 camera and child-apps very proficiently. They are also allowed to use my A700 and HX7V under supervision. It is
only question of training. The time spent with the small ones is an investment to the future.

Don´t underestimate the toddlers. The more you give them (intellectually), the more they desire.

3 upvotes
systemBuilder
By systemBuilder (10 months ago)

Why skimp with an EOS ?? My son started off with a Voigtlander Bessa Lii 667, at age 2, then I moved him up to a Hasselblad H5D-40 Medium Format when he hit 3 years old. For video, I let him use my Panavision Genesis on loan from Universal Studios ...

2 upvotes
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (10 months ago)

@systembuilder: trying to be funny eh ? he has a point, i do the same, my dad did the same, my granddad did the same ... so what?

0 upvotes
SiPat
By SiPat (10 months ago)

My granddaughter is 5 going on 6 -- she's always snapping away on her iPad-mini. If both my two Nikon D40s are still working in a couple year's time, she'll end up with one of them -- after she's gained some basic understanding of SLR photography so as to experiment with all manual settings.

1 upvote
GiovanniB
By GiovanniB (10 months ago)

My children never wanted such silly looking stuff but preferred serious cameras like those daddy uses right from the start. Especially the boys always preferred those with many switches and metal body.

1 upvote
greatphoto
By greatphoto (10 months ago)

I am glad they included an Oly Pen as my 9 yr old daughter has my old one with the 2.8 prime and she loves it. Growing up in my studio she is quit capable of using my D3 or D700 with grip.

1 upvote
bluevaping
By bluevaping (10 months ago)

I am in my 30's with a preteen camera A1400 for work. Taking pictures for homes and hazards for home owners insurance. My second camera is a teenager camera, Nikon 1 S1. Here a link to a picture from Istanbul Turkey, shot with 1.8 50mm lens No editing JPG: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ambermarble/8961804402/

I will say both these cameras have easy learning curve for kids, but you can push these cameras to be more with skill.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
inevitable crafts studio
By inevitable crafts studio (10 months ago)

sorry but the istambul shot looks like a bad cellphone shot ^^

0 upvotes
dwm2020
By dwm2020 (10 months ago)

No Pentax Q? I would've thought it would be in there for sure. Perfect for kids to play with... small size and now in a range of colours!

0 upvotes
BHPhotog
By BHPhotog (10 months ago)

This is a joke, right? This article's featured photograph shows a four-year-old (?) with a DSLR. You really want to turn a camera over to a child who is as likely to use it as a hammer, or trade it to a friend for a candy bar, or drop it in the toilet to see if it floats?

If you really want a child to learn about the visual world and the wonders of photography, show him/her how to build a pinhole camera or camera obscura, Explain, show, share and teach. Spend some time, not some money.

This is nonsense.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (10 months ago)

not all 4 years olds are as bad as you imagine.
parents know their kids as well as their potential as well as how they teach/empower them. while some kids are only capable of what you think (e.g. your own?), others are capable well beyond your own limited expectations of such kids. yes, even four year olds.

my child from 17 months old infant could easily handle a VHS/VCR carefully put video cassettes in, run the video, play, fast forward, reverse, replay, pause, stop, eject, rewind, etc... she was just a regular kid... not a genius. children are only as bright (or 'dumb/ignorant/unaware') as the competence of their parental teachers.

it's unfortunate we have media advertisements depicting infants who only know how to stuff a sandwich into a VHS/VCR play, cassette, or DVD/CD player on TV ads, that's only a testament to parents with a "don't touch daddy's/mommy's" adult things like electronics/gadgets, etc.

Smarter parents empower their children to reach their own level.

sdyue

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
marcin wuu
By marcin wuu (10 months ago)

yea, right you are mate, cause all them kiddies are silly twats, ain't they? http://imageshack.us/scaled/modthumb/689/7ynx.jpg

1 upvote
Samuli Pulkkinen
By Samuli Pulkkinen (10 months ago)

Well, my now-4-years-old has taken some quite nice shots of me and my wife with my m43. She can use all my gear she can lift:)

I bought her a cheap point-and-shoot when she was three, and she has took some really interesting shots of our life, even about some moments I have missed. Mostly she shoots nice colours and her favourite tv shows - and all those shots are precious memories for the future. That little camera has propably been the best spend money I have ever invested for the gear. And it is still working.

2 upvotes
Tord S Eriksson
By Tord S Eriksson (10 months ago)

That's where we differ as humans. Some responders don't hesitate to give their kids DSLRs at a very young age, some don't dare to allow them even to breathe on their precious cameras.

Just like some parents give their kids real tools, like real hammers, and real knives, while others give their kids plastic knives and plastic hammers. Same goes for parents who give their kids guns, some give them toys, some give them the real thing.

Fake guns, knives and tools can easily lead to a disregard of the dangers of the real things, and nothing is as alluring as having a forbidden item at home.

Giving a child a camera obscura will not teach your child anything about photography, but giving them a digital camera with manual controls, if they are old enough to understand the concept of time and aperture, that is.

If younger I'd give them a mobile phone with camera!

1 upvote
John Miles
By John Miles (10 months ago)

A good selection. I would add though that in 2005, our then young daughters each received a white Casio EX S-500, each complete with a high quality leather neck strap purchased from Japan. Our children cherish these cameras to this day, and in no way did they need to be rugged. The cameras went everywhere and our lives erupted in the output from two children suddenly keen and interested in photography.

The combination of camera and strap was very 'hip' with the friends at school, which I suggest is something to be considered here. Inadvertently the cool nature of the cameras meant we now enjoy far greater coverage of their young lives. Camera choice for the young is extremely important and I suggest, where affordable, it should be recognisably special for the child.

2 upvotes
Neloy Sinha
By Neloy Sinha (10 months ago)

With good auto focus and image stabilization most of the children can take good photographs. In our time, in the film era adults did not allow us to handle camera because of wastage of precious film rolls. In digital era that problem is eliminated and actually we pursue everybody to handle the cameras.With time things change. I believe that now a days many kids can handle the compact cameras or smart phone cameras as per the adults. They can do more experiments than adults and are more likely to bring better pictures.They are more camera savvy because they are born in a different era where desk tops were replaced by laptops and the later is replaced by tablets.They are talking in skype with their relatives in another continent and using the smart phones better than me.

1 upvote
sean000
By sean000 (10 months ago)

My kid has the Vtech, and it is crap. Yes it is really designed to be a toy, but they could have included a better camera. The image quality is... probably worse than the first cell phone camera. It's that bad. I think my first VGA webcam produced better photos. It's also chock full of silly effects and games that my daughter has zero interest in, because they just aren't that fun. She does like looking through the dual-viewfinders. It's actually good for a 2-year-old who is more interested in looking through a viewfinder or just having a camera that she can hold and press the buttons for (as opposed to "Daddy's camera").

Now that she is 3 years old, she is starting to pay attention to the actual results of taking a photo, and she is starting to realize that the Vtech takes lousy pictures. Now she uses one of our old iPhone 3g phones in a drop-resistant case. You'd think for $40 VTech could have included a camera that is at least on par with a 2008 cell phone.

2 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (10 months ago)

Oh...I should add that the VTech isn't really any easier to use than a real compact P&S. My daughter will turn 3 in two months, and she can figure out how to operate our "real" cameras. She knows where the shutter is, and what the Play button looks like for reviewing photos. She can also take photos and review them easily on an iPhone (has been able to do that for at least a year). So I think her next camera will be a compact P&S off Craigslist for $25. That should buy a better camera than the iPhone 3G, far better than the VTech. She will be able to get real results, and if she breaks it then it is no big loss...and will teach her how to treat things like that carefully.

1 upvote
John Miles
By John Miles (10 months ago)

A camera as a gift can be an introduction to something of genuine value and fragility. The notion that all cameras for the young must be rugged sets a premise that all children are not expected to be able to look after something. Whilst for many ruggedness is the only way a camera will survive, the damage or loss of something precious in someone so young can serve as a valuable life lesson; especially when parent and child can take the opportunity to work together to find a way to replace it.

4 upvotes
Impulses
By Impulses (10 months ago)

I'd have to agree that kids these days will quickly outgrow that Vtech, I got one for my cousin's kid when she was 3 (I think) and I doubt she's using it at all at this point (she's now 6) considering how proficient she is with other's smartphones etc.

Vtech's done a poor job of keeping that thing current too tho, it was already outdated tech three years ago and it wasn't new to the market then either... Price hasn't gotten any lower either. You'd think in 4+ years time they would've significantly updated it once at least.

It's an okay toy for toddlers, but one they'll quickly outgrow in this day and age.

0 upvotes
JstarImaging
By JstarImaging (10 months ago)

Agreed. The Vtech is rubbish. Buy the kids a plastic hammer for hitting things and a camera for taking pictures - not a piece of junk camera for hitting things with.

1 upvote
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