Gadgets like digital cameras are not just for mom and dad anymore. Growing up we used to play with plastic toy cameras and pretend to take pictures because parents were reluctant to let their toddlers play with the real thing. I’m referring to the days of film cameras where there were various costs associated with taking pictures, not to mention the price of the often large and bulky family camera itself. Fast forward to today where digital electronics has revolutionized photography and digital cameras are mass produced and affordable. Film has been replaced by digital storage, photo development is instant and free, and now companies have started producing kids digital cameras. How times have changed. Kids digital cameras offer parents the opportunity to introduce their children to the creative art of photography from the early age of three. Kids are naturally curious about our electronic gadgets and photography offers them a chance to explore their world and share their view of it with the whole family through pictures they take. These cameras are made so kids can handle them and not worry parents about them breaking anything if dropped, often water resistant in case of spills, and are designed with simple controls that a child can easily learn and operate. Many have built-in games to keep them entertained when not taking pictures as well as the ability to instantly view the pictures taken both on the camera’s LCD screen, on the television, or have them printed. There are many models available at various price points targeted at different age groups. As kids get older they can start to transition from kids digital cameras to “real” digital cameras and there are some great deals on older or refurbished digital cameras that will do the trick for less. We’ll be exploring all of these options together in upcoming posts as well as tips and tricks and what to look for when buying your kids digital cameras.
A follow-up to our Disney Pix Twist Announcement, the camera’s are now available for sale online at Toys R Us. They are also expected to be available from the Disney Store shortly. Targeted at kids and tweens, these kids digital cameras feature an innovative feature that lets them twist the camera body and take close-up pictures of themselves easily.
Two designs are currently available, Princess Petals and Jonas Brothers. Both 5 Megapixel cameras are priced at $59.99 and feature a 2″ LCD display, 4x digital zoom, 16MB of memory and built in flash in addition to the signature twist feature.
Also bundled with the cameras is Disney’s “Bobble-Head” software which lets kids take a picture and place their head on other characters to make fun videos. Other software features include the ability to customize pictures with Disney characters, stamps, frames and more.
Thanks to those of you who have contacted me with regards to this camera and commented on the original announcement. It looks like this will be a popular one and I’m looking forward to seeing what you all think about it. Also, note there was no mention of SD card support so I am assuming this is not a feature of the camera but I’d love it if someone could comment and confirm.
The design of the camera body is important and will vary depending on how rugged you need the camera to be. If your child has previous experience handling a camera responsibly and wants to be able to zoom you can get a camera with a telescoping lens. On the other hand, if you anticipate drops or less careful handling of the camera you’ll want to make sure you get a camera with a fixed lens that does not protrude beyond the camera body. Dropping a camera with a telescoping lens extended is an almost sure way to say goodbye to your hard earned cash.
Here you’ll be looking at Megapixels which measure the resolution of the images the cameras sensors are able to capture. Generally the higher the Megapixels the better the image quality and ability to output large prints. If your child is interested in printing and high quality images you’ll want to look for cameras with greater than 5 megapixels. If not, looking for lower Megapixel cameras can save you money. There are some good kids digital cameras in this category that are usually “skinned” with designs of popular cartoon or movie characters that fall into this category.
Memory comes in two types, internal and external. Internal memory is the memory your camera comes with and varies by camera. This will determine how many pictures you can take before it becomes full and you either have to transfer to the computer or delete to make room for more. Most cameras have SD expansion slots for external memory. This is the type of memory you can buy separately in SD card form and insert into the SD expansion slot in the camera. SD cards are generally cheap and can provide a large amount of storage so I’d recommend always picking up a large capacity SD card along with the camera so the internal memory is not a limiting factor when comparing cameras.
You’ll want to understand the type of batteries your kids digital cameras will need. Some use rechargeable battery packs, some use AA or AAA batteries. Either type of batteries are fine but you’ll want to make sure the camera you get your child doesn’t run through disposable batteries like crazy or this will add to the expense and possibly frustration for both of you. There are many kids digital cameras to choose from and there are certainly lots of opinions out there so we’d love to hear what’s worked for your pre-teen and any advice you can share with others.
There are many products to choose from when looking for the best childrens digital camera. Here I’ve narrowed down the field to the top two cameras for children aged three and up based on customer reviews and feedback.
Age is very important when thinking about kids digital cameras. Here I’m specifically focusing on young children (preschool and up) between three and 5 years old. This isn’t to say older kids won’t be happy with these selections but these are the ones to look for as your child’s first introduction to digital photography.
For these recommendations durability and ease of use are the primary consideration for the younger age range. Older kids may start transitioning to needing less indestructible cameras with better picture quality and features. I’ll be following up with recommendations for those age groups in future posts.
The top two contenders for best childrens digital camera are the Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera and the Vtech Kidizoom Plus. Both of these kids digital cameras have received great reviews on durability, ease of use, and overall features.
Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera
- Body: Durable rubber outer shell design, waterproof
- Resolution: 1.3 Megapixel
- Screen: 1.5” color LCD screen
- Memory: 64 MB internal (500 pictures)
- Comes in colors: Blue, Pink
The Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera has been a very popular model and was recently redesigned to add a waterproof housing to the list of features. As the name implies, this camera has a good reputation for being kid tough and will easily survive numerous drops and rough handling at the hands of toddlers. It’s also received high marks with regards to image quality as compared to cameras in this league (kids toy cameras).
One of the drawbacks is the camera does not have an SD expansion slot so you can add to the 64 MB of internal memory it comes with. You’ll have to either delete or transfer pictures to the computer after you’ve filled up the internal memory. Although 500 pictures is pretty generous you’ll find kids can go through shooting hundreds of pictures very quickly.
Overall this is a solid childrens digital camera that has withstood the test of time by many happy customers and introduced many children to digital photography.
VTech Kidizoom Plus Camera
- Body: Durable rubber outer shell design
- Resolution: 2.0 Megapixel
- Screen: 1.8” color LCD screen
- Memory: 256 MB internal (500+ pictures), SD slot for additional memory (up to 2GB)
- Comes in colors: Blue, Pink
- Extras: Comes with TV connection cables, 5 games, shoots video
The VTech Kidizoom Plus Camera is an update to the standard VTech Kidizoom which is comparable to the Fisher-Price model. The updated Plus model has had a boost in memory, up from 16 to 256, shoots video, and also has an SD slot for upgradable memory. The upgraded memory as well as SD slot provides quite a boost in capability with regards to letting your kids go at it shooting as much as they want.
The Kidizoom Plus also comes with some neat extras such as cables to connect directly to the television for viewing and has 5 built in games. The games feature may or may not appeal to parents who want their child to focus on taking pictures but the added versatility may come in handy for others.
Overall the Kidizoom Plus camera is a great upgrade from the previous model and has received glowing reviews from happy customers.
Both cameras would make an excellent first childrens digital camera. Each camera meets our criteria for durability and ease of use with the Fisher Price beating out the VTech slightly with its waterproof feature and time tested easy to use controls. In terms of overall features the VTech packs more value for the price with more memory, tv connection feature, games, and video capability. Both cameras are similarly priced so you really can’t go wrong with either one.
We’d love to hear your feedback on your experiences with either camera, please share your comments below.
Designed for young teens and up, Disney has announced the Pix Twist as part of an upcoming line of kids digital cameras for the Fall. The Pix Twist has a screen that rotates as you twist so you can get shots of yourself, friends and family, and makes taking group shots easy.
The camera is rated at 5 megapixels which should yield some good quality images. Storage is said to be 16MB of internal memory and is expected to support SD cards although this has not been confirmed. The camera will also ship with custom Disney software allowing kids to customize their pictures by adding Disney themed borders and possibly characters from your computer.
Suggested retail price is $59.99.
In our last post, Shopping for Kids Digital Cameras, we advised getting kids digital cameras that are durable and easy to use. Here we’ll go into a bit more detail on some of the additional features that will differentiate these digital cameras from each other. Again, this series focuses primarily on younger kids ages three and up. As kids get older and have more experience with digital cameras some of these will be less important and we’ll be touching on that topic in future posts.
Large LCD screen
Look for a camera with a large LCD screen. Kids will want to review pictures they’ve just taken and this will make it easier for them to see if they got the shot they wanted. This will be particularly important when they’re just starting out and figuring out how to frame shots to capture their subject.
Kids will generally have a much easier time taking pictures using both eyes rather than one. This is a popular feature that can get them going right away with digital photography.
Kids digital cameras will go through batteries rather quickly without this type of feature. Remember, kids may put the camera down and forget to turn it off so this can be a very useful feature to have.
SD Card Memory Slot
Unlike most traditional digital cameras, kids digital cameras will offer internal as well as additional memory for taking pictures. Look on the packaging for mention of SD Card slot that will allow you to buy an additional SD memory card to take additional pictures.
This will greatly extend the number of pictures your child can take without having to delete existing pictures from the camera. This is particularly important as you may not introduce picture management when they’re first getting started.
Easy to access compartments
You’ll want the most frequently used ports compartments to be easily accessible. For example, to transfer pictures to the computer you’ll be using the USB port. You want to make sure this is easy to get to for you, but not exposed so your child doesn’t. The same goes for the memory SD slot and battery compartments.
Some cameras allow you to hook them up directly to the television using an included cable. This can be a fun feature so that you don’t first have to transfer to the PC to view the pictures.
All of these features will of course vary from camera to camera and affect the price you pay. Try to pick the ones that are really important to you and set a budget when shopping for your first kids digital camera.
Great photography challenge, the joy of shooting WITH your children!
Looking to introduce your child to digital photography for the first time? We’ll go over some things to look for when shopping for your first digital camera for kids. Children as young as three years old can get started with kids digital cameras and you’ll want to pick one that is appropriate for their age. Here we’ll give an overview of shopping for younger kids and we’ll follow-up on advice for shopping for older kids in future posts.
One of the suggestions I’ve read from a couple of different sources online is to look for the latest or most popular model as seen on TV or ads. Their reasoning is kids will be proud of their camera and want to show it off to their friends. I have to say I completely disagree with this advice and would caution you against buying something merely because it’s on TV ads or because it’s the newest model out. Your goal here should be to get your kids interested in taking pictures, not brand names and consumerism in my opinion. This may be a bit controversial so I’d love to hear your comments on this.
Another reason not to go along with this advice is that, particularly when it comes to electronics, you don’t really want to buy the newest thing. Often there just isn’t enough information out there about the quality of the product. Wait until the market has had a chance to test the product and do a little bit of research online before spending your hard earned money on a substandard camera.
My recommendation is to focus on two major areas when shopping for kids digital cameras. These are durability and ease of use. You’ll want a camera that can survive the rough handling by younger kids especially if you plan on having more than one child share the camera. You’ll also want to make sure they can pick up the camera right away and start having fun taking pictures.
These two areas are generally what set kids digital cameras apart from traditional digital cameras but it’s worth taking note what makes these specialized cameras durable and easy to use. Starting with the camera body you might notice kids digital cameras are generally ruggedized (usually a one piece rubber encased body) with no moving parts. This helps the camera survive drops and even spills and makes it easier to grasp with small hands. Ease of use is measured in how quickly the child can get going with the camera. Automatic shooting settings, large buttons, large LCD screen and a simple interface all contribute to the ease of use of the camera.
Of course, there are plenty of other technical features you may want to factor in. These will be the ones that have an effect on the price you end up paying. We’ll go into more detail on these in a following post and would love to hear back on what you look for when shopping for kids digital cameras.