If you are a professional photographer or a great fan of the photography world, you might be thinking of passing down your passion to your children. Well, it’s a good idea but teaching them what you know about cameras would probably take some time. Surprising them with the best camera in the world would certainly be great. However, it is best to match the skills of your kids with the right camera.
The best camera for kids should, without a doubt, be very intuitive. Or to better put it, something that would benefit beginners. Do not worry about giving them the most basic cameras, for you can always upgrade their units once you see their photography skills grow.
According to Evangeline Summers, SolidSmack’s Photography Editor, a disposable camera is the best option to help your kids warm up. Besides being extremely cheap, the controls of disposable cameras are very limited. This is a good start to teach your kids the basics of photography. One good example is the Kodak FunSaver. It has up to 29 exposures which should be enough for your kids to enjoy and learn how to take some good shots.
However, as said, the settings and controls of such cameras can be very restricted. Also, do not forget that their viewfinders only show plainly what you are aiming at. This is where bigger models like the Nikon D3500 would excel. It offers plenty of controls that your children could explore. The best part about this is that despite its nature bing a DSLR camera, it offers specific features that aid you while using them. For instance, it offers its prestigious Guide Mode on its dial. With this, this is one of the best cameras we could suggest due to its user-friendly attributes.
On the other hand, a DSLR could be too much for some young users. Fortunately, there are other types of cameras and a plethora of other choices to choose from. This includes point-and-shoot, mirrorless, instant, and action cameras. There are cameras that are particularly tailored with kids in mind. One good example is the Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 that won’t just let your toddler take shots, but so as to play games! It also offers photo-editing features and voice recording capability which has 5 different voice-changing effects!
To explore them deeper, we prepared a detailed review of each of them. After carefully observing, testing, and comparing all the models we selected from the endless list we first had, we give you our final thoughts. After this informative read, we hope to guide you in selecting the best cameras that your children will certainly enjoy!
1. Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0
6.4 x 2.4 x 3.6 inches
On this list, Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 is certainly the winner for it is specifically built with children in mind. This camera offers not just an easier way to capture photos and videos, but also fun games and other settings that kids will appreciate.
According to Summers, it comes with a 5 MP sensor and a maximum video resolution of 320x240 pixels. It also offers 4x digital zoom. The LCD screen measures 2.4” and although it comes with a very low resolution, it is a very helpful tool that can help kids review their shots. Taking selfies using the Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 is also a piece of cake since it supports front- and rear-facing cameras. Further, it features Photo Optimisation. It is an intelligent feature of the unit that takes multiple shots and automatically picks the best one for you.
Also, your children can edit photos using frames, stamps, and wacky effects. It also features voice recording capability which has 5 different voice-changing effects! Most of all, there are 2 motion-controlled games pre-installed in the camera, making it a multi-functional cam. This seems not to be a big deal for some adults, but for very young kids, it is a fun way to enjoy the camera after your photography lesson is over.
2. Polaroid Originals OneStep+
4.3 x 3.7 x 5.9 inches
There is no doubt why instant cameras are one of the top choices you have for your kids. Besides the fact that they are so easy to use, they can instantly print photos which can simply bring your kids joy with each click. Nonetheless, Polaroid took the game to the next level by introducing a new impeccable instant camera: the OneStep+.
“Compared to other instant cameras on the market, the OneStep+ offers a bigger set of buttons and settings that your children can explore. For instance, it has two types of built-in lenses: standard lens and portrait lens. With this, you have freedom over the orientation of your photographs. It also comes with a flash that is powerful enough to reach a distance of 5 meters,” said Summers.
Nonetheless, according to Summers, the real selling point of OneStep+ is its new updates. Far from its predecessor, the OneStep 2, the OneStep+ has a Bluetooth capability that allows it to connect to the Polaroid Originals app. To connect, simply long-press the Plus button in front of the camera. Once connected to the app, the Plus symbol in the camera will turn blue. Now, you can access newer features integrated into the OneStep+ camera such as remote trigger, self-timer, manual mode, noise trigger, and even double exposure and light painting! It makes your OneStep+ an instant photo lab where you can beautify your photo! That said, not only would you be able to teach your kids the very basics of photography, but you would also help them learn in a fun way!
3. Kodak FunSaver
4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches
If you are a parent, a mentor, or a simple adult who wants to teach a kid something about photography without breaking the bank, disposable cameras are the best choice. In this case, this Kodak FunSaver is your life savior. Its body is thick and offers a great grip but in case your kid drops it, there is no need to worry since it is a disposable camera which, then again, is very and extremely affordable.
It comes with a total of 27 exposures, but there is a newer variant now that offers 39 exposures. The overall use of the camera is very simple. Its shutter button is oversized and you also get a flash which makes it applicable even in low-light conditions.
“It comes with 400/800 ISO color negative film that delivers excellent exposure latitude,” Summers said. “It can give you just the right colors be it in a low-light condition or under a blazing sun. And for its price, you’ll be amazed by the warm tones it can create. The shots come with some grains but it adds to the mood of the photograph that looks dreamy and beautiful!”
4. Nikon D3500
4.88 x 3.82 x 2.76 inches
Nikon D3500 is the best recommendation we can suggest among students. It is one of Nikon’s most lightweight DSLR units weighing just 415 grams. The body offers a deep and solid grip which is just right for the hands of teens and grade-schoolers. Parents who plan to level up their kid’s camera units would also appreciate its price since it is one of the cheapest entry-level DSLRs out there. But the real highlight about it? Its ease of use.
“It has this magnificent Guide Mode on the dial,” started Summers, “Not only it will give you a virtual tutorial of the functions of the camera, but it will also allow you to adjust it depending on your need. With this, you have the option between the basic assistance or the tutorial for more advanced features of the camera.”
The guide is delivered using the rear LCD screen which makes things more convenient to users. The controls are very intuitive as well and it is stripped off of Nikon DSLR’s Custom Settings menu. The latter might sound a bit drastic and more of a disadvantage but these things are compensated with just the right set of great features to aid your photography needs.
“D3500 will give you a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor which is very reliable to get crisp images with rich tones,” Summers added, “Also, its burst rate is still great at 5 FPS given that it is an entry-level cam that is reasonably priced! So, with this bad boy, you got the most affordable, most beginner-friendly DSLR ever!”
5. GoPro Hero9 Black
2.8 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches
GoPro Hero9 Black is one of our favorites due to the number of its smart features. This also makes it one of the best children-friendly cameras out there. Besides its size, it has a lot of software that automatically corrects your shots at all times. Some of them include upgraded 3.0 versions of HyperSmooth and TimeWarp. Hero9 also allows scheduled and duration capture and HindSight, with the last one enabling you to capture 30 seconds of the scene before pushing the shutter button.
According to Summers, compared to Hero8, Hero9 makes everything more instant for its users. For instance, its Hypersmooth 3.0 gives you stabilized videos in any resolution you fancy while the Boost feature helps a lot to get more even shots. Perfect for the shaky hands of kids.
“GoPro has done a great job improving the capabilities of this model in capturing stills,” Summers stated, “Due to the enhanced sensor it comes with, the camera is now capable of providing images in higher resolutions and videos with sufficient detail.”
Further, the Hero9 has improved max resolutions of videos and photos which now come at 5K and 20 MP, respectively. Not just that, it offers great flexibility since you can also capture videos in 4K resolution at 60 FPS which is very, very amazing! Most of all, given its nature as a sports camera, it is almost indestructible even if the kids accidentally drop it in the water!
Best Cameras for Kids - Buyer's Guide
Always consider the age of your children before the purchase of the camera. If you think your child is old enough to handle big camera units like DSLR and mirrorless, go for it. For teens, such a type of camera would be very beneficial as it will let them explore more settings and functions of a camera. Giving them very basic types could just bore them.
For very young users, a more basic model would be more ideal such as disposable cameras or compact types. One example is the Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 that is designed to help kids enjoy photography while incorporating games and other fun features.
If you have very young children, you obviously wouldn’t give them gigantic models that they could just drop. Keep in mind that kids have smaller hands, so they need something that they could handle easily. The Vtech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 has ridges specifically built to fit the grip of kids. Sports cameras like GoPro Hero9 are also a good option due to their small size.
If your child is just a beginner, you might want to go for the simplest cam with the simplest controls. In this case, instant and disposable cameras are good considerations. The number of their buttons is pretty limited and their viewfinders don’t have the complexities of compact and DSLR units. With this, it is just a matter of pointing the camera to the subject and clicking the shutter button.
On the other hand, if your child needs an upgrade, go for bigger models but keep in mind to consider if it is user-friendly. One example that we keep on suggesting in most of our reviews is the Nikon D3500. Though it is a DSLR, it has features that “guide” users step by step using some tutorials. With this, it is like a cam and a book joined in one body.
Starting the photography journey of your kids shouldn’t always be expensive. This is why we recommend affordable disposable cameras if you are just planning to introduce the basics. There is no problem if you are eyeing a pricey DSLR like Nikon D3500 or an instant camera like Polaroid Originals OneStep+. However, make sure that your kid’s skill would complement the camera unit you would be purchasing.
Best Cameras for Kids - FAQs
Teenagers can handle compact, mirrorless, and even DSLR camera units. However, in selecting one, make sure that the camera has intuitive buttons and user-friendly features to guide them. One example is the Nikon D3500. It offers specific features that aid you while using them. For instance, it offers its prestigious Guide Mode on its dial.
Yes, they can. With proper guidance and the right camera, parents can introduce the basic buttons and functions of the camera to toddlers.
For the cheapest camera for kids, we suggest disposable models like the Kodak FunSaver. With this, breakage is not a concern.
For very young beginners, disposable cameras should be enough to help them understand the basics of a camera. On the other side of the coin, for much older users, we recommend opting for bigger units like the Nikon D3500. Though it is a DSLR model, it has features dedicated to guiding users step by step on how to use its functions.