The best cameras for kids is one of the best ways to introduce a child to photography and help them explore their budding creativity. It’s never too early to introduce a child to what could be his or her new favorite hobby – and with a wide selection of the best children’s cameras, there’s a wide range of kits to choose from. Choosing the best kids’ cameras depends on several factors, but one of the most important is the age of the child. You don’t want to discourage them by offering them something too technical and complicated or, conversely, an overly simplistic kit that risks losing their interest.
Best Cameras For Kids
However, there are many interesting options for children, including instant cameras, compact digital cameras, and even DSLRs for teens and students. Either way, whether you’re looking for a camera that’s actually a toy, or one that’s a little more educational, we’ve covered all your basics right here. Most of the cameras on this list are simple, easy to use, and pretty rugged.
1. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W800
The Sony DSC-W800 is our most affordable camera because it delivers good image quality in a compact body, measures only 2.1 x 2 x 0.9 inches when turned off, and weighs 3.5 ounces. However, it is easy to accidentally put your fingers over the flash. When you turn it on, the lens extends forward and provides a 5x zoom that’s good enough to take pictures of a friend from a distance. It captures 20.1-megapixel images that are stored on an SD card (not included) that fits next to the slim battery.
The 2.7-inch liquid crystal display is a decent size, but looks blocky and is very difficult to see in direct sunlight. Images taken with the W800 have strong colors and detail when you shoot in bright light. In our example photo, you can see many details in my dog’s fur and even a reflection of me in his eye. However, the quality decreases quickly as the light level decreases; night and indoor shots without flash have a dull color and show graininess. Overall, this is the best camera for kids right now.
2. Sony DSC-W830
If you’ve got a few extra dollars to spend, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 offers a surprising number of features in a small package, including high-resolution video, panoramic images and a long 8x zoom lens. When you turn it on, the lens extends into three sections from the front, but the assembly feels rather fragile. The DSC-W830 also has crevices where grains of sand or dirt could accumulate and block the camera. In fact, on our overview model, some dust had gotten stuck in the lens mechanism, which showed up as a black shadow in zoomed images.
The 2.7-inch screen on the back is clear and quite sharp, but is difficult to see in direct sunlight and has no touchscreen. Instead, you get a selection of buttons and sliders, such as a slider with three positions for camera, panorama, or video capture mode. The zoom control at the top of the back of the camera is small but well placed for one-handed shooting – you can zoom with your thumb and still reach the shutter release with your index finger to take a picture. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.
3. Canon PowerShot Elph 190
The Elph 190 IS has a telescopic lens that offers an impressive 10x zoom range, from a 24mm-equivalent wide-angle to a very long, 240mm-equivalent telephoto lens. That’s long enough to catch the dimples on a celebrity’s face before security guards drag you away. The zoom control is a ring around the shutter release, so you can easily frame your shot and then shoot quickly without moving your hand. This camera is one of the cheapest we’ve seen so far that includes Wi-Fi, which lets you send pictures to a smartphone as well as Facebook, Twitter, and cloud services like Google Drive.
It’s a nice way to back up your pictures without using a laptop. Image stabilization works quite well at the wider zoom settings, but not at the longer zoom settings. We found that the smooth plastic case of the 190 IS was quite slippery. Its 2.7-inch LCD screen is sharp but difficult to see in direct sunlight. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.
4. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30
If your adventures take place outdoors, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30 could be the right choice for you. It’s a rugged little camera that can handle up to 26 feet of water and drops from up to 5 feet onto hard surfaces. It can also continue to film in the cold: Panasonic claims that it will work in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will meet all requirements except for the toughest ski and snow adventures. However, the screen is not great: Compared to more expensive cameras, it looks blocky and pale.
The DMC-TS30 captures 16.1 MP images and has a 4x optical zoom that is good enough for group shots or picking out a pine marten on a branch. The images it captures are good, but not great: the color was quite flat and became quite noisy in low light. Still, this is an acceptable compromise for a camera that can survive your adventures and won’t drive you bankrupt if you drop it in raging rapids. The device does not float, so make sure you use the wrist strap that comes with it, otherwise, it might end up falling asleep with the fish. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.
5. Kodak PixPro AZ421
If you want to get really, really close to a topic for less money, the Kodak PixPro AZ421 might be the right choice. This inexpensive camera has a 42x zoom lens that is equivalent to a 24-1008mm lens for a 35mm camera, which means you should be able to see the moon in all its glory or capture wildlife from a distance. The PixPro AZ421 has a 3.0-inch LCD display with 460k-Dot on the back (but no touchscreen), optical image stabilization (although you’ll still need a tripod), an ISO range of 80-3200. There are some compromises: Its aperture range is limited, from f/3 to f/6.8, and it can record video at 720p maximum. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.
6. Kodak PixPro FZ53
FZ stands for Friendly Zoom, and it’s a good name for Kodak’s affordable, simple camera. This small device (3.6 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches) has a wide range of features for the price, including a 5x zoom lens, a 16 MP sensor, and 720p video. Its 2.7-inch LCD screen is not overly bright, but good enough to use on the beach with a shady hand. A nuisance is that the camera switches to a slow preview mode in low light conditions, so you only get an updated image about every half second.
The FZ53 offers a good selection of shooting modes, including multiple scene modes, a continuous shooting mode (albeit at only one frame per second), and a time-lapse mode that automatically takes photos at 30-second or 10-minute intervals. There is also a manual mode where you can change the exposure by adding an exposure correction. It’s not as powerful as the fully manual mode of more sophisticated cameras but allows more control than most cheap cameras. Overall, this is one of the best kids’ cameras.
7. Kodak Smile
The Kodak Smile is one of the best cameras for kids and also one of the better instant cameras. Simple but effective, the Kodak Smile prints your pictures on zinc paper; we didn’t like the quality as much as other instant cameras, but the Smile was good for the price. We liked the smile’s simple slide-open mechanism, although it takes a few seconds longer than most other instant cameras to get it ready for the first shot. However, the Kodak Smile also allows you to store images on a microSD card, and unlike other instant cameras, the Smile doesn’t require you to print every photo. Considering that photo paper isn’t the cheapest, you’ll save a lot of money on printing costs if you have a lucky trigger finger.
8. Canon Powershot Elph 180
The Elph 180 is the predecessor of the Elph 190 and costs less, but has a shorter 8x zoom lens, no Wi-Fi, and no optical image stabilization. You still get a pretty good camera that takes 20 MP pictures and 720p video, and a digital image stabilization system that compensates for small hand movements. The pictures taken with the Elph 180 have attractive colors and good detail. But like most cheap cameras, the images suffer at night; they become grainy and faded. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.
9. Kodak PixPro FZ43
If you’re looking for an inexpensive camera that can handle most tasks but don’t want to spend too much, the FZ43 is a good value. Just don’t expect cutting-edge technology; it captures 16 MP images, has a 4x zoom, and has a clean, bright 2.7-inch LCD screen. The FZ43 is powered by two AA batteries that don’t last long; our batteries were dead after a day of moderate use. The photos taken with the FZ43 were good, with sharp details and bright but not overwhelming colors.
We noticed that, as with many cheap cameras, the image quality deteriorated at the longer end of the zoom range, with fine details being slightly lost in a soft haze at the edge of the image. Still, it’s a great bargain for those who want a simple camera to take snapshots of the kids on the beach (or let the kids take snapshots) without having to worry too much when the device falls into the sea. Overall, this is one of the best cameras for kids.