I get asked a lot about the best camera to buy a child.
If you’ve fallen in love with photography (and my guess is if you’re here you probably have) then your kiddo may be intrigued by your hobby too.
Have you ever picked up your phone and checked your Camera Roll, only to realize that your child took about 60+ pictures of themselves earlier in the day when you weren’t looking?
Kids love cameras.
They are growing up in the digital age and thrive on visual tools to explore and understand their world. If you’re looking to put a bit of structure into what they’re doing, you may be thinking about getting your kids a camera of their very own.
Below I’ve got a comprehensive camera buying guide for kids, broken out by age. Time to get out there and get snapping — with your kids!
Before you head out to shoot why not get my heart warming children’s book all about a little girl who falls in love with photography.
Your copy of Phoebe The Photographer: Gets A Camera is waiting for you right here
CAMERAS FOR KIDS
(note: this section does contain affiliate links)
YOUNGER KIDS (2-6)
At this age your main goal should be durability, instant gratification, and fun. These models should fit the bill!
Vtech Kidizoom Connect ($39)
The is the perfect ‘toy’ camera that will take pictures, has a bit of memory to store them, and is durable enough for your little ones who need rough and tumble toys. Another fun feature? There are photo related games embedded to keep your kiddos entertained while they snap. CHECK IT OUT
Nikon Coolpix S33 ($99)
A step above ‘toy’ quality, this entry level point and shoot is an inexpensive waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof camera. (perfect for kids who bang, ding, or drop their toys on the regular). The sensor in this camera will take decent quality images (about what you might expect out of your mobile phone) and does have a video recording feature as well. CHECK IT OUT
Fujifilm instax mini 8 ($80)
Let your kids relive the days of instant prints with this camera! It’s a bit more delicate and can’t withstand a lot of rugged wear and tear, but the thrill of getting prints minutes will excite both kids and adults alike. One important thing to note is that upkeep of this one is a bit of an investment, with a ten pack of film priced at around $8.50. The Instax is a good way to teach your little photographers to be selective in when they press the shutter button. CHECK IT OUT
Polaroid Cube ($99)
Think of this as a Go Pro camera for kids! It’s an HD action camera that boasts a 124° field-of-within a weatherproof body. The camera has can record Full HD video and has numerous mounts allowing the camera to be portable for any type of adventure – bike rides, vacations, hikes, or an underwater swim! CHECK IT OUT
OLDER KIDS (7-12)
Durability is likely less important in a camera for this age group, and these models will offer a bit of room for your child to move away from auto-everything snap-shooting as they grow.
Olympus Tough TG-4 ($349)
For kids that are on the go – or have the tendency to drop expensive pieces of electronics, this guy is a good choice. The TG-4 is waterproof to 50ft, shockproof from 7ft, crushproof to 220lbf and freeze proof to +14F, so it can take a beating. Wi-Fi is built-in for easy photo sharing, and the GPS receiver will let young photographers check a map to see where a photo was taken. It offers automatic shooting modes but opens up the world of manual exposure for older children ready to dive into more serious photography. It has very good battery life as well, so it can make it through the day with ease. CHECK IT OUT
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 ($250)
For the child you trust with more fragile cameras, this one is a good fit. It’s got an amazingly long 24-720mm (30X) zoom lens, offers speedy focusing, continuous shooting, and more advanced manual controls if you want to teach your budding photographer about ISO, aperture, shutter speed or how to manually focus. CHECK IT OUT
Apple iPod Touch ($199 and up)
While it may be too early in their lives to buy your kids an iPhone, the iPod Touch is essentially an iPhone without the phone, meaning that you get access to hundreds of thousands of apps, many photo-related, easy peasey photo sharing over Wi-Fi, Full HD video recording with slo-mo and time-lapse options. CHECK IT OUT
By the time kids reach this age group they will likely be ready to up their technical game and will be ready for their first DSLR. I HIHGLY recommend buying a camera body and lens separately, investing in a fixed 50mm prime lens. The big difference between the DSLR cameras and more advanced point and shoots above are the ability to play with creative aperture controls. That creativity will come most easily via a prime lens which has a low aperture range of f 1.8.
Here are my top picks for entry level DSLR camera/lens combos that won’t break the bank.
Nikon 5300 ($500)
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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 ($399)
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Nikon 50mm lens
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Canon 50mm lens
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Another option if you’re looking to up your teens photography game into the world of DSLR photography would be to purchase a refurbished model. Adorama typically has some really good deals if you want to go that route instead! CHECK IT OUT
In need of fun ideas for taking pictures with your child once they have a camera of their own?
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