Is your child taking interest in photography? Do you want them to leave your phone alone? Then, they are probably ready for their own camera.
I have been taking photos of Adèle every day since she was born. So when she started to take interest in what I was doing (around the age of 1 1/2), I decided to get her a child-friendly camera.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CHILD-FRIENDLY PHOTO CAMERA
- A camera without games, effects or other add-on options. I just wanted a basic camera to teach a child the basic principles of photography. In this digital age, this is more difficult to find than you think.
- A durable and shock resistant camera that will not break easily. This is very important because toddlers drop things more than we do and many also like to throw objects.
- A camera which a child could hold easily and that doesn’t slip out of little hands.
- A shutter button that is easy for a child to press. (Note, most small handheld cameras have shutter release buttons which child’s short fingers cannot reach).
- I didn’t care much about the quality. Why? Because photo resolution/quality is not what’s important in photography. The important thing is the idea and what one is able to create with this medium. Someone might have a very expensive camera which can take high resolution images and create very uninteresting work. And another person might have a cheap point and shoot or a pinhole camera and make amazing photographs. As a photography professor I have always put the emphasis on the creative act, not on the resolution of the images. And for children resolution is definitely unimportant. For them, just the act of taking a photograph is magical. The act of taking a photograph and looking back at it is magical. The act of having it printed out is magical. I wanted to introduce Adèle to this magic with a simple camera.
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So, with all of these in mind, I spoke with my parent-photographer colleagues. After a lot conversations and research, I decided to invest in the Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera. Years later, Adèle is still happy to use it. It’s simple. It turns off on its own, thus saves battery life. (In 2 years, we only replaced batteries once). It is easy to hold because it has a dual handle grip. The shutter button is easy to reach and press for little hands. It has a 2-eye view finder which makes it easy for toddlers to look through! The resolution is not great but the photos have this lovely hazy, artistic feel to them. Adèle doesn’t mind at all. This camera has fallen many times (it does not come with a strap for safety reasons), but it works perfectly as it is extremely durable. This camera has a storage capacity of 500 photos and Adèle has not reached the limit after 2 years of use. I was able to download photos on my MAC through a USB connection. It’s simple to use – no shutter speed/aperture to adjust, so perfect as an introductory camera.
If you are looking for a better quality camera with a higher image resolution, then you can upgrade to a Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera. It has Flash memory for storing up to 500 pictures and a USB Cable for computer connection. For our purposes, the $90 difference was not worth it, but you can always look for a used one online.
If I were to upgrade even more, then I would consider the VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera. This is a very child friendly digital camera. It has good photo quality. It has all the qualities mentioned above, however has many extras like games video, stickers, frames. The good thing is that those extras can be disabled! I am not too fond of the Optimization features (it makes the camera choose the best shot) as I think it’s better for the child to make their own editing decisions. The voice recorder seems superfluous as well. But as a former animation professor, I do like having the stop frame animation function (for older kids) as I can see it being used in many educational ways. Also, it is possible to buy microSDHC for this camera to expand its memory.
3 BEST PHOTO CAMERAS FOR TODDLERS AND CHILDREN
To summarize, here is the price breakdown and the main features:
- Fisher-Price Kid-Tough Digital Camera (Pink)- around – $60, lowest resolution of the three
- Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera (Blue) – $158 new / $40 used, an improved version of #1.
- VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera – $48.99 new / 50 used, highest resolution, lots of extras
Also, check out my blog post about Photo Activities which has suggestions for kids of all ages!
Do you have a kid-friendly camera that you like? Is there one that I left off my list? Please let me know as I am always looking for new kid-friendly photo equipment to try. And for creative photo-related activities, check out my blog post here.