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Most Popular: VTech Kidizoom DUO Camera at Amazon
"With two lenses and a bevy of features perfect for kids three to nine years old."
Best Splurge: Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 at Amazon
"A 20MP camera that offers a slew of features alongside Canon’s traditionally excellent image quality."
Best Waterproof: Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera at Amazon
"With an IP68 waterproof rating that will stand up to basically any inclement weather."
Best Instant Film: Instax Mini 9 at Amazon
"With a rugged, springy plastic design that makes the perfect housing for a kids’ camera."
Best Beginner Waterproof: Abdtech Waterproof Kids Camera at Amazon
"An MP3 and MP4 player are also built-in, giving kids the ability to play music via their camera."
Best Polaroid: Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera at Amazon
"Prints are ready in under a minute and have an adhesive backing."
Best for Social Media: NICAM 4K Wi-Fi Camera at Amazon
"Perfect for sharing travel pics, awesome time-lapse videos, or selfies on social media."
Easy for small hands
Low photo resolution
VTech’s Kidizoom DUO Camera is the best kid-friendly camera in 2019. Perfect for kids 3 to 9 years old, there is a bevy of features, including two lenses in both the front and rear with a dedicated switching button. Two lenses might sound a little extensive, but this creates a camera that’s great for selfies and regular photography. The 2.4-inch TFT display pairs with the 1600 x 1200-pixel front camera and 640 x 840 rear lens. There’s just 256MB of built-in memory, but VTech adds a built-in microSD card rear with capacity from 1-32GB cards.
VTech offers an automatic shut-off after three minutes to preserve battery life. Battery life aside, kids will love the voice recording feature that offers five different voice-changing effects, as well as stop-frame animation. Weighing just 1.2 pounds, the VTech is supported with a wrist strap for extra protection against drops, though the bumper exterior provides peace-of-mind that even a few tumbles won’t affect use. If you're looking to buy a camera for a kid this is a smart place to start.
A surprising amount of features and modes are sure to offer younger kids hours of entertainment.
Wirelessly transfer photos
20 MP camera
Poor video quality
Canon’s PowerShot ELPH 190 digital camera is a 20.0-megapixel camera that offers a slew of features alongside Canon’s traditionally excellent image quality. Teens will love the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity to help move captured shots over to their smartphones for easy sharing on social networks. The DIGIC 4+ processor and 10x optical zoom all add another level of image quality that far outpaces even the best kid-designed camera. The 2.7-inch LCD helps navigate the slew of menu items for reviewing each shot post-capture. For teens who want to get experimental, there’s built-in tripod support on the bottom of the Canon.
Add in 720p HD video capture and a bevy of scene modes to help capture unique photography and teens will forget the smartphone camera basics and opt for something a little more practical. While there’s plenty of point-and-shoot cameras to choose from, the Canon offers great appeal to beginner photographers who want better performance than their smartphone camera without breaking the bank. There are just 190 shots available on each charge.
Waterproof up to 33 feet
Low photo quality
Arguably, the most child-friendly feature of a kid's action camera is that it can withstand the elements. Whether it’s exposed to underwater shooting (up to 33 feet in depth), rainy day activities, or the inevitable drink spill, this Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera—with its IP68 waterproof rating—will stand up to basically any inclement weather.
It can film at an HD resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30 frames per second and delivers impressive-looking video. There's also an option to record video at 1920 x 1080 (FHD), but it can only do so at a maximum of 15 frames per second. The 1.7-inch LCD screen displays previews and gives you intuitive control and metering settings. Plus, the device includes a one-year warranty alongside unlimited support and customer service for as long as you own it.
Fun for parties
Photo quality not great in outdoor lighting
Following in the footsteps of the Mini 8, this Instax camera is a proper successor with updated features and the same durability (AKA, totally kid-proof-ness). In fact, the rugged, springy plastic design, while not necessarily meant exclusively for kids, is actually the perfect housing for a kids’ camera. The Mini 9 operates on two AA batteries, employs a brand new macro lens for close-ups as near as 35 cm, has an automatic exposure measurement system for automatically perfect pics, as well as a high-key mode for brighter shots. That is to say that kids don’t need to worry about features – they can just have fun snapping pics.
Easy to use
Large, simple controls and a soft but durable casing make the Abdtech Waterproof Kids Camera an excellent choice for beach or pool pictures. The camera is waterproof up to a depth of three meters and offers a 6x zoom, along with the option to record video. An MP3 and MP4 player are also built-in, giving kids the ability to play music via their camera. Several games are also included on the device.
At 5MP or 8MP resolution, the photo quality isn’t as high as some other cameras reviewed here, but for an inexpensive underwater camera, it’s enough for a starter model. It’s a compact but tough little camera that can withstand drops and falls, and the included wrist strap makes it easy to keep track of the camera in the pool.
Available in a range of cheery colors, the Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera is a fun camera that allows kids to shoot away and then print out instant color copies of their photos. Prints are ready in under a minute and have an adhesive backing, allowing them to be stuck to notebooks or on the fridge. The camera uses ZINK technology, which allows for instant printing without ink cartridges. The resulting prints are smudge-proof and high quality.
While the Polaroid Snap Instant is a quality camera and a great way to introduce your kids to the joys of Polaroids, note that replacement film can be expensive, so perhaps encourage your little ones to go easy on the printing.
4K, 20MP action cam
Poor battery life
Dollar for dollar, the NICAM 4K cam is the best kid-friendly camera in terms of durability. GoPros are too expensive, and not super user-friendly for children, but cheaper knockoffs don’t have the features. The NICAM comes with all the features for a fraction of the price (and it has Wi-Fi connectivity). So it’s perfect for sharing travel pics, awesome timelapse videos or selfies on social media platforms such as Instagram of Facebook.
The video resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels and it has a 20MP still sensor, a 170-degree wide-angle lens, voice controls for on-the-go shooting and waterproof protection up to 100 feet. In other words, this thing will share photos and videos on the go with tons of resistance to the elements (read: kids) and it’s also super easy to use.
Our writers spent 63 hours researching and testing the most popular kid-friendly cameras on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
Child's age - How old is the child who’ll be using this camera? That’s important when figuring out what type of camera to buy. Do you want to teach a young child the basics of taking a photo, or is this camera a gift for a teenager? You don’t want to buy a young child a camera that’s too delicate or complicated, and you don’t want a teenager to be stuck with a device that’s more toy than camera.
Photo or video - Do you want your tot learning to snap photographs or are they more interested in video? If your kid wants to capture action with their new device, then you should look at video options. While many adult-oriented cameras can do both photo and video, child-focused cameras often have fewer features. As a result, it’s important to choose between the two before you pick a device.
Digital or instant - Most cameras these days are, of course, digital cameras. However, instant cameras, which print a photo as soon as you snap one (think Polaroid-style), are making a comeback. Do you want all the images to be stored for later, or will your child enjoy having the tangible printouts on the spot? It’s important to choose which one works better for you before you decide on a camera model.
Great battery life
Tons of entertaining features
A little complicated for younger kids
Poor photo/video quality
Our testers loved that this camera was durable, super easy to setup and start using, and had lots of special features. One of our reviewers, who let his three kids use this camera, said they all loved different things about it: “My 4-year-old loved any features that had sounds, which naturally led her to the games and the Wacky Photo Shaker, my 6-year-old loved the selfie collages, and my 8-year-old loved looking through all of the functions and trying everything out.”
However, one of our testers thought that younger children might need a bit of help navigating the camera’s many menu buttons. Our reviewers also warned that the video and photo quality could use improvement. “Photo quality was itself slightly better than expected, but a maximum resolution of 2 megapixels means that as soon as you zoom in you lose all detail,” explained one of our testers. Bottom line: “If you're looking for the most entertainment you can pack into a camera-based kids’ toy, it's really hard to beat the Kidizoom Duo,” one of our reviewers declared.
Difficult to focus
Poor low-light performance
Our testers liked the stylish design, budget-friendly price, and portable nature of this camera. “If you're looking for something that can be easily carried around on the go, this would definitely work for that, and may even stand out in that category,” declared one of our reviewers. One of our testers was also impressed with its durability — “I dropped it on a glass table and it was fine,” she said. On the other hand, one of our reviewers was disappointed by the “rather average” photo quality and found the auto-focus didn’t work well. “Limited manual controls make it difficult to overcome the camera’s image quality and provide a limited path to learn more about photography,” explained one of our testers. The takeaway? “Despite the drawbacks, this camera is still very compelling in its price class,” one of our reviewers said.
Can wirelessly transfer photos to phone
Good battery life
This camera came highly recommended by our testers for its overall value. “[It] produces better photos and videos than most mid-range smartphones without draining your phone battery or storage space,” one of our reviewers said. On the other hand, one of our testers still called the 720p video resolution “not acceptable for a camera anymore.” Another major plus, according to our testers, is the ability to wirelessly transfer photos to your phone so you can still text or share via social media in real time. Our reviewers said the setup process was not intuitive, however. Overall? “The ELPH 190 is definitely worth buying if price is a strong consideration and you can't afford to go over $200,” one of our testers reported. “The camera still takes very detailed, crisp, colorful shots in plenty of situations.”
Great first action camera
Good price point
Poor photo quality
One of our testers thought that this was a great first action camera for a kid: “Ourlife did a really good job including everything you’d need to get started,” he said. Other highlights were its reasonable price point and its straightforward instructions: “It's very refreshing to get all the information you need in so few pages,” he noted. The negatives? The camera’s menu itself was unintuitive, according to one tester, and its photo quality left something to be desired, especially in low light.
Great photo quality
Not as good in outdoor lighting
“It's the perfect way to capture memories from a party or event,” gushed one of our testers about the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9. Our reviewers loved the fun color options of the camera and the fact that it was lightweight and easy to use. While one of our testers described the photo quality as “great overall,” she also said the camera’s light settings were difficult to use. “I tried experimenting with the camera's recommended setting and comparing it with the others, and I didn't always agree with its choice,” she explained. However, in general, our testers were sold on the camera, especially for indoor use. One of our reviewers raved, “Overall, it's a real crowd-pleaser — my friends complimented me on it immediately when I took it out to take photos at a party.”