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Photography is becoming more and more popular as a hobby for adults, so it makes sense that kids want in on the action, too. When selecting a camera for a child, there are numerous things to keep in mind — but we’re here to help you weigh your options! We’ve done our research and hand-picked a list of the best (and most fun) kid-friendly cameras available. We even sent one of our favorites home with our testers so they could try it for themselves and give their most candid feedback.
Here are the best cameras for kids for 2020:
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.
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.