The 7 Best Kid-Friendly Cameras to Buy in 2018

Find the best inexpensive models aimed at children

The best kids' camera options include a wide variety of models, all of which are pretty inexpensive.

The biggest dilemma a parent faces when trying to decide what type of digital camera to purchase for a child will depend on what the child wants to do with the camera. Some cameras aimed at kids are little more than toys, not really suited for anything but preschool age children. Others are a little more advanced, giving kids a very rudimentary understanding of the basics of photography with an extremely inexpensive model.

And if your child has some photography experience, most of the cameras listed here aren't going to be powerful enough to meet their needs. The cameras listed here are very basic models. If you want more of an intermediate or advanced model, check out our digital camera gift guide instead.

For beginners, here are the seven best digital cameras for kids.

Best Overall: VTech Kidizoom DUO

Cute, durable and ready for action best describe VTech’s Kidizoom DUO camera. Perfect for kids three to nine years old, there are 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. 

Runner-Up, Best Overall: PANNOVO Mini Kids Camera

There aren’t actually that many cameras marketed directly toward children’s use. But this tiny little camera is a great sidekick for a kid because it also has a pretty good package of features. The sensor is 5MP (which is better than some cell phone cameras), with a photo resolution of 2592 x 1944 pixels. There’s a built-in 800 mAh battery and the included 1GB memory card can hold up to 3,000 pictures, thanks to its compression format. But the size is where this thing really shines – those tiny kids’ hands won’t have any trouble with its 65 x 40 x 16 mm size and its 60-gram weight.

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.

Best Waterproof: Ourlife Kids Waterproof Camera

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. The built-in 3.7V rechargeable lithium battery offers up to an hour and a half of continuous shooting, while 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.

Best for Social Media: NICAM 4K WiFi Camera

Dollar for dollar, the NICAM 4K cam is kind of the perfect durable camera for children’s use. 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 video on the go with tons of resistance to the elements (read: kids) and it’s also super easy to use.

Best for Teens: Sony’s DSCW800/B

Released in 2014, Sony’s DSCW800/B 20.1-megapixel digital camera remains Amazon’s best selling point-and-shoot. While most kid cameras offer a limited number of features, Sony’s offering here is a full-fledged point-and-shoot that’s good for the teens (and adults). With features like 720p HD video capture and 5x optical zoom, there’s plenty of bells and whistles without breaking the bank. Additionally, there’s an optional “Easy Mode” camera function that reduces the number of layers in the menu to help minimize the feature set, so you can focus on nothing but taking pictures, which is great for kids. Teens who are just learning all the ins-and-outs of a true digital camera will appreciate extras like SteadyShot image stabilization, which offers both low noise and minimal blur. The camera also has panorama mode for a full 360-degree photo capture.

Best Splurge: Canon PowerShot Elph 190

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 WiFi 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.

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