The 7 Best Kid-Friendly Cameras to Buy in 2017

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.

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. 

For slightly older kids, Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 8 camera offers a throwback to the pre-digital world and the fun of the Polaroid instant camera. While the latter was something parents enjoyed years (decades) ago, the Mini 8 helps kids relive the excitement of taking a shot and printing it right away. Weighing 10.8 ounces and available in a variety of colors, the 60mm lens helps capture anything from two feet away and beyond in focus. Powered by two AA batteries, there’s more than enough life in this camera for hours of enjoyment.

Unfortunately, instant film cameras aren’t ideal for selfies, but hopefully users of this camera haven’t entered that craze yet. The image size itself is around 2.4 x 1.8 inches, although the image border makes the actual print around 3.4 x 2.10 inches in total. Kids will love the instant-print capability for family snapshots, time with friends or just toying around outside of the house. It’s not practical for the little ones, but kids that have a good grasp of gadgets will gravitate to this oddity that feels much different than a smartphone camera, but no less fun.

Released in 2012, Polaroid’s PIC-300 remains a standout choice for buyers looking at instant film cameras. While younger kids and teens won’t appreciate the novelty value as well as adults, the curvy design is attractive and far different than the smartphone cameras too many kids are glued to now. Each film package allows for just 10 shots, so there’s a limit to how many pictures parents will let kids take, but the ability to quickly capture and print shots and build a collage will delight young kids and teens.

Images capture and print at 3.4 x 2.10 inches, which are roughly the same size as a business card. Four automated settings, including clear for sunny weather, fine for less sunny weather, as well as cloudy and indoor options all help create the perfect image. The image capturing is powered by four AA-size batteries and an automatic flash. For adults, this camera might be a unique way to capture a wedding, but for kids, this camera will be a hit at a sleepover, at school or just about anywhere in between.

Versatile, durable and waterproof all help make the VTech Kidizoom Action Cam the ideal choice for kids who want to get a little rough and tough with photography. With two included mounts for a bicycle or skateboard, the VTech features a 1.4-inch color LCD display with the ability to capture photos, videos, stop-motion video and time-lapsed images. The included waterproof case allows photo and video capture in up to six feet of water. Add in a few included games, some fun photo effects and this camera will be a hit for four to nine year olds.

A rechargeable lithium-ion battery offers around 2.5 hours of photo and video taking before requiring a recharge. Additionally, the included microSD slot for up to 32GB of storage can record up to 240 minutes of 640 x 480 video or up to 270,000 photos.

Parents might roll their eyes at the idea of a selfie-stick for their children, but VTech does not disappoint with the Kidizoom Selfie Cam that’s intended for kids ages six years and older. Complete with a 1.41 LCD display, the .3-megapixel camera at 640 x 480 resolution won’t win awards, but when you’re six years old the fun is more important than the results. Additionally, the Selfie Cam captures up to five minutes of 320 x 240 video (600 images) on the 128MB internal memory or on a microSD card (sold separately).

With a lens that rotates a full 180-degrees and an extendable arm, little photographers will love everything about the Selfie Cam. There’s no replacement for the real thing, but, in the absence of offering a six-year-old a truly adult-friendly selfie stick, this offers a unique way to capture fabulous photos with friends, family and big groups without leaving anyone out. 

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.

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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