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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
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Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best kids’ digital cameras

Kids’ digital cameras give young children a camera for real photography that’s also fun and easy to use. These cameras provide a great introduction to photography that’s not too serious, complicated, or expensive.

Some kids’ digital cameras are more like toys than cameras. These cameras are aimed at preschoolers and young kids. But there are other digital cameras that work nicely for older children and pre-teens.

Digital cameras for children share some features and components with adult digital cameras. But there are some key differences, too. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about kids’ digital cameras so you can make a smart purchase.

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For especially young children, a kids’ digital camera with two handles and two viewfinders is easier and more natural to use.

Key considerations

Before buying a kids’ digital camera, it helps to understand some of the terminology associated with digital photography.

Image sensor

The image sensor is the chip that records the digital photo. Most kids’ cameras have tiny image sensors, measuring 1/2.3, 1/2.7, or 1/3 inches. An advanced camera’s sensor may be one inch or bigger. Larger image sensors create higher-quality photos.

Megapixels

Each digital photo is made up of a series of tiny dots, referred to as pixels. Each camera’s image sensor can record a maximum number of pixels. This number is measured in megapixels. Children’s cameras often record between 0.3 megapixels and two megapixels. On the other hand, adult cameras may capture 20 megapixels. A photo with more megapixels is sharper and has more detail.

LCD screen

The LCD screen on the back of the camera allows you to see your photos immediately. Larger LCD screens are desirable, but they’re also more expensive.

Memory card

The memory card is a tiny storage card that’s inserted into the camera. A kids’ digital camera will require a certain style of memory card, such as microSD or SD. Each card can store several hundred photos at a minimum.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is the tiny window on the back of the camera that you look through to frame the photo. Some kids’ cameras allow you to use either the viewfinder or a live image of the scene on the LCD screen to frame the photo. Others only allow you to use the viewfinder. Some kids’ cameras have two viewfinders, so your child can keep both eyes open when using the camera.

Zoom

The ability to magnify the scene is called the zoom. With an inexpensive kids’ camera, you’ll usually be limited to digital zoom. This uses software to magnify the scene, which causes a loss of image sharpness. A more advanced camera may use optical zoom, which adjusts the lens to magnify the scene, maintaining image sharpness.

Features

The features you should look for in a kids’ digital camera differ by age group. That said, every child is different. Some older children may prefer a simple toy camera, and some younger kids may be ready for a more advanced camera.

Up to age six

Young children can have fun with simple cameras featuring colorful plastic and age-appropriate themes. These cameras usually have two handgrips and two viewfinders. This allows young kids to hold and use the camera in a natural manner. These cameras do not create high-quality photos, so think of them more like a toy.

Ages seven to nine

Elementary school kids may still want to use a simple toy camera. However, some kids in this age group may be ready for an action camera. Action cameras are waterproof and can handle rough treatment, which is a nice safeguard for children in this age range.

Ages 10 to 12

Kids in this age range typically are ready for an action camera. Some action cameras mount to bicycles or skateboards, which adds an element of fun. Action cameras made for kids are colorful and only offer basic features, which saves you some money versus an adult action camera. Simple, inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras work for this age group, too. These cameras are easy to use, lightweight, and portable.

Teenagers

Action cameras and traditional digital cameras are appropriate for teenagers. Point-and-shoot cameras provide a nice introduction to photography for this age group, too. If your teen shows an aptitude for photography, you may even want to select an entry-level advanced digital camera. DSLR and mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras give impressive photographic results. These cameras are expensive compared to traditional kids’ cameras, however.

Price

Basic digital cameras for kids cost $20 to $50 and are more like toys. The more expensive models in this price range may include a memory card or have a larger screen.

Mid-range kids’ digital cameras are often action cameras. You can mount these cameras to a bike or skateboard and record video and photos. These cameras typically cost $50 to $150 when they’re aimed at pre-teens. However, you can pay as much as $500 for some action cameras for teens or adults. Point-and-shoot digital cameras fall into this price range, too. They’re small and easy to operate with a price ranging from $150 to $400.

For teenagers who are serious about photography, you may want to consider entry-level DSLR or mirrorless cameras. These offer quite a few features and will create photos of excellent quality. You can expect to pay $350 to $750 for cameras in this price range.

Tips

  • Waterproof has its limits. Any waterproof camera has limitations. The camera’s user guide will tell you how long the camera will work underwater and at what maximum depth. Exceed these limits and you could destroy the camera.

  • Screen quality is important. One reason kids’ digital cameras are so inexpensive is because of poor-quality LCD screens. Kids will want to see their photos on the camera’s screen immediately, so a poor-quality screen will limit their enjoyment of the camera. Consider spending a little extra for a sharper screen.

  • Set printing limitations. After receiving a digital camera, the majority of kids will shoot photos as fast as they can. There’s nothing wrong with shooting a lot of photos, as the memory card can hold hundreds or thousands of photos. But be selective about the photos you eventually choose to print because making prints becomes expensive quickly. You may even want to set a daily printing limit. Help your child choose the best one to three photos each day to print.

  • Help your child with the viewfinder. One of the trickiest photographic skills for a young child to learn is to close one eye and look through the viewfinder with the other eye. That’s why basic kids’ cameras often have two viewfinders. You may have to help your child practice looking through a single viewfinder.
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Some older children may want a more serious camera. Most kids’ digital cameras are more like toys that don’t have the features or power for serious photography.

FAQ

Q. How do I know if my child is ready for a more expensive camera?

A. Before spending a lot of money on a digital camera, think about how much interest your child has in photography. Perhaps he’s shot some photos with a basic camera or a smartphone but wants more photographic options. In that case, a more expensive camera will help him enhance his photography skills. Kids who don’t know if they like photography should start with a cheaper camera.

Q. Why are two-handed cameras easier for young kids to use?

A. It can be difficult for a young child to hold a traditional camera properly. Most cameras only have a handgrip for the right hand, which can make it tough for a small child to use the camera without dropping it. But with handgrips on both sides of the camera, your child can hold it securely with two hands. These cameras often have two viewfinders, too, so your child can use both eyes, which is more natural.

Q. What are some ongoing expenses for kids’ digital cameras?

A. Kids’ digital cameras usually have some built-in memory. But you’ll probably want to add a memory card to the camera to store a larger number of photos. This can add $10 to $25 to the cost of the camera. If the kids’ camera is able to create instant prints, you will pay $0.25 to $1 per print, depending on the camera. Kids’ cameras also sometimes run on AA batteries, which will periodically need to be replaced.

Q. What are some drawbacks of kids’ digital cameras?

A. Many kids’ digital cameras are simple toys that are not made for serious photography. They’re designed to be fun to use. However, photographic quality with these cameras is not good. The sharpness and resolution that kids’ cameras produce is often much less than standard digital cameras or smartphone cameras. Flash photos are of especially poor quality.

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