It goes without saying that children want to be able to do what their older siblings and parents do. If you have kids, they've more than likely asked if they can play with your camera. You may have responded with words such as "This is Dada's camera. It's not a toy. Go ask Mommy for hers." Maybe you have allowed little Billy Bob to look at the screen and push the button and are now astonished at just how much your cat tolerates close-ups.
Since this is the time of year for the Shopping Triathalon sponsored by VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover you're considering making Billy Bob's dream a reality. Good for you, really. I truly applaud parents who put a camera in the hands of a kid. Why? Because I began shooting at age 6 and I loved it. It's very important to encourage creativity and a camera is just of many ways for someone, no matter the age, to think outside the box.
Of course now the question is what camera should you buy for Billy Bob? Personally, I think it depends on the child and not just the age. While one kid may be thrilled with something simple another may be bored.
Let's first explore options made specifically for Ages 5+
Fisher-Price Kid-Tough™ Digital Camera --
Fisher Price Kid Tough Digital Camera
It'll hook up to your computer via USB cable for downloads.
The average price is $70.00.
Polaroid Pixie Kids Digital Camera
The camera can be used to play games.
Hook it up with the supplied USB cable.
Average retail price...$80.00.
Less expensive options would include character-related cameras such as Dora, Spiderman, and SpongeBob. However those cameras usually cost $20-50 and only produce monitor quality images. They may not have a screen to playback images and are very small. In other words, Billy Bob could lose his camera in the sofa and the dog could easily break it. What else can you buy? 35mm camera these days are extremely cheap, they withstand beatings better than digital cameras, and have better quality lenses. What was once a $125 investment is now half price.
Elementary and Middle Schoolers
For the Disney fan (you may know one or two), Disney Pix Max Camera
These offer 3 million megapixels that will turn out a fair/good 4x6 print.
It will hold approximately 30 photos internally and also accepts an SD card.
It has a color 1.5" screen.
Also hooks up to the computer via USB cable.
There's Disney software included to play with images.
Average cost is $80.00.
Unfortunately, there aren't many cameras aimed specifically at the 8-12 year old bracket.
At this point you jump into the "cool looking" cameras with flashy colors in petite sizes by major companies such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, and FujiFilm. The prices go up and so does the quality. Older kids and teens are looking for fun software in-camera. The ability to draw a mustache on your math teacher, paint hearts around your crush or morph into a creature is very attractive to them.
A few options that meet their demands and yours are:
Canon PowerShot SD1000>
7 million mega pixels
3x external optical zoom
stylish, small, with a 2.5" screen
color swap, color accent, viewfinder
Average price is $200.00.
Fujifilm Finepix Z10fd
3x internal optical zoom
sleek, available in bright pink, orange, green, blue, and black with a 2.5" screen
slide shows, resize pics for blogs, send pics from your camera to a friend's camera (IrSimple™-ready)
Sells for $150.00
Sony Cybershot DSC-T200
5x internal optical zoom
slick, available in silver, black, and red (Sony chose black and red for newer cameras to coincide with "Spiderman 3"), 3.5" Widescreen LCD
slide show with music, paint program, touch screen
Newly listed at $400.00
Nikon Coolpix L15
3x external optical zoom
small and easier to hold, comes in silver, pink, and black with 2.8" screen
In-camera red eye fix, adjusts under exposed photos, some cameras sold as kits with case, rechargeable batteries and charger
Sells for $160.00
Many digital point and shoots have Face Detection these days. Carefully read or ask if a camera has digital vibration reduction or optical vibration reduction. There's a substantial difference as the digital version can cause your photos to look noisy or spotted. We'll explore that subject another time.
Since I'll be at MouseFest during the time I would normally write my next blog, I will not have one for you to enjoy on Dec. 12th. Don't fret because when I return my blogs will be 33% bigger with a fresh new scent.