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The best digital camera for kids

September 5, 2010

in All Articles,Photo and Video

My daughter loves to take pictures. It all started not so long ago, when she would see me or my wife take pictures with our (moderately-expensive) digital camera.

“Can I take a picture, too? Pleeease?”

My wife and I of course couldn’t refuse. But we were overly cautious – we stressed the importance of using the camera’s wrist strap, and begged her multiple times, “please don’t drop it! Be very careful!” And she was. To her credit, she did well, and she took some pretty good pictures.

We wanted to move her to the next level – we wanted her to get her her own camera. The problem is that there’s not a lot of good choices. You can either get a “regular” digital camera and pay real money, or you can get something that looks like it belongs in the hands of toddlers (in both appearance and picture quality).

It took a while (much longer than it should’ve), but I did finally find the camera.

A great digital camera for children is the VistaQuest VQ7220. It fits all my criteria above, and my daughter loves it. Here’s what you want to get, both camera and memory card:

When picking a digital camera for my child, here were my requirements:

Picture quality: it had to be similar to an “adult” camera, not at the 1-2 MP range found in the many little kid’s cameras like this one from Fisher Price. The VistaQuest is 7MP, though the picture quality is mediocre to poor. If you don’t use a flash, you’ll almost always get blurry pictures if you’re in low light or indoors. And the camera flash takes a long time to charge (like 10 seconds). With the slow flash or outdoors, see below for the best pictures you’ll be able to get (both were taken without a flash, and both are uncorrected, apart from sizing them down to website size).

Appearance: it had to look like a real camera. Not like an oversized, brightly-colored box that’s annoying to carry and will eventually embarrass my daughter out of using it. The VistaQuest looks fine. It’s also incredibly light, so it’s easier for little hands to hold.

No moving parts: I didn’t want an opening/closing/zooming lens – the less to break, the better. Apart from the buttons, there are no moving parts.

Simple: just the basics. The easier it is to use, the better. It does have manual features, but they’re easily ignored. The controls are easy – all my daughter uses right now are the shutter, flash, the far/near/macro switch, and picture review functions.

Cheap: if my daughter broke it, we wouldn’t be out too much money, not as if we’d lost our own camera. At under $40, it’s cheap enough for me.

It’s not a great camera, but I’m not complaining because of the price I paid. When my daughter gets a little older, or if she really seems interested in photography, I’ll spend money on a “real” camera for her. But for now, the VistaQuest does the job just fine.

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