Photography is a fun activity for kids. It’s a great way to encourage creative expression and let kids develop their interest in the world around them. Whether your child has serious aspirations toward photography or just wants a digital camera to have some fun with, there are lots of great entry-level cameras to choose from for kids of all ages.
Cameras for Young Kids 5-9
Little kids who are interested in photography need a camera with tools they can use–a 5-year-old might have a difficult time with an optical viewfinder, for instance, but they’ll do great with a nice big LCD screen. Cameras for kids at this age need to be simple and durable– little hands drop things sometimes, and kids aren’t always the best at remembering to use their neck strap.
For a really young kid, the best option out there is the Vtech Kidizoom Duo. This bright, colorful camera is nice and chunky with an easy-to-understand button layout. The camera has front and rear lenses; the rear lens is perfect for selfies. The camera comes with a suite of fun cartoon and collage effects for onboard editing. The only downside to this camera is that the photo resolution is really low– but for kids this age, just having the experience of having their own camera is enough to spark a lifelong love and interest in photography.
Another good model for kids is the Kidamento Model K. This camera, which has a lens cap that looks like a sloth or a cute kitten, is fully rubberized for protection against drops. It features a large touchscreen, image stabilization, face detection, and several shooting modes that let your kids capture whatever they want. It’s smaller than the Vtech Kidizoom Duo, so might be better for kids on the older end of this spectrum.
Cameras for Tweens 10-13
By the time a junior photographer is in their tween years, they can handle some more advanced features like extra shooting modes and more complicated menus.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a great camera for kids in this age range. It’s still rugged and can easily survive short drops and exposure to water, but it feels more mature. Most tweens don’t like anything they deem “babyish,” and a more sophisticated-looking camera like the TG-6 will be more appealing to them. It has a fun high-magnification macro shooting mode and support for slow-motion video, which encourages creative endeavors.
Action cameras are really appealing to an older kid, too. An action camera like a GoPro Hero 11 will let them capture anything they want in HD. The image quality of these little cameras is great, and they even shoot 4K video. Make sure to opt for some of the protective features, like a waterproof case. In the case of action cameras, water use and use in rough conditions is part of the appeal of the camera, and you want your kid to get as much utility out of their action camera as possible. The GoPro line is easy to find refurbished, so if you don’t want to buy the latest model, you can often find older GoPros at very reasonable prices.
Cameras for Teens 14-18
By the time your child is a teenager, they will be able to handle a nicer camera. They’ll be able to understand the more technical aspects of digital photography, and will be able to take advantage of the more advanced features of a DSLR camera.
The Nikon D3500 is the first DSLR that comes to mind when looking at the best cameras for beginners in this type of photography, and for good reason. It’s affordable and durable and offers great image quality. It’s an excellent camera for both photos and video. It’s not as light as a mirrorless camera, but it is the lightest DSLR that Nikon makes and one of the lightest overall on the market.
Another good choice for older teens is the Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS60K. This point-and-shoot camera is great for teens; it’s not too expensive, it’s easy to use, and it provides a high-end image with a great dynamic range and excellent color. The sensor works well in low-light conditions and the whole camera only weighs eleven ounces. This camera shoots in RAW and JPEG, so it’s a great choice for teens who want to learn more about processing digital photos and have more control over the editing process.
Does your kid have a budding interest in photography and is looking for inspiration? If your child is interested in nature photography, check out Max Foster’s galleries and blog. With lots of inspiring images and tips for developing photographers, your junior photographer will be sure to learn something new.