digital cameras for kids?
October 30, 2006 7:21 AM   Subscribe

FirstDigitalCameraFilter: in the light of recent posts on unrecommended made-for-kids-digicams, what basic&sturdy point&shoot camera should i be looking for, used, on ebay, for my little'uns?

the boys (4 and 6) love our panasonic fz-10, but i'd prefer they have their own to break...
so: point&shoot, reasonable lcd, ok quality pix, macro would be nice, for under $75, used on ebay (or elsewhere) - what brands/models would you recommend?
posted by progosk to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So...I'm a camera salesman.

Tell me what features interest you:
-indoor photos
-outoor photos
-being tiny


I tend towards Nikon and Canon myself, but Fuji and other brands make great cameras as well.
posted by ztdavis at 7:34 AM on October 30, 2006

I handed down my Olympus C-2020z to my son (then 6) a few years ago and he loves it.

It's 2.1 MP, 3x optical zoom, with both LCD preview and an optical viewfinder (I wanted him to not just rely upon an LCD to compose shots). The size is right for a child's hands, it's got a nice bump to hang onto and the lens protrudes out enough that he hasn't taken any pictures of his thumb. It weighs ~13 oz, which is heavy enough to lend what I call "the value heft" (i.e. anything that small is expensive, so treat it nicely) and thus he doesn't sling it around like he does with my much smaller and lighter Canon SD30. It has an over-the-neck strap vs a wrist strap, which I also think is more secure for kid's use.

It's got a very simple UI, a dial on top which you rotate between auto mode, manual mode, movie (it will record brief video snippets), and preview mode. Another button turns off the flash in any mode (most of my other digicams require many steps to turn off the darn flash), another button for macro and if you want more stuff, there's a menu-based UI. I just like how the most used functions are button accessible vs digging around in a menu.

Battery life is great, it uses (4) AAs. If you get Ni-HM AA rechargeables in there, you can take several hundred shots before you need to recharge.

I've been happy with the image quality both inside and out. It's heavy enough that it transmits almost no shake.

The cons:

It takes Smart Media cards, the old thin kind with the big exposed contact area. Since they are somewhat fragile, I do all the handling of those when uploading photos (the cam also came with cables to upload direct but I prefer to use card readers for speed).

The lens cap is not integrated and falls off easily. Tether it with a leash ASAP; even when I was using this camera, I frequently knocked off the lens cap while walking with the camera over my shoulder.

The other annoyance with the lens cap: it needs to be removed before the camera can be turned on as the lens automatically extends on power-up and if the cap is still on, will make an alarming grinding noise and fail to extend.
posted by jamaro at 9:18 AM on October 30, 2006

Try and get something with a movie mode and sound. My first-grader loves making little movies. He'll make a bunch of Playdough figures, then film them, giving them different voices. Or he'll look into the camera and talk about his kitten, or sing a song, or something goofy. The results are frequently hysterical and will be shown at his wedding years from now.

He has been handling my Canon S1 IS since he was five. It looks too big and complicated for a little guy, but he surprises me with hs ability to figure stuff out on his own.
posted by LarryC at 12:02 PM on October 30, 2006

Well, I was hoping to get more criteria to help you with, but I would go with a Canon A70. It was my first camera and I loved it. Two AA batteries, 3.1 MP, 3x zoom, options for auto, program, manual, apeture and shutter priority (which makes it a good camera to learn about photography on).
posted by ztdavis at 7:06 AM on October 31, 2006

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