Kids & Digital Cameras… Meet The World’s Youngest Digital Photographers

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Little girl photographer. So, just how old should you be before you get your first digital camera?

What age is “too young” to fully utilize and enjoy a digital camera?

Turns out, 3 years old is the PERFECT age to turn a little one onto digital photography! Even if it is a kids-size plastic digital camera.

And, believe it or not, 6-year-olds can actually grasp the “it’s not a toy” concept, if you get them a real digital camera!

…That’s what we did for our little neice and nephew this year.

3 year old Karly taking pictures with her new FILM camera... Karly got two cameras this Christmas... one digital camera from us, and one film camera from Grandma. 6-year-old Dylan taking pictures with his new digital camera.

In fact, for Christmas this year, we bought every single person on our list something related to digital photography.

Tis the season… to go digital.

 

Digital Cameras For Kids… Are You Crazy?!

Our motivation for buying digital cameras for kids came after seeing all the $60 digital cameras that were advertised during Black Friday sales this year.

Dylan, the kid photographer. Here, he's photographing Nashville sights using a disposable film camera.

While still somewhat pricey for a children’s gift, we knew that our 6-year-old nephew would be the perfect candidate for one. He’s been shooting photos for years using disposable digital cameras… It was clear that he understands the difference between “little boy toys” and “big boy toys”.

Dylan's sixth sense told him there was something extra special in that gift with the Sponge Bob wrapping paper! Here he's begging to let him open just one gift early... the one that happened to be his new digital camera.

In the end, while the lesser priced digital cameras made sense in theory, we realized that for just a few more dollars, we could get him a much nicer one that could actually grow with him and be used for years to come.

Dylan's mommy opening her gift... a new photo printer.

We opted for an HP that came bundled with a photo printer (the gift we chose for his mommy this year). It’s a REALLY nice one for a little guy’s first digital camera! But it was simply too good a deal to pass on. (Plus, it’s one that his parents can use as well.)

At Radio Shack, they also threw in a camera case, 256MB memory card, and a handful of other “bonuses”. Bundled with the photo printer, the price was rock bottom for each item!

A Toddler’s First Digital Camera

Karly, the junior photographer. Our 3-year-old niece, on the other hand, is just beginning to show an interest in the concept of photography.

Simply put:

Karly is fascinated by seeing the pictures we’ve taken with our digital camera in the little LCD view screen, and she enjoys looking through the viewfinder, depressing the shutter, and watching the flash go off.

Karly trying out Daddy's film camera. Karly wanted to take a picture with Grandma's digital camera. Karly... the natural born photographer.

For her, we opted for a kids-size point & shoot plastic digital camera.

We found this Kidz Digital Camera Kit at Staples for $19.

It doesn’t utilize a removable memory card, but its internal memory stores 50 or so pictures. Then mom or dad can simply hook up the USB cable that comes with it to upload the pictures to a computer. At which point, the future photographer gets to start all over and shoot another 50 pictures!

 

PROS:

  • Kidz Digital Camera Kit. Lightweight, child-size, durable.
  • Can also be used as a web cam.
  • An inexpensive way to let your child explore photography.
  • Outdoor photos are of good quality.
  • (Surprisingly) has lots of settings to adjust the quality of photos, plus a self-timer to include yourself in the photo!

 

CONS:

  • Doesn’t have a LCD view screen… which little ones are so fond of. (This is a major drawback because kids — like adults — enjoy seeing the image that they just captured.)
  • There’s no flash, so indoor photos (even when shot at the highest resolution) tend to be darker and grainier than desired.
  • Needs a longer strap for child to tote camera around comfortably.
  • While the point & shoot mode is simple enough, the more advanced features (including delete, self-timer, etc.) are tricky to navigate.

It certainly was a digital Christmas this year… Karly’s Grandma got a photo printer, her Daddy got a digital camera and Karly got her very own kid-size film camera AND digital camera!

Kay opening her photo printer. Karly wanted to be the first to use Daddy's new digital camera! Karly the digital diva... with two cameras... a film camera and a digital camera.

 

Which Digital Cameras Are Best For Kids?

Digital photography makes perfect sense when it comes to kids…

Dylan photographing the top of Grandpa's head. Just think of all you’ll save on film and developing! Because with kids, you never know for sure what they’re actually shooting, and just how much of that will really show up in the picture anyway!

And digital photos are a cinch to email and share with friends and family. What fun you child will have sending their photos to grandma or other relatives who live far away.

In the end, only you can determine when is the “appropriate” time to get your child their first digital camera. And, there are many to choose from.

My theory is this:
Keep your eye out for clearance cameras — last year’s models (or older), display models, etc. You certainly don’t need the best camera for a child’s first one.

And, if you’re patient, you’d be surprised at the good deals you can find!

Dylan taking a picure of Mommy and Uncle Jim... You can see the picture he's composed in the LCD screen!

 

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