Cameras for Kids: Learning Basic Photography

cameras for kids

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting a man who was looking for a camera that his daughter could use.  Now, I love photography.  And I love helping people get into photography.  So here are some suggested cameras for kids, if you have a little tyke who wants to learn basic photography.  For the purpose of helping all parents looking for cameras, my suggestions will be partly based on cost – all of my suggestions can be purchased for right around $400 or even less.

Cameras for Kids by Age Group

Young Children (5-7)

For the youngest of the youngsters, I recommend Fujifilm Instax.  Five years old isn’t an age requirement, but it’s the youngest I’ve seen kids get into photography.  The good thing about the Instax cameras is that they are mostly automatic, with instant, physical results.  As far as cameras for kids go, this one won’t have you spending mad money on a digital camera and printing paper and ink.  You also won’t have to upload your child’s photos to a computer.  All in all, this is an excellent way to give a child near you the photography bug.

cameras for kids

An excellent camera used by people of all ages, the Fujifilm Instax is a ready-available successor to the Polaroid machines of yesterday.  Average price: $70.

Adolescents (8-12)

When it comes to adolescents, there are usually three factors you need to consider:  ease of use, durability, and (some) control.  With that in mind, these cameras for kids include options from the Pentax WG Series, and the Olympus TG Series, with both lines designed to handle rugged wear and tear, or constant drops, spills, and intense pressures.

cameras for kids

The Olympus TG-2 is a top of the line point and shoot camera with some manual controls and a plethora of defenses, making it particularly enticing to those who want a rough-and-tumble alternative.  Average price: $330.

cameras for kids

The Pentax WG-1 is just one of the cameras in the WG series, but offers a nearly indestructible camera complete with a carabiner clip.  Again, some manual controls offer growth with this model, as well.  Average price: $300.

Another option to consider is the Fujifilm XP Line, which offers many of the same features as the WG and TG cameras.

cameras for kids

A point and shoot camera with some tweak-able features, the XP series stands out as Fujifilm’s offering to the everything-proof camera market.  Average price: $200. 

Teens (13+)

For teens, consider cameras with a bit more under the hood.  If you’re looking at cameras for kids in this age group, point-and-shoot models just aren’t going to work.  For these young photographers, I recommend the Canon Powershot G15, the Rebel T3 (also by Canon), Nikon’s J2, and the Olympus E-PM1 or E-PL3.


The Nikon J2 offers users the ability to change lenses and take photos on a relatively large sensor, with plenty of manual control to boot.  And with a compact and lightweight body easily comparable to the Canon M, but less expensive, this comes highly recommended among cameras for kids.   Average price: $400.

cameras for kids

Often billed as the enthusiast’s compact dream, the Powershot G Series from Canon offers excellent image quality paired with manual control and an optical viewfinder, albeit at a relatively high price.  For those on a budget, you could go with the G15 or an older model.  Average price: $450.

canon instant rebate pic

Start them off while they’re young, and splurge on a Rebel T3.  A body like this can last a long time, and as your young photographer progresses, he or she has a range of lenses to invest in without needing to switch camera bodies.  Average price: $400.

cameras for kids

The Olympus E-PM1 is a fairly decent camera with a range of settings that will encourage your child to photograph more, and learn more in doing so.  With recent additions to the Olympus lineup, older models are being sold at very affordable prices.  Average price: $300.

cameras for kids

Another camera worth considering, the Olympus E-PL is another mirrorless camera with less weight and plenty of control.  Easily portable, its design will ensure easy use, and plenty of it.  Average price: $400.

Hopefully these suggestions have helped.  But if you want to know what the best camera is for a kid, just ask them.  Some kids like viewfinders, and others want the LCD.  Some will jump at the thought of changing a lens or what they see inside the camera, and others will be happy with a fixed lens.  At any rate, the important thing here is that we get them shooting, right?  My first camera was a crappy plastic 35 mm film camera with a plastic lens and two aperture settings.   And yet it made me the photographer I am today.

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