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To find the best digital camera for kids, you’ll need to determine the features that are right for you or your budding photographer. We recommend that you favor cameras with a compact, lightweight design weighing in the 14 oz- 2lb range, which feature sensors capable of resolutions of at least 8 megapixels, and which also feature video shooting capabilities of at least 720p and 30fps. We also recommend at least 4x zoom functionality and some degree of water resistance, as well as easy device and computer connectivity.
After analyzing hundreds of reviews amongst a multitude of products with varying price points and features, we’ve determined that the Fujifilm FinePix XP80 is the best digital camera for kids you can buy on the market today. Keep reading about this and our other top picks to learn more and select the best digital camera.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: Waterproof, shockproof, compact design with deep optical and digital zoom options and a 16-megapixel sensor for rich, detailed images in a sleek, easy-to-use package.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP80 is a full-frame 35mm digital camera designed for young but experienced users that is especially well suited to low-light, nighttime, and underwater shooting for both still and video. Its advanced 16.4 MP BSI-CMOS sensor captures excellent still and up to 1080p, 60fps video footage in dark, and difficult-to-frame scenarios. It’s waterproof to 20 feet, shockproof to 5.4 feet, dustproof, and freezeproof, making it also excellent for extreme weather and other rugged outdoor shooting. It’s much more powerful than the Bestguarder NV800 7×31.
Its reflection-free LCD screen, Optical image stabilization technology, numerous zoom options including a 10x optical zoom lens, high-speed continuous shutter still shooting capacity, and other precision features combined with built-in WiFi and mobile device connectivity make it another feature-rich workhorse at a very modest price point. It’s more camera than first-time photogs may need and its learning curve is higher than some in its class, but for low-light, extreme, and even underwater shooting, it’s a top pick. For more advanced features, our best medium format digital camera is another great option.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: Medium-format richness, detail, and resolution in a heavy-duty but fairly lightweight point-and-shoot camera perfect for young photographers looking to get serious about their craft
The Nikon D35000 is a medium format/DSLR camera designed for serious young photographers and casual users looking for professional-grade results with easy point-and-shoot functionality. Its sensor captures beautiful, rich 24-megapixel images, and its press and hold auto shoot function is capable of shutter speeds of 5fps for ultra-fast action shooting.
Related: Read our guide on the best digital picture frame.
Its extremely high performance and professional-grade results come at a considerably higher price point than other models designed with young, beginner, or casual users in mind. However, for the hobbyist looking to take their photography to the next level or a young enthusiast looking to hone their craft, it’s a go-to choice for an easy-to-use camera that will provide years of professional results. But, if it ever gets dirty, you’ll want to know how to clean a DSLR mirror in the camera.
Award: BEST INNOVATIVE DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: A versatile, compact, and sleek-looking hybrid of digital and Polaroid-style instantly printable cameras that’s simple to use and lightweight, but offers a plethora of fun functionality.
With its unusual design and features comes some compromises- stored raw digital images are of slightly lower quality than comparable full-format kid’s cameras. Its instant print feature also means that it’s not waterproof and is somewhat more fragile than other models on the market. But for a fun and interesting marriage of digital and vintage-style film, it’s a great option at a good value, as long as its quirks fit with your needs.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: With a colorful but durable design, fun features like a built-in mp3 player and mobile games, and photo optimization technology, it’s a great value for a first camera for younger kids.
The VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 is a 5mp digital camera built with fun and ease of use in mind for younger kids. It features a built-in mp3 player so kids can listen to their favorite music while they snap selfies and hang out with friends and also includes a selection of fun games with a parental lockout option when it’s time for homework or less distracting use. Its dual viewfinders and photo optimization tech makes taking great shots and selfies easy for first-time users.
Its 5-megapixel images aren’t the most detailed of kids’ models, but for social media activity they’re more than sufficient and their small file size means fast uploads for kids’ busy social media lives. It’s a great value for a starter camera with extra fun features to keep kids busy and engaged while they learn photography.
Award: BEST COMPACT DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: Super compact and light but full-featured and easy to use, this hybrid camera can print great photos instantly for fun on-the-go action with all the features of a normal digital camera.
The KODAK Smile Instant Print Digital Camera is a hybrid film/digital instant camera that prints out 2”x3” images on ZINK Sticky-Backed Photo Paper so kids can make stickers out of any photo they take. It takes detailed 10-megapixel digital images and features a built-in photo editor, auto flash, fixed focus mode, recharges with a mini-USB cable, and can print up to 40 instant photos per use.
Its extremely compact design and small LCD screen may make it harder for kids and adults with larger hands to use as easily. But the lightweight and impressive portability along with its hybrid design and list of fun, easy-to-use features make it a great option for kids and snap-happy adults who want something tiny enough to fit in a pocket but still capable of great images as well as fun instant photos.
Award: BEST FOR OUTDOOR USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: Ambitious and adventurous young photogs will find its extremely high durability, completely waterproof design, five underwater shooting modes, and impressive continuous shutter speed great for shooting outdoor and underwater action.
The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a waterproof digital camera designed for rugged outdoor, sports, and underwater photography with young users looking to upgrade their toolset in mind. It features a back-illuminated CMOS Image Sensor like those found in professional cameras at much higher price points that captures high-resolution images with an F2. 0 lens and a maximum 8x zoom.
It’s a tough, high-performance camera designed for underwater shooting up to depths of 50 feet featuring 4 different underwater shooting modes and capable of clear images up to one centimeter from the lens. This performance and durability come at a significantly higher price point than most cameras designed with young users in mind, but for outdoor, sports, and underwater photography in a user-friendly, intuitive package, it’s hard to beat in its class. For more advanced outdoor shooting options, you can opt for the best binocular camera.
Award: BEST FOR FILMMAKERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Image stabilizing technology and 4k video capture ability along with high detail 12mp still images, modern features like voice command, and an ultra-tough build makes it great for young users wanting to catch the action with near professional-quality results.
The GoPro Hero7 Black is a 12mp digital camera designed with high-quality, professional-feature video graphing in mind for the serious young photographer and filmmaker as well as for casual and hobbyist use. Its 12-megapixel high-end sensor captures rich, detailed still images while also being capable of 4k, 60fps video, and even live streaming at 720p. Its host of modern features include image stabilizing technology allowing for steady high res footage in extreme and high-motion conditions, 16 hands-free voice commands for video and still camera operation, and patented Hypersmooth image stabilization technology for capturing smooth footage no matter what the shooting conditions, and more.
The high performance and plethora of modern features come at a somewhat higher price point than some models in this class, and it’s definitely purpose-built leaning somewhat toward video rather than still photography, but it’s a stellar performer at both and an excellent choice for an easy to use, a kid-friendly camera that excels at handling extreme shoots. For more advanced filming options, you can also choose the best digital camera for filmmaking.
Award: BEST VALUE
WHY WE LIKE IT: A 20-megapixel sensor for professional-grade images supplemented by a well-rounded variety of modern features like hi-def video, lens emulation, and wireless connectivity makes it a reasonably priced all-around workhorse.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 is a full-frame (35mm) digital camera designed to be full-featured and deliver professional results and modern features while still being easy to use and learn for young and inexperienced users. Its CCD sensor works with Cannon’s DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to deliver rich, detailed photos with a lithium battery capable of taking up to 190 shots on one charge in normal power mode.
Its list of modern features includes a 10X optical zoom lens and Optical Image Stabilization for maximum control in difficult shooting situations, 720p 60fps video capability, connectivity to Android and iOS and related mobile apps, built-in WiFi, Scene modes that emulate lenses and techniques like Fisheye and monochrome, and a Smart AUTO function that can determine optimal camera settings based on the environment. While it lacks the waterproof and weatherproof design of many models in its class, its very modest price point makes it an incredible value for one of the most feature-packed, high-performing digital cameras available to young and beginning users.
Award: BEST FOR BEGINNERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof to 5.9 feet drop, and freezeproof down to a temperature of 14°F, with a 13.2 mp sensor for high-res images, it’s a great paired-down but a nearly indestructible choice that still delivers great pictures at a great price point.
The Nikon CoolPix W100 is a high-quality entry-level digital camera using full format 35mm with a 13.2mp sensor that delivers excellent, detailed images with a paired-down, very easy-to-use bright design ideal for a first high-quality camera. Waterproof to 33 feet, shockproof to 5.9 feet, and freezeproof to 14°F, it’s also one of the most durable models in its class and price point, and despite its paired-down features overall, it does offer modern connectivity options for mobile devices and built-in WiFi great for social media uploads. While it’s a great starter camera, it’s not the greatest DSLR camera for beginners or intermediates.
Its video capabilities max out at 1080p and 30fps, making it less suitable for face-paced video use than many similar models, and its pared-down design may not offer enough control for more advanced users. However, its extremely modest price point combined with its near-indestructible build, high-quality image production, and very low learning curve make it an excellent choice for a first “serious” camera for kids interested in pursuing photography. It’s the best digital camera for beginners on our list.
Award: BEST FOR INDOOR SHOOTING
WHY WE LIKE IT: Its 16.4 MP BSI-CMOS sensor excels in low-light, nighttime, and even underwater locations, and its advanced reflection-free LCD screen and high-end video capabilities make it a perfect choice for difficult-to-frame shots and high-speed action even in dark settings.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP130 is a full-frame 35mm digital camera designed for young but experienced users that is especially well suited to low-light, nighttime, and underwater shooting for both still and video. Its advanced 16.4 MP BSI-CMOS sensor captures excellent still and up to 1080p, 60fps video footage in dark, and difficult-to-frame scenarios. It’s waterproof to 20 feet, shockproof to 5.4 feet, dustproof, and freezeproof, making it also excellent for extreme weather and other rugged outdoor shooting.
Its reflection-free LCD screen, Optical image stabilization technology, numerous zoom options including a 10x optical zoom lens, high-speed continuous shutter still shooting capacity, and other precision features combined with built-in WiFi and mobile device connectivity make it another feature-rich workhorse at a very modest price point. It’s more camera than first-time photogs may need and its learning curve is higher than some in its class, but for low-light, extreme, and even underwater shooting, it’s a top pick. It’s one of the best Fujifilm cameras for novice photographers.
We preferred lightweight, top compact cameras, 35mm devices that are built to be durable but comfortable to use, weighing no more than 2lbs, with sensors capable of a minimum of 10-megapixel resolution and at least 4x manual zoom functionality. We appreciated a maximum of computer, storage, and mobile device connectivity options like MicroSD card slots, mini USB and USB-c ports, and iOS/Android compatibility.
We liked water-resistant and high-end waterproof cameras capable of shooting video at a minimum of 720p and 30 frames per second and that could achieve fps shutter speeds of at least 3fps for continuous, fluid, point-and-click shooting. We also looked for designs that were shockproof to drops of at least 5 feet and dust and freezeproof to at least below 20 degrees.
Finally, we liked cameras that were easy to use for beginners and included features like precision, fast auto-focus, underwater shooting capability, LCD touchscreen controls, large viewfinders for easy framing, adjustable built-in straps, and bright, colorful designs that kids would enjoy. We also appreciate included accessories like camera straps, cleaning kits, and extra battery packs, cushioned carrying cases, in the case of hybrid instant film cameras and digital models, extra print packs.