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Five things you should know before buying a kids’ camera

We found huge variations in the quality of the cameras for kids in our tests - including poorly-labelled buttons and terrible photo quality

Five things you should know before buying a kids’ camera

Thinking about giving a kids’ camera as a gift this Christmas? We’d recommend doing some research as our testing of five kids’ cameras found huge differences in camera and image quality.

There aren’t that many kids’ cameras on the market, which means the chances of picking up a rubbish one are pretty high.

However good kids’ cameras do exist; you just have to know what you’re looking for. Find out our top tips you help you choose.


See which cameras to avoid in our kids’ cameras reviews.


1) Don’t expect much in the way of functionality

Child using a camera with flash

You’ll find most kids’ cameras are packed with fluff – a few games, lots of filters and fun frames.

However, when it comes down to the basic features found in a regular digital compact camera, you’ll be left disappointed.

Of the cameras we tested, only one had flash and only a few had zoom.

2) Bigger buttons make for easy navigation

Parent showing child how to use a camera

Clear, well-labelled buttons that are easy to find and press are essential for a kids’ camera. A number of cameras we tested had confusing layouts and navigation.

To test for ease of use we had multiple researchers carry out basic tasks on each camera.

If we, as adults, couldn’t figure out how to navigate the controls then it’s unlikely a young child would be able to intuitively use the camera either.


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3) If image quality is important to you, pay more

Poor quality image from kids' camera testing
One of the shots from our kids’ camera testing

We found in our testing that the cheaper the camera, the worse the image quality.

In the case of the image above, the image quality was so bad that our camera expert commented that it might put your child off photography for good.

This wasn’t the only camera that was extremely pixelated and washed out, there were a number of others. But the best kids’ camera produced crisp images with decent exposure.

4) The grippier the better

Child using a camera under water

Rubber or silicone grips and casing is great for comfort and will protect the camera from inevitable drops. As will wrist straps, which are a really useful feature to look for.

Our Best Buy recommendation had an outer silicone casing that protected it from any serious damage in our drop test.

One of the worst kids’ camera lacked protective casing and after our drop test it wouldn’t even turn on without being plugged into the charging cable.

All of the kids’ cameras we tested came with wrist straps though.

5) Always buy a micro-SD card just in case

Putting an SD card into a lpatop

Some of the cameras we tested had no internal memory, those that did often needed the photos to be stored on a micro-SD card to be transferred onto another device.

This meant that any photos taken before inserting the card couldn’t be uploaded onto another device, rendering them useless.

How we tested kids’ cameras

kids' camera testing

Ease of use

For this test two of our researchers had to put themselves into some tiny children’s shoes when carrying out a number of basic tasks with the kids’ cameras. They then did this again with gloves on to determine how easy the camera was to manoeuvre with less dexterity.

Photo quality

To see how the kids’ cameras adjusted to different environments we shot a researcher in different locations including a dark room, a well-lit room and a park. We then had our in house photography expert, James Stringer, judge all the photos.

Durability

We put the cameras’ durability to the test by drop testing them all, 10 times each from different angles. Those that had damage affecting their usability were given worse ratings than those with cosmetic damage.

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