Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cameras for Kids

If your kid is anything like mine, he's at this point had plenty of photos and videos of him, and has by now figured out to pose for pictures. This weekend, he not only decided to pose, but also has asked to review photos on my camera after the shot was taken.
I took this to mean that he's now ready to have his own camera, and I set out to try to get him a camera. If you read the various photography blogs or search for a toy camera on Amazon, you end up with links to the VTech Kidizoom Camera. This is a 1.3 megapixel camera, and contains a few games and have on camera editing, but has very limited storage (128MB), and is clearly not a real camera.Unfortunately, my kid has figured out what is real and what's a toy. If you want to splurge, you can buy the 2 mega-pixel version for $137. This comes with 256MB, and a few video games.

But what really caught my eye, was the Canon A1400. For $62, you get a 16 megapixel camera running off 2 AA batteries, with a real zoom, 720p video, and for another $5 you can get a 8GB storage card. It's clearly a real camera, and even has a viewfinder, which is a rarity these days. Of course, real cameras don't stand up to drops and spills, but you can buy an additional warranty for $8. I don't expect any of the "kid cameras" to last more than the warranty period anyway, and a camera dropped by a kid doesn't fall from as high as one being dropped by an adult, so Canon's quality should take care of ensuring you're not sending it back for repairs all the time.

In person, the camera's quite a bit smaller and lighter than it looks on Amazon's web-site, easily comparable to the Canon S100 and much smaller than the RX100. This is a good thing. Kids' hands are small and there's no reason why they can't handle small cameras. The hardest part for Bowen is the shutter button: you have to hold it down for about a second, and he had a hard time doing that at first, not to mention holding it steady while doing so. He spent the first hour doing nothing but turning the camera and on off, and then trying to rip apart the lens protector. So far, the camera has withstood his abuse just fine, though I'm not about to bother cleaning the lens any time soon.

Bowen's first few pictures are blurry, upside down, and not much fun to look at. On the other hand, a kid's perspective is very different than an adult's. They're much lower, and what they care about is very different. Here are a couple of shots from Bowen's camera:

As you can see, there's no IS, but it's fun to see what I look like from his perspective, and touching to see that the object he most wants to take a photo of is his security blanket. It might be that I'll look back on some of those shots in the future with nostalgia, but for now, it's a relatively fun toy for him, and he hasn't tried to use it as a hammer --- yet.


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