The best camera for kids in 2024: cameras for children of all ages

Choosing the best camera for kids takes just as much consideration as choosing the best one for grown-ups! Obviously, the key factors to think about are going to be different, but they're by no means less important.

Some factors, like image quality, are still going to come into play. As are looks – although little ones are going to like far more outlandish colors than I do! Still, the best cameras for kids are as much about usability, robustness, and affordability – not to mention educational value, if you want to help your kids understand photography rather than just enable them to take pretty pictures.

Either way, there are loads of great cameras out there for children, some of which are expressly for younger people, and others that just happen to suit them.

If you're picking the best camera for kids, the first thing to think about is the age of the child for whom you're buying. If you're shopping for a toddler, then something brightly colored and simplistic is the way to go, but beyond that things start to get more complicated. Is this a holiday distraction or a tool for a student? That will affect what kind of camera you buy.

I've included a wide spectrum in my selection, and a number of my colleagues have contributed to these choices. We're lucky to have a lot of parents on the DCW team, and we spend a lot of time around kids – including letting them play with cameras and helping us review them – so these are definitely kid-certified! 

Best camera for kids: our top picks

The best camera for kids in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best kids camera for ages 3-6

(Image credit: Future | Kalum Carter)
Best camera for young kids

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3in
Megapixels: 5MP
Lens: Fixed (4x digital zoom)
LCD: 2.4in
Max video resolution: 320x240 pixels
Color options: Blue or pink
Manufacturer recommended age range: Age 3 - 9

Reasons to buy

+
Rubberized build absorbs shocks
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Watch out for older versions still in some stores with much lower resolution
-
Low-resolution LCD screen

VTech makes a range of brightly colored, big-buttoned, entry-level tech gadgets for kids, and this is its current digital camera offering. Build quality is great, with its oversized rubbery build absorbing the shock of occasional drops, with big meaty grips on either side of the recessed lens for small hands to get enough purchase.

While the camera and its controls may be relatively big for the average intended user, the specs have been improved with the most recent edition of this camera with a 5MP sensor, coupled with a 4x digital zoom. On the back is a 2.4in LCD for composing and reviewing shots, through which you can also play five built-in games, so you've got a secondary use if the novelty of taking pictures wears off. The camera uses 4x AA batteries and a microSD card, which you will need to buy separately. 

"If you're after a first camera for a 3+ year-old child, the VTech Kidizoom Duo is an excellent choice," said my colleague and proud dad Ben in his review. "It's well priced, built to last, and is packed with kid-friendly features like a selfie camera, lots of digital effects, video mode and even some basic computer games. It's designed so even a pre-school child can use it was only minimal tuition, though the obviously toy-like build, handling and styling may be a bit too basic for an older child already accustomed to using a parent's smartphone or tablet."

So the best camera for kids? Yes, but only if they're very young.

Read Ben's full VTech KidiZoom Duo 5.0 review

Best kids camera for ages 5-8

(Image credit: Future)
A more advanced camera for young kids with waterproof housing included

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: not stated
Megapixels: 8MP
Lens: Fixed
LCD: 2in
Max video resolution: 320x240 pixels
Color options: Blue or pink
Manufacturer recommended age range: Age 4 - 13

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with underwater housing for pool and beach use
+
Comes with an microSD card and a card reader
+
Rechargeable battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for very young children
-
Low-resolution video

This 8MP camera is designed for kids aged around 4-8, and comes with a decent set of features to keep the curious mind occupied. Despite its resolution, video quality is reduced to a very low-res 320x240 pixels.

An appeal of this model is that it comes supplied with a waterproof housing, which can be used at depths of up to 10ft / 3m,  but you do need to check that the housing is secured properly before diving into the pool! Another fiddly operation is inserting and removing the supplied microSD card, but this does at least mean that the user can take lots and lots of pictures. Available in bluish or pinkish color to suit different tastes!

"The Oaxis myFirst Camera 2 is the perfect kids' vacation camera!" beamed my colleague Kalum in his review. "Its ability to capture good image quality coupled with its lightweight yet very robust form enables kids to have fun without fear of damaging the camera. The included waterproof housing enables kids to take the camera in the pool, sea, and while doing activities such as kayaking or paddle boarding. The video quality is its only letdown, but it isn't enough to take away from the great experience my daughter and I had with this camera!"

Read Kalum's full My First Camera 2 review

Best kids camera for ages 7-11

(Image credit: Kalum Carter / Digital Camera World)
Lots of features add more photographic capabilities

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: not stated
Megapixels: 16MP
Lens: Fixed
LCD: 2in
Max video resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Color options: Blue, yellow or pink
Manufacturer recommended age range: Age 4 - 13

Reasons to buy

+
High 16MP resolution
+
1080p video
+
Selfie camera

Reasons to avoid

-
Bit too complex for very young children

This kids' camera does a great job of appealing to multiple ages. For the younger user, it comes with a shockproof pouch with an animal design – this both guards it against drops, and gives it more kiddie appeal. But as the child gets older this can be removed, and the user can start experimenting with more features. 

We love that this model doesn't skimp on the specs, unlike some of its rivals. Stills resolution is a respectable 16MP, and video records in high-definition. What's more, the camera offers a front and rear lens – so you can use it to shoot selfies, which children will love. There's even a macro setting for close-ups, too. This costs more than some, but we think this model's features and perfomance mean it offers great value for money.

"The myFirst Camera 3 provides a fun and exciting introduction to photography," said Kalum in his review. "The FullHD camera for photos and video enables kids to capture the world through their own eyes. I tested this camera with the help of my 18-month-old daughter, a tad younger than the target market, but she had a blast all the same, and it sparked a real interest in taking photos. The video quality was a bit of a letdown, however, the photos were great and she loved seeing what she had taken when we got home."

Read Kalum's full myFirst Camera 3 review

Best instant camera for kids

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)
The best camera for high-quality instant print outs

Specifications

Type: Instant camera
Film: Fujifilm instax mini instant film
Lens: 60mm
Viewfinder: Optical
Focus modes: Normal, Selfie
Flash: Built in
Self timer: No
Color options: Pink, white, blue, purple, or green
User level: From kids to adults

Reasons to buy

+
Easy and fun
+
Inexpensive

Reasons to avoid

-
Can't disable flash
-
Image quality varies

One of the easiest Instax cameras to use, this recent version of the trusty Mini series is a great choice for kids. Its autoexposure mode produces great results in a range of lighting conditions, and though it can be a bit temperamental sometimes, kids love the cute, compact images it spits out just as much as I do!

Instax prints look great as ever, small and full of fun, and loading them is as easy as it ever was. The camera is powered by two regular AA batteries, and the flash reliably gives every image a burst of light (and I do mean every image, as there's no way to disable it). Inexpensive, user-friendly, and full of fun, kids big and small will have a great time with this one. 

I should point out, of course, that Instax film isn't exactly cheap, so it costs money every time a photo is taken. That said, kids absolutely love having a physical photo and seeing the results of their pictures as a tangible thing rather than an ephemeral image on a screen. 

Read our full Instax Mini 12 review

Best cute instant camera for kids

(Image credit: Alis Volat)
This tiny camera is great for kids and you could even attach it to a lanyard

Specifications

Type: Instant camera
Film type: Polaroid Go instant film
Image size: 4.7x 4.6cm
Lens: 34mm
Shooting modes: Automatic, double exposure
Flash: Built-in
Self-timer: Yes
Viewfinder: Optical
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Ridiculously cute and covetable
+
Truly pocket-sized

Reasons to avoid

-
Struggles with bright sunlight
-
Film is pricier than Instax Mini

The Polaroid Go is a palm-sized camera that kids will fall in love with faster than it takes a photo to develop. Bigger instant cameras balance exposures better, and rival Instax Mini cameras deliver slightly better image quality indoors – but neither are as fun to use as the Go, which still produces pleasing pics. 

As you can see in the above photo of me holding it, the Polaroid Go is positively tiny in adult mitts (kind of a dainty hamburger size) but it's the perfect proportions for a child's hands. And while plain white or black aren't the typical colors for kiddy cameras, I've never seen a kid resist the urge to pick this up (after all, plenty of kids play with their parents' white or black smartphones)! 

A consideration is that Instax Mini film works out cheaper than Polaroid Go film, but then you'll also need to replace those AA batteries on the Mini whereas the Go just needs USB to top up the power. And the Go boasts double exposures, which you won't get unless you opt for pricier options like the Instax Mini 90. A fun and funky little camera, the Polaroid Go is ideal for little hands to get started with. 

Read my full Polaroid Go review

Best hybrid instant camera for kids

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker / Digital Camera World)
A hybrid instant camera that also saves the photos it takes

Specifications

Type: Instant camera
Film type: 4PASS All-in-One Cartridge
Image size: 3x3in
Lens: Not specified
Minimum shooting distance: Not given
Shooting modes: Filters, exposure control, bordered, borderless
Flash: Built-in
Self-timer: No
Viewfinder: 1.7 inch LCD
Color options: Yellow/black or white/black
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Cheap and cheerful
+
Very portable
+
Digital images as well as instant prints

Reasons to avoid

-
Prints not as good as with Polaroid or Instax
-
No screen for reviewing digital images

Much as I love the Polaroid and Instax options above, the Kodak Printomatic may be the perfect instant camera for kids. Well, it's a digital instant camera, housing a proper little printer that uses Kodak's Zink all-in-one cartridges to spit out little prints that measure just 3 inches.

Now, these Zink prints are more like color photocopies than the true color photos you get from Polaroid and Instax. However, they still look pretty good (especially to kids' eyes) and more importantly Zink paper is much more affordable than instant film. Plus, the prints are water, tear and smudge-resistant – and they have peelable backs that turn them into stickers, too. 

On top of that, the Printomatic also produces 5MP digital photos that you can save to a low-cost microSD memory card – so you don't have to print every photo you take, making this a cheap option that's good fun for anyone.

Read our full Kodak Printomatic review

Best rugged camera for kids

(Image credit: James Artaius)
The best rugged camera option for kids

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3in
Megapixels: 12MP
Lens: 25-100mm f/2.0-4.9
LCD: 3in, 460,000 dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Color options: Red or black
User level: From kids to adults

Reasons to buy

+
Raw format support
+
Decent range of accessories

Reasons to avoid

-
Fiddly zoom control
-
Image smoothing at high ISOs

Since 2021, Olympus cameras have been sold under the OM System name. The Olympus TG-6 was my favorite waterproof compact camera (so good that I actually bought one myself), and it has now been reborn as the OM System TG-7 (which I also own!). It is pretty much identical, but that is a good thing in my book, and ensures this newer version remains my top recommendation for a rugged camera. 

How rugged is it? As well as being waterproof to 50ft / 15m, the camera can survive being dropped from 7ft / 2.1m as well as being crushed by anything up to 220lbs / 100kg (and it's also freezeproof to -10°C / 14°F, should it somehow get left in the fridge or freezer!). In short, no matter what your kids do to it or how hard they play with it, they won't be able to break it!

It's quite an advanced camera, with lots of features and functions (such as excellent macro and microscope modes) should you want them, as well as a crisp 4K video for filming adventures, and has a great zoom range of 25-100mm. So it's a very capable imaging device if your youngsters want to learn about proper photography.

Every kid who has been to my house always makes a beeline straight for the Tough, because mine is fire engine red (though it also comes in Batman black) and loves the fact that they can take it in the sandpit, get their dinner all over it, and even take it in the bath to wash it! 

Read my full OM System Tough TG-7 review

Best zoom camera for kids

A compact zoom with pop up flash and 4K video – great for older kids

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3in
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Lens: 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
LCD: 3in tilting, 922k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: From kids to adults

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 40x zoom for such a small body
+
Good operational response
+
4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
LCD isn't touch-sensitive

It's not just millennials and Gen Zers who love compact cameras. They're great for youngsters to play with, and Canon makes some incredibly powerful modern ones – such as the PowerShot SX740 HS, which has long been one of my favorite pocket powerhouses.

Its (obviously) compact size makes it a great fit for little hands, and it packs decent built-in zoom capabilities with a focal range equivalent to 24-960mm. Trust me, kids love playing with the zoom! It also has a 20.3MP 1/2.3-inch sensor and an LCD screen that can be flipped to face the front, making it perfect for selfies.

For anyone looking to shoot video too, it can film in 4K and even has a maximum continuous burst shooting speed of 10fps. The image quality and autofocus performance on this camera is pretty good and overall it's an excellent camera for the price – and a great starter for burgeoning photo fans.

Read our full Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Best serious compact camera for kids

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker/Digital Camera World)
The Lumix LX15 will help level up your child's photographic skills

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8
LCD: 3in tilting, 1,040k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: From kids to adults

Reasons to buy

+
F/1.4 max. aperture (at wideangle)
+
Swift and accurate AF system
+
3x zoom

Reasons to avoid

-
No electronic viewfinder
-
No proper grip

If you want a point-and-shoot camera that also delivers a visible jump-up in picture quality from a camera phone, you need one with a larger sensor. This Panasonic LX15, which goes by the name of the LX10 in some territories, has a 1-inch, 20MP sensor that will do the job perfectly.

It's true that there is no electronic viewfinder, which might put some people off. However, in my experience, kids (and, indeed, most people) gravitate towards shooting off the LCD screen. We're all so used to smartphones and tablets that it's just second nature, especially for young 'uns. 

More of an issue is that the smooth finish to the body might make it look rather stylish, but it doesn't make the firmest handgrip for kids. Still, the responsive touchscreen is terrific, the dual control dials provide a very pleasing user experience, and the 24-72mm has one of the widest aperture settings around, courtesy of its f/1.4 to f/2.8 aperture range.

Overall, this neat little snapper has a near-perfect balance of features, performance, and pricing. It's small enough to put it in a pocket, and easy for children to use.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix LX10 review / Panasonic Lumix LX15 review

Best action camera for kids

(Image credit: Jamie Carter/Digital Camera World)
It might not be the latest model but it's affordable, great for family holidays and has stabilization

Specifications

Type: Action camera
Sensor: 1/2.3in
Megapixels: 20MP
Lens: Fixed
LCD: 2in touchscreen at rear, plus 1.4in screen at front
Max video resolution: 5K at 30fps, 4k at 60fps
Color options: Black
User level: From kids to adults

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Waterproof and tough

Reasons to avoid

-
No zoom lens

A GoPro camera is a terrific thing to bring along on a family holiday, able to capture all your adventures in crisp detail as well as stand up to the rough and tumble adventure that is life with kids. And I've certainly noticed that kids are very eager to play with it – and can get some great results, much like those of us of a certain age used to love playing with Super8 cameras or VHS camcorders! 

The 2020-vintage GoPro Hero9 Black is a perfect choice, more affordable than the more recent models in the Hero range (such as the new flagship Hero12 Black), but still with more than enough functionality to capture fantastic images and videos. While this older model lacks the sophisticated features of its more expensive contemporaries, there's plenty of great stuff here; 30fps burst shooting is nothing to sneeze at, and you get 4K video at 60fps. 

The whole family can have huge amounts of fun with a GoPro, and this affordable version is the ideal choice. A GoPro isn't a camera for kids specifically, but its ruggedness and ease of use make it ideal for older children tackling new adventures and outdoor pursuits.

Read our full GoPro Hero 9 Black review

Best DIY camera for kids

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker/Digital Camera World)
This build-your own camera is a great activity for craft-loving children

Specifications

Type: 35mm SLR
Lens: 50mm f/10
Viewfinder: Twin-lens reflex viewfinder
Focus modes: Zone focusing
Flash: Optional (sold separately)
Self timer: No
Color options: Black
User level: Teenagers and up

Reasons to buy

+
Fun DIY project
+
No batteries needed

Reasons to avoid

-
Viewfinder awkwardly placed
-
Could be challenging to build

For those who are looking for a little more of a project, it’s worth looking at the Lomography Konstruktor F – a fun, build-it-yourself kit that gives you all the parts you need to assemble a fully functional 35mm SLR film camera in a matter of hours. 

There’s no need for glue or anything else – like an Ikea table, everything’s in the box, and there are a few extra screws for the inevitable moment that one disappears through a gap in the floorboards. Be aware, though – this is not a simple Lego set. It’s pretty complicated and will take a long time, and I wouldn’t recommend it as a project for kids younger than mid-teens (though it should be said, I've seen a 46-year-old photographer get flummoxed by the assembly, while his 14-year-old figured it out no problem!). 

The Konstruktor F also comes with stickers, enabling it to be customized as the user pleases, and once it’s ready it functions by and large pretty well – though the controls are a little fiddly and the top-placed viewfinder might give you a crick in the neck. The finished SLR is plasticky, crude, and basic by any standards – but it's an excellent grounding in how film cameras actually work, and a fun addition to the camera shelf!

Read our full Lomography Konstruktor F review

Best camera for teenagers

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
Great introduction to proper photography for bigger kids

Specifications

Type: DSLR
Sensor: APS-C
Lens mount: Canon EF-S
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Max burst speed: 5fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 25p
Colors available: Black
User level: Teenager to adult

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use with a polished interface
+
Great Live View AF performance

Reasons to avoid

-
9-point AF system is slightly basic

You may not initially think of a DSLR when considering a camera for the kids, but this option from Canon ticks three key boxes in being small, light, and easy to use for secondary school-age children (I recommend looking at our dedicated guide on the best student cameras aimed at those studying in high school or college).

A great all-round choice is the EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D, which boasts great autofocus and 4K video. It also features some grown-up specs, namely a 24.2MP sensor and a 3-inch vari-angle touch screen. Canon sees this as a way to tempt smartphone photographers to step up to their first proper camera. 

Its proportions make it perfect for teen hands, while the menus are nice and clear. The picture quality is very good, too, with accurate white balance and well-saturated colors. I've taken some wonderful images on this camera, which you wouldn't know weren't taken on a top-end model. It's not the cheapest DSLR but it's a great combination of size, features, and long-term usefulness – and the best camera for kids starting in college.

Read o Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D review

How we test kids cameras

Traditionally, we run of gamut of tests on camera resolution, dynamic range, and noise under scientifically controlled conditions using two key testing tools: Imatest Master and DxO Analyzer. We then use these real-world testing and lab results to inform our comments in buying guides.

However, the best cameras for kids aren't really about these kinds of capabilities. So we do the only testing that really matters when it comes to cameras targeted at kids: we put them in little hands! A number of us on the DCW team are parents or have young nieces, nephews and siblings, so it's easy (and enjoyable) for us to get them playing with these cameras and seeing what they think. Do they find them easy and fun to use? Are they durable enough to withstand being bashed around? Are the images of acceptable quality? Are they good enough to tempt them away from daddy's camera phone?

Our little helpers make sure that we're recommending the best cameras for kids.

Child holding a DSLR

(Image credit: Getty Images)

FAQs

How to choose a camera for kids?

It depends on the kids, honestly. VTech makes cameras that are the right blend of appealing design, robust build and easy-to-engage usability for very little ones, but anyone older will outgrow its features. 

A Tough camera is indestructible enough to survive whatever your children do to it, but its advanced features make it an expensive purchase. And an instant camera enables your kids to produce physical photographs, but there is a cost whenever the shutter is pressed.

Do you want a glorified toy, to distract your kids for a while, or a device that's designed to enthuse and educate them into an interest in photography? Work out what you want – and what is right for your little ones! 

Should I buy a kid a camera?

Cameras can be an absolutely wonderful way to cultivate creativity in children – just like a set of crayons or paints. A camera can not only encourage their development of visual language and expression, it can also give them a unique and valuable way to engage with the world around them.

Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 


His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.


He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.

With contributions from