Best cameras for kids 2022: the best cameras for children and teens

Best cameras for kids
(Image credit: Future)
Editor's note

If your kids are a little bit older, you might be tempted towards our best cheap cameras, rather than those that have been specifically targeted at younger audiences. 

You might also want to consider the best cheap smartphones as a good option. It’s what kids are perhaps more used to using, and you get the versatility of being able to use it as a phone too. 

We’ve also included the iPhone SE 2022 here as an option for children, which offers a lot in a small, compact, and affordable package.

If you're looking for the best cameras for kids, then you have come to the right place. We’ve tested a massive range of cameras in order to bring you the best advice for junior photographers. In this guide, there is something for everyone from simple instant print cameras that kids can have a lot of fun with to rugged action snappers that should withstand those with clumsy fingers. That means there's something for every age in this guide, whether it’s a toddler or a teenager you’re shopping for. 

As you might expect, there isn’t really one perfect camera for children. What suits one child might not really work for another, and a lot of it comes down to age. 

Parents with children on the younger side of the scale will probably be looking for something which is rather straightforward and easy to handle, as well as robust enough to withstand numerous drops and other accidents, which are bound to occur.  However, if your child is a little bit older, they might be starting to experiment more seriously with photography and therefore be on the lookout for something which offers an array of modes and controls to help them develop into a young photographer.

We've looked at a number of factors when picking a camera for kids. There’s how it operates, how tough it is (and therefore suitable for the accident prone), how expensive it is, and the type of pictures it’s capable of taking.

Some of the best cameras for kids have been specifically designed with your youngster's users in mind. That means they often feature bright, tactile physical features which allow kids to get hands-on. Models such as the myFirst Camera 3 are ideal for users like this. On the other hand, cameras such as the Olympus TG-6 are both waterproof and tough, making them well-suited for youngsters who want to take a camera with them on all their adventures, and live to tell the tale!

All the cameras that have made it into our list of best cameras for kids have been included because they offer a great experience for younger users. We’ve got a diverse list of options here, including a DIY camera that kids can build themselves to more advanced options for aspiring vloggers and travel photographers. We’ve generally kept away from ‘toy’ cameras which tend to be more of a gimmick than anything else. 

Our current pick for the best children’s camera is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. This is a film camera that produces real-world instant prints, something that kids tend to love and can stick to their walls. You’ll have to factor in the cost of replacement film packs, but the value is pretty good. 

But don't be afraid to take a good look through the rest of this guide, as we've already said, each child is different, and each recommendation is made with that in mind. There’s something here for every interest, age, and ability so you’ll be able to find something perfect for your little ones.

The best cameras for kids 2022:

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The best place for kids to start with instant film photography

Specifications

Recommended ages: 5-18**
Camera type: Instant film
Paper size: Fujfilm Instax Mini (86x54mm with a 62x46mm picture size)
Lens: 60mm f/12.7 (34mm equivalent)
Viewfinder: Optical, fixed

Reasons to buy

+
Auto exposure means fewer wasted snaps
+
Adjustable lens for easy macro shots
+
Well-priced film packs

Reasons to avoid

-
Exposures a little too bright in the sun
-
Slippery body
-
Film costs can adds up

There's still nothing quite like instant film for sharing moments and cherishing them for years to come. Seeing the photo appear on paper, keeping it, or giving it away – aah, that’s the stuff. If you’re looking for a starting point, there’s no better camera than the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11. 

Replacing the three-year-old Mini 9, the Mini 11 was launched in 2020. Design improvements include auto exposure with a variable shutter speed, plus a built-in adjustable lens with a close-up setting, which is ideal for selfie shots. In short, there'll be far fewer wasted prints, which is good news considering those costs can add up. 

The curvy design of the camera will no doubt appeal to younger photographers. It’s available in five colors and comes with color-matching accessories – a wrist strap and removable shutter buttons. 'Instax Mini’ paper used by the Mini 11 is legendary and available with numerous different border styles. 

The paper is readily available and well priced – and if you buy in bulk, it's even cheaper. That’s good news if your little one gets carried away taking multiple similar shots of their Lego creations. Most importantly, the look and color you get from Fujifilm’s ‘Instax Mini’ paper is simply divine and could inspire a lifetime hobby. 

Read our in-depth Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 review

(Image credit: Future)
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Strengthened snapper for the rough and tumble of active family life

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

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is relatively easy to use and intuitive to operate, while image quality is fair without being outstanding, and build quality is reassuringly substantial. The Olympus Tough TG-6 boasts an attractive mix of sporty and industrial design courtesy of visible faceplate screws, which also means it is able to take a beating when your little one has hand enough or the image isn't what they wanted. 

It feels solid in the palm, while conveniently fitting in a pocket, and at no point does its internally stacked 25-100mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens protrude from the body and possibly into harm’s way. Our test unit came in red livery, while it's also available in all black if you want something that looks more understated than sporty.

The top-plate operational buttons are on the large side which is perfect for those just starting out in photography, they’re not especially outsized, so you won’t feel out of place operating this camera on dry land as well as in the wet. 

The backplate controls are pretty much identical to what you’d find on a non-ruggedized camera: small lozenge-shaped buttons, a shooting mode wheel, and a four-way navigational control pad with the familiar ‘OK’ activation button at its center, all requiring fingertip or thumbnail operation. This Tough TG-6 is essentially designed to be used on automatic, as manual options are rather limited, but if your little ones are a bit more adventurous they can drill down into the menu to access them if needed.

Read our in-depth Olympus TG-6 review (opens in new tab)


3. Lomography Konstruktor F

Charming build-your-own modular camera kit

Specifications

Recommended ages: 9-18**
Camera type: Film, build-your-own
Film size: 35mm
Lens: 50mm f/10
Viewfinder: Twin-lens reflex
Screen: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Building process is a good challenge
+
Customizable
+
Well priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Plasticky
-
Slightly fiddly construction

Lomography is the ruler of 'alternative cameras' and one of its best models is a charming build-your-own camera kit called the Konstruktor F. 

Included in the kit is everything you need to build the 35mm SLR film camera, complete with customization sticker sets. This updated ‘F’ version is compatible with flash, although this is one of many optional ‘Konstruktor’ series accessories for this reasonably priced kit. Other accessories include a close-up twin lens kit and film pack bundle.

Our nimble seven-year-old assistant was at his limit with this complex kit, which takes in the region of 1-2 hours to make – it's possibly more suited to teenagers, depending on your kids' skills and patience. 

As you build, you truly get to see the internal mechanics of an SLR camera. We think the Konstucktor F is a fantastic option for those that love to build, see how things work, and enjoy the fruit of their labor with a charming finished product. Alternatives from Lomography include the LomoMod No.1 kit, which is also well worth a look. 

iPhone SE review

(Image credit: TechRadar)
The cheapest new iPhone has a decent camera

Specifications

Recommended ages: 3-18**
Camera type: Smartphone
Resolution: 12MP rear, 7MP front
Lens: f/1.8 (rear) f/2 (front)
Screen: 4.7-inch touchscreen, Retina HD
Video: 4K 60fps

Reasons to buy

+
Smaller size for smaller hands
+
Impressive camera
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

-
Single camera
-
Small and dated screen

Yes, this is a smartphone rather than a dedicated camera, but the reality today is that the first camera a child uses (or at least the one they'll end up using the most) is likely to be on a phone. The tech in smartphone cameras is developing at a rate of knots and you can find great cameras in mid-range smartphones, with the new Apple iPhone SE (2022) being a great example. 

The latest budget iPhone model keeps a lot from its predecessor, the iPhone SE (2020). So that means the cameras - a 12MP rear and 7MP front - are the same. 

However, what’s changed is the introduction of a new A15 Bionic chip, the same as found in Apple’s powerful iPhone 13 line. What that means is you get a fast and smooth experience, that should keep even the most tech-savvy kids satisfied.

Photos are not quite to the standard of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but for kids, they're not far off and we found them to be impressive for the significantly lower price. The biggest difference to Pro models is the limitations of the single lens, namely a less effective portrait mode. 

But as a first camera for kids, this smartphone opens up a whole world to explore, with its 4.7in screen and abundance of photo editing iOS apps.

Read our in-depth Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

5. myFirst Camera Insta 2

An alternative and versatile take on instant film for youngsters

Specifications

Recommended ages: 3-8**
Camera type: Digital ‘instant film'
Sensor size: 1/2.3in
Resolution: 12MP
Video: Full HD 30fps
Screen: 2.4-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Customizable cute design
+
Fun to use
+
Lots of paper included

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic picture and print quality
-
Could break easily

Here we have an alternative and versatile spin on instant film in the cute shape of the myFirst Camera Insta 2. Available in blue or pink, this is actually a 12MP digital camera that prints onto thermal paper, meaning no need for inks.

Being a digital camera, pictures using the rear and selfie cameras are composed on the rear screen. Like other myFirst Cameras, there are plenty of templates to apply to those photos. 

After a photo is taken and print selected, the printed image comes out immediately on the installed roll of thermal paper. Generously, two rolls of paper (plus one roll of ‘sticker’ paper) are included in the box and can each print up to 60 sheets. 

Compared to the myFirst Camera 3 (see below), the Insta 2 is a little more engaging for little ones who can enjoy the printed pictures straight away or make their own photo stickers. There’s definitely a lot of fun to be had.

6. myFirst Camera 3

The ideal camera for kids under the age of five

Specifications

Recommended ages: 2-5**
Camera type: Digital point-and-shoot
Sensor size: 1/2.3in
Resolution: 16MP
Viewfinder: N/A
Screen: 2-inch
Video: 1080p

Reasons to buy

+
Cute design
+
Good size for little hands

Reasons to avoid

-
Controls might be confusing at first
-
Limited features
-
Not as durable as it appears

If you're thinking about getting a first camera for a little kid, then there are a few ‘toy’ options with built-in games from V-Tech. But for a dedicated camera minus the games, myFirst has some cute options too, including the myFirst Camera 3.

Our seven-year-old tester declared this tiny point-and-shoot camera as "good for three-year-olds" at first sight. Certainly, its tiny form factor (available in blue or pink) and rubberized body encased in a ’shockproof pouch' will bring a smile. However, ideally, you’ll avoid this plastic camera being thrown around too much.

In use, you have a simple fixed lens 16MP rear camera that features a macro mode, though you’ll need to show a young one how it’s done. There’s also a front-facing camera above the 2 in-screen for selfies. Hold down the shutter button and you get 1080p videos.

There’s a host of digital templates that can be added to photos that provides much entertainment, though hopefully, your child won’t tire of scrolling through all of those options. This camera is best suited for kids under the age of five.

Silky smooth handheld 4K video from a pocket camera

Specifications

Recommended ages: 9-18**
Camera type: Digital, action, v-logging
Sensor size: 1/2.3in
Resolution: 12MP
Video: 4K 60fps at 100Mbps
Screen: 1-inch touchscreen

Reasons to buy

+
Stunningly smooth videos
+
Solid 4K video features
+
Great for motion timelapses

Reasons to avoid

-
Not particularly durable
-
Accessories are costly extras
-
Microphone could be better

Shaky videos are no more with this pocketable handheld 4K video camera. The DJI Osmo Pocket is a tiny wand-shaped device, featuring a camera with gimbal that stabilizes video and the results are stunning.

It's since been succeeded by the DJI Pocket 2, which brings a larger sensor, but we reckon the original Pocket is more than enough for most kids to get started with their vlogging careers (particularly as its price tag is now more appealing).

For walk-around or even handheld sports action, you can expect very watchable 4K videos up to 60fps – that’s some crisp slow motion action. Truly, it’s a take-it-everywhere camera and a great, kid-friendly option for vlogging. Expect next-level videos from your family holidays and travels, especially in the hands of a teenager.

In use, a built-in port offers a physical connection to a smartphone, through which you’ll be able to view the scene on the larger screen and control the camera via DJI's app. Video transfers are quick and reliable, too.

The built-in microphone is okay, but we’d recommend attaching an (optional) external mic via a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor for best quality audio. Yes, there are additional accessories that open up new functions for the camera, including selfie stick and a Control Wheel for a pan and tilt motion (great for dynamic time-lapses). 

It’s a sophisticated and truly portable bit of kit that will open up some great video techniques for older kids look to get started in filmmaking.

Read our in-depth DJI Osmo Pocket review

8. Fujifilm XP140

For the young, rough-and-tumble adventurer

Specifications

Recommended ages: 5-18
Camera type: Digital, tough
Sensor size: 1/2.3in
Resolution: 16.4MP
Video: 1080p 60FPS, 4K 15FPS
Lens: 28-140mm f/3.9-4.9
Viewfinder: N/A
Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 920K dots

Reasons to buy

+
Handles whatever's thrown at it
+
Generous 5x optical zoom
+
Good features for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
4K video is a let down
-
Screen could be brighter

The Fujifilm XP140 is a well-priced tough camera that's designed to be taken on any family adventure. As it’s fully waterproof down to 25m, shockproof to 1.8m, freezeproof to -10°C, and dustproof, you can leave this practically indestructible camera with a young one and not worry about what condition it will come back in.

It’s equipped with a stabilized lens that has a generous 5x optical zoom (28-140mm) and produces photos with a 16.4MP resolution. That sensor is back-illuminated, so shoots clear pictures even underwater.

Subject recognition includes Eye detection AF and a self-timer mode for improved portrait pictures. The camera is billed as having 4K video but the reality is more limited – this is a much more capable Full HD 1080p shooter, including a 4x slow motion mode and time-lapse recording. 

All pictures can be tagged with the GPS location and shared wirelessly to your smart device via Fujfilm’s app or even to a Fujifilm Instax Share printer (if you have one) for printing on the go. That same app also provides remote control of the camera. All in all, this is a perfect budget option for the outdoorsy kid.

If the purse strings can stretch a little further, the more expensive Olympus Tough TG-6 is a little more capable though.

Polaroid Go

(Image credit: Future)
Pint-sized instant print fun for junior photographers

Specifications

Recommended ages: 5+
Camera type: Instant film
Paper size: Polaroid i-Type Go (66.6x53.9mm with a 47x46mm picture size)
Lens: 35 equivalent
Viewfinder: Optical, fixed

Reasons to buy

+
Point-and-shoot simplicity 
+
Properly dinky dimensions

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed focus can be tricky
-
No close-up mode

Instant photography is ideal for little learners and no camera epitomizes point-and-shoot simplicity better than the Polaroid Go. Pretty much the dinkiest instant print camera you can buy, its cute, compact form is perfect for small hands to get to grips with. 

Controls are simple, too, with just a smattering of buttons on the retro-inspired shell, plus a neat digital shot counter for keeping track of snaps. Fixed focus and lack of a macro mode do place some limits on creativity, but also make shooting with the Go a straightforward and accessible experience for kids of all ages. 

As they get more adventurous with their photography, youngsters can override the Go’s automatic flash and experiment with double exposures. Credit card-sized prints aren’t the biggest, but they do deliver those dreamy pastel tones and dark contrasting shadows so evocative of instant photography. 

Film refill packs do cost more than the average pocket-money budget,  but the Polaroid Go is still an entertaining, easy-to-use, and portable way for children to get in on the photographic fun.

Read our in-depth Polaroid Go review

Insta360 Go 2

(Image credit: Future)
A fine, hands-free option for budding vloggers

Specifications

Type: Action
Sensor size: 1/2.3-inch
Resolution: 9.2MP
Effective focal length: 11.24mm
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Max movie resolution: 1440p
Size, weight: 52.9 x 23.6 x 20.7mm, 26.5g

Reasons to buy

+
Options for hands-free shooting
+
Charging case has built-in tripod
+
Impressive image quality for its size

Reasons to avoid

-
Potentially easy to use
-
Not too many audio options
-
No 4K video support

It's not the best choice for small kids (partly because it's so easy to lose), but for young teens who are looking to learn the art of vlogging or creating YouTube videos, the Insta360 Go 2 is a fine new option.

Versatility is this tiny action camera's unique sell, with its range of bundled accessories making it even more adaptable out of the box than a GoPro. You get a magnetic pendant, which means its owner can effectively 'wear' the camera on their clothing, plus a very useful charging case that acts as a tripod. Plonk it down anywhere for shooting quick impromptu pieces to the camera. 

Despite the lack of 4K video, the Go 2's 1440p footage is very impressive and easily good enough for a fledgling YouTube channel. That case means it's also one of the easiest action cameras to keep in good nick, and it's also water-resistant (if not quite able to handle swimming).

If your child is a fan of Despicable Me and those cheeky Minions, it may also be worth paying a slight premium for the excellent special edition that Insta360 has made with the Illumination studio. It’s exactly the same camera with the same specs, just with a charming Minion-themed coat of paint.

Read our in-depth Insta360 Go 2 review

Panasonic TZ90

(Image credit: Future)
Point-and-shoot travel camera with a 30x zoom

Specifications

Recommended ages: 7-18
Camera type: Digital point-and-shoot
Sensor size: 1/2.3in
Resolution: 20.3MP
Viewfinder: 1,166K dots
Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040K dots
Autofocus: 49-area AF

Reasons to buy

+
Huge zoom range
+
Excellent image stabilization
+
Wide range of features in small body

Reasons to avoid

-
Small viewfinder
-
Image quality at the wide angle
-
More fragile than rugged cams

When smartphones shot to prominence for their image quality, the point-and-shoot camera market was severely hit. As such, class-leading cameras like the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 have had to up their game. 

A point-and-shoot travel zoom is ideal for those after a small, do-it-all camera. A dedicated camera like the ZS70 / TZ90 could be a better and more versatile option for your child than a smartphone with all its distractions.

What you get here is a tiny camera crammed with great features. Its major selling point is the fully stabilized 30x optical zoom (24-720mm). Pictures may be a little soft at the edges when shooting wide, but it’s still a level up from the zoom lenses found on today's best smartphones.

Other features include a 180-degree tilt ‘selfie' touchscreen and 4K video. Images can also be composed via the small electronic viewfinder (EVF), This is a rarity on such a small camera and could further kindle an interest down the line in more serious cameras.

Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 review