Saturday, April 11, 2009

Digital Camera for a 6 year old

OK so my sister asks what to get my son for his 6th birthday and i redirect her to a amazon wishlist to get some ideas about what she would like to give and she says a camera for about £45... I'm a digital visual artist in the film industry so we all liked this idea as it was following daddies work, and mum is also a bit of a shutter bug..

The criteria:
-Tough(could be dropped from 4ft onto concrete)
-Simple to take and review pictures straight out of the box
-Cost effective
-Quick start up and no noticeable shutter lag when taking a photo
-Good exposure (so indoor pictures could be taken and not be blurred due to slow shutter)
-Ok quality (i.e. same as a mobile phone - images are good enough to keep for sentimental reasons)
-To educate about composition and lighting

VTech Kidizoom £42 in p&p amazon

I read some reviews on the fisher price camera and Vtech and decided to to have a look at the vtech, went to hamleys to have a go with it in the shop. I didn't have an issue with the 0.3Mpixel quality, but the exposure response(making the flash unusable) and bleeding of the colours made this very much a toy. (the first firmware version of this camera is even worse) Its got games, inbuilt effects and very easy to use. But I wanted something that he would still want to use in a few years and not have to be upgraded. If he was three years old it might of been an ok investment, but the image quality and 'baby' looks would not last a 6 year old long. Even if he was 3, the shutter delay and over complication of lots of buttons(for all the extra game features might put me off).

Vivitar 5188 5.0MP Underwater Camera - £45 inc p&p on amazon

Arrived from amazon put a pair of AAA duracell batteries in it and gave gave it to my son. He found it easy to use and he was taking pictures and reviewing them within a couple of minutes. Good big LCD screen, chunky buttons. Quick response. All the pictures taken inside were really blurred/streaky, the ones outside in direct sunlight were good and far better than any mobile phone and impressed me for the price. The lens didn't look like a cheap plastic one with acceptable chromatic aberration even through the case. The plastic was thick and looked robust(i didn't drop it though). I had a go myself to see if a steadier hand would get better results. On a dull overcast day the images were still blurred if taken hand-held (the camera being fixed focus didnt help and even with what looked like anti-shake was switched on it sucked). You could argue that he was very happy with the camera and it took great pictures outside. It worked ok wih OSX. I could live with the exposure response, it could even be used to educated about adequate lighting but..... After two dozen pictures(x3 taken with the flash that takes over 30sec to charge up) the batteries died!! The battery life meant that either we used lithium batteries that would cost more than the camera itself in a few months or used rechargeable ones that would mean changing them several times a day by a adult. No one yet sells rechargeable AAA Li-lon bateries. Vivitar do recommend slow discharge NiMH batteries that they also sell and possibly these would of been better, who knows. bahh. I returned the camera.

Canon WP-DC300 Waterproof Case for S30
£45 inc p&p ebay(2nd hand)

The first thing with this was that the buttons was to difficult for him to press as he wasnt strong enough. I had to make a slight readjustment to the camera with a folded piece of tape and then it was ok. Also it was really big and did not sit that well in my sons hands. I wasnt sure at first but after a few hours he was ok with it. Also the size of it makes it a bit of an eyesore, but thats possibly a detergent for thieves, and a few stickers latter it started to look like a kids toy.

The 2nd hand non-brand rechargeable batteries that came with it lasted only half a day. Luckly i had the same canon battery from my slr camera and tried that out and that gave over a days charge. The quality of the images in terms of detail wasn't as good as the Vivitar when in bright sunlight, but in overcast, indoor & flash images the difference in quality due to a faster shutter was vastly improved (i.e. the camera had a greater response to low light and a wider contrast range). The zoom lens & macro was used extensively by him and the un-fixed auto focus helped him to get better shots. He had no problem navigating the buttons. The lcd screen was a little small and dim in direct outdoor light, but he found using the viewfinder instead ok.

I was surprised at how good the camera was (especially as it goes for £15-25 on ebay) and my son took more pictures with it that were not blurred than the Vivitar 5188.

Vivitar 6200w Waterproof Digital Camera £40 in p&p on ebay (£99 new)

Off put by the 'kids' cameras i discovered this, and its what first made me consider using a underwater camera for kids. As far as i can tell its not available new any more and would have to be bought 2nd hand. Aldi did sell it for a week, for only £30 and these black versions sell for even less on ebay. In a waterproof rubber case it is probably the toughest camera here. I wasn't able to get my hands on one, but reports on the web complain of poor in low light and eating AA batteries really quickly, although looking a some of the pictures on the web, it faired rather well underwater and that would be a low light environment.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?