/>
X

Back to School 2011: Top digital cameras for kids under $110

janice-chen.jpg
By Janice Chen, Inactive on
6280083.jpg
1 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

While you're out shopping for school supplies this year, you may want to think about outfitting the backpack with a kid-friendly digital camera. Whether your child is bound for preschool or for college, you can find an age- and budget-appropriate option on the market today. Here is a shortlist to help you get started, arranged by grade, all selling for under $110:

For more details, see the accompanying story: Back to School 2011: Top digital cameras for kids under $110.


Preschool: Gummy Bears Digital Camera
The Gummy Bears Digital Camera, isn't exactly high-end in build quality, but the rubbery gummy bear-ish material that encases the camera seems like it can take more of a licking (no pun intended) than the typical cheapy cameras. It sells at Kmart for just $25, so you shouldn't expect much more than a bare-bones camera, but given its low cost, I was happy to see both an optical viewfinder and a color LCD (albeit a tiny 1.1-inch one) as well as video-recording capabilities.

If you have a slightly bigger budget, my favorite preschooler's camera is still the Vtech Kidizoom Plus, which costs just over twice what the Gummy Bears camera does. But if you're looking for a lower-cost option, the Gummy Bears camera is a basic but solid choice.

6280084.jpg
2 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

Though it costs a bit more than your average kids camera, my favorite option for grade schoolers is actually the LeapPad Explorer, a new kids tablet device from LeapFrog. Of course, the LeapPad Explorer is so much more -- it's a gaming device, e-book reader, and educational tool too -- but for a list price of $99, it's also the best kids (ages 4 to 9) camera and camcorder for the money.

6280085.jpg
3 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

The LeapPad includes a built-in, rear-facing camera that lets you snap both stills and videos and takes advantage of the tablet's 5-inch touchscreen to frame and view photos. Though the actual camera viewing area is closer to 3.5-inches (after you take into account the onscreen shutter, self-timer, and back buttons, and memory usage gauge), that still blows away viewfinders on any other kids camera selling for under $100.

6280088.jpg
4 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

Middle schoolers will like the gee-whiz factor of this little gizmo. Taking a page from the Flip camcorder school of minimalism, the  Superheadz Clap is simplicity itself: a super tiny camera that's not much bigger than a USB thumb drive (1.4× 2.75×0.6 inches) and less than an ounce in weight.

6280086.jpg
5 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet
6280087.jpg
6 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet
6280082.jpg
7 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

My pick for high-school kids is another inexpensive but fun camera, the DXG-018 3D Camera. Unlike most cameras offering 3D shooting these days (which take two shots in burst mode and the use in-camera image processing to create a 3D image),the DXG 3D camera actually includes two lenses and two sensors. Of course for $70, don't expect something on the level of the Fujifilm FinePix Real 3D W3.

6280081.jpg
8 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

The DXG-018 3D camera comes bundled with three cardboard 3D viewers, and you can print images out on standard 4x6 photo paper and they'll be properly formatted for viewing, with dotted lines for you to cut along to trim the photo to fit the viewer.

6280080.jpg
9 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

Unless your student is studying photography and needs a digital SLR, a compact point-and-shoot is a great option for the social beings that incoming freshmen inevitably become. The Canon PowerShot A1200 is a solid budget offering that will only set you back $109, but delivers surprisingly good image quality and as well as an impressive range of features for such a low price.

6280079.jpg
10 of 10 Janice Chen/ZDNet

Related Galleries

Chargeasap Flash Pro Plus
Chargeasap Flash Pro Plus in action

Related Galleries

Chargeasap Flash Pro Plus

10 Photos
Galaxy S21 FE 5G, Huawei P50 Pro, Sony Xperia Pro-I, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup
poco-m4-pro-5g-in-hand.jpg

Related Galleries

Galaxy S21 FE 5G, Huawei P50 Pro, Sony Xperia Pro-I, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup

11 Photos
LinkOn 130W USB-C car charger
LinkOn 130W

Related Galleries

LinkOn 130W USB-C car charger

4 Photos
Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Go 3, Huawei MateBook 14s, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup
linksys-velop-wifi-6-ax4200-card.jpg

Related Galleries

Apple 16-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Go 3, Huawei MateBook 14s, and more: ZDNet's reviews roundup

16 Photos
DJI Mavic 3 in flight
Superb aerial camera platform

Related Galleries

DJI Mavic 3 in flight

10 Photos
Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station
Satechi Dock5

Related Galleries

Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station

6 Photos
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

Related Galleries

Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adaptor

10 Photos