Is your kid a budding photographer? Do they always take your phone so they can create memories? Or are they always borrowing your mirrorless camera? If you check all the boxes, it’s time to get the best digital camera for tweens.
Cameras have become exponentially better while also becoming quite affordable. And if you have ever wondered how your tween sees the world, then a camera designed for that age will help you get a glimpse of their perspective.
Your tween will love to take their photos and videos with an action-quality camera compared to a regular smartphone. Why not allow them to snap away as they develop their creativity and photography skills?
Difference Between Action Cameras, Compact Point and Shoot, Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras
Confusing, right? Allow us to break it down and narrow your search for the best camera for tweens.
An action camera is a much more compact, rugged, and waterproof digital camera capable of recording 4K videos in top-notch quality without any hassle. It is an easy-to-mount camera that takes high-quality videos and photos from your dashboard to underwater. It is designed for recording actions while being immersed in it.
A compact point-and-shoot camera is a pocket-sized autofocus camera designed for simplicity. It has a focus and exposure that is entirely automatic. You need to aim the camera and press the button; it will do the rest.
Mirrorless cameras work without a reflex mirror. This digital camera allows you to adjust settings and shoot manually. It is a relatively lightweight camera 9compared to a full DSLR) that has a fast shutter speed and a packed full of functionality.
What is the full meaning of a DSLR camera? A DSLR camera is short for a digital single-lens digital camera. This camera uses a mirror placed behind the lens to show you the true image you will see in the photo. What you see is what you get. It allows interchangeable lenses and is typically larger and more robust than other camera types.
Gifting your tween the perfect digital camera will not only allow them to learn how to take a good photograph. It will also help them exercise their creative muscle and encourage exploration, thus building visual and critical thinking skills later in life.
What to Look for When Choosing a Great Digital Camera for Your Tween
Before you start off your tween on their creative journey, there are some things that you should consider.
Note that your tween will prefer different gadgets at different ages, and some may be more into shooting video and action than stunning landscapes and portrait photography. When doing your research, keep your tween’s shooting needs in mind to ensure you get them the best tween camera that they will actually use.
Size and Memory
Can your tween independently carry their cam during all their adventures and not find it a piece of baggage? How many photos can it take? Does it come with any built-in memory or will you forever be purchasing more memory cards?
Can the camera share pics through email or social media? The trend is for your tween to show off all his/her fun moments with their friends as instantly as it happens. Getting a wireless camera will ease the transition between devices.
Age-appropriate/ Ease of use
Is the camera age-appropriate and user-friendly? Is your tween patient enough to learn the functions of the camera and shoot manually, or should you get a simple one that allows them to always shoot in auto?
You wouldn’t want your tween to miss out on snapping away all the memories of their adventure because their camera is out of power. So are the batteries of the camera rechargeable, or does your tween need to carry spares?
You will agree that tweens are still a bit clumsy. Then again, accidents do happen. Ensure the camera gift you are getting your tween has a protective case for transporting. Carry straps are also handy.
If you want your tween to be able to use their digital camera for all occasions, it really helps to find something that is waterproof – or at the very least, water resistant. It can also feature a wrist strap or a floatation device if they’ll be taking it into the sea or a lake this will come in super handy.
Do you want your tween’s camera just for still images or is video capability a key criteria? If they are filming, you want to look for the 4K feature for the best resolution, but be mindful that they will then need a camera with a lot of memory and image stabilization to make great videos.
What is your budget, and how much are you willing to spend? Is your tween truly invested in photography? Is it just a fun way to make memories with their friends?
We would suggest unless they have had a lot of experience already using an adults camera, you stick with a relatively inexpensive model until they’re ready to up their skill levels to something like a DSLR and are prepared to take the time to learn the tools and perhaps take a photography course.
8 Best Digital Cameras for Tweens Compared
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Best Compact Digital Camera for Tweens: Nikon Coolpix W150
The Nikon Coolpix W150 is a cool, updated edition of the Coolpix W100. It is a waterproof camera that is easy to use, thanks to its large chunky buttons.
It is shockproof due to its tough design and thus can survive falls from 5.9 feet and go as deep as 33 feet underwater. It also uses icons rather than words, making it a great little starter to pique your tween’s interest.
It includes a memory card wallet, 32GB ultra memory card, a flexible tripod, and more within your start-up set, so no extra purchases are necessary.
We love it because:
- It is water, shock, freeze, and dustproof – idea for the way your tween will likely treat it
- It is simple to operate
- It has an appealing camera body
- It has Bluetooth capabilities, i.e., it allows your tween to transfer images easily to other devices
- It lacks optical stabilization, therefore expect lower image quality than more advanced cameras
- It has a low-quality screen
Best Action Camera for Tweens: GoPro Hero 7 Silver
Are you looking for an inexpensive but highly capable digital camera for kids? Look no further; the Go Pro Hero 7 Silver is a perfect rugged and waterproof action camera. Your tween will love it as it will capture quick videos and photos in crisp details without much effort.
It is an ideal camera for older kids tackling new adventures and outdoor pursuits, as it shoots full HD. There is more to love about it, as your tween can control it by voice when they are out and about. It also allows shooting time-lapse videos that turn longer events into short, sharable moments.
We love it because:
- It is compact enough to fit into your tweens pocket
- Perfect for smooth 4K videos, burst image and self-timer – ideal for filming their moves
- It is inexpensive (compared to the leading GoPro and action cameras – the functionality will more than suffice for your tweens)
- It has tough credentials as it can stand out to the rough and tumble adventure life with kids
- It has no zoom lens
- It has poor battery life, you will most definitely need to buy spares
- Mountings and accessories cost extra, for full benefit you will want to include these items too when gifting to a tween to use as a true action camera
Best Durable Camera for Tweens: Fujifilm FinePix XP140
The Fujifilm Finepix XP140 is the latest model in the XP series of Fuji rugged cameras. It is fully waterproof down to 25 meters, shockproof to 1.8 meters, freezeproof to -10 degrees C and dustproof; this will follow your kids everywhere!
It covers a greater length of focal length with a 16.4-megapixel back-illuminated sensor and features optical stabilization (with great 5X optical zoom) even underwater.
Your outdoorsy tween will love it as it has eye detection AF and a self-timer mode for improved portrait pics. It includes Bluetooth capabilities, and your tween can also remotely control the camera with the Fujifilm camera remote app.
We love it because:
- It has a great 5X optical zoom
- It is well-priced for the number of features packed into a very small camera
- It is a tough camera that can handle whatever is thrown at it
- Although it features 4K at 15fps, many buyers have noted this feature is a bit of a letdown
- Some buyers have also reported it has a dull screen
Best Waterproof Camera for tweens: Olympus Tough TG-6
This ultracompact is perfect for older kids who love travel and landscape photography. It has an eye-catching red finish making it stand out. It can go down a pool of water to 50 feet, can survive drops of seven feet, freezeproof to -10 degrees C, as well as be crashed by anything up to 100 kgs.
It is also anti-fog with excellent macro and microscopes modes, a crisp 4K video for filming adventures with an f/2 lens, and a great zoom range of 25-100 mm. It is also available in a sleek black if your tween prefers the high-tech batman look.
We love it because:
- It has a decent range of accessories
- It features raw format support
- It has a 3” tiltable touchscreen
- It has image smoothing at high ISOs
- Some buyers report it has a fiddly zoom control
- It lacks a lens cover to keep the camera protected
Best Instant Camera for Tweens: Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Simply can’t wait to see your snaps? The Fuji Instax Mini 11 is a perfect first instant camera that has the appeal of an old polaroid camera and is great for your tween photographer. It does not feature a digital sensor, so your tween has to shoot on self-developing paper with a shutter speed of ½ to 1/250 sec.
It has auto exposure with a variable shutter speed, plus a built-in adjustable lens with a close-up setting, making it ideal for selfies. It includes the Instax Mini 11 camera, film, and stickers for your tween to start snapping right out of the box.
We love it because:
- It has auto-exposure; thus, fewer wasted snaps
- Comes with an adjustable lens for easy macro shots
- It is comfortable to hold as it has big rounded edges
- Comes in several pastel colors for your tween to express themselves!
- It will start to get pricey paying for the replacement film packs
- Images are quite small – about credit card size so not as large as your old polaroid
- Its exposures can be a little too bright in the sun as the flash automatically fires
Best DSLR for Tweens: Canon EOS Rebel
Is your tween really ready to level up their skills? It may be time they invest in a DSLR.
The Canon EOS Rebel is an excellent entry-level DSLR, meaning that what you see in the viewfinder is what you will get in the image. It features an interchangeable lens with the macro lens allowing your tween to take sharp photos of tiny objects as well as landscapes.
The superzoom lenses allow your tween to tackle pics of distant objects. With a modern DIGIC eight CMOS, APS-C sensor of 24.1 MP, a nine-point AF system, five fps continuous shooting, and microphone input for videography.
It also has built-in WI-FI, NFC, Bluetooth, and HDMI connectivity. It also features a classic 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. This bundle comes with a memory card, deluxe padded camera case, flashlight, three pieces filter kit, and more to ensure your tween can also use it for long-distance photo situations like sporting.
We love it because:
- It features an LCD screen with live-view capability
- It has great pre-set modes, which is great for beginners who are still not confident to shoot manually
- It has video recording capabilities too
- It is only ideal for older kids as it is a bit heavy and will take some time to learn
- It has no center contact on the hot shoe
Don’t forget to throw in the great companion product Canon EOS Rebel For Dummies guide to help enhance their digital camera learning experience.
Best Budget Point & Shoot for Tweens: Kodak PIXPRO FZ43 Kit
If these all feel too advanced for your tween needs, let’s head back to basics. The Kodak PIXPRO camera is an easy-to-use point-and-shoot model with some fun features for beginners.
It has a 16.1 MP 4x zoom capability that provides your tween with an opportunity to explore how zoom affects your final image.
With a built-in microphone that makes the audio crisp and clear, the 720 HD video option is a feature your tween will enjoy. It has four photo shooting modes and a video-making mode that uses pre-programmed scene modes. It requires two AA batteries.
We love it because:
- It has easy-to-replace batteries
- It features simple printing options
- It is simple enough to point and shoot and still get great results
- You might need frequent battery changes
- It does not have great image stabilization which can result in blurry photos
- The video quality isn’t as great as an action camera
Best 4K Digital Camera for Vlogging: VJIANGER 4K Digital Camera
The VJIANGER 4K Digital Camera is the perfect choice if your pre-teen loves to make their own videos and wants something a little more advanced than a point-and-shoot at a reasonable price.
A 4K small digital camera with 30fps video resolution and 48-megapixel still images, your tween will enjoy the ultimate in smooth filming experiences. It has the best resolution for shooting YouTube-worthy videos.
The camera is equipped with wide angle & macro lenses and supports 16X Digital Zoom, great for filming sports or action from a distance without blur. Wrist strap, carry case and spare batteries are included.
We love it because:
- Several appealing colors for tweens to choose from
- Supports tripods and has a hot shoe connection (top mounting)
- Still light and compact vs a full mirrorless or DSLR
- Includes two interchangeable lenses so no need to invest in additional gear upfront
- Not as good for macro (close up) filming
- No memory card included, you’ll need to invest in extra SD cards
Extra accessories to consider
In addition to the camera itself, there are many photographer accessories you could also include to make a superb bundled gift for a tween with everything they’ll need. Why not also consider
Ready to purchase your tween a digital camera?
Digital cameras can be a whole lot of fun for everyone and more so for your tween who loves to spend time with friends. We all want to ensure that our tweens have a way of remembering all the fun things that they are doing. It would help if you had something that fits their style and needs.
Photography is good for your kids as it encourages creative thinking and problem-solving. It Promotes creativity and self-expression. It also helps manage stress, and visual art activities promote fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Always take care of your equipment, including preventing it from getting scratches and cleaning it properly. At first, you can use a tripod to take pictures, as it makes it easier to take good pictures. Also, take your camera with you everywhere to not miss out on good shots and great memories.
More Gear Reviews For Your Tweens
If you’ve found this gear guide for tweens useful, you may also want to check out: