by Christina VanGinkel
Get a kid started in a lifelong hobby by providing them with an inexpensive new or used digital camera. Alternatively, pass along your old, but still useable digital camera and upgrade to a new full featured one for yourself. Prices have dropped while features have grown in the last few years making it both affordable and easy to pick out a camera that will satisfy either your wants or needs, and get your budding world-class photographer started on his or her path to a hobby that is sure to last a lifetime.
If shopping for a new camera for your child, consider several things. Features, price, and ease of use. Check features such as optical zoom, mega pixels, (which affect the picture quality at output), flash modes, if the camera has a self-timer, and size of display, which is used for both taking pictures and reviewing those already snapped. Many digital cameras, even inexpensive ones, often have video mode too. While that is far from being a necessity, your kids will most likely find it extremely fun to be able to take short bursts of video. With digital, it is best to purchase a camera that will be easy for your child to plug into a computer via cable or docking system for downloading. Alternatively, if your computer has a media reader, make sure the card that goes with the camera will be compatible with the media reader. Even with all of these features and more, you can realistically purchase one that will suit a beginner for between one and two hundred dollars.
To begin your search, look for a camera that has at least three X optical zoom, and three MP. One camera that fits these requirements and more is the Kodak CX7430. It retails for under two hundred dollars and includes scene modes and color modes allowing the user to take pictures in nearly any lighting conditions, and allows them to snap photos in black and white or sepia tone, besides full color. It easily plugs into a computer via cable, or fits a docking station. It is also available with a printer dock that allows the user to print photos without having to use a computer. After set up, all your child will have to do is place the camera into the docking station, and then quickly and conveniently download the pictures they have taken. On the other hand, they could also place the camera directly into the printer dock and print.
The best part of giving a kid a digital camera is there is no fuss about getting the film developed. Whether you have a photo printer at home, such as the printer dock that is compatible with the Kodak CX7430 above, or have the photos developed at a lab in the traditional sense, with a digital camera you are only paying for those that you and your child knows turned out. The advantage is no wasted money on roll after roll of film that is nothing more than shadows or blur.
With the freedom a digital camera provides in the way of no wasted film, the child is also able to experiment without fear of waste. They can snap hundreds, even thousands of pictures and it will cost nothing beyond the initial investment and the pictures that are actually printed.
So, with summer looming, if your child is likely to be heard whining that there is nothing to do, consider a digital camera. It is sure to keep them occupied for the whole summer and beyond.