My daughter’s 12th birthday is coming up quickly. She keeps telling me she’s going to be a professional photographer when she grows up. Thanks to the Joanna Gaines and “Fixer Upper”, she also wants to be an interior designer as well as a ballet teacher at night. While she’s certainly ambitious, when a digital camera was her big wish for her birthday, I wasn’t sure what to think. Will she actually use it? Lose or break it? How much was I willing to spend for budding photographer with no real experience?
Still, I thought it was important at this age to give her a real camera to see if she wants to practice her craft. If you’re in the same boat as me, here are my thoughts on a few digital cameras that would be good for tweens and teenagers.
5 Good Budget Digital Cameras for Teens and Tweens 2017
Whether you’ve got an amateur photographer or simply a teenager or tween who wants a camera, here are a few good budget options.
Consider an Older DSLR Canon Rebel or Ti Body (Budgets of $150 to $250)
Purchasing a DSLR camera for your tween or teenager can be a daunting (and expensive) task. Still, the prospect of them starting their lens collection and understanding how and when to use that collection is one of the things I wanted most. So, here’s a way you can get the best of both worlds.
Consider purchasing an older body style that takes great pictures for around a third of the price of the newer models. If it were me I’d go with something like the Canon T2i or Rebel XT body. They work great and take amazing pictures. The T2i is quite similar to the Canon Rebel, but the Rebel body with kit lens is a bit more affordable, with the Rebel XT body coming in at just under $100 and the T2i at just under $200.
You can purchase the Rebel XT or the T2i with the 18-55mm kit lens, which is a great everyday lens for general use, for just around $50 more. This can be removed and swapped out for other lenses purchased.
Entry-Level Lenses for Beginning Photographers
In addition to the kit lens, consider purchasing the Canon EF 50mm lens nicknamed the “nifty fifty”. It’s amazing for portraits, night shots, and action shots.
If you want to go even further, consider purchasing a telephoto lens to really have the option to zoom in. By combining these lenses with the older body style, your teenager will be able to take some amazing pictures.
The only downside to a camera like this is that is more bulky and heavy than a “point and shoot camera”. While this camera takes amazing pictures, sometimes the bulk and weight of it may deter them from wanting to take it on an outing.
Still, in this day and age with everyone having a phone for that option, it is good to have a camera they can truly practice on.
Save Money With a Refurbished Digital Camera
Don’t be afraid of a refurbished model for your kids. They are a great way to get a better camera for less. Refurbished models are tested by the manufacturer and work like new.
Nikon Coolpix L32 (Certified Refurbished)
Ok, so most girls love pink. I love pink! In fact, my first digital point and shoot camera was…yep, you guessed it, pink.
When I saw this Nikon camera (in red) I was immediately drawn to it. Nikon and Cannon are the brands most trust when it comes to cameras. This camera takes great pictures, is portable, and an easy point and shoot.
The Nikon Coolpix L32, typically around $120 new, is available for around $80 refurbished. One slight downside is that the refurbished models hold a 90 day warranty while new models come with the typical one year warranty.
This camera is great for someone who just wants to casually take a picture here and there. If you are looking for something to take action shots or get that sought after blurred background, then I would invest in something that has the option for not just automatic settings, but some manual settings so you can capture the picture the way you see it.
A Fun Instant Polaroid-like Camera for Tweens and Teens
If I had to choose a camera just for fun and not for a serious upcoming photographer, then hands down this would be it!
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera
Do NOT get confused and think this is a digital camera; it is not. It is, however, like the old school Polaroid cameras where you take a picture and then it prints out for you just seconds later. You just get what you snap. How many times have you needed a picture for a project and realized you didn’t have one?
I can’t count how many times I’ve needed a picture of one of my kids for a project and had to upload one to Costco. Then I have to remember to actually go and pick it up (#momfail). I love the thought of having actual photos to put up on the fridge, or have in my wallet, or ready for that project.
I read of one woman who took her Fujifilm camera to Africa and took pictures of the locals around her. Then she handed the pictures to them just seconds later. For some, it was the first time they had seen themselves. So cool!
Unlike the Polaroid version that gets very poor reviews, this Fujifilm Instax Mini gets great reviews and is even less expensive. Keep in mind that film does not come with the camera purchase. But you can purchase a twin pack, with 20 sheets here.
While I may not end up getting the Instax Mini for my aspiring photographer, I am sure that the Fujifilm Instax is going to be at the top of my holiday wishlist this year.
Budget Point and Shoot Digital Camera Under $100
Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera
If you’re looking for an easy to use automatic, but digital camera, the Sony DSCW800/B is a good and cheap option.
Sony is a great brand in electronics, and this camera is a great buy if you’re just looking for an inexpensive point and shoot option. It has a large display screen on the back and is lightweight and compact enough to fit in a small purse or backpack. The price is something I would be comfortable with for a first camera. I had a Sony camera very similar to this when I started college and it was great for capturing memories before the days of cell phone cameras. Since I’m not quite ready to give my daughter a smartphone, this fits her needs perfectly.
I have a friend who is an amazing photographer and her daughter has picked up her skills. If I were looking for an option for someone with a stronger photography background and needed something more advanced they could learn on and take great pictures, I would choose this.
|Camera (Swipe or scroll for more)||Tech Specs||Dimensions and Weight||Highlights|
|Canon T2i with Lens Kit||18 megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 Image Processor, ISO 100-6400, 1920x1080p recording, LCD Monitor, 9-point AF System, Compatible with EF and EF-S lenses||5.1x3.8x5.1 inches, 1.2 pounds|
|Rebel XT with Lens Kit||8.0 megapixel CMOS sensor for up to 16x22 inch prints, captures up to 3 images a second, Digic II Image processor, .2 second start time||5x2.5x3.7 inches, 1.2 pounds|
|Refurbished Nikon Coolpix L32||90 day warranty, smart portrait system for better family pictures, 5x wide-angle zoom, 20.1 megapixels, 720p video, LCD viewfinder (3 inches)||1.14 x 3.74 x 2.36 inches, .36 pounds|
|Fujifilm Instax Mini 8||Automatic Exposure measurement, High-Key Mode for brighter pictures, Improved Viewfinder||5.5x5x3 inches, .4 pounds|
|Sony DSCW800/B||20.1 MP Super HAD CCD Sensor, 5x Optical Zoom Lens with F3.2 (W) – 6.4 (T) Maximum Aperture, Reduced Blur / SteadyShot image stabilization, 720p video, Focal length f=4.6-23mm, Shoots up to .52 FPS, ISO Range Auto 100-3200||0.87 x 2.13 x 1.97 inches, .28 pounds|
While it’s a bit more expensive, for my budding photographer, I’m going with the Canon Rebel, or T2i body. Hopefully, by choosing something she will have to take more time to learn with, it will show her I’m willing to invest in her chosen craft. Not only that, but it’s a camera she can grow with as we can purchase an additional lens at Christmas or for her next birthday as needed. Not only that but with a great camera, she just may be busy enough taking pictures of her friends and those things around her, it may just distract her from wanting a smartphone!