If you live with a budding young photographer or aspiring teen content creator and wish to help them hone their craft, finding the best digital camera for a teenager should be the next thing you do. The good news is that digital camera prices have come down significantly, even though their overall quality has remained the same or even improved, so you’ll be able to find an excellent choice even on a budget, which would be high enough quality for budding content creators, teens who wish to pursue a future in videography, or simply young people interested in photography for fun or as a complementary skill to their other extracurricular endeavors.
Before you lay down money for a digital camera, it’s good to do a little research on them first to ensure the starter camera you get is long-lasting, durable, and full of the necessary features and settings for a positive first photography or videography experience, so we’ve compiled the below list of the best cameras for teens to help with your decision.
Things to Consider When Researching Digital Cameras for Teens
You might have some idea of what you want in your next digital camera, but besides the basics, you want to make sure your teen’s first camera is easy to use and produces great photos. Here are a few factors you might want to consider when researching digital cameras for your teenager:
- Ease of Sharing
For starters, your teen’s camera should make it easy to share pics with all of their friends through all social media outlets and email. If you look specifically for wireless cameras as you shop, this should take care of the problem, but just remember that teens take tons of pictures and want to share all of them immediately, so if it isn’t easy to do this, don’t bother buying the camera.
- Ease of Use
Your teen’s digital camera needs to be user-friendly because teenagers are notorious for wanting fast results regardless of what they’re doing. It’s best to find a camera that offers basic point-and-shoot capabilities instead of one that has to be set up using manual controls before taking a picture. Even basic things such as your optical viewfinder and other details need to be considered. The easier it is to use the camera, the more your teen will appreciate it.
While the cost of the camera shouldn’t be your only consideration, it’s still an important one. After all, your teenager may end up not using the camera for very long, so you won’t want one that is super-expensive. Fortunately, finding a great camera at an affordable price is much easier than you think. Just take your time while researching cameras, and you should easily find one (especially if you comb through each great option below).
- Overall Quality
Finding a good camera that offers good image quality and crisp pictures is crucial because teenagers won’t accept a camera that produces lousy photos, and in today’s age of affordable, high-quality tech (including smart phones with great high-definition cameras built-in), there’s no reason to pay for low quality. In order to evaluate the quality of the camera you’re considering, check out the number of pixels and try to look at the camera’s quality in person if you can. You can also read online reviews written by verified buyers to find out for sure whether the camera produces quality images, though the specs on the box or online listing will give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Video Capability
When researching digital cameras for your teen, keep in mind that many of them love producing videos as well as great photographs. Checking this availability for a video camera (rather than still photos only) and making sure the video quality is top-notch are important steps of the process. With videos becoming more and more prevalent with the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube, and others, it makes the most sense to invest in a camera that has video capability and thus won’t stifle your teen’s creative and artistic pursuits.
- Memory and Size
Naturally, teens will want to take a lot of pictures at one time and have a camera that doesn’t take up a lot of room, which means you’ll want a compact camera with a lot of memory. If they don’t mind using a memory card, this is also an option, but these are things you’ll have to consider before deciding which camera to buy. Most teens prefer cameras that allow them to take tons of pics at any given time.
You’ll also want to make sure the battery life is long-lasting, and the camera itself is sturdy and not easy to break. After all, not all teens can be trusted not to be rough with their camera when they’re out and about using it. And if you’re curious about the cameras that are consistently voted some of the best cameras on the market, below are 20 of them to consider.
You can buy this DSLR camera (digital single-lens reflex camera) with or without a bag, and it comes in four great colors, including two with designs on them. It is waterproof and has large, easy-to-use buttons. Even better, it comes with several accessories you won’t have to pay extra for, including a 32GB memory card, a flexible tripod, and a wallet for your memory cards. It is super-easy to use, simple to share with other devices and media outlets, and very tough and sturdy. Plus, the camera has a very cool look!
This camera is part of the Canon EOS Rebel T series and offers an 18-55 mm lens as well as an 18-megapixel sensor that results in phenomenal photographs. Because of the STM (stepper motor technology) feature, the camera can auto-focus without any noise. This makes it particularly useful when creating videos, and if the shots you’re composing are high or low, the articulating LCD display makes getting great shots much easier than you might think.
If your teen loves to travel and/or take landscape photographs, this is a good option to consider. It is a waterproof camera that can take a lot of abuse and keep on going, and its zoom range goes from 25 to 100 mm, making it perfect for outdoor shots. It also offers 4K video and an f/2 lens, not to mention a 3-inch tiltable touchscreen, as well as numerous other accessories to enhance content quality. And to prove how sturdy it is, it can handle about 200 pounds falling on it and still remain intact, so it’s a great choice for teens on-the-go who may be taking the camera on trips, treks, or even just in their backpack day-to-day.
This is perhaps the best instant camera for both teens and tweens because it is super-easy to operate and instantly produces cool-looking mini pics that young people love. If you’re specifically looking for instant cameras, this is definitely one you’ll want to consider, and the kit even comes with adorable stickers that teens can use to place on the pics after they come out. You’ll have to buy the paper for it to produce the actual pictures, but the quality is very good, and the camera is tons of fun to use. That said, it may not offer all the professional capabilities some of the other options do, so it might not be the best camera for teens who are more serious about their craft or who needs videography capability.
This is a very budget-friendly camera that offers perks such as a great 16.1 MP 4x zoom capability that demonstrates to teens how cool and useful the zoom feature really is. The built-in microphone makes it perfect for producing high-quality videos, and the video mode comes with pre-programmed scenes that allow teens to get very creative when making videos. The printing options are easy to utilize, and it runs on two AA batteries. It also allows you to point and shoot and still get great photos. Though the video quality capability isn’t the highest, for a camera that offers both photos and video capability, you can’t really beat this price.
The Canon PowerShot SX cameras are all top-notch cameras, and this model offers a 40x optical zoom lens, 1080p HD video capability, and 20.3 MP images, which all add up to one thing: gorgeous, crystal-clear photos and videos that look like a professional was in charge. The built-in Wi-Fi is a huge perk because it allows teens to share their creations with anyone else they want to have them. The camera is also compatible with both Android and Apple devices, which is important to all teens.
This camera is in the family of Fujifilm X-T cameras that offer most of the things that make digital cameras great. One of the advantages of mirrorless cameras is that it offers the quality of a DSLR camera even though it is typically much smaller. The camera body is small and lightweight yet still has the capability to produce gorgeous photographs. In fact, even though this camera is very pricey, it gives you the results that usually only happen with professional photography tools.
This is a very good choice when you’re used to taking fast-action shots, as well as shots that occur in low-light situations. In fact, with this camera, your teen can make both full-HD video and time-lapse or slow-motion video. Indeed, this is a very versatile camera that offers a dynamic range of capabilities for both beginners and more experienced photographers. And because of a feature they call SnapBridge, your teen can automatically upload all of their photos to their smartphone or tablet.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 digital bridge camera produces high-quality photos and videos and offers perks such as excellent low-light capture, fast and accurate focusing, and a touch-control LCD screen. This very user-friendly camera doesn’t require a techie to make it work. The viewfinder is so high-quality that you can see what you’re doing even when you’re outside and the sun is bright. Between the 18.1 MP sensor resolution and the 60x optical zoom, you get extremely detailed photographs every time.
This camera is from the Panasonic Lumix G line and comes with an external microphone, 3-inch flip-out touchscreen, and a pre-installed V log. It is the perfect mirrorless camera for teens who wish to take still photographs or are into vlogging because it produces clear, high-quality images that look just like they were made by the pros. The kit also comes with everything you need to start using it immediately, including a memory card, flash, several lenses, editing software, and so much more.
This camera is so basic that kids as young as nine-years-old can operate it with ease. Its perks include its small size and coming in seven different colors, including blue, pink, black, and green; a 32GB memory card; and features such as slow motion, auto-focus, anti-shake, and time-lapse capabilities, among others. It’s the perfect camera for young kids just learning to shoot pictures, but it still takes amazing photos and allows kids to store tons of their pictures without having to delete other ones.
If you specifically want a digital camera that costs under $200 but you need one that takes good pictures, this is a great one to consider. It is lightweight and user-friendly, has a reduced-blur feature, offers a 5x optical zoom lens, and includes SteadyShot image stabilization, which is an excellent feature for amateur photographers. It also has a large, easy-to-see display screen and is compact enough to fit inside of a backpack or even your back pocket if you need it to.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH camera has a fixed LCD screen and a 12x optical zoom lens. It is available in three different colors and comes with built-in NFC and Wi-Fi for your convenience. You can easily share your photos with your smartphone and tablet, and it allows you to take great photographs even in low-light situations. Even better, the 5-inch screen gives you accurate depictions of what your photos will look like once they’re uploaded, and it even comes with quirky kids’ features such as the toy camera and fish-eye effects.
The best option for crystal-clear photos is a camera that has great megapixels and optical zoom capability, and this camera has both. The camera delivers exceptional quality for its price point, and it even provides you with a 180-degree panorama feature for even more options. Even better, the 720HD video capability means your teen can enjoy both high-quality photos and videos, making it a camera that is tons of fun to use when teens get together.
This camera is very rugged and even waterproof, so it can take a lot of abuse and keep on going – which is great for tweens and teens, as well as for travel content creators. It also has a very professional appearance, so teens will love showing it off to their friends. It shoots in full HD and therefore produces great photos and videos, and even time-lapse videos are possible with this camera. The touchscreen display makes it super-easy to use and enjoy, and even shaky footage is a thing of the past when you choose the GoPro Hero7.
If you know your teen is interested in a dedicated camera that they’ll keep for a long time and you’re willing to spend a little bit more to get a super high-quality camera, this is one to consider. As far as image quality, it is second to none, and its perks include great performance even in low-light situations, a sensor that has a resolution of 24.1 MP, and Wi-Fi connectivity. You can even use the EOS software to turn the camera into a high-tech webcam if you like, and the interchangeable lenses save you some money.
This digital camera is perfect for teens because it is both compact and easy to use. It also offers top-notch 4K ultra-HD video capability and an image stabilizer that keeps your photos nice and clear even when you’re not remaining completely still yourself. It comes with a 3-inch display screen and the ability to flip the camera 180 degrees, which makes it perfect for selfies. Even better, you get both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to make sharing photos much easier.
This is a pricey but very high-quality mirrorless camera that has film simulation filters that you can use anytime you want a cool retro look. Because the burst speed is 15 FPS (feet per second), this is a great camera for those who are interested in taking photographs of different sporting events. It connects wirelessly and therefore allows you to share photos effortlessly, and it even comes with a built-in flash and a long battery life, which all digital cameras need.
Although considered an entry-level DSLR camera, this one is phenomenal and offers perks usually reserved for cameras costing a lot more. The life of the battery is much longer than most, lasting through roughly 1,000 shots on a single charge. You can even use this point-and-shoot camera in low-light situations without using a flash, and the pics come out great every time. The camera is lightweight enough to carry around all day long without causing soreness, and it’s super-easy to share your photos with other outlets.
Available in both blue and yellow, this shock-proof and waterproof camera is perfect for teens on the go. The shutter speed is very fast and allows for clear, crisp photos, and you can enjoy ultra-HD 4K movie capability at 15 FPS. Everyone knows that teens love taking both pics and videos, making this a great camera for them to own. It offers Bluetooth capability to allow for easy transfer of photos and videos and even has a large 3-inch display screen to view photos efficiently.
Some Recommendations When Researching Cameras for Teens
With the vast array of cameras on the market – from cheap options to very expensive – it’s important to realize not all digital cameras are appropriate for all teens and tweens. Also, to some degree, you get what you pay for in terms of functionality and quality, though there definitely are some high-quality budget options that can offer the best of both worlds. That said, if you’re going to spend less than $200 on a digital camera, whether it’s for a young teen or even older kids, make sure it’s a reputable brand because you still need quality from the camera; there’s no use spending $200 on something with less functionality and lower quality than the teen’s smartphone camera. Below are some things to keep in mind when shopping for digital cameras.
Mirrorless vs. DSLR Cameras
There is a difference between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera. DSLRs use a mirror and are similar to the old 35 mm cameras, whereas mirrorless cameras use an image sensor instead. In general, mirrorless cameras are more portable, less expensive, and move much quicker, which makes them perfect for people who wish to take lots of shots in a short period of time. DSLRs also tend to be a little bulkier, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their fair share of fans.
A Word About Image Quality
You’ll see various numbers when it comes to the quality of the images accommodated by the cameras, but you can make it easy on yourself by remembering that anything less than 1080p may not give you the quality you want and sometimes need in your photographs. As far as video quality is concerned, the best cameras provide 4K images that are second to none. You should also keep in mind that digital cameras usually only record about 30 minutes of video, so you shouldn’t expect to get any more than that with a DSLR (unless otherwise stated on the specific camera listing).
Remember the Digital Zoom Feature
The digital zoom number is also important, but you have to remember that you may not need a camera that can zoom in for long distances. For this feature, determine what you’ll be using the camera for because if you don’t need a long zoom-in capability, you can save yourself some money by choosing a camera with a lower number. After all, you may not need an expensive camera with all the bells and whistles, and it’s good to keep that in mind when shopping for your own camera.
Gone are the days when teens asked for a film camera or when you had to spend thousands just to snap some high quality images; nonetheless, smartphone cameras, while convenient, don’t always provide the overall quality and functionality that burgeoning photographer, videographer, and content creator teens may want. Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all-camera” for every teen, since the right choice depends largely on what your teenager will be doing with the camera and how long they plan to keep using it. That being said, you’ll still want a good quality camera at an affordable price, which means paying attention to brand names, reviews, durability, and deciding which features are most important when choosing the best digital camera for your teenager.