Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to School Guide 2010: Best digital cameras for kids | ZDNet

Sakar International actually makes several digital cameras that are geared toward pre-schoolers — including a Dora the Explorer camera and a SpongeBob Squarepants camera that actually comes with a waterproof housing. But I prefer Sakar’s LeapFrog Click n’ Create Digital Camera because it offers higher resolution (2.1megapixels) and better image quality as well as a 1.5-inch preview LCD.

While preschoolers might gravitate toward the Dora and SpongeBob characters, the lack of an LCD on those cameras is a dealbreaker for me. The size of the LeapFrog camera is great for little hands, as are the rubberized grips that make the camera feel fairly sturdy, though it’s nowhere near as solidly built (or versatile) as the Vtech Kidizoom Plus, which sells for the same $50.

Though the Vtech camera (which I recommend for slightly older kids) is a much better value for the money, if you’re buying for a 2 or 3 year old, the LeapFrog camera will be easier to handle — both because it’s much simpler to use, and because of its more compact size. Tots will love that the camera says “great shot!” when you snap a photo and “bye-bye” when you turn it off, but parents will be grateful there’s an option to turn off the sound since there’s no volume control.

The camera comes with 8MB of built-in memory, so it can store roughly 100 photos depending on the resolution you choose. But because it’s SD RAM, you must download the images before you remove the batteries or you’ll lose all your shots. Bundled software includes LeapFrog brand games and basic photo editing software for use on a PC or Mac.

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