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Product Review: VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix for Kids

Photography is a fairly large interest of mine as some people might already know. I was first introduced to photography by my grandfather when he let me borrow his Pentax 35mm SLR for a school field trip when I was about 12 years old. Since then, I have always enjoyed taking photos and it is something I would like the kidlets to enjoy as much as I do. Both the kidlets express interest when I take photos with either my iPhone or with my Nikon D7100. I even let ‘A’ try and use my D7100 with some help of me, especially when I have the Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 on it which makes it a bit heavy to hold for him.

VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix Digital Camera for Kids

When my wife and I started talking about Christmas presents I mentioned how ‘A’ keeps asking me for his own camera. Previously he had been using my old Apple iPhone 3G to take photos up until he dropped it and the screen popped out. I had a Samsung Galaxy S3 that he had used a couple times since then but I found that locking it down to just a photo-only camera was trickier than what I could do with the iPhone. Anyway, it was time to find a camera he could use and could survive him using it.

Enter the VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix, a digital camera designed with active kids in mind.

The VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix is a durable digital camera that is kid-friendly and includes tools for little budding photographers. Kids can explore their creativity by not only taking photos but also enhancing them with static and animated photo effects. The Camera Pix also includes a video recording feature to help them capture their experiences around them.

Features of the Kidizoom Camera Pix Digital Camera:

  • Ages 3 to 8 years
  • 2.0 Megapixel (MP) sensor for photos up to 1600 x 1200 resolution
  • Movie Recording at 320 x 240 to a limit of 5 minutes per video
  • 4x Digital Zoom
  • Focus Range is 1.5 feet to infinity
  • 128MB of internal memory (~140 photos)
  • MicroSD capable with cards up to 32GB (~64,000 photos and up to 1940 minutes of video!)
  • Durable design to protect against drops
  • 4 Built-in Games
  • Micro USB connectivity to your computer (cable not included)

What’s in the Box?

  • The VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix
  • Wrist Strap
  • Quickstart Guide
  • ** Batteries NOT included – Requires 4 AAs

Look and Feel of the Kidizoom Camera Pix

The VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix design does have kids in mind. On the front you can see how it has 2 view ports as I found that children don’t always know what to do when they hold a camera up to their face. This one lets you look through both, or each one depending on which eye they choose. Though I found that it doesn’t really line up with the actual image that is being taken, for that it is better to look at the little LCD screen on the back.

The grips are rubberized and allow for kids to use two hands to hold it. It’s good for little hands as well. The shutter button is seen on the right-hand side and easily accessible when taking a photo.

The sides of the camera have rubber grips that can be removed to access the battery compartments. The Camera Pix requires a total of 4 AA batteries, two on each side.

The back is where most of the magic happens. There are the two view ports, the 1.8-inch TFT LCD screen, zoom buttons, home button, navigation dial, delete and power on/off. You will also notice a small speaker above the LCD for video playback and audio recording.

Flip the camera to see the underside and this is where the USB connection and MicroSD card slot are located. Both are covered to help keep dust and dirt out of.

Performance

One additional item that I did purchase for the VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix was a 16GB MicroSD card. This expands the internal storage capacity from ~120 photos to an insane amount of roughly 31,000 images. This is plenty of room for those 2.0 MP (1600 x 1200) images the kids could take. This of course also lets them take video as well, up to about 32 hours worth of 320 x 240 resolution video. I would recommend picking up a MicroSD memory card from places like Amazon as they are far less expensive than local retailers (you can also get free shipping as an Amazon Prime member!).

Primarily this is a digital camera, specifically a point and shoot with a 4.0x digital zoom. For those unfamiliar with digital zoom, it essentially crops the image to make it appear larger, this of course lowers quality by a fair amount, but the kids have fun being able to “zoom” in and out while taking photos.

‘A’ was ecstatic to receive a digital camera and be able to take photos with it. I was happy he had a camera that could potentially survive his outdoor activities where a smartphone would be obliterated fairly easily.

The image quality is not too bad when you are outside in daylight as the following images show (all sample photos are resized to 1024×768 but are otherwise straight from camera):

When you go inside, being super still with the camera is helpful and the image quality suffers a bit as the camera needs to adjust internal settings to deal with the lower light levels.

But one issue with camera performance I find is the shutter lag. There is a delay between when you press the shutter button down to when it takes the photo. This is the result of a super happy child who moves the camera before the actual photo is taken from when he presses down the shutter button:

 

But when you know about the shutter lag and you try and teach the kidlets to count to 2 before moving the camera you can get some decent images from it its price point:

The camera has a minimum focus distance of 1.5 feet (about 0.4m) so you cannot really get close to things. There is also no auto-focus for a digital camera at this price so most things will hopefully be in focus if they are further than the 1.5 feet minimal distance.

There is one notable downside

Honestly for the price I paid for the VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix, which was about $50 CDN, there is only 1 real complaint I have for this. The Kidizoom Camera Pix comes with preloaded games! Yes, games! Why do they include games? Why could they have just left out the games and kept it as a digital camera. If they were to include games, why could there not be a parental lock to hide the games from it? It is not just the Kidizoom Camera Pix either, their older cameras and even newer cameras come included with games. Their Kidizoom Action Cam and Kidizom Smart Watch also come loaded with games. If I wanted my kids to play video games, they can do so on some other device such as the Vtech InnoTab 3S that we have . Having games on the Camera Pix and even Action Cam to me, seem quite pointless and takes away from the experience of having a digital camera. I’m trying to introduce my son more into the world of photography that I love and eventually his little sister will hopefully follow along, but I am going to be disappointed if other digital cameras out there that are marketed to young kids include games. There are a plethora of other electronic devices out there that games would be better suited for!

The games on the Kidizoom Camera Pix aren’t mind blowing of course. They are fairly simple and can keep ‘A’ entertained for a little bit. Unfortunately when he does pick up the camera and start playing 1 of 4 games, his little sister will come and watch him. Both enthralled with what is going on on the tiny little LCD screen. Usually I just ask him to go take a photo of something that easily distracts the two of them from playing the games.

Final Thoughts

My son loves his VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix digital camera. He can easily hold on to it, take photos and even record occasional movie. I like how you can expand the internal storage by adding an (optional) MicroSD card to it. This also allows me to take the memory card and load it into Adobe Lightroom in which I’ve created a catalog specifically for his photos. We can then sit down and easily access them on the big screen and view them together.

The rugged exterior of the Camera Pix allows it to survive any rough play while being held on to. He can drop it, bump it against things and I will not cringe every time he does it like I did when he was using my old Apple iPhone 3G. The two view ports allows him to naturally look through whichever one he is most comfortable looking through to take his photo too.

He really enjoys the video recording feature  I am sure we will love looking back on them when he is older. At a video resolution of 320 x 240 you should not expect super great quality, but it is a neat way for him to capture moments in time too.

The image quality is what it is considering the price of the VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix. It does perform best outside in sunlight. Indoor does require a brighter area and a more steady hand. Low-light is, not surprising, disappointing. At 2.0MP that produces 1600 x 1200 JPG files you could print them off at 4×6 if you wanted to, I probably would not go any higher than that. I would not recommend lowering the quality to get more images out of the camera either. If you do not pick up a MicroSD card, then the camera will take roughly 120 images at the 2.0MP setting, that’s plenty before you have to transfer/remove the images.

The shutter button lag is annoying but if you can teach your kids to wait about 2 full seconds before moving the camera after they press the shutter button, then the image has a better change of turning out being clearer.

The games is where this camera disappoints me. Yes, I read that it did include games when I purchased it, but I was, hopefully, expecting some way of hiding or locking out the games from the menu. I want a digital camera to be just that, a digital camera. One that will survive a toddler exploring the world around them. Not a camera that will just add to “screen time” and take away from the photo experience.

If you are looking for an inexpensive digital camera that can survive the explorations of a young kid then the VTech Kidizoom Camera Pix is a good option. Just be warned, if you do not want them to play video games, there is not a way to lock or hide them from the menu.

Pros

  • Easy to hold
  • Rugged design
  • Expandable memory

Cons

  • Games – WTH?
  • No included USB cable

 

 

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