Choosing between cameras for teens can be a tricky proposition. The teenage years can be where we pick up hobbies for life or pass on them in an instant. Then there is the matter of skill level. Do you invest in a full-blown DSLR or mirrorless camera setup or search for a more basic solution?
There are many caveats to consider in this age range, which means the recommendations brought to you today are for cameras which can be used on a basic level, but also have plenty of facilities for those growing minds to expand into. These cameras are the real deal and can provide professional quality images without breaking the bank.
There is obviously the case that an up-to-date smartphone camera can produce excellent image and video quality. However, these devices won’t necessarily teach the user about exposure settings, lens types, and the more advanced aspects of gaining the best possible images. Therefore, let’s have a closer look at possible examples and how they compare to the rest of the market.
1. Nikon D3500 Kit (Overall Winner)
The advantage of this all-in-one Nikon D3500 kit is that you have everything you need to get up and running as a budding photographer. The kit includes:
- Nikon D3500
- Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
- Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED
- 16GB SD card
- Card reader
- Camera bag
- Cleaning pack
- MH-24 Quick Charger
- BF-1B lens cap
- AN-DC3 Black Camera Strap
- DK-25 Rubber Eyecup
- Access to the Nikon Online School Class
The two lenses that come with the kit cover a variety of scenes from wide-angle views to the longer telephoto range. Each lens has Nikon’s wonderful vibration reduction system, while also producing good quality stills and video footage.
The Nikon D3500 itself is a very capable camera, which can be used fully automatic or completely manual, allowing the user to grow into its features. Having a pixel count of 24.2MP may not seem a great amount compared to some of the latest smartphone cameras, but it’s the quality of pixels that count and you cannot fault the D3500 for its fine image quality the ability to shoot high-resolution 1080p HD video.
This package represents good value for money and ironically doesn’t cost that much more than buying the camera on its own. Plus, the reason for recommending a DLSR above a mirrorless camera system is simply down to the optical viewfinder, plus the more reasonable price point.
This traditional viewfinder may be a personal preference, but it allows the user to have a real view of the world and decide how that is interpreted into the final image. This may be a more old school way of thinking, but it also means you’re more able in the long run to interpret exposure settings and translate them into a real-world image.
The Canon EOS T7i kit comes in slightly more expensive than the Nikon version above, but it also has some additional goodies to play with. These include:
- Canon EOS T7i
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM
- Commander 0.43x Auxiliary Wideangle
- 2.2x Auxiliary Telephoto lens
- 2 SanDisk 32GB SDHC cards
- Card reader
- Canon camera case
- Mini Flash
- Commander filters
- Commander Wireless Remote Control
- Battery charger
- Portable tripod
- Lens hood
- Body cap
- Canon neck strap
There’s everything in this package to get the budding photographer up and running. And while it is fully featured, I would much prefer having two traditional lenses as with the Nikon package above then some of the other added extras. However, the main point is that the 24.2 MP Canon EOS T7i is a very capable camera solution, with wonderful image quality at this price point.
Although this camera bundle may not include all the added extras as with the kits above, the Fujifilm X-T20 is a highly capable mirrorless camera with old school rangefinder looks.
The X-T20 is wrapped around a 24.3MP X Trans CMOS III APS C sensor, which also shoots 4K video and benefits from the Fujifilm film Simulation effects. This means all image processing can be done in-camera.
The included lens comes in the form of the Fujinon XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS, which will work great for wide-angle to regular focal lengths and produce very high-quality images and video. This camera is also a great solution if it is to be used for high-quality vlogging.
The build quality is rock-solid, which will give more peace of mind to a parent’s sizeable investment. This camera package is also the most applicable to those who have already got some photography experience and want to step up from a straightforward point-and-shoot camera.
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 strikes a nice balance between simple to use features and great image and video quality. The camera feels like a professional solution without being overwhelming in features.
The FZ80 is wrapped around an 18.1MP sensor, with a 60X zoom and 4K video. The 4K video on this camera is excellent and allows for 4K photos to be shot at a burst rate of 30 per second. With great lowlight performance, a substantial grip, and high-quality features, the LUMIX FZ80 provides excellent value for money.
5. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS (Budget Winner)
If you’re still not convinced about buying a full-blown DSLR or mirrorless camera, then the Canon PowerShot SX720 HS provides loads of functionality for the money. This camera is a step up from a regular point-and-shoot, featuring a 20.3MP CMOS sensor, 40x Optical Zoom, 1080p video at 60p. Plus it has image stabilization.
This is an ideal solution for teens who just want straightforward photos and videos without things getting too complicated. Footage can be easily shared via Wi-Fi and NFC and is also iPhone and Android compatible.
Most importantly, the rear mode dial can be used in full-auto, semi-auto modes, or fully manual. This provides plenty of scope for experimentation as skill levels increase. This camera is reasonably priced considering all its features.
How to Choose Cameras for Teens
Choosing an ideal camera solution for a teenager can largely depend on how serious they are about the hobby and how much you’re willing to pay. Point-and-shoot cameras can be a great solution, but they can also be quickly outgrown if the intended user wants to tweak more of the advanced settings.
All the recommendations above are solutions which can grow with the user and while they may be a sizable investment for some, they will also provide years of quality images and video.