Digital photography is great for kids. They can snap away to their heart’s content, experimenting with photos and without incurring any cost – for the parent.
But you don’t want to hand over an expensive camera to a small child – or even your smartphone, as some of us have found out to our cost.
MyFirst offers a range of technology aimed at children aged as young as four, from watches and headphones to digital cameras. They are sturdily built with easy to use controls and they don’t cost the earth to buy.
The MyFirst Camera Insta Wi is one product in the range. It is a digital camera, video camera and printer in one, and a budget- and child-friendly way to introduce the younger members of the family to digital photography, while also giving them the satisfaction of seeing a printed product – albeit in black and white.
‘It’s about value for money. So, people feel that when they come in, they’re being charged reasonable prices’
The camera has a child-friendly design: handles, big buttons, a colourful case and it’s durable, so you don’t have to worry if it takes a tumble or two. There are no additional cases to slap on; the camera is ready to go out of the box. It does include a carrying strap – another good move given the target market – colour matched to the camera and a cradle for storage.
The camera has two lenses: one on the front and one on the rear, which makes it easy to take selfies or videos in which your child can play a starring role.
There’s a small colour display on the back that doubles as a viewfinder and a screen for enhancing prints with frames and stickers. It’s an additional fun element to the process that children really bought into.
But that aside, would you go for this camera over the dedicated photo printer or a hybrid instant camera? Simple: cost. While the MyFirst camera costs about the same as some of the more competitively priced instant cameras, it’s the cost of the paper that gets you.
The MyFirst camera prints in black and white: small photos on a roll of thermal paper that loads into the front of the camera. That thermal paper can be bought relatively cheaply by the roll for far less than the cost of the film that other instant cameras use. It’s also inkless, so there’s nothing to mess or smudge.
You have two options: take the photo and print it later or use the print button to print a photo of whatever the camera is pointed at. Prints appear after about 10 seconds, which should keep even the most impatient under-eight happy; simply tear the picture off and you are ready to go again. It comes with a few rolls of paper in the box so they can get started straight away.
The one issue that came up was it was sometimes difficult to tear the photo off properly – at least for little hands. That led to a lot of wasted, blank paper.
The camera allows you to transfer photos over wifi too, so you can send them to your smartphone or use the camera as a printer for your smartphone picture.
The MyFirst camera is sturdy, which is a must for anything aimed at this age group, and the paper is cheap enough to buy – another must. It survived several bumps and drops, and one well-aimed throw.
The camera has no internal storage so you will need a micro SD card – one was included in the box – of up to 32GB to take photos or videos, or store them permanently if they are particularly notable.
The “print and tear” set up will inevitably end up with large sections of blank paper yanked out, particularly with younger users. Plus the print quality is not always great, given the limitations of the technology, and thermal prints won’t last forever.
Photos are black and white only, so if you want colour prints you will have to find another printer. The cradle is handy but doesn’t add an awful lot to the experience. If you want to use the camera as a label printer, you’ll need the app and necessary sticker paper, which can be easily swapped into the printer without causing any damage to the thermal paper. There’s nothing to expose here, so no risk.
A child-friendly introduction to digital photography.