It's never too early to get your kids into photography, and Fisher-Price realizes that fact. The Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera is an extremely durable, superbly simple, toy VGA camera that can get even the smallest carpet shark taking snapshots.
It's important to note that this toy camera is far more a toy than a camera. Its large, colorful body and rubber grips make it look like a cross between a portable game system and a pillow. Shots can be framed with either the camera's tiny, 1-inch LCD, or with the twin viewfinders, which can be looked through like a pair of binoculars. It takes four AA batteries, which find their home behind a screwed-in plate at the bottom of the camera. The plate also hides the SD card slot, a surprising and pleasant feature on such a simple toy. The screws keeping the plate secure make changing batteries a pain, but at least they keep kids from popping open their camera and discovering a small, easily swallowed memory card. However, the camera is unexpectedly heavy, weighing almost 14 ounces with batteries and card.
With its meager VGA resolution and only five buttons, the Kid Tough Digital Camera was clearly designed just for little kids. Large, colorful buttons turn the camera on and off, delete photos, review old photos, and take pictures. Kids should be warned to stay away from the big red delete button, or at least warned of its significance, but otherwise they'll be running around taking photos in no time.
Bright colors go hand in hand with loud sounds, and the Kid Tough Digital Camera has plenty of both. Cartoonish sound effects accompany every action, from flipping through pictures to shooting photos to turning the camera on and off. Unfortunately, the sounds can't be turned off, so parents who buy it should be prepared for the noise.
Kids play rough, and the Kid Tough Digital Camera is built to withstand a beating. We don't have any children working in the office, so I gave the camera my own special brand of scientific abuse. After several drops, tosses, and flings, the camera still worked just fine. One crash dislodged the memory card, but a quick reseating resolved the issue.
Unfortunately, its camera aspects aren't so great. It's very slow to shoot, lagging up to a second before a shot and up to three seconds between shots. Since it's only a VGA camera, printouts of any decent size are going to turn out poorly. Still, parents don't put their kids' crayon drawings on the fridge because they look amazing; they put them on the fridge because their kids made them. They won't be publishable works of art, but the tiny images can easily be printed out and stuck on the fridge.
The Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera isn't a very good camera, but it's an excellent toy that can help get your young child into photography. It's easy to use and nearly indestructible, so you can feel confident that your kid won't break it. It might not seem like much, but it's a good start. A colorful, rubberized VGA camera in their hands today could become a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II in their hands tomorrow.