Digital cameras for kids have been around for a while, but instant cameras for the young’uns that print the photo on the spot — not so much. The adult models available have always been a bit chunky for small hands and too delicate for something likely to be dropped. But the biggest stopping block? Cost. After all, kids are going to be taking a lot of stupid pictures with their new toy, and you don’t need to pay $0.75 a pop for photos of their feet or your dog’s butt. VTech’s new instant camera removes that last pain point by driving the cost of each photo down to a mere penny, so your kids can snap as many pics of inside their nose as they want.
The KidiZoom PrintCam comes in blue, and is about six inches across and two inches thick. So it’s not exactly tiny and pocketable, but it will be easy to hold for its target audience of kids four and up, especially with its thick right-handed grip. Taking a picture is easy enough: just line up the shot and hit the shutter, and a picture will be printed onto thermal paper within 30 seconds or so. The lens even flips up for selfies, and the camera is packed with filters and frames for embellishing images. Digital copies can be transferred to a computer via USB for archival purposes.
With such a rock-bottom cost, the big question is: Are the photos any good? Well, they’re black and white and somewhat grainy. But in terms of fidelity they’re not bad, with plenty of detail. Not quite Polaroid perfect, but eons above the ones you’d get with a Game Boy Camera twenty years ago. But let’s be honest, this isn’t meant for archival purposes, it’s a toy. Your kids will enjoy snapping pictures and putting them up everywhere, or maybe handing them out to relatives the next time your extended family gets together. The camera will cost $75, which might seem a tad high but again, each picture is only a penny, so your ongoing costs are (hopefully) negligible. The camera and its photo paper will be out in the summer.