As much as I’m writing this article to advise on what cameras are cheap and easy to use for kids, I’m also writing this for myself. There is a nostalgic appeal to 'toy' cameras. I very much appreciate Lomography’s mission to spread the love of analogue. What better way for impressionable tiny people, with a keen interest in photography, to learn about the topic than to experiment with rudimentary cameras. These explain how a camera works at its basic level and are super fun to use. I included photography film cameras, a moving image camera, and a digital camera perfect for kids with tendencies of breaking their parent’s precious possessions. If you’re reading this article for yourself, I just want you to know that there is no shame in that. I want to play with these as well. Just take my money Lomography.
1. Lomography Konstruktor Flash DIY SLR Camera
I absolutely love this camera, especially for kids. It is practically a toy and only costs £26.50. Not only does it actually produce decent images but your kid gets to build it gaining a sense of achievement, genius complex, and knowledge of how a basic camera works.
Lomography Konstruktor Flash DIY SLR Camera
The Lomography Konstruktor Flash DIY SLR camera is now equipped with a PC socket for flash photography (no flashgun is included). Have you ever wanted to learn and understand how an analogue camera hangs together? The Konstruktor Do It Yourself kit includes all the camera parts you need to assemble one together from scratch. This camera is the world's first 35mm plastic SLR and is packed with ...
2. Holga 120N Film Camera
Holga is another very cheap film camera under £30. It is easy to use and requires no batteries.
Holga 120N Film Camera
The Holga 120N Black Camera is equipped with a 60mm optical lens, two functional apertures (f/8 and f/11), a hot shoe for attaching external flashguns, B (Bulb exposure) for experimenting with long exposures, a standard tripod mount and an optical viewfinder. It uses a 120 roll of film and comes with two different film size masks, 6 x 6 and 6.4 x 5 so that you can take both traditional and square ...
3. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera with 10 shots - Ice Blue
The Instax Mini is an obvious choice. It is small, cute, and doesn’t require that much supervision. It is straightforward to use, although the adult should probably load the film before handing it over. Available in plenty of colourful and stylish designs this one is definitely one to check out.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera with 10 shots - Ice Blue
Cute, colourful and compact, this Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera with 10 shots is just bursting with cool photo features, and will always be by your side. Featuring a selfie mirror and close-up lens, the mini 9 is super easy to use, and compatible with instax mini film for instant credit card-sized prints - the perfect accessory for capturing one-off moments with at parties, festivals and ...
4. Lomography Lomokino Movie Camera
When talking about cheap cameras I can’t help myself but mention the adorable Lomokino! I mean look at it. This one is definitely for older kids and would require some help from the adult. It is super fun to use and it is a great way to teach the very basics of how film and moving image works to kids. These could also make for a fun school project for GCSE Media Studies. Teachers, you hear me? The camera can record 30 seconds of film and works by cranking the attached handle. Frames per second are very much dependent on how fast one cranks. The extremely low price is also very appealing.
Lomography Lomokino Movie Camera
The Lomography Lomokino Movie Camera allows you to shoot a movie of 144 frames on any 35mm film. The Lomokino is equipped with a 25mm lens with an aperture range of f/5.6 to f/11 and a focusing distance from 0.6m to infinity. The Lomokino accepts all kinds of 35mm film, from black and white, colour negative, X-Pro and redscale. LomoKino is a fun, easy-to-use camera that gives you the chance to ...
5. Nikon Coolpix W150 Digital Camera – Resort
Not to discriminate against digital compact cameras – Here’s the Nikon Coolpix W150 in a funky, bright tropical design. Digital cameras are of-course more expensive but don’t require film which although cheap has to be re-purchased not to mention the cost of developing the film. This is a fantastic, robust, and water-proof travel companion that your kids will have a hard time breaking. It also comes at a reasonable price. If you fancy a different design, don’t fret, there are more available.
Nikon Coolpix W150 Digital Camera - Resort
Waterproof, shock-proof, freeze-proof and dust-proof, this compact adventure camera is built to go anywhere and offers a truly hassle-free experience. From snowy landscapes to underwater scenes, the Nikon COOLPIX W150 is so easy to use that anyone can capture superb photos and videos with it. Underwater Face Framing mode ensures great shots in the pool or on a dive of up to 10m.
Film for Cameras
For the Fujifilm Instax cameras, there are a lot of fun frame choices. As examples, I picked the original film for the Instax Mini that is the most widely used and a rainbow variation. To mix things up keep an eye on exclusive releases such as the Taylor Swift one. This type of film is super easy to use although, depending on the age of the child, you might have to help them out with the loading of the film (which is also very easy and quick).
Fujifilm Instax Mini Colour Photo Film 20 Shot
The Fujifilm Instax Mini Colour Photo Film includes 20 sheets of wallet-sized instant film. Instax Mini film (for use in all the Instax mini cameras) comes in a handy cartridge, giving stunning-quality instant images that fit into a purse, wallet or mini photoframe. Film size: 54 (W) x 86 (H) mm. Picture size: 46 (W) x 62 (H) mm.
Lomography cameras are a lot of fun to use and so is their 135mm film selection. There is plenty of different colour film to experiment with such as the Colour Negative, Lady Grey and the very popular Purple Film. With this type of film, an adult should supervise especially when loading the film. As a responsible human in charge of an apprentice human, you should also take care of developing the film. The results are fun and it’s always great to teach younglings about analogue. You never know – One day they might become a renowned photographer because of a passion you started. I also included a cheaper film version just in case.
Lomography Colour Negative 100 135 Film
Perfect for sunny days and fun flash adventures, Lomography Colour Negative 100 ISO is for use with 35mm film cameras and will deliver smooth grain and strong colours. 36 exposures. This pack contains 3 rolls of film.
Lomography Lady Grey 400 135 Film
The Lomography Lady Grey ISO 400 film will bring you rich black and white tones and smooth grain into your images. Perfect for capturing action and great low-light shots. 36 exposures. This pack contains 3 rolls of film.
Lomography Lomochrome Purple XR 100-400 135 Film
This colour negative film gives you a surreal analogue experience with its colour shifting abilities. This unique colour negative film will astound you by transforming natural tones of your photo into new eye-popping hues. A revival of the psychedelic infrared look from the Kodak Aerochrome film we all love, this film guarantees astounding photographic results.
Ilford FP4 Plus 35mm film (36 exposure)
Ilford FP4 Plus is an exceptionally fine grain, medium speed, black and white film. It is ideal for high quality indoor and outdoor photography, particularly when giant enlargements are to be made. Nominally rated at ISO 125, FP4 Plus is also suited to copying and internegative work, and has many applications in scientific, technical and industrial photography.
As a final note, I would like to mention Single Use Cameras – You know the ones you get from Boots? These cost less than a twenty and kids love them, I love them, you love them. The best part is that you don’t even have to load the film; it’s already in there ready to snap some friends and family pictures.
About the Author
Patrycja Reimus is a Norwich based horror artist and an award-winning filmmaker. She is also our Technical Copywriter who frequently enjoys writing for our blog. For more information about her work please visit patrycja-reimus.squarespace.com. You can also follow her wonderfully weird and obscene imagery on Instagram @reimuspati_art or stalk her personal life @patrycja_reimus.