I tested many cameras and found the Nikon D3400 to be the best camera for teenagers.
I have shot many tens of thousands of photos on more devices than I can count going back to my teenage years. I remember what I wanted the camera to do and how I wanted the weight to feel for my growing teenage body.
I think the Nikon D3400 checks all the key boxes because the body is light and compact. Nikon created an incredible camera packed with beginner to professional range DSLR options. There is also a Guide Mode that teaches beginners, so do not let the word “professional” scare you.
I wanted to include as many people in as many different situations as possible, even though I had to pick a winner. High on my list were considerations like budget and what kind of entry-level features makes a particular camera the best candidate for teenagers.
Best Cameras for Teenagers Reviewed
These are the cameras that I think are the best blend of factors like features, capabilities, and budgetary concerns. Read on to find which other cameras I loved and why.
- Overall Best Camera for Teenagers: Nikon D3400
- Best Budget Camera for Teenagers: Canon Powershot 190
- Best Entry-level DSLR Camera for Teenagers: Nikon D3500
- Best DSLR for Teenagers: Canon EOS Rebel T7
- Best Instant Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm – Instax Mini 11
- Best Compact Camera for Teenagers: Kodak Pixpro WPZ2m
- Best Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm X-T200
- Best Mirrorless Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm X70
- Best Mirrorless Vlog Camera for Teenagers: Sony – Alpha ZV-E10
- Best Compact Vlog Camera for Teengers: Canon EOS M50 Mark II
- Best Bridge Camera for Teenagers: Canon PowerShot SX420 IS
- Best Action Camera for Teenagers: GoPro Hero 10 Black
- Best 4K Waterproof Action Camera with Remote for Teenagers: AKASO – Brave 7 LE
- Best Point and Shoot Camera for Teenagers: Sony DSCW800
#1 Overall Best Camera for Teenagers: Nikon D3400
The Nikon D3400 DSLR camera is the best choice for teenagers because of its attractive price and cool features. You can get this camera for less than $500 right now. The reasonable price combined with semi-pro features will satisfy both teens and parents.
One of the most crucial features teenagers will like is Snapbridge. Snapbridge works through Bluetooth and allows social media-loving teens to upload photos to their phones quickly.
Two lenses are available, the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and a longer 70-300mm. Most people recommend 18-55mm because the VR (Vibration Reduction) keeps shots clear in different lighting situations.
The longer lens does not have VR. Many teenagers probably want a better lens for close-range shots.
Another benefit is “Guide Mode,” which offers tutoring to help teens navigate the functions. Using the D3400 is similar to using a professional camera. The more high-end cameras share many of the same features. Teens will appreciate assistance navigating the options for the first time.
This Nikon has five frames per second (fps) shooting. The rate of five frames per second means that a teen can catch active friends in motion and get the perfect shot. Its video capabilities are up to speed with the modern internet standard of 1080p at 60 fps. Competing on YouTube will be that much easier.
The camera offers high image quality thanks to a 24.2-megapixel sensor. Expensive phones can match and surpass this number of megapixels but will not get the same clarity and zoom features. A teenager can control the aperture settings and take sharp images.
Short battery life plagues many cameras and devices. You should be able to take about 1,000 to 1,200 photos on one battery charge. Such a long battery life is enough to cover every photo on a 3-day vacation without recharging for most people.
Teenagers are not done growing yet and have incomplete muscle development. The Nikon D3400 weighs almost half as much as similar cameras. Most teenagers will feel more comfortable with this camera around their necks in between shots.
Lastly, the ISO goes up to 25,000, which is good for low light. All cameras struggle as the sun starts to go down. Beginners can learn about ISO settings and fix those dusk shots that are so hard to get right.
#2 Best Budget Camera for Teenagers: Canon Powershot 190
You will notice a substantial decrease in features compared to the overall best camera. The Canon Powershot 190 still boasts some impressive features, like 20-megapixel image quality, for those on a budget.
The top three features are the 10x optical zoom, built-in WiFi with a help button, and the large screen. The bright screen helps you see what the lens can see more easily. These features mean you can comfortably zoom in, take a shot, and instantly upload photos to social media.
The video is a bit of a letdown, to be honest. There is a good chance most teenagers have a phone in their pocket that takes better than 720p video. The 10x zoom that offers good clarity might come in and save the day again despite the video quality.
Cameras on expensive phones take great selfies but can fall apart when zooming.
The image stabilizer comes in handy too. Traveling teenagers might see a statue or a beautiful flower and want a still shot without blur. You will be happy to know that you can get the same benefit following your friend on a skateboard.
The Powershot 190 has a low price point and simple controls. There is no shortage of teenagers who do not want to mess around with exhaustive menu options. Many teenagers will like the point-and-click style of the Powershot, thanks to several auto-features.
The Powershot 190 does not have the features to take the sophisticated shots of other cameras on our list. What this camera does well is to give a teenager a budget-friendly option to easily get going and take nice pictures in a fun way.
#3 Best Entry-level DSLR Camera for Teenagers: Nikon D3500
You might wonder why the Nikon D3400 and D3500 make our list for different reasons. Surely, not much has changed from one generation to the next. You are not mistaken. The D3500 costs $200 more even though the cameras are similar.
The D3500 can have the best entry-level slot but is not the best overall when you can save that much money on the D3400.
One of the first noticeable differences between the D3400 and D3500 is the size and weight. The D3500 is smaller and 1.5 oz lighter. The D3400 was already a light camera which is easier for teenagers. 1.5 oz may not sound like much, but small amounts accumulate over time.
There are also some aesthetic changes. The D3500 has a more sleek and slender design from several angles. The grip is deeper, and teenagers of all hand sizes say the D3500 feels better in the palm.
Most of the technical specs are similar such as the 24.2-megapixel sensor. Snapbridge works the same for uploading photos to phones for social media. Teenagers that find the D3400 handy will get the same satisfaction out of the D3500.
The long battery life is another important feature that remains. The essential-for-beginners Guide Mode is still there. These cameras are not as complex as some high-end models, but there are enough features to leave teens and other novices scratching their heads.
One of the things you would hope Nikon would improve from one generation to the next is video quality. They left the quality at 1080p and 60fps. Teens will be happy anyway since these specs are more than enough for several kinds of good videos or vlogging.
The Nikon D3500 is a D3400 that is slightly better but costs a bit more. Teens will get more out of this DSLR entry-level camera since the D3500 has several improved features. You will like this camera better if your budget allows for a slightly larger price tag.
#4 Best DSLR for Teenagers: Canon EOS Rebel T7
Some teenagers know early on that they want to get into photography seriously. The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is the perfect camera for those teenagers who is thinking ahead toward a career.
This DSLR camera has a 24.1 MP CMOS APS-C Sensor. The video capabilities are 1080p at 30fps. The high image quality and video will cover the needs of an aspiring teen photographer, young journalist, or vlogger.
However, young vloggers who prioritize video should know that the Rebel T7 favors photography over videography. The 1080p is fine, but the 30fps will not satisfy some vloggers.
The camera also has built-in WiFi but no Bluetooth. The WiFi connection is enough for social media-loving teens to get photos or footage on their phones.
The 18-55mm lens has image stabilization. A learning teen who pops the camera in auto-mode can still take beautiful shots without blur. The same features will enhance many shots once you get into the manual features.
One of the main reasons this is one of the best-selling DSLR cameras in history is that a novice teen can take the camera out of the box and snap good photos. You can use features like the ability to switch lenses, and its capabilities will keep pace as your skills evolve.
One of the other great aspects of this camera is the resale value you get. A serious teenager might get all of the use out of the Rebel T7 possible and move on to other cameras. There is a good chance you can get 65%-75% of your money back by selling this camera second-hand.
The reason the Canon EOS Rebel T7 is the best DSLR for teenagers is that this platform makes the best gateway camera for passionate teenage photographers. A serious teenager can learn all the basics about photography whether or not moving on to professional equipment happens.
#5 Best Instant Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm – Instax Mini 11
Instant cameras are not something you see every day. Their time in the spotlight was decades ago. However, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 produces an instant handheld photograph and gets young adults into photography.
Some teenagers want to start taking pictures without knowing whether or not the hobby will take hold. The Instax Mini allows teenagers to get their feet wet for less than $60. That price point is a cheap entry into cameras for teenagers who take a few photos and go back to using their smartphones.
The most obvious benefit is the instant feature. Instant means that the camera takes and prints a photo on the spot. Sometimes nothing can replace a handheld photo that requires zero electricity to view.
The camera uses a 35mm lens with full-automatic exposure control, and the flash always lights up. The default orientation is vertical for taking selfies and portraits. Friends on a nature walk can take a scenic selfie and have the photo immediately.
The design of the camera also considers bright and low light. The shutter speeds vary between 12 and 1250 seconds with slow synchro flash.
Teens will also appreciate the way the design lends itself to taking selfies. There is a selfie mirror on the front of the lens and a close-up mode for selfies. Teens will have no problem getting their faces centered with interesting backgrounds.
Compared to other cameras on our list, the lack of controls to learn is stark. A single button pops the lens out and turns the power on at the same time. Pressing the lens back in turns the camera off. Teens with short attention spans can take quick selfies with the Mini 11.
Teenagers on a budget can hardly do better for a cheap entry price and a simple design that works quickly. Not to mention, the Mini 11 instantly puts a real photograph in your hand.
#6 Best Compact Camera for Teenagers: Kodak Pixpro WPZ2
The Kodak Pixpro WPZ2 does a great job of stuffing features into a compact design while being waterproof up to almost 50 ft. This camera is a great choice for active teenagers who may be filming around the neighborhood one day and in the water the next.
Many teenagers with growing brains and bodies can be slightly rougher on equipment than more cautious adults. One accidental drop of a sensitive camera can ruin the day. Active teens will love that this Kodak has a shockproof and dustproof design.
There are several scenes to choose from, even though some teens do not like too many options. Panorama, Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Sunset, and Image Stabilization are a few of the 19 scenes available. Teens and Tweens with a good eye can enhance almost any scene.
Surprisingly, the ISO ranges between 100 to 3,200 giving inquisitive minds a taste of professional photography options. Most people probably choose the auto setting, but adjusting this feature allows you to take the best picture possible in different types of light.
Let’s not forget the size since this camera is our compact choice. The body of this camera only weighs 6.21 oz which is less than half a pound. The dimensions are 4.06 × 2.62 × 2.06 in. Having this camera fit in the palm and not weigh anything down will make most teens happy.
On the business end, the CMOS sensor allows for 16.35-megapixel images. The megapixels are not the best, but there is enough quality for nice shots. You can take 1080p videos at 30 fps. Vloggers will have what they need on land and underwater.
The focal length is 35mm equivalent to a 4x zoom. An additional 6x digital zoom brings the effective zoom up to the equivalent of a 24x zoom. The photo may not win any awards, but zooming in this much means adventurous teenagers can transition from selfies to quasi-long-range shots.
The Pixpro fits snugly into the pocket and is capable of sophisticated shots. Teenagers will love the grab-and-go design at an affordable price.
#7 Best Entry-Level Mirrorless Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm X-T200
The Fujifilm X-T200 and the word affordable cannot be in the same room together, but the camera is great for teens who are learning. I highly recommend this camera for inquisitive teens who possess an artistic flare.
Transitioning film-like colors to digital was easy since Fuji has always made most of the old-school film used around the world. The net effect is that the XT200 photos look great with color variations unique to Fujifilm.
Young photographers can enjoy 24.2-megapixel shots with a large APS-C CMOS image sensor. The camera detects faces extremely well with updated auto-focus. Teenagers often want technology that simply works, so they will love the ease of taking crisp shots.
Most cameras fail in low light, so the X-T200 offers -5.0EV which allows low-light shots with minimal distortion and graininess. Dusk no longer has to be a time to put away the camera.
Adjustable screens allow for unique shots when looking through the viewfinder is difficult. This camera has a 16:9 aspect ratio 3.5-inch screen that opens and rotates between -90° and 180°. Creative teenage minds will love thinking up new shot angles with so much flexibility.
Continuous shooting goes up to 8fps. Eight frames are enough to catch the perfect shot in a series of actions. Teen newcomers to photography will love the range on offer to get great shots in all types of light using automatic settings.
Many more young people have come on board with video-making and vlogging lately. The X-T200 offers some robust settings for aspiring videographers.
Maximum quality 4K allows you to shoot 15-minute videos at a time. Full HD and HD both allow for 30-minute videos. The recording lengths give plenty of time whether doing short films or fun videos.
Bring extra batteries or a charger on trips. Expect about an hour of battery life when shooting video or 250-450 stills depending on power settings. One battery should be enough for one day of photography.
#8 Best Mirrorless Camera for Teenagers: Fujifilm X70
The Fujifilm X70 is an icon and a bit of a collector’s item. The resale value might go up or remain high for a teenager who gets this camera.
The X-Trans CMOS II sensor offers 16.3 megapixels. Some people reading about these cameras might think the megapixels sound low by comparison, but the image quality is sharp thanks to the 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) lens. Some people even bring the sharpness down in post-production.
You may have noticed that 18.5mm does not offer much zoom if you are new to photography. You are correct. The X70 is an excellent choice for wide-angle shots such as selfies with friends and group photos. Landscapes look great too.
One thing to know about this camera is that the design is good for getting into stills but not as much for making videos. The initial stats look impressive with Full HD at 60fps. Video mode does not have auto-stabilization coupled with an awkwardly located button. Teens who want to learn photography will never notice the shortcomings of doing video.
This camera is the perfect size for pockets and young people with smaller hands. Many teens will have a phone that takes up one pocket already. The X70 fits nicely into breast pockets and small side pockets on bags.
Charging with a mini-USB is another plus since many teens carry around external battery packs. Several cameras on this list use dedicated external chargers that require outlets. Most teenagers will enjoy the ability to stay mobile and charge the battery.
Charging the battery might be important because one full charge lasts for about 330 frames. That number of frames covers most photography outings. Charging might be necessary if you shoot some video, and a mini-USB will come in handy.
#9 Best Mirrorless Vlog Camera for Teenagers: Sony – Alpha ZV-E10
There are several reasons the Sony Alpha ZV-E10 is the best mirrorless vlog camera, and the ability to change lenses ranks high among those reasons.
Sony engineers tailor-made this camera specifically for vlogging. Lenses quality in photography and videography makes shots.
Yes, the camera specifications and capabilities matter, but the lens takes in the images and determines how they look. Young videographers will be happy to know they can attach the right lens for the best look.
This camera is not a vlogger’s dream just because of the ability to change lenses. The button arrangement and options makes creating videos easier than most other cameras.
Dedicated buttons allow you to switch between slow motion, blurry background, and product review scene styles. Vloggers, young and old, who own this camera appreciate the buttons that allow for quick style transitions.
The Alpha ZV-E10 also has fast auto-focus and one-touch eye tracking with auto-stabilization. The package even includes a supplied windscreen for the directional 3-capsule microphone, so voices remain clear for videos or live streaming.
A 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor allows for excellent photo quality. Comparing lens quality and photo quality varies since you can change lenses. Many more specifications allow for unlimited tailor-made shots. Teens will have as much fun exploring setups as they will vlogging.
There is a decision to make concerning cropping on the video end. Teenagers will like the 4K option at 24fps without cropping.
WiFi matters to vloggers. One feature that makes this camera great is the ability to do livestreams by connecting to a device with a USB-C cable. The Sony Imaging Edge app also allows streaming to a mobile device. Young learners will appreciate being able to choose between a computer and an app connection.
Another unique feature that improves vlogs is the vertical video option. Vertical video flips the aspect ratio from horizontal to vertical. The image no longer has to fit into the horizontal perspective. Young vloggers can offer interesting angles using this vertical feature.
#10 Best Compact Vlog Camera for Teenagers: Canon EOS M50 Mark II
One of the most defining characteristics of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is the ease of use. The truth is that videography will wear you down if you spend as much time figuring out your camera as you do vlogging.
The compact size is also one of the key features. The M50 Mark II fits into many types of pockets and is not heavy. Many vloggers make videos while walking and being active. A bulky camera gets in the way. The M50 mitigates these size problems.
Auto-focus is an often overlooked feature that many new vloggers miss. The M50 has an accurate auto-focus system that is easy to use. Ease of use is a function teens almost always love that keeps emotions running high.
The external microphone is an essential part of the arsenal of any vlogger. The M50 supports many types of microphones through the audio jack. Any young vlogger knows the difference if they have ever recorded with a built-in microphone versus an external setup.
The 24.1 megapixel CMOS sensor determines picture quality. 24 megapixels is plenty to produce clean images with sharp edges. Vloggers will also love the record button on the screen, which means there is no oddly placed button to feel around for on the body.
The video system records in MP4 format. Teens will like that this camera supports livestreaming. In addition, 4K works at 24fps, and Full HD offers 60fps. Novice vloggers will enjoy all the options for making high-quality videos.
You can purchase the M50 as a standalone body or with a lens. The ability to choose lenses means getting different-looking shots by lens choice alone. The most recommended lens types are 15-45mm, 55-200mm, and 22mm. Any new vlogger can expertly craft videos with these choices.
#11 Best Bridge Camera for Teenagers: Canon PowerShot SX420 IS
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS makes the best bridge camera because the layout resembles complex cameras, but the interface is not as challenging to learn.
One negative aspect is that the battery only lasts about 190 shots. Have a way to charge the non-USB battery or bring spares. Fortunately, the batteries are small, so they will not way down a bag.
One of the most impressive features of this Powershot is the 42x zoom with another 4x digital zoom for a total of 46x or 35mm film equivalent—24-1008mm (Pro tip: 1008 24 = 42 hence 42x zoom). That much zoom with image stabilization on a compact camera is outstanding. Young learners can zoom in over the ocean or take fun shots on the beach.
Even the faraway zoom shots will look as good as possible with the capable 20-megapixel CCD sensor. Newcomers to photography will be happy to know that almost all shots will look good as soon as you get up to about 20 megapixels.
16-megapixels requires a quality lens to compensate but not 20 MP. Having 20 is important because this Canon has a fixed lens which is integral to achieving a 42x zoom. You will be happy to know that there is plenty of processing power to guarantee the lens produces good images.
Another plus is WiFi connectivity since this camera is getting old now. Teens will enjoy being able to transfer camera-quality shots to phones for quick sharing.
Most of the buttons and knobs on DSLR cameras are not on this Canon. However, teens who want to become photography students will be happy to know that many of the same types of controls are in the menus on the digital screen.
Aspiring videographers can do better with some other cameras. This Powershot only offers 720p video, which is below what most vloggers use. 720p still counts as HD, so you can enjoy this camera if everything else works.
Many aspects of the SX420 are a steal considering the relatively low price for powerful features such as the long-range zoom.
#12 Best Action Cam for Teenagers: GoPro Hero 10 Black
GoPros have a lot of market clout, so one thing that is important to understand is that a GoPro can cost about as much as entry-level DSLRs. You can consider buying a proper photography camera or a GoPro for a similar cost.
Getting specific, one of the first important things to note about the GoPro 10 is its similarity to the GoPro 9. There is even a negligible price difference. However, if you see a good deal on the Hero 9, buy the Hero 10 anyway. The Hero 10 uses the GP2 processor, which changes everything.
The processor upgrade makes every aspect of the Hero 10, from the screen to video upload times, faster. Teenage buyers will love getting so much more power for a negligible price difference.
We need to look at what a GoPro is versus the 5.3K60 and 4K120 video resolution with stabilization and 23-megapixel photos. People buy GoPros to make action videos. Young videographers will be happy to know that the video resolution is so good that you can get photo quality by freezing video shots in 4K.
Photos upload directly to the Cloud. Water is nothing to fear because the Hero 10 is waterproof up to 33 ft.
GoPro always intended for their cameras to make action-packed videos. You can enjoy two ways to get great stills too.
#13 Best 4K Waterproof Action Camera with Remote for Teenagers: AKASO – Brave 7 LE
One thing I love about the Akaso Brave 7 LE is that they made the housing waterproof up to a meter without the additional housing. This decision means you can be hiking and transition to a shallow river crossing without worrying about water getting on the camera.
The improved waterproof housing lets you go diving up to 131 ft. Most recreational dives do not go past 100 ft. The decision to provide a waterproof housing of such quality sets Akaso apart in the diving world, not to mention the price of about half as much as a GoPro.
The other advantage for waterproof uses is that the Akaso has a touchscreen that you can bypass underwater using side buttons. Scuba divers cannot resurface every time they need to press a button, so the addition of manual buttons is a huge plus.
The video stabilization is not as good as higher-end models since the Akaso is a budget option. Divers probably will not have a problem with the level of stabilization, but trail riders might regret the purchase.
The battery is a big plus because you should be able to shoot over two hours at 4K. The package comes with two batteries if you burn through the first one on a heavy shooting day.
Charging the batteries is not stressful because you can use the mini-USB or the charging cradle. Fans of external battery packs will be happy about the USB feature.
Most people demand high video quality, and the Akaso will not disappoint. You can shoot crisp videos in 4K at 30fps thanks to the 20-megapixel sensor.
#14 Best Point and Shoot Camera for Teenagers: Sony DSCW800
The Sony DSCW800 is truly an entry-level camera. Sony designed this camera to work as a point-and-click model. There are a few options but not enough to confuse many people. This Sony model is also a fantastic choice for people on a budget who want a dedicated camera.
This camera uses a Super HAD CCD 20.1 megapixel sensor, and has 5x optical zoom capability. The zoom is not incredible, but 20.1MP is more than enough to take crisp photos.
One of the features that makes this a true point-and-shoot camera for teenagers is the simple mode. Active teens with no time to select scenes or mess with other buttons can enjoy instant shooting in simple mode.
The body has a built-in flash, and the software uses +/- 2.0EV. The camera can cope decently well with lighting changes because of the combination of the flash and built-in EV levels. Always remember that as the sun goes down, almost every camera struggles with graininess.
You should carry charging capability or extra batteries because a full battery only lasts for 200 photos. The batteries are slender and light, so you will save pocket or bag space.
This camera works better for photos because the video capability is 720p at 30 fps. Aspiring young vloggers can get started with this camera but will quickly want to upgrade to at least 1080p.
Another advantage this camera offers to someone who carries two cameras is the ability to take a photo quickly. Sometimes, things happen, and you must take a shot as fast as possible or miss the opportunity. Teens looking to expand their arsenal can rely on this camera for a very reasonable price.
7 Things to Consider When Buying Cameras for Teenagers
Every teenager and family will have different living situations that dictate considerations. These guidelines seek to give the best advice to as many people as possible.
1. Price and Your Budget
The first question I would ask is, what do you want the camera to do? For example, do you have a smaller budget, but you want the ability to zoom? The Canon PowerShot SX420 grants that ability and is not a budget killer.
2. Your Skill Level
I would couple your skill level with your eagerness to learn photography. You can save a lot of money if you simply want to take some pictures but have no desire to get too technical. The skills you need come with experience, so do not worry about learning.
3. Camera Types
Choosing between an action camera, a DSLR, a compact camera, or a mirrorless camera depends on budget and intended use. For example, a DSLR is for you if you have the budget and want to get technical and learn everything about photography.
You cannot beat the durability of an action camera such as the GoPro. These are also some of the only underwater cameras that offer what many divers need. You can buy various kinds of cases that improve the durability of standard cameras for rough conditions.
5. Image Quality
Image quality comes with various considerations. 4K video usually looks so good that you can freeze a video frame and have a quality photo. Stick with sensors that have at least 20 megapixels for reliable photo quality you can trust.
I find usability is a personal preference because a smaller person might consider a slightly heavier camera more difficult to hold. The other half of usability is deciding how much you want to dedicate yourself to photography because you will be pressing buttons and scrolling through menus.
7. Weight and Size
Weight and size are two personal preferences that can change from one outing to another. I recommend getting the camera that does what you want in the smallest and lightest package possible. Almost anything you carry can get heavy after enough time passes.
I loved something, sometimes many things, about all these cameras even though I had to settle on a winner and picked the Nikon D3400.
I believe that the best camera is the one you can afford and still accomplish your goals. Remember, most cameras are easily breakable so consider your lifestyle before buying.
Here is a great place to start when you need to learn more or are ready to take the plunge.