Pros: Overall great for little hands and able to take a beating
Cons: Poor photo quality, battery life, must delete photos one by one
After the countless times I told my daughter "NO! Don't touch my camera", I decided it was time that she had her own camera. Last Christmas 2008 she got the Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera.
The Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera is a real, functioning digital camera made for small hands that just can't get a solid grip on things that they pick up. The soft rubbery grips help keep this somewhat bulky feeling camera stable in little hands. The camera weighs almost 11 ounces and comes in two colors - blue or pink. We have the girly pink camera.
Camera Specs (from manual):
Picture resolution is 640x480 standard resolution or 1.3 megapixels high resolution
64MB internal memory - this ranges from 165 pictures to 500 pictures, depending on the resolution setting
Focus range is about 4 feet
1.6 inch color LCD screen
4 AAA batteries
Flash range is 4 - 7.5 feet
System Requirements (from manual):
Windows 2000 or higher, Macintosh OS 10 or higher
Pentium 500MHz processor or better
Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera
Physical external features
The back of the camera has a power button (orange), a delete button (blue), and two (green) buttons to page forward and back through the pictures. There are two viewfinders which is easier children to use rather than looking through one small viewfinder. The shutter button is located on the front of the camera. This particular camera is white on the plastic base with some hearts on the front. The rubber grips are a bright pink.
There is an auto flash which is conveniently located in the top middle of the camera, as opposed to the top corner of most traditional point and shoot cameras. If you have ever seen a child with a camera, you probably noticed that they do not know how to properly hold their hands while taking a picture, and little fingers are often in front of the flash. When my daughter holds the Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera, she can't get her fingers in front of the flash.
On the bottom of the camera is a tab that when turned will open up a door for the battery housing and the USB attachment. (More on USB and batteries later).
Holding down the picture scroll buttons and the shutter button at the same time will change the image resolution.
LCD Screen Display
The screen is tiny and the images are not very clear, but for a child it is adequate. My daughter will usually use the viewfinder to take her pictures. She often doesn't bother even looking at the screen. In the bottom left there is a flash indicator, displayed with a lightening bolt. When the batteries are low, a line will show through the flash. When scrolling through the photos, the bottom right will indicate the photo number.
To delete a photo, push the delete button and a garbage can and question mark will appear on the LCD. Push the delete button again to confirm the deletion of the photo. Photos must be deleted one by one. So if your child fills up the memory with 300 photos, deleting them will be a tedious task.
There is a low battery indicator image.
IMPORTANT! NOT IN THE MANUAL! If three circles appear on the LCD - one green, one yellow, one red - with an arrow under the red circle, this means that the memory is full. This is not in the manual. When this happened the first happened, my daughter could not take any more pictures and we could not understand why or what the images meant. We hunted through the manual and could not find the problem. I called customer service, thinking there may be a problem with the camera. I was instructed that the memory is full and we would need to delete pictures in order to take more photos.
There is a battery door on the bottom of the camera. You will need a screwdriver to open the tab on the door. If the camera is on and the battery door is opened, the camera will automatically shut off. The camera takes 4 AAA batteries. The batteries will last about 200-300 photos, depending on how often the flash is used. This may sound good, and is comparable to my regular digital camera. But remember that a child is using the camera. My daughter will shoot that many photos in a matter of a couple hours - therefore draining the batteries in that amount of time.
Getting two hours use out of four batteries is frustrating and a drain on the wallet. I highly recommend getting rechargeable batteries to use in this camera. Not only is it more cost effective that way, just try explaining to a four year old "Sorry, I have no more batteries. You can't use the camera until I get to the store to buy more batteries".
Uploading photos to your computer
Under the battery door is also the USB connector. Connect the included USB cord into the camera and into the USB port on your computer. The camera will automatically turn on. I have Windows XP, and my computer detected the camera and walked me through uploading the photos to my computer. You will need to use your own software of choice for any editing, printing or uploading to an internet photo site.
Printed Picture Quality
The picture quality is not great. I have only printed a few pictures, and they come out grainy. A lot of light is needed for pictures. The flash does not work as well when the batteries start to loose energy, so there is increased chance for dark pictures, which only lead to blurry pictures.
My Experience with Fisher Price
After about six months of use, we experienced a problem with our Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera. As we tried to delete photos, the camera would freeze. We could not delete, scroll through photos, or even shut off the camera. The only way to shut off the camera was to open the battery door. I called Fisher Price to see if they could help me fix the problem or see if this was a known problem with the camera. I spoke to a very helpful technician who talked to me for a long time and led me through several steps. Nothing fixed the problem. In the end I was sent a mailing label via e-mail and I mailed the camera back to Fisher Price (at my expense). A few weeks later we had a replacement brand new, current model Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera - all at Fisher Price's expense. I must say I am very impressed with this level of customer service from Fisher Price. I was only hoping for a remedy to our problem and they responded with a complete replacement.
The current camera is nearly identical to our previous camera. There is a new version out on the shelves. The colors are slightly different, but still pink. The old camera was waterproof, but the new camera is not. The waterproof cameras are not intended for underwater use. I compared the two manuals, and while some pictures in the all manual have been changed, all other aspects of the two cameras are the same.
The camera has an auto shut off to preserve battery life.
The camera is recommended for ages 3 and up.
Our Overall Experience with the Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera
My daughter loves her camera. She will walk around the house and take pictures of anything... the wall, my feet, the sofa, the refrigerator, the back of my head.... you get the idea. Her pictures are never centered. She isn't even the least bit concerned about having her pictures loaded onto the computer or getting them printed out. This works in my benefit since the printed quality of the photos tends to be poor. But if your child wants to have their photos printed, they may be disappointed. Her goal is to just tell us to say cheese and snap pictures. My son gets his hands on it and also loves to walk around saying "cheese". The camera has been dropped over and over again and the outside of the camera shows no indication of wear and tear.
I have found that we get about 300 pictures on the memory. As mentioned earlier - you have to delete the photos one by one. That is usually my job.
My daughter had no problem figuring out the different control buttons on the camera. No reading is necessary to figure out the buttons, and I like that the buttons are different colors. She is oblivious to the flash and low battery indicators. Parents will have to keep an eye on those, especially the battery indicator.
Despite the problem we had with our first camera, I am still pleased with the Fisher Price Kid Tough Camera. This camera was a gift to my daughter, but I saw on the Toys R Us site that it currently sells for $49.99. This camera really is kid tough, and if your child is ready for a beginner camera, it will withstand the abuses it will surely take. Just don't expect exceptional picture quality. In fact, if your four year old is like mine, you won't even have to print the pictures!
And don't forget to pick up rechargeable batteries!