Product Type: Orchard toys
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VTech Kidizoom Plus Multimedia Digital Camera
Member Name: arleek
VTech Kidizoom Plus Multimedia Digital Camera
Date: 11/02/11, updated on 12/02/11 (95 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to use, fun to use, seemingly unbreakable
Disadvantages: Poor picture quality
Reviews on this camera were very mixed and they ranged from people saying they were wonderful to others saying they were complete rubbish so I was not quite sure what to expect, but overall I have been really pleased with my purchase and would definitely recommend to other parents of children who love to take pictures - lets be honest most under 5s are not too bothered about the end result, they are more interested in pressing the buttons.
A 2 megapixel camera with a zoom function, video option, 5 mini games, photo editor where you can warp the photos or add stamps or frames to your pictures. It has a dual viewfinder, a bit like looking through binoculars (so your child doesn't have to close one eye), a colour screen, built-in flash, 256Mb of internal memory (can store up to 500 photos), and an SD card slot for extra memory if you need it. Included with the camera is a USB cable, a TV cable, and software for editing on the computer, and also 2 changeable face plates if you feel like a change of look.
So that is the basics of the camera, if you wanted to know what you get for your money.
The camera is obviously designed with children in mind, it's bright and chunky and has soft easy to grip handles at either side, it's the perfect size for little sticky hands. The dual viewfinder is a great idea but my daughter does not use this, she just prefers to use the screen. I think it must have also been designed with 'dropping' in mind because ours has been dropped quite a few times on our laminate floor and has not fallen apart, it hasn't even been damaged, it just tends to bounce. The buttons are all a good size and located within easy press-able reach for children.
On the rear of the camera are 9 buttons plus a dial/wheel selector which allows you to easily select the mode you want.
The dial has 6 functions - camera, video, view pictures, settings, games, and photo editor.
The 9 buttons are as follows - On/Off, delete, OK, Flash, 4 way direction button, Mode, Volume, Zoom in and Zoom out. These are all pretty self explanatory and it is easy to determine once you are using the camera which button does what. My daughter quickly found her way around the camera, and to be honest most of the buttons on the back she does not tend to use, unless she is playing a game.
There is a large capture button on the top of the camera to take photos with, but you can also use the OK button on the back and I have often seen my daughter using this OK button in preference to the one on the top, I guess it's just easier that way.
Well to be honest, the picture quality is not the best, most of the shots tend to come out blurry, but I find the reason for this is because it is difficult for a 4 year to grasp the fact that they have to keep the camera still before and after pressing the button in order to get a clear picture. We do get the occasional crystal clear photograph, but this is quite rare and is usually when I have taken the picture.
What adds to the blurriness is the fact that you can press the capture button and there is at least 1 second before the picture is actually taken, so my daughter will press the button and expect the picture to appear straight away, but whilst the camera is processing she meanwhile has moved onto something else, and the photograph just ends up being a blur of where she has moved the camera to and from. But this is not with every photo she takes, depending on her mood she sometimes has patience and sometimes doesn't. Her better pictures are usually from when she is photographing her toys, a still subject is better that a moving one in my opinion!
The flash is also not particularly good, most of the time it doesn't even activate, even in a dull room, and when it does activate it tends to white out the complete photograph so you end up with just a white screen. So it's probably a good thing that it doesn't work most of the time.
However, despite the vast majority of the photographs being poor quality, this has not bothered my daughter in the slightest. I actually uploaded about 200 of her pictures to the computer recently (most of them being of me in close range or her toy dogs) so she could look at them, and she looked at about 3 pictures and soon lost interest. For my daughter, it is all in the act of taking the photographs rather than the end result, although sometimes when she takes a funny photo (more on this later) she does enjoy looking back on it and having a giggle.
The video option is lost on my daughter; it's just too much for her to understand. I think this is because the screen still looks the same as when she is about to take a photograph, she cannot grasp the fact that she is taking a video so ends up pressing the button over and over again, taking several 1 second long videos, and then getting frustrated when nothing is happening like she thinks it should be. I think perhaps if there was a large video icon that showed up on the screen once a video was in progress might improve this feature for me daughter. As it is she doesn't use it.
My favourite part of this camera is the fact that you can alter and modify images whilst they are still on the camera. There are a few ways you can do this; first of all there is the face warp. This is where you can alter the shape of someone's head, there are several different shapes you can use and to be honest it's the most fun I have had in a long time, forget my daughter, I would buy this camera for myself on the sole basis of this feature! You can either modify a photograph after you have taken it, or you can have the shape on the screen while you are actually taking the photograph, so you really can get the perfect shot. I now have numerous photographs of my husband with an oversized head, or obscenely large mouth and nostrils, or even a squashed face. Unfortunately, he doesn't find it as funny as I do.
You can also add stamps or frames to your pictures; the stamps are in the form of funny hats, glasses, moustaches, you get the idea, and the frames are just different patterns around the edge such as hearts, flowers, sea life, and even jail bars!
I think this adds an interesting angle to the camera, and it adds a bit of extra fun for the kids (and the adults) when they get bored of taking normal photographs. Things such as this are always a good extra when something is aimed at the younger market.
There are 5 mini games included on the camera which are all really simple, but have varying levels of difficulty for young children, I don't know the exact names of the games but they are as follows:
Jigsaw - a basic shape matching game - very easy
Fast Match - matching moving symbols - very easy
Chicken Shot - taking pictures of moving chickens - easy
Dancing - pressing arrows in the correct sequence - quite difficult
Ball - catching a ball with a moving plinth to destroy bricks - very difficult
My daughter loves to play all of these games, but she really struggles with the dancing and ball games, these require quick reflexes which she just has not quite got the hang of yet. But the other three games she loves to play and because they are very simple she does not need any assistance from me and will sit for 5-10 minutes at a time quietly playing on her own.
I wasn't sure whether I liked the fact that games were included with the camera, but since we've had the camera I've changed my mind because once the photo fun is over for the day, she can then get more use out of it by playing the games, so I think it just means you get more for your money.
I really like this camera and so does my 4 year old daughter. The entire camera is easy to navigate and most things are pretty self explanatory, not once has my daughter come to me to sort something out (apart from when she gets angry with a game). Everything she needs is easily accessible from the jog-wheel, and the face warps (a most used feature) have a shortcut from the 4 way direction button and she knows how to activate this.
Although the picture quality is not all that great, it doesn't seem to matter because my daughter doesn't often go back to look at the photographs anyway, all the fun of the camera tends to be in the actual taking of the photographs rather than the end result, I don't think my daughter is aiming to take the perfect picture. Unless she has been face warping everybody, and then she has usually spent more time taking the photograph anyway so these particular photos usually come out quite good, and she does tend to look back on these and have a giggle.
I would definitely recommend this camera to parents of children who like to mess about with digital cameras. It is definitely a better option than buying them a cheap standard digital camera. First of all because the Kidizoom is bigger and easier to handle, so less likely to get fingers in front of the lens, and it also doesn't break when dropped. The games and photo editing also add novelty value to the camera and it is definitely value added because it not only allows a child to be creative, and improves concentration, but it also makes them think about the actual photograph they are taking, rather than being snap-happy taking pictures of anything and everything - we have about 100 pictures of our fish tank thanks to my daughter!
One of the downsides is that I find myself saying 'CHEEEEEESSEEEEE' several times a day.
Available in blue or pink
RRP £49.99 but shop around to see if you can get it cheaper. It is available on Amazon and Toys R Us.
Takes 4 x AA batteries included with the camera. The first set ran out after a couple of weeks (due to constant use) but the second lot have lasted a lot longer due to more sporadic use.
Summary: Fun Cameras for Kiddywinks
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