Best Cameras for Teenagers - 2012 Edition

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Teenagers spend an inordinate amount of time browsing the web, specifically viewing, tagging, captioning and commenting on photos.  How's a teenager supposed to go about their lives without a camera?  And of course, because they spend too much time online to keep a full-time job, you're going to have to buy their new camera for them.  This guide is going to highlight the best indestructible, tech-savvy, internet-ready cameras for teenagers for this upcoming holiday season. 

There are a few things to consider when buying anything for a teenager.  First and foremost, teenagers break things.  All the time.  Nothing is sparred.  Everything is in their torrential, destructive path.  If you have spent any amount of time with your run-of-the-mill teen, you know who I am talking about.  

As a parent, you assume you know more than your child.  However, when it comes to technology, they just might know more than you.  So don't fret when you find a suitable camera but can't figure out how to use it yourself.  As soon as you wrap that box and put it under the tree, you'll never see it again so you don't need to worry about ever having to figure out what to do with it.  Lastly, convenience and portability are a teenagers friend.  They don't want to be weighed down with external flashes, tripods or even a camera bag.  So find a camera that fits into a back pocket or a purse side pocket but won't get demolished in the process.


Samsung MV900F

For the king or queen teen of the self-portrait.

MV900F_black_with Wi-Fi logo.jpgTaking pictures of all the fun other teens are having is lame. The real memories your teen wants to capture involve taking pictures of themselves at someplace awesome, standing alongside their BFFs as they all pose in an appropriately silly, ironic, or bro-tacular fashion.  On most cameras, self-portraits involve a tricky trial and error process, but not so with the Samsung MV900F. MV stands for Multi-View Display, which means the entire backside of this compact digicam flips up 180-degrees for taking self portraits using the huge 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen.

The MV900F works just like any smartphone. Settings and Filters are setup like Apps on multiple screens. And your teen will love the WiFi integration. They'll be able to email or share photos (and videos) directly to Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, and Photobucket. On top of all the creature comforts, while most activity-minded cameras sacrifice quality, the MV900F boasts an impressive 16.3 CMOS sensor, full 1080p HD video recording, and a 5x optical zoom.

The Samsung MV900F will be available in black or white in late August. MSRP will be $349.99, but make sure to check back here for the best price


Polaroid Z2300

For the teen who loves vintage.

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Does your teen love your cassette tapes or record collection? Does he or she raid your closet for flannel shirts, acid-wash jeans, and your rainbow-colored Doc Martens? For the teen who finds inspiration in the past, meet the Poloarid Z2300. It's a 10-megapixel digital camera with a built-in printer for instantly spitting out memories on special 2x3-inch paper. I recently went to a party where they were handing out actual-paper photographs, and it was so fun because it's become so rare. And don't worry, after your teen gives out physical copies, the camera saves all the original files on an SD card, which can then be loaded onto the web for future use as disqualifies against those who imagine running for elected office.

The Polaroid Z2300 instant digital camera will have an MSRP of $159.99. Color choices include black or white. 2x3" Premium ZINK Paper sells in 30-sheet or 50-sheet packs for $14.99 and $24.99, respectively. Polaroid is expected to ship the Z2300 and ZINK Paper packs in August. Check back here soon for the best price!


Nikon Coolpix S30

For the teen who breaks EVERYthing.

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Much like the toddlers they once were, and no matter how hard they try, some teens can't help but destroy anything and everything they own. But they still need a camera to capture and share, right? Well, here's a super-cheap lifeproof camera from Nikon, the S30. It's got you covered on small drops (up to 2.6 feet), and you can even use it under water (down to 9.8 feet or 3 meters). It doesn't have the best optics, or quickest autofocus, but the S30 is nicely appointed with 10-megapixels, a 3x optical zoom, and 720p HD video.

And the best part, you can pick one up for less than a hundred bucks. Heck, at that price, get your teen a backup for when he or she wrecks this one!

  

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Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W650

For the teen who wants it all...pocket sized.

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For most teens, the smaller the gadget, the better.  The Sony DSC-W650 is a sleek and simple ultra-compact digicam. Sporting a 16-Megapixel Super HAD CCD Sensor, BIONZ image processor, 5x optical Carl Zeiss lens with optical Steady Shot Image Stabilization, 720p HD video capture and Sony's Sweep Panorama shooting mode, you would expect this to be a pricy digicam. Your teen will also find fully automatic shooting modes and an in-camera guide, making the W650 a very simple camera to operate. Even with all of these accessories and more, the W650 is priced well under $150. For the style conscience teen, the camera is available in Silver, Red and Black to fit your teen's personality.

This is for the teen who wants all the latest technology and performance of a high quality digicams.  And also wants it to fit in a small bag or back pocket.   

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GoPro HD Helmet Hero

For the teen most likely to end up in the hospital.

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Some teens go big or go home.  Why not help protect your extreme teen by encouraging safety as they hurl themselves down roads, mountains, trails, and waves. GoPro's HD HERO digital video camera is well known, whether you're an extreme sports nut or not, and were created to answer the call of the wild from adventurous athletes, competition shooters, racers, and survivalists. The HD HERO is an extremely compact HD video camera that allows you to record full 1920x1080 (30p), 1280x720 (30/60p), 1280x960 (30p), and 848x480 (60p) video in almost any situation. You can also snap 5-megapixel still images. 

Whether you're hanging ten, base jumping, shooting a 3-gun match, or racing down the drag strip, you can mount the HD HERO to you or your sled, and capture all the action. The camera itself is not waterproof, however once you install it in the included waterproof, shockproof, and bombproof housing, the HERO is ready for action. With a fixed lens with fixed focus, you get a super wide angle of view to help ensure you capture everything in front of you; and even a bit of what's around you. If your extreme teen loves adventure sports, GoPro HD HERO's are the way to go.  And there are multiple mounting kits available (Helmet, Motorsports, Surf, and Naked) made for just about any sport or situation.  

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Accessories

All teens everywhere love to personalize everything from their locker to the walls of their room, their cars to their sports jerseys.  Cameras are no exception.  There are a number of additions you can make to any of the cameras above, some cosmetic and some functional.  But don't forget extra batteries, extra SD cards and screen protectors. 

The company PhatStraps make an array of straps you can add to any camera.  They offer personalization for every strap; you can even choose the fabric used to make it.  Their wide range of fabrics include both masculine and feminine patterns, appealing to your special teen in mind.  Their cute wrist straps work great for those small point-and-shoot digital cameras.  If your teen is always on the go or constantly losing things, PhatStraps will certainly be a great solution.

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In order to keep the camera safe, it is best to put it in a case.  Appealing to every teen's secret inner geek, Taiwanese designers 25togo have produced a clever solution to the problem of camera safety.  Designed to imitate a file folder straight off your desktop, this My Photo camera case is made from the same neoprene used to make wetsuits rendering your camera splashproof, dustproof and scratchproof.  Rest assured that housed in the case, your teen can do no harm: Purchase here.