Being a new parent can be one of the scariest, most difficult things to ever happen to anyone, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less magical. Who isn’t a sucker for adorable baby pictures and videos? Probably your bitter still-single friends, thanks to your relentless online spam of low quality smartphone-taken baby pictures, but the good news is, there are a bunch of cameras out on the market that can help any newbie parent take flawless pictures on any budget, for any level of photography. These reviews also focus on the more lightweight models out there, so your baby bag won’t have to weigh a ton. Read on to figure out which is the best camera for new parents and you’ll be getting more likes on Instagram in no time.
Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera (White) with ZINK Zero Ink Printing Technology
Pro: Rustic photos, affordable, pocket-sized, instant share
Con: Disappointing image quality for a 10MP camera
With everything hipster and vintage easily becoming a hit these days, it’s not surprising instant Polaroid cameras still have a substantial market. I’ve always wanted my own “nu-vintage” instant camera, and I was originally holding out for the Instax Mini 90 – pricey film packs and all. I compared this regular instant camera Polaroid’s Snap Instant Digital Camera and was so easily sold on the latter’s many digital features and totally witchcraft ZINK technology. (How typical of me to want vintage and modern features at the same time.)
This camera is as advertised except I find most of my photos are blurry, and it’s not just because of my baby’s random movements. And as long as we’re being critical about a budget camera, I also found the prints’ overly magenta tones annoying in certain shots.
Nikon COOLPIX L840 Digital Camera
Pro: Affordable, 38x zoom, long battery life
Con: Needs AA batteries, bulky
New parents will want to pinch pennies in certain areas, but if you still want pretty pictures of your baby without dipping (that much) into his school fund, this is your best bet. A friend of mine brought this one along one day and I had an easy time maneuvering its interface and easily produced pretty pictures. It’s just strange that it runs on AA batteries, while its competitors all have lithium batteries.
Canon PowerShot SX530 HS
Pro: Lightweight, large LCD, nice image quality
Con: Mediocre filters, no viewfinder
It’s more point-and-shoot than anything else. It gives you good quality images, but you’ll have to put up with compromised focusing the more zoomed in you are on your subject. I also found its filters and special effects to be quite crude. I feel like Canon should’ve incorporated better features in places of these filters – which I personally think no one ever uses.
Pro: Easy to lug around, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth sharing, smartphone remote feature
Con: No viewfinder
This camera produces great images for its size, but note that it’s still going to cost you quite a bit for an SLR that’s trying to be a point-and-shoot (or is it the other way around?). If there is anything I thoroughly enjoyed about this camera is I can instantly send pictures to my smart devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Oh, and more serious camera people beware, this does not come with a viewfinder, so if relying solely on an LCD to keep track of your subject will bother you, opt for something else.
Pro: High quality electronic viewfinder, great image processor
Con: Viewfinder slightly laggy, short battery life
If you’re not looking to take photography seriously and just want that point-and-shoot feel with SLR quality results, I’d tell you to give this one a shot. Its LCD feedback is great, but if you think a slight lag between movement and what you see on the LCD is something that will irk you, be warned as this camera does not have a real viewfinder. Battery life was also a disappointment as 20 shots without flash already cost me one bar of battery. Seriously? Battery life should step up if you’re going to power a 3-inch LCD.
Sony Alpha a6000
Pro: Lightweight, great image processor
Con: Confusing menu, teeny tiny buttons, substandard low-light images
This camera has all the advantages of your basic point-and-shoot, significantly enhanced by Sony’s amazing image processing. You get great results, except during lowlight conditions because you’ll definitely get grainy images. Let’s face it, being a parent can be tough enough. You probably wouldn’t want a complicated menu system, and added klutz moments with this camera’s tiny buttons.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Pro: Stunning images, solid/premium feel
Con: Expensive for a point-and-shoot, complicated menu system
Olympus has always excelled in equipping its point-and-shoot and pseudo-SLR models with the capacity to produce great images, but as usual, it makes you earn it by making you navigate through a complicated labyrinth of a menu system to get the settings you want. Not particularly ideal if you’re trying to capture a magical baby moment. Although if you want a camera that feels like it’s made of high-end material, go for this one.