Now a couple of years old, the Nikon Coolpix W150 is specifically targeted as the best camera for kids, while also being appropriate as a general family camera thanks to its waterproof and rugged credentials.
It is waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof, which should make it the ideal camera to give to your kids and not worry about them breaking it. It comes in a range of different eye-catching colours and designs and also has some useful specs that should appeal to young photographers just starting to get interested in capturing the world around them.
At its heart lies a 1/3.1-inch 13.2 million pixel sensor, which is paired with a 3x optical zoom. These days, most modest smartphones offer this kind of specification as a minimum - but, those devices are generally less tough, and a lot more expensive than the W150.
Nikon W150 Review: Design and Handling
As a camera that is primarily designed for a young/inexperienced audience, the W150 is all about making the act of taking a photograph as simple, easy and fun as possible.
For that reason, the W150 features very basic, simplistic and large controls - perfect for little hands to get to grips with. On the top of the camera, there’s an on/off button and a large round shutter button to the right-hand side. On the left-hand side, you’ll also find a dedicated movie record button, so you can start recording those without having to activate a specific mode. On the back of the camera, you’ll find a row of four buttons along the left-hand side of the screen.
Each of these buttons controls a different feature which is clearly marked on the screen as you press them. The menus and displays are also nice and simplistic for young photographers to easily understand - though of course, very young children may need some help from an adult to make any settings changes.
The camera is designed so that by default anyone can simply point the camera at the subject and take a photo. However, there are some scene modes you can also choose from, including night, close-up, underwater and so on. You can also add some fun effects and frames, which children, in particular, might find appealing.
Nikon W150 Review: Features
Designed to be as simple as possible, this is not a camera that is brimming with a large number of features - but considering the young audience, that is not a bad thing. Too many options would likely overwhelm those new to photography.
The 13.2 million pixel sensor is fairly small (physically) in comparison to some other compact cameras on the market, and smaller even than some smartphones. However, if you don’t want to let your child loose with your expensive smartphone, a camera like this is an ideal choice. There is also a 3x optical zoom, which although doesn’t cover a huge range, will allow you to get a little bit closer to the subject.
Of course, the headline features of this camera are its waterproof/tough credentials. It’s waterproof down to 10 metres, shockproof from a height of 1.8 metres and freezeproof down to -10 degrees. That should mean it survives a family trip to the beach, being dunked in water (or the bath), and even in the snow.
Other useful features include Full HD video recording, and Nikon’s Snapbridge connectivity, which means you can send images to your phone for sharing your - or your child’s photos - online.
Nikon W150 Review: Performance
When contemplating the performance of a camera like the W150, expectations need to be managed.
Although it’s capable of producing perfectly nice images in good light, where conditions are preferable, they are no better than your average mid-range smartphone - arguably in some cases worse.
On the plus side, colours are nicely punchy, and while there is a good overall impression of detail, most images don’t stand up too well to particularly close scrutiny.
However, to a large extent, that doesn’t really matter. What matters here is that your kids can use the camera, experiment with taking pictures and unleashing their creativity, producing images that are certainly good enough to get started with, without you having to worry about them breaking the camera.
The optical zoom is pretty poor, so it’s best avoided unless your child really wants to get closer - but again, if you’re sharing images at relatively small sizes, or don’t intend to scrutinise them too closely, it does the job well enough. Low light shooting again isn’t the best, but for family day trips and holidays, the likelihood of using the camera in overly dim conditions is relatively low.
Effects and borders are a good idea for kids to brighten up their shots, and having an array of these onboard are fun for them to experiment with too.
Nikon W150 Review: Image Samples
Nikon W150 Review: Verdict
So long as you don’t expect the earth from a cheap camera aimed at children, the W150 won’t disappoint.
It’s not capable of producing spectacular imagery, but it pretty much delivers everything you should arguably be looking for in a camera for children. It’s cheap, takes pictures, is waterproof and rugged and helps them understand how cameras work.
Most importantly, it keeps them away from your own more expensive and more precious camera or smartphone, which is worth the money in itself.
The Nikon W150 is a great option for young children who are just starting out and want to take pictures of their own. Once your child gains a little more experienced, you might find you’re better off with a well-priced smartphone or older-model compact camera, but in terms of family fun and days out, this is a great option.