I'm a little obsessed with cameras; my own camera of choice is a Canon EOS 300D purchased eight years ago when I was in my final year teaching in Reading. It's taken some amazing photos over the years of many different locations and the difference between that and a standard digital is astounding. We've got a couple of 'point and shoots' in the house, and therefore it was only going to be a matter of time before The Boy wanted to start taking his own photos. He's played on the iPod Touch but the camera on that is quite frankly a bit pants.
Therefore when The Boy was sent a child-friendly camera to review, he was very excited and my DSLR breathed a metaphorical sigh of relief.
The VTech Kidizoom Twist is an improved version of the Kidizoom with a rotating camera lens to face conventionally, angle it through 180° and finally face the photographer to take self-portraits. This in itself makes it a big hit with The Boy who is fascinated with taking pictures of himself and frquently pulls faces at the camera while taking a series of photos. (Just to avoid confusion, the flash is where there is conventionally a lens. Obviously this doesn't work when facing the photographer!)
His ability to take photographs is improving as he remembers to frame the subject in the good-sized screen on the back. There are two ways to take a photograph. Either by pressing the button on the top (in the normal place) or by pressing the 'ok' button. As The Boy's hands are only little, he can't quite reach the main button and therefore happily presses the 'ok' button which rests just above his thumbhold. The camera doesn't react straight away and it's taken a little while for him to understand that he needs to wait until he hears the shutter sound before moving the camera away.
One of the other features of the Kidizoom Twist is the instant photo-editing function. There are a variety of frames and special effects which can be previewed on the screen before taking the photo and they made us chuckle.
The technical bit:
- 2 mega pixel camera with twisting lens
- 4x digital zoom
- 256 MB of storage and SD card slot for memory expansion (necessary with The Boy as he snaps away and 60% are of his forehead, feet or blurred)
- built-in flash
- Also features video taking, voice recording and 5 built-in games
- Connect to the TV or edit and view photos linked to a PC
- Dual viewfinder in addition to the digital viewfinder (screen)
Other functions on this incredibly cool camera are: a sound recorder and audio manipulator (The Boy is too young to understand this properly yet, but I've recorded my voice and then slowed it down or sped it up and it made me chuckle like an eight year old); and five games (again we haven't explored this yet).
The Kidizoom Twist is robust and sturdy. The big grip handles eitherside are rubberised, which a) make it easier to hold, and b) mean if it does drop, it bounces. In fact, everything that protrudes from it, and could get damaged (lens, viewfinders) are rubberised. Clever designing there.
My only negative on this camera is the slight time-delay between pressing the button and the photo being taken. Other than that, this is pretty much perfect.
We were sent the VTech Kidizoom Twist for the purpose of this review. Our opinions are honest and unbiased.