These cameras are great for first-time photographers—kids or their parents.
Kodak Max one-time-use
Made of plastic, these ecofriendly cameras (Kodak has already recycled more than 175 million of them) come with pre-loaded film and are available in waterproof and active-sports models. The photos?Surprisingly good. $6.65$17.95.
Polaroid OneStep Express
Instant photography delivers immediate gratification to kids of all ages. While the camera's flip-top design has barely changed in years, Polaroid has introduced three new types of 600-series film: Platinum, with more-vivid colors and six times faster-developing than the standard Polaroid; Black-and-White, for those arty shots; and AlterImage, with a matte finish that can be drawn or written on. At about $1 a shot, instant film is expensive, but it's great not to wait. $39.99.
Nikon Fun Touch 5
This six-ounce 35 mm compact has a fixed 1/125-second shutter speed (fast enough to capture even the most fleeting scenes) and options such as the Anytime Flash, which illuminates a face in deep shadow, and red-eye reduction, which keeps Aunt Sally from looking like the pet rabbit. $60.
Minolta Vectis 100BF
No more squinting as you try to line up your subject. This APS (Advance Photo System, with the easy-loading film cassette and three picture sizes) model features the patented Big Finder magnified viewfinder, designed to help eyeglass wearers, but great for kids too. The 24 mm lens is perfect for landscapes or group shots, on the hiking trail or in the back yard. $91.
Pentax IQZoom EZY-R
Well-suited for the aspiring young photographer-- but Mom or Dad may be tempted to borrow it. The camera has programmed auto-exposure (with shutter speeds from 1/320 to 1/3 of a second), sophisticated metering, a 10-second self-timer, and a zoom lens with a respectable range of 38 mm to 70 mm. $157.
Canon Elph Jr.
The little brother of the successful Elph line, Jr. shares in the family's good looks and intelligence. An APS camera with a fast f/2.8 lens and autofocus system, it yields sharp images at ranges from 18 inches to infinity. This model lets shutterbugs imprint the time and date on the photo-- so in 10 years, you can pinpoint the day that Dad fell into the lake. $129.