The Bottom Line
Digital cameras that are aimed at children and that are marketed as children's toys typically don't offer much in the way of photographic features. They're usually cool-looking toys first and cameras a distant second.
My Digital Blue U-Turn camera review shows a camera that's still a toy first, but the U-Turn's features for kids' photography are surprisingly good. If your child is serious about photography, try a more advanced camera because the U-Turn's print quality won't be good enough. If your child wants to have a fun camera for less than $50, however, the U-Turn works well for small prints and e-mail photos.
- Camera has many fun features children will like
- Low cost of less than $50
- Image quality is surprisingly good for children's camera
- Twistable camera body makes self portraits easy
- Runs from 3 AA batteries, which is handy for children's camera
- Reponse times are very slow
- Flash tends to wash out the photos
- LCD very tough to see in bright sunlight
- Shiny plastic of camera's exterior is more like children's toy than a digital camera
- Might be a little tough to use at first for really young children
- Resolution: 0.3 megapixels
- Optical zoom: None
- LCD: 2.4-inch
- Battery: three AA size
- Dimensions: 3 x 5.25 x 1.25 inches
- Weight: about 14 ounces
- Maximum image size: VGA (640 x 480 pixels)
- Internal memory: Enough for about 80-150 photos
Guide Review - Digital Blue U-Turn Camera Review
For a children's camera, the U-Turn's image quality compares favorably to other models in this classification. Small prints turn out pretty well, and even some large prints will be OK for a child to hang on a bulletin board. Images are not real sharp, and they tend to be a little dark. Its VGA image quality (0.3 megapixels of resolution) is OK for photos to share on the Web or by e-mail.
The U-Turn has no zoom lens, which is disappointing. The small, built-in flash on the camera tends to wash out most photos, especially if you're shooting an extreme close-up. However, you can turn off the flash by pressing one button, and the U-Turn's ability to focus on close-up subjects is pretty good.
With a children's camera like the U-Turn, performance is not much of a consideration. Still, the U-Turn's response times, especially shot-to-shot delays, are painfully slow.
The LCD is small at 2.4 inches diagonally, and it is a little dark. It works pretty well indoors for framing photos, but it's very difficult to see outdoors in direct sunlight.
The camera is very easy to use as the U-Turn is fully automatic.
Obviously, the design sets the U-Turn apart from other cameras, toys or not. The twistable camera body, offered in pink or blue, makes taking self portraits easy, which is a great feature for kids.
The other key design feature in the U-Turn camera is the set of morphing features. Kids will love the ability to apply mirroring, stretching, twisting, ghosting, and other morphing effects to the photos as they shoot them. As the child selects the effect, the LCD also applies the effect, so you can see how the subject will look before you shoot the photo.
Finally, the U-Turn uses three AA batteries, which is handy for swapping out dead batteries while traveling. It does make the U-Turn a little heavy, though.