This week, Flea and I have been testing out the new VTech Kidizoom VideoCam camera, which will be available in UK stores from next month.
This is a brand new digital camcorder designed specifically for kids aged 4 and older. It couldn't have come at a better time – Flea has been using my Flip camera for the last couple of months and while you can't fault for Flip for ease of use, I do worry (a lot) about Flea dropping the camera, and feel I need to supervise her quite closely when she uses it.
The Kidizoom, though, is rugged and with a rubber casing that looks as though it could take a lot of punishment and still work well. There's a big 'ok' button and a 1.8 inch LCD screen, plus a 4x zoom, making it a proper camera, rather than just a toy.
I thought the controls were actually a little harder than the Flip (I'm not sure why there's a 'director' mode AND a 'filming' mode) but Flea was keen to get started. We started out with about 20 clips of the kitchen floor, the stairs and the bin but Flea picked up the knack pretty quickly and was soon able to produce THIS.
Flea introduces her teddies:
I grant you, Scorcese is probably not losing any sleep at this point, but I was pleasantly surprised by the image and sound quality the camera produced. Flea found the additional controls (you can add borders and titles to films, and edit clips) a little hard to get to grips with and so did I, if I'm honest, but my 7-year-old niece was more than capable of using the VideoCam to its full capability.She's looking forward to trying out the project ideas that come with the camera.
We'll be posting a full review on the Great Toy Guide soon, but at £59.99, I think this is a great little camera for over 4s. I liked the look and feel of the camera (it's like a cool space gun) and Flea loved the video games and cartoon borders and special effects. It's available in the obligatory pink and blue versions, fortunately we were sent the blue camera. Just a couple of small quibbles – Flea's fingers (and mine) were too short to reach the zoom control while filming, and the image quality deteriorates a lot if you film while moving.
Another small point to note is that the off switch is on the right-hand side of the camera. This means that if you're trying to annoy your child by filming them, this can happen:
Flea turns the camera off WHILE I AM FILMING. How rude.