I’ve been a fool once more . I was trying out the new kid on the Ali Express/wish block, Temu. I got a discount that let me buy this Kids camera for less than £9. And crap it might be but it’s a whole lot better than the Vlogging camera from Ali Express and the 4K crap from Wish.
Not Temu’s fault I must be clear….
In fairness to Temu, you can buy this on sites from Amazon to the ‘bay to wish et al. You already know it’s gonna be crap when a camera that cost just a few Dollars has a claimed 40MP max output and HD video. But actually this is better by some margin.
It likely exists in slightly different shapes and I’m sure some slightly skinned kids camera like this are just the same camera although the one below claims to have a rear lens for selfies too
spec and style differs but they all can be found between £7-20 (you can pay more but…). Mine has a model of VK10664 tucked away in specs.
They importantly all claim to be for kids
But we have but one so we’ll apply the bad/ scamera test to to it
1 Does it work ?
This might sound stoopid. But given the alleged 16MP Vlogging camera chewed out premium batteries after a shot or 2. This become important
And yes the camera does work. Actually all out of the box too. It came with a built in rechargeable battery (400mhA) that does charge up. That is weedy but for the money. It also doesn’t die off after a few shots. I gave up doing a s stress test with taking about 10 shots at a time stopping to check the last shot when I got over 120 still shots
The camera also does the thing it is intended to do. It can take photos
The only issue I found was the camera whilst could charge from my PC was not recognised as a drive. Nor was it useable as a web cam even after swapping the provided USB micro cable out. the manual says it can be used as both. It is possible that’s a windows 11 thing but… At least it came with an actual 32GB micro SD card (tested using FakeFlashTest) and cheap wrist strap.
2 Does the spec match the description
Again yes – but with slight caveats
The manual offers no insight into spec and the item’s page seems to show a sister model.
So this camera does create up to 40MP images. As you’d guess there must be something going on. That sort of resolution is really the preserve of high end gear even today. The Nikon D6 for example does only half that on a full frame sensor and cost over 6 grand new. So for a sub tenner camera you are honestly looking at that old trick of interpolation. But this makes no claims about actual resolution.
-So what is the non-interpolated resolution ?
I’ve tried the cameras at all resolutions but no real difference can be discerned as you can see below from 4 shots (the other resolutions looked much the same. Something is slightly off with the 5MP image and I’d guess the camera shot at it , 8MP or nearer 2MP natively but the differences are subtle
-And the rest of the Given Spec ?
Likewise the HD video is technically HD video but trust me you wouldn’t want it. The site did talk about 4K 2.7k but that may be still as it doesn’t describe that as the video class and later mentions 1080p
The camera claims to have a 1/2″ sensor. That’s small by today’s standards but common a very cheap cameras. The TFT LCD is about the described 2″.
The camera gives you no control over quality setting other than resolution for video and stills
The firmware is called the GADNIC-9225-0309. but I can’t find any links to that online. GADNIC exists as a Spanish cheap tech site and sell a version of this with a rear camera. But that camera has a lower top resolution and no more info.
There is inbuilt memory. the camera says for up to 50 shots but it is enough for 10 shots at 8MP which would suggest a 4-5MB on board storage. The manual unhelpful say it supports up to 32GB micro SD cards and then later says up to 64GB. I haven’t a micro SD bigger than 32GB so can’t test that out.
There is no EXIF data either beyond time, dates and resolution.
-So what are the likely rest of the specs ?
The lens looks fixed focus but there may be a sensor element for focusing I can’t see. The aperture looks fixed around 1.5-2mm. The FoV is about the same as a 50mm full frame lens which would be a about a 9mm lens given the crop factor. So assuming an aperture between f/4.5 and f/6, this would give a close focus of just about 45cm or less. That’s assuming the focal point was the hyperfocal distance
3 Build quality
This thing is sold as a kids camera and is pretty tichy but than means no pointless plastic covering it’s innards. It will not win design prizes but seems well enough made. It seems to come in a range of pastel colours with an a white lens barrel and buttons
The screen isn’t great for colour balance and does poor in bright light. Mines was a non waterproof version so the micro SD (Up to 32GB) and the USB micro slots are not protected.
The buttons have reasonable feedback with a satisfying clicky-ness. They are titchy but do work.
So not bad for the money on that front
4 Does it Claim to be something it isn’t ?
Unlike the scameras from wish or AliExpress that I have reviewed, this makes no false claims like being a SLR or professional. It is clearly labelled for kids. I’d slightly critique it’s useability for small kids as you must select the camera mode on the LCD from firing up. You don’t automatically go into still image mode as you’d expect.
And it does take images so I guess it passes this test
Okay so it’s not a scam anything else you can tell us ?
It does have some extra features !!
The main menu has still, video playback and setting as you’d expect. But also has a MP3 player mode and games! And both of those work. The MP3 player is actually louder and clearer than you’d expect. It’s no bomb box but a small child would be happy listening to Lemmy belt out Ace of Spades on it
The Games are actually quite interesting. There are 5 in total. There is a disappointing maze game (move white dot through simple maze). But the rest are quite good. You get a version of the Nokia legend that is snake, there is a simple side scroller, a Sokoban crate moving game and number block game.
In photo mode there are dozens of frames and overlays
To turn on you need to hold down the rear on button unto the cartoon splash screen appears. You are then met with the menu screen
Use the joypad to move to your desired option
Shooting is just a matter of pressing the shutter button. There is quite a lag between that and the image being taken. The left joypad button puts on time and the tup & down buttons move you through the filter and overlays. The right button doesn’t do anything
Hitting the on off button once takes you back to the start menu. There is very little to do in the setting menu. You can tweak resolution, timer delay, time settings (in timestamp), format the card but that’s about it
Results with the Kids Camera
Look this is no razer sharp camera. This is lo fi stuff. Broadly I got a similar image quality to the unnamed 16MP camera from wish
Image even on a good day look like they have some paint effect filter applied.
It exposure lattitude is very poor and it really does not cope with wide light gradients as evidenced below in comparison with my smartphone
The camera is there best suited to evenly lit scenes
You can get really close in for some shots. That said this bring the optical field weakness into to relief as a shot of this very page in edit shows
The £9 is clear but below , left and right things get blurry and there is a slight vignette to the edges. There is less radial distortion that you might expect. You need to look to spot the very mild barrel distortion.
The camera isn’t sharp at any point but better close to median distances. Things soften and blur on distance shots
You’ll spot fringing, chromatic aberrations and processing artefacts on all shots.
Noise massively increases in low light circumstances
In addition you get the problem of poor sensor light latitude
And Frankly don’t even think about outdoor night shooting !!!
Final thoughts on the Temu Kids Camera
Look this is a crap camera but it actually isn’t a scam. It passes the scamera tests and it will take images and yes your kid could use it but you’ll likely need to set mode for most under 5s. The games and the MP3 player are actually good.
Image quality isn’t great but is no worse and better than some of the scameras. It’s cheaper too and I guess there is a lo-fi digital aesthetic for the hard core lo-fi enthusiast. For anyone else ignore, buy a second handed known brand name digital from 2000 onwards and you’ll get better images.
Alternatives for this Kids Camera
Pretty much any second hand digital would be better value to give your Kids. But given Gen Z has rediscovered them they have become a bit more pricey. For really young Kids big brand Children toy companies make some child friendly Kids Cameras. Digital Camera world gave VTech Kidizoom Duo 5.0 a 4½ out of 5 star rating. An easy to use camera with a rear selfie second camera. It’s image quality whilst basic is a lot better and you get games and overlays as well. For less than £40 Amazon will sell you one
The Camp Shap camera has been developed for kids to use. It is a disposable styled fixed focus with no LCD and limited controls. It’s aimed for the North American Summer Camp market and I’ve one on order as it’s causing some waves in Lo-fi digital circles. It cost £45GBP to buy but with a hefty £15 postage from the US. The other obvious one is the Paper shoot, which is now available as a 16MP & 18MP versions. Like the Camera Snap no screen but very interesting styling. But it’s not cheap, expect to pay about £140GBP to get a base camera shipped with no batteries or SD card. But that’s more for the Lo-fi shooter than kids