One of the simplest joys in life is capturing our best memories and special occasions in a photograph. This preserves those moments forever even as memory fades over time. I’ve spent many hours myself going through photo albums with elderly loved ones. They love reliving happy memories all over again like pictures of their wedding day, their child’s graduation, or the birth of their (favorite) grandchild!
So, to continue recording these memories, it is important to find simple cameras for seniors to use. You know, easy to use cameras without unneeded features and too many buttons and settings. That way, they can continue recording these memories for years to come.
SO, where would you like to start?
Comparison Table: Simple Cameras for Seniors and the Elderly
In a hurry? Here is a quick comparison table of my favorite simple cameras for seniors. These cameras are all easy to use for even the most tech adverse senior. Any of these could be the best easy to use camera for the senior in your life.
If you like to research simple cameras for yourself, read on for shopping suggestions and my camera buying guide.
The Need for Simple Cameras
Unfortunately, though, not everything is as easy as it was in the past. Some tasks become difficult and more complicated during old age. Or, sometimes technology just gets away from seniors. Some of the simple products they have always used now come with bells, whistles, and gadgets that they do not want. Or even need for that matter. Digital cameras are a great example of this.
Cameras, like many other modern devices, are getting smaller. We have more choices of settings and options than ever. Some of us appreciate this. But not some seniors and elderly people. All of these settings are more confusing. Small LCD screens can be very hard to read. Tiny buttons with small print are hard to press and read.
As a result, many seniors find it difficult to use many of the newer digital cameras. They can even become frustrated with their inability to use new technology easily. Often they give up using technology rather than be embarrassed or frustrated by it. So, many elderly folks simply stop taking pictures of their special moments. This keeps them from enjoying these memories later. And, it also deprives them of one the simple pleasure of reliving these moments.
However, with a little bit of research and study, most seniors can easily learn to use today’s digital and film cameras. Not every camera being made today is a technological nightmare. There is a good selection of beginner-friendly digital cameras that are available. Many of these can be adapted to work easily for seniors.
Buying Guide: Simple Cameras
Here are my tips for shopping for choosing the best easy to use digital camera. Learn as much of you can about each of these features to find the best camera for the senior in your life. Or even for yourself if you are looking for a camera that is more on the simpler side.
Key Features Of Simple Cameras
These features are the ones you should definitely insist on when shopping for the best easy to use camera. Each of these features greatly affects how difficult the camera will be to use.
Cameras with Minimal Settings
Most seniors especially do not need to know about setting their f-stop or capturing a close up subject with a soft-focused background. They just want to quickly snap a picture of the grandkids in the yard or the great-grands opening up their Christmas present. So, the fewer settings the better. Look for simple, easy-to-use camera models without fancy unnecessary settings and features.
The easiest camera to use is one that has automatic focus. These are typically called point and shoot cameras. To use them all you need to do is point the camera at the subject, press the shutter button, and get a great shot. You don’t want a camera that has lenses to change or requires a selection of settings before taking the photo. The Point-&-Shoot feature with an ‘automatic’ mode is the ideal camera feature for seniors
Try to find a camera with larger controls as seniors may find small buttons hard to use. Ideally, the top of the camera should only have one button – the one to take the picture. More buttons may become confusing.
For digital cameras with a screen, look for a nice big LCD type screen. You want one that is clear, bright, and easy to read. The bigger the print the better too. This will make menu options and messages easier to read for seniors.
The bigger screen also allows the user to see the photo they are taking better. These screens are used instead of a small viewfinder for lining up shots. This will make for a better picture in the end. The larger LCD also makes it easier to see the preview photo or video on the screen too. This feature is critical for seniors with failing or poor eyesight.
Other Camera Options to Consider
Here are a few more features to consider when shopping for a simple camera for elderly people and seniors. The necessity of these options will depend on the abilities of the senior who will use the camera.
Going From Digital to Print
When shopping for a simple camera for seniors, think about how they will get the final photo prints. Does the camera have a digital storage card that will require downloading? Can the user do this by themselves or will they need assistance? They might even need someone to do this for them.
Some cameras today have the capability to sync over wifi networks with a computer or laptop. Some even have apps that sync the photos on the camera with a smartphone for immediate uploading to social media. From there, they can be printed at home or sent to a retailer for photo prints.
Another interesting option is the instant print cameras like the Fujifilm Instax cameras. These cameras are like the Polaroid cameras that most seniors are already familiar with. And, these cameras are very easy to use too. They are truly point, shoot, and print. In minutes, a fully developed photo is ready for display. Although, most of these cameras only print 2″ x 3″ photos.
Sturdy and Durable
Also consider the durability of the camera too. Seniors are more likely than most people to drop a camera. If this is a major concern, look at a camera that is shockproof and/or waterproof to minimize any damage caused by drops of falls.
Charging the Camera Batteries
Think too about how the camera will be charged. Does it have a rechargeable battery that is built-in? Or, does it have a battery that has to be removed and plugged into a wall charging receptacle? Some cameras also just use AA or even AAA batteries that can be changed as needed.
The concern here for some seniors is getting access to the batteries. Many fo these charging options require opening small battery cover doors with small latches. Elderly people with arthritis or poor fine motor control may find this difficult. The easiest option for most seniors, in general, is a charging cord that plugs directly into the camera itself.
A few of the cameras in this class have a feature called image stabilization. This helps the camera compensate for shaky movements while taking pictures. This option reduces the chance of the image being blurry or streaked because the user is unable to hold their hands perfectly still while snapping a photo. This is helpful to seniors with slight tremors or weakness from neurological conditions.
Reviews of Simple Digital Cameras and Film Cameras
Now that you have a better idea of the options you need for an easy to use camera, let’s look at a few models. To help you find the best digital camera for seniors, I looked at a lot of different models. I’ve also studied a lot of the beginner and more basic cameras available. So, here’s my short list of the easiest cameras for seniors and the elderly:
Sony DSCW800/S 20 Digital Camera
11 used from $ 54.00
My top pick for a senior friendly camera! It comes with an Easy Mode that allows the photographer to use only the basic functions. This reduces confusion and mistakes for the less tech savvy user. The big, bright LCD screen is easy to see and read. Built in instructions and tips show on the screen to walk the user through settings and functions.
The Sony W800/S 20.1 MP Digital Camera is perfect for easily shooting not only great photos and but also videos. Easy to press buttons and a dedicated movie button makes taking both pictures and videos a breeze. The bright and clear 2.7 inches LCD screen also lets the user instantly preview the photo they just took. It even plays back movies and videos on the same screen.
This simple camera offers an “Easy Mode.” In Easy Mode, the camera has reduced on-screen options for simple operation. This mode is perfect for seniors and non-techies who don’t want to deal with a bunch of options. It also reduces the chance of the wrong settings being applied and messing up the final photos.
Large Easy to See Screen
It also has large, bright and easy to see LCD screen on the back. Photos can be previewed before being taken and even viewed there once they are snapped. Videos can be played back here too.
One Touch Video Recording
One-touch video recordings are another great feature for seniors. If they want to record a quick video they simple press one button on the bottom of the back panel to activate the video mode. And, they can review the video on the LCD screen instantly.
Lightweight and Durable
This camera is very lightweight, durable, and easy to carry around with you. It only weighs 4.5 oz and is small enough to stash in a purse or jacket pocket.
The Sony W800 is easy to charge too. The charging cord plugs right into the camera and can then be plugged into a USB port or the wall. No fumbling to remove batteries and trying to get them to snap into a wall mounted charger.
I also think the stabilization feature is helpful. This feature removes the blur from camera movement while the photo is taken. This is a great feature for seniors with slight tremors or who are unable to hold perfectly still for a steady shot.
Well, I think you can see why this is my favorite simple digital camera for seniors. Nearly every feature of the camera is designed to be as easy to use as possible. It even has a built-in instruction guide that explains the various options right on the LCD screen for those who want to use more advanced features. Of course, it also has all the necessary tech to take great pictures like a powerful 20.1 megapixel image sensor and 5x optical zoom.
Kodak PIXPRO FZ43-BK 16MP Digital Camera
$54.99 in stock
17 used from $ 34.00
This Kodak Pixpro is a great choice for senior photographers who are more familiar with tech. There are options for setting lighting and exposure but it can also be used as a basic point and shoot camera too.
The Kodak FZ43 is an easy-to-use Point-&-Shoot camera. But it also has enough features to take crisp, clear pictures without stressing out elder users! It also has a 2.7″ LCD screen which is one of the largest available in this class of camera. It is also very lightweight, compact, and easy to take anywhere you want it to go.
This camera does have more features than some of the others like the 23 unique shooting modes that allow more flexibility in capturing images depending on the lighting and setting. But using these settings requires using the menus, buttons, and a better understanding of technology.
One Touch Video Recording
For seniors who would like to record videos, this camera has one-touch video recording for a truly simple way to record movies of special events. The video can be seen on the LCD screen instantly too for quick playback.
Large Viewing Screen
The large 2.7” LCD screen allows the user to see the image they are about to capture before snapping the photo. It also allows the photo to be viewed after it is taken. Videos can be previewed on the screen too.
No Batteries to Change
There is no need to learn how to charge batteries with this model either because it takes AA batteries. The senior or a caregiver will need to be able to manipulate the small battery door though to change the batteries in and out.
Red Eye Reduction and Face Detection
Photos of the grandkids are easier to get right with the red-eye reduction and face detection. Face detection helps the camera detect peoples faces and focuses in on them better.
Wide Angle View
Wide angle view allows a larger area to be photographed. So, the senior will not have to step further away from the subject to get a better picture. This makes family group shots easier to take.
The Kodak is a good choice for an easy camera but I think you get more out of the Sony W800 above. But, the Kodak is lower priced and could be a great choice for those who don’t use cameras very often. It has the typical camera features like 16 MP sensor and 4x optical and 6x digital zoom to capture far away images with ease too.
Nikon COOLPIX W100 13.2 MP Point & Shoot Digital Camera
$156.95 in stock
37 used from $ 88.00
Nikon built the Coolpix camera to be extremely durable and to take some abuse. It's a great choice for people who are, maybe, a but clumsy (like me)! It also has the larger screen ans easy to use buttons although there are more of them than some of the other models.
The Nikon CoolPix W100 is a tough little camera and that is by design. The simple camera is marketed for use by everybody in the family – right from the kids to the grandparents. It’s a chunky looking camera but it is easy to operate with only a few basic buttons. Although, some of the other models will be easier to use than one.
Also, it is water-proof up to a depth of 30 ft. Plus, it is even shock-proof from heights of almost 7 feet and works in temperatures as low as 14 F. So if you need an extremely durable camera that might get dropped a lot, this is the model for you.
Large LCD Screen
Like many of the other models, this camera has a 2.7″ large LCD screen that allows you to preview the picture before taking it, view the photo after it is taken, and preview video recordings.
This could be a useful feature for a camera that will be used by seniors. You can install the SnapBridge app on a smartphone and sync it with the camera. That way, photos can be downloaded to the phone wirelessly. This makes sharing photos on social media a breeze. Some seniors have the tech skills to do this. But, if not, a family member can install it on their phone and assist with the photos. It does have a memory card too like most other cameras.
Buttons and Functions
This camera does have more buttons and options than some of the other cameras. But, they are easy to press, well-defined, and easy to see for seniors with tight arthritic hands and fingers. It is a fully automatic, simple point and shoot style camera so as long as the senior doesn’t start messing with the other functions everything should be fine.
The “Still Picture” button and “Video Capture” button are on opposite ends on the top of the camera too. This makes it easy to reach both the buttons when holding the camera with both hands.
This is where this camera really shines. It is waterproof up to 33 feet and can even take underwater photos. So, dropping the camera in a pool or spilling a drink on it won’t hurt it at all. It is also shockproof to 7 feet.
This means that most average height adults can drop it while using it without breaking it as well. This could be helpful for seniors with neurological problems that cause them to drop things often.
So, to summarize the Nikon Coolpix, you will trade a little bit of simplicity for durability with this model. It does have all the standard camera features too like 13.2 MP image sensor, 3X optical zoom, and 1080p video.
Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera
14 used from $ 91.95
I like the Elph cameras for seniors who just want a simple point and shoot digital camera but are concerned about the weight and size of the camera. This PowerShot is the smallest of the group. It also has smart auto features for getting a great photo without having to fool with options and settings.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is a convenient Point-&-Shoot camera with a 20 MP sensor to capture excellent still images as well as HD video. The 2.7” LCD screen can playback images and videos. It comes in several fun color choices too. The ELPH is a great choice for seniors who just want to point the camera and press a button to take a picture. This camera has several built-in features to make sure that taking a great photo is simple and easy.
Large 2.7″ Screen
This has become the standard screen size for most of these cameras. It is large enough for most seniors to easily see their subject before taking the picture as well as viewing photos and videos after they are recorded.
Smart AUTO picture taking
This option goes a step beyond traditional point and shoot automatic cameras. It is able to sense the lighting, environment, and the subject of the photo. Then, it makes quick changes so that all of the camera settings are right for the best photo possible. This gives the best photo possible when using a simple point and shoot camera.
Small and Lightweight
The ELPH is the smallest and lightest of this group of cameras only weighing 4.5 oz. It will easily stash away in small pockets, purses, and fanny packs with no problems.
Canon builds in image stabilization into this camera. This means it digitally reduces the effects of camera shaking and movement. This could be helpful for seniors who aren’t able to hold perfectly still due to a neurological disorder or general weakness.
This has some great features too for more advanced users like 8X optical zoom, 20 MP image sensor, and an ECO mode to save on battery life.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera
Too low to display in stock
Remember the Polaroids of the 70's? This one is similar in that it prints instant pictures for instant gratification. It is also easy to use for seniors with point and shoot capabilities. Many senior photographers will appreciate the retro look too.
Ok, here is a little bit of a different option to consider for best easy to use camera for seniors. This Fujifilm Instax camera is very similar to the Polaroid cameras that were so popular in the 70s. This is a film camera that instantly prints out the photo on the spot on little 2″x3″ photos. There aren’t settings to worry about. There is also instant gratification too. The picture is in their hand in just minutes.
Here are a few more reasons I like Instax cameras for seniors:
- True simplicity. Just point the camera, press the shutter button, wait for the photo to print out and give it a few minutes to develop. That’s it.
- The automatic flash adjusts its brightness and intensity based on the lighting of the subject. This helps prevent the washed out look of the older Polaroids.
- The Instax Mini Neo also has a special mode for up close picture taking. So, for seniors who like to take photos of nature or more artistic shots, this is a plus. Simply press the button on the back that looks like a little flower and then take the photo as normal.
- It has a retro look. This particular model looks like the cameras that many seniors used when they were younger. Some of the Instax cameras are a bit cartoonish but not this model. This one has more sleek, simple retro styling.
Some potential drawbacks:
- Film will have to be purchased and kept available for the user. The film for this camera runs about $0.40 an exposure.
- The film will have to be loaded into the camera. I have done this myself on my daughter’s camera and it is an easy straightforward process. But some seniors may have trouble with the door latch. They also need to understand not to open that door until all the film is used.
Other than some ongoing expense with this camera, I think it is definitely worth considering when shopping for a simple camera. I would even say it’s a little more fun than some of the other models too since it spits the photo out when it’s taken.
Summary and Recommendations
With a brand new, easy-to-use camera, grandparents can have a lot of fun taking pictures of their grandchildren. They can independently create photos they will cherish for many years to come. Photography can even be a rewarding hobby to keep seniors mentally and physically active.
When shopping for simple cameras for seniors, there are a few things to keep in mind. Look for cameras that are lightweight and sturdy enough to be carried along on travels and vacations too. It is also important that easy to use cameras for seniors also have only a few buttons. Large screens are also necessary for older eyes.
For seniors who may have a little confusion or difficulty with multiple buttons, I really like the Sony W800 because of it’s “EASY MODE” that reduces the choices to only the most basic functions.
Another great choice for seniors and elders are the Canon ELPH cameras. These are the most simple point and shoot cameras that take great pictures without having to fuss with the settings.
If the thought of a total package camera interests you, go with the Fujifilm Instax Neo. This camera combines the ease of point and shoot camera with instant photo prints. No need to get photos developed or transferred to other devices to get printed pictures.
I hope these recommendations are helpful in releasing the inner shutterbug hidden deep within many elders and seniors. Do you agree with my choices? Or do you have a favorite camera that you like to use? Whatever your choice, share your opinions with me and my readers in the comments below. Questions are always welcome too!