I am trying to get a kid interested in photography and am looking for a camera that has no shutter lag/delay for a 9-10 year old kid. Probably a used point and shoot to keep the cost low (<$200). But all of my point and shoot cameras, which are well past 10 years old, have a significant focus/shutter lag. This causes them to take blurry pictures as they do not realize the photo has not been taken yet as they move on.

The main thing I am looking for is the ability to quickly focus and take the picture.

I do realize a smart phone could be an option, but I want them to have a real camera and not get distracted by all the other things a smart phone does. I also do not think they are quite yet at the point where a smaller mirrorless would work. I am also interested in a point and shoot as it is small enough for them to carry and will have a zoom built in (verses needing multiple lenses). Am I on the right track or am I looking for a unicorn?

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want instant shutter actuation on pressing the shutter button, then you probably need to go back to the fully mechanical days - before plastic cameras and autofocus mechanisms and digital imaging. I'm not sure there really is an "answer" anyone here can give you for this - there isn't any "holy grail" P&S that is the clear best choice. Based on your budget, you will just have to find what you can find. A 9-year-old should be plenty smart/aware/calm/sensible enough to learn good photo-taking technique. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Commented Mar 23 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Perhaps their first lesson should be about timing, not finding a device that will make up for their impatience. How is a fully automatic perfect picture taker going to teach them anything, if it does everything for them? Take them out with one of your old cameras. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ 35mm film point and shoot compact. Sounds funny but although the results might not be sharpest they can teach patience and theres real satisfaction when a shot comes back and it worked. Mirrorless compacts are fine, i use a sony 1inch and its pretty good and quick. A modern marvel will just get them used to convenience rather than thinking and planning though. <200 seems rather optimistic im afraid \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 6 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @osullic, those answers made sense back when the used market actually still had older cheap used compacts. It's been nearly five years since anybody's made them and fed the used market with newer models; it's a different story. Just finding a used Powershot ELPH, let alone a waterproof/ruggedized compact, is a lot harder than it used to be. And there are cheap Chinese film instamatics (one of the many rebrands of which include Kodak). \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Commented Apr 7 at 19:44

2 Answers 2


9-10 year old kid... ...This causes them to take blurry pictures as they do not realize the photo has not been taken yet as they move on.

I started photography more or less at that age. Film camera age. And that happened to me on my first roll of film...

Just one roll of film to learn my lesson.

IMHO, instead of getting one camera that "rules them all", focus on a lesson that will endure all life.


Just my opinion, but in 2024, I think you're looking for a unicorn. Right now, given the recent craze to use older digital compact P&S cameras and direct on-camera flash to look cool and old-fashioned and not-phone-like (facepalm), low-cost compact P&S cameras have been evaporating in mass quantities off the used market. To find something sub-$200 is near-impossible and if you manage it, it's likely to be so old that shutter lag will be as bad as your experience tells you it is. [See this wikipedia table listing shutter lag for fixed-lens compacts as well as interchangeable lens cameras]. The compacts that are likely to have less shutter lag tend to be the $500+ 1"-format sensored ones, such as the $1300 RX100 VII or $750 Canon Powershot G7 X III, and that will still be around 100ms, rough twice as long as any dSLR (usually around 50ms).

To me, the most obvious solution is to get an ancient dSLR and 18-55 kit lens. You can probably do this on a sub-$100 budget (e.g., MPB in the US is listing the Canon XTi/400D and an EF-S 18-55 around $50 each) as the mass migration to mirrorless has had used dSLR gear prices plummeting. And a kid can always put a dSLR into full Auto or P mode and not worry about manning all the settings.


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