I love the idea of giving kids cameras to play with, but I'm always nervous handing over something I spent hundreds of dollars on to creatures who usually need their toys built with extra layers of resilient plastic. So I'm quite pleased, with some reservations, to learn about the new Disney Pix line of digital camera products.
One comment: Chris Heatherly, veep at Disney Consumer Products, Global Electronics, says that "Until now, digital cameras have been too complicated for kids and have generally been priced out of reach." Really? Then what were the US$60 and US$70 kid cameras I wrote about six years ago?
The Disney Pix line ranges from the US$19 Disney Pix Micro (with a resolution of 352x288 and a 24-picture capacity) to the US$69 Disney Pix Max (3 megapixels, 4X digital zoom, memory expansion slot, flash, NTSC/PAL TV output). All of the cameras have LCD screens and are powered by, at most, 2 AA batteries.
Oh, those reservations I mentioned earlier? Everything is plastered with Disney logos and characters; even the cameras' lens/viewfinder/flash design suggests Mickey Mouse, and I had a hard time suppressing a sarcastic grunt when Heatherly refers to "unleash[ing] the power of their imaginations" when all of the in-camera and CD-ROM software options feature Disney characters. Hey, if you're going to be that unsubtle about it, why not just give the cameras away for free, rather than making us pay to advertise your wares to our children and their friends?