This month I have partnered with Educational Insights for a very special review, and an opportunity they are offering on their Facebook page! I have had the opportunity to review Educational Insight’s GeoSafari Tuff Cam – a durable video camera for kids that can be used both in the classroom and at home! The GeoSafari Tuff Cam features a tough rubber casing, a 2″ viewing screen, and an incredibly easy point and shoot trigger to use. So far in my household the Tuff Cam’s durability has made it through my 2 and 4 year old boys without a scratch!
The Tuff Cam comes with the video camera itself, the USB docking station base, an instruction guide, and the cords to plug into the TV. Imaging for the GeoSafari Tuff Cam has a 12 mega pixel quality. It also has a 32 MB memory (expandable to 1GB with SD card), VGA video at 20 frames per second, and a fully rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. Did I lose you yet? Basically it has a lot of really nice feautures!!
The size of the Tuff Cam is perfect for young hands and it’s extremely light weight. Don’t mistake that though for fragile – it is very durable and I do not cringe when I see my boys grab it and run off. The docking station is very simple to use. Just plug the USB cord into your computer and place your Tuff Cam on! It needs to be in the Play mode and on to download the files and is very simple to do.
On one side below you see the Play, Video, Camera modes on the left, and the Menu, OK, and Power Buttons on the right.
We had always wanted a video camera or picture camera for my son, and last year we actually spent about $40 on a picture camera for him (a kid tough one) and it was junk. I won’t say the brand name but I was extremely surprised and very disappointed that we had spent so much and it was essentially worthless! So when Educational Insights asked me to test out their Tuff Cam I was ultra excited, but a little nervous that I wouldn’t like it! As a freelance photographer I am ridiculously picky about cameras and image quality! 🙂 Not to mention that the GeoSafari Tuff Cam is on the pricier side retailing at $179.99. Which actually isn’t bad considering it also has a video camera, not just a camera, but I wanted to find out whether or not it was worth the investment.
The first thing we noticed immediately once my 4 year old got his hands on it was how incredibly simple it was to use. To take a picture you simply pull the trigger. To take a video, you pull the trigger to start it, and you pull it again to stop the video. Simple enough for my preschooler! In fact, to be honest, it’s so simple that I stopped using our point and shoot Nikon Coolpix video camera and just grab the Tuff Cam instead! I’m not kidding! Not only is it really that simple to use, I don’t have to worry about my kids breaking it!
My son took pictures of EVERYTHING when we first got our Tuff Cam in the mail! We had pictures of our walls, of all of our chairs, of each tile in the hallway, of the crafts hung on the wall, the list could go on! It was hilarious really – he was SO excited!
This is an interview I did with my son in our kitchen – which is fairly lit – just to test it out:
Pretty good for a not-brightly lit room huh? I was extremely impressed!! So I decided to put the Tuff Cam to the test. I wanted to see what the video quality looked like with my little kids bouncing around. So we went outside to the playset and twisted my son around on the swing.
I noticed a little bit of those light flashes you see in the video which I didn’t really notice while taping, probably because it was sunny outside. The only time I’ve seen those flashes of light in the video was while running around outside, so I’m guessing it’s the cam adjusting in the light.
So next came the real test – how good would the video quality be if I let my 4 year old son do the video taping? BE FOREWARNED – the following video may have a dizzying effect on your health!
What do you think? Now I haven’t had time to figure out all of the neat features to the video cam so I still need to spend some more time on it! My husband (a 2nd grade teacher) will be taking our GeoSafari Tuff Cam to his classroom for scavenger hunts and other projects for the kids during school. Now I talked mostly about the video part which I am thoroughly impressed with, but the Tuff Cam also takes pictures.
To take a picture with the Tuff Cam, once it is in the photo mode you simply click the trigger to take a picture. This can get a little crazy if you have a trigger happy child! We ended up with zillions of pictures of random objects! You can zoom in and out as well. My personal opinion is that the camera part of the Tuff Cam is comparable to other kids cameras I’ve seen. Some pictures ended up pretty decent, some were crazy blurry. As long as my son was able to semi-see what he took a picture of he was happy!! 🙂 If you are looking for just a good clear image camera – this is not the product for you. If you are looking for a kid-tough pretty good quality video camera – you will love this!
I love that the Tuff Cam has the option for both video and camera, but in my opinion the video part of the Tuff Cam is far superior to the photos you can take. As you can see above I decided to go on a scavenger hunt around the yard to try to take pictures of different objects in nature. Some ended up looking alright, but some were just too blurry to figure out. Below you see the pictures that I took of my son who never stops moving!! To be honest, if you have never seen a kids camera before you will think these pictures are horrible- but they are not. These photos are very typical for a kids cam in my opinion. I’ve seen much worse! Some of the pictures actually turned out pretty good!
On the photos it’s difficult to see but in the bottom right corner the date and time is stamped on there which you can preset as desired. There are a huge amount of things that you can do with this both at home and in your classroom. You can go on a scavenger hunt documenting animals and plants, you can make a video for a cousin or for another class and send it to them, you can document activities in the classroom as well as use the Tuff Cam to make a podcast of a classroom lesson! Additionally if you have Educational Insight’s Tuff Scope it is compatible with that as well which can be used to view the microscope on the TV via the Tuff Cam. Not to mention just plain having fun with it!
Overall we loved this product and felt it is worth the investment of purchasing it! Especially if you are looking for a kid-friendly cam and a decent kid’s video camera!
Check out the video I made below:
I love that you don’t have to keep feeding this camera batteries! That alone is a huge money saver in our household! It is very simple to pick up and use, but you do have to learn some of the other features which for me takes forever! In fact just today I got it stuck on the zoom mode and I couldn’t back out of it! My husband finally figured it out for me! It really is highly user friendly which is really what you need when you’re looking to purchase something that both you and your kids can figure out!
Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. I received a Tuff Cam in order to form my own opinions. All opinions are 100% mine.