These days, almost everyone has a camera in their pocket because most phone models come with built-in cameras. Despite their general ease of use however, smartphone cameras rarely ever come close to the quality that a dedicated camera device can provide. But because many of us feel that cameras can cost just as much or more than a smartphone, we often find it impractical to spend for a separate camera all together.
Contrary to popular belief though, a camera can be very affordable especially if you know how to choose the right one. Don’t believe us? Check out our list and buying guide to find the best camera under $200 – perfect for buyers on a tight budget.
How to Find the Best Budget Camera for $200 or Less
In your search for a new camera, it’s always easier to stumble upon expensive choices that may not fit your budget. These days, it isn’t uncommon for brands to release cameras that can be upwards of a thousand dollars, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find anything cheaper than that.
Take these tips with you when you go out in search of the best camera under $200 dollars to help you make the most of your money’s worth.
- Consider Functionality. The more features and functions that come with your device, the more expensive it becomes. For instance, those that have much higher ISO ratings tend to be more expensive because of the sensitivity of the mechanism inside the camera.
Other features that can make a camera more expensive include built-in filters, WiFi connectivity, and resolution. If you want to be able to stick to a tight budget of just 200 or under, be sure to consider what features you need. Anything that seems more like a luxury than an essential may simply add to the cost of your camera.
- Understand the Types of Cameras. There are many different types of cameras that serve a variety of functions. Depending on how you want to use your new purchase, it’s essential that you consider these different types to find out which one will best suit your preferences and needs.
- Action Cameras. Action cameras are small however durable devices that can be clipped on to headgear, clothes, and extending poles. They’re ideal for travellers or vloggers who want to capture high quality video with a small, easy to carry device.
- DSLRs. These are the camera of choice for professionals, as they’re much more packed with features compared to any other camera type. They’re bulky, robust, and are highly customizable with accessories and attachments. They can be quite expensive though, and may only fall within the 200 dollar range if they’re old models or second hand.
- Point and Shoot. The point and shoot camera is typically what most of us have. They’re affordable, feature-rich, and compact, which makes them ideal for casual or amateur use. Of course, they’re not as capable of high quality output like DSLRs, but they do meet the need for anyone who just wants to be able to take better pictures.
- Mirrorless Cameras. The mirrorless camera is the middle ground that bridges the point and shoot and the DSLR. They’re less bulky than DSLRs and less expensive, a lot like point and shoots. But they offer much greater functionality and can even accommodate new lenses, like DSLRs.
- Instant Film Cameras. Popularized by Polaroid, instant film cameras print your pictures seconds after you take them. They’re perfect for use at parties or at family gatherings, where guests might want to take home pictures.
Top 5 Best Camera Under $200
1. Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera
When it comes to value for money, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera is definitely the best camera under $200. This instant film camera from Fujifilm produces lomography style images from an equally quirky and cute body, perfect for travellers, scrap book enthusiast, and sentimental souls that love collecting memories.
The camera features a vintage aesthetic with 2 small screens that indicate the settings and available film. The device lacks a screen, and stays true to the instant film camera design by providing users a small viewfinder along the upper right hand corner of the device’s backside.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera runs on standard, store-bought lithium ion batteries, so you won’t have to worry about having to recharge. It also features multiple different image capture settings that adapt to your environment to give you the perfect outcomes with each snap.
- Good exposure compensation
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Includes a rechargeable battery
- Stylish and classic design
- Offers creative scenes and modes
- A bit complicated to use
- More expensive than other models
2. Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera
If you’re looking for the perfect point and shoot, then the Sony DSCW830/B Digital Camera might just be the right choice for you. This camera features a whopping 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, much more powerful than any smartphone currently existing. This allows you to generate high quality, crisp images that produce far greater detail than other cameras.
Operation and interface is easy and hassle-free, much like many other Sony consumer electronics. It also comes ready with several shooting pre-sets so you can adjust your camera to perfect light, contrast, and color in a variety of environments.
Finally, the device also comes with a number of other features that make it the perfect camera companion. Smile shutter technology, face detection technology, and intelligent auto mode make it a great pick for those who want to be able to take superior shots with minimal effort.
- Portable and easy to carry
- Excellent battery backup
- Good value for money
- Exceptional photo quality
- Convenient LCD screen size
- Flash is not too good in low lighting
- Zoom movement not smooth
3. Nikon Coolpix L340 20.2 MP Digital Camera
If you want something a little more versatile but don’t want to spend outside your 200 dollar budget, look no further. The Nikon Coolpix L340 Digital Camera is the ideal choice for those who want to step into semi-professional photography ground without having to spend on an expensive DSLR.
This camera features a 28x optical zoom capacity, 20.2 megapixel image resolution, and 720p video recording perfect for versatile use in a variety of settings and situations.
Although classified as a point and shoot, the Nikon Coolpix L340 Digital Camera does come close to DSLR performance, even allowing users to achieve slight bokeh for near professional outcomes. Of course, it’s not as cheap as other options, but at just under 200 dollars, it’s definitely a steal.
- Impressive focus performance
- Display and viewfinder can be used in any setting
- Excellent scene selections
- Straightforward interface and navigation
- Additional features offer convenience
- Not ideal for environments with low lighting
- Lacks Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions
4. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 offers flexibility and ease in capturing beautiful photos. More than anything, this is made possible because of the unit’s smart settings. For instance, you can choose among different scene modes while also enjoying their optical image stabilizer feature.
The 20-megapixel CCD sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor ensure you get high-def photos. What’s more, this processor helps extend battery life. The camera also has an ECO mode that you can easily activate with a simple click of a button. As such, you don’t have to worry about your battery draining at the most crucial times in events.
Besides photos, this camera boasts 720p HD video capabilities, allowing you to record high-quality videos even in areas with low lighting. The best part is that you can also choose among various filters and scenes, including monochrome, toy camera, fisheye effect, and more.
There’s no doubt that newbies and pros will enjoy using the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190. You’ll appreciate the Smart AUTO function, which instantly switches to the ideal settings based on your shooting situation. Plus, there’s the Advanced Subject Detection that tracks moving subjects to make it easier for you to move and shoot.
Another impressive feature is the 10x optical zoom. This function lets you shoot with an incredible range. Combine that with the camera’s intelligent IS, which automatically implements shake correction, and you’re good to go.
With this camera, image and video transfers are a breeze. The NFC and built-in Wi-Fi technology deliver unmatched convenience. Thanks to these, you can post and share your videos and photos across different platforms. Lastly, the image sync function lets you wirelessly transfer videos and photos to computers.
- Easy upload, transfer, and sharing
- Versatile and easy capture
- Diverse scene options for creative shots
- High-definition photos, even in low-light settings
- Difficult to use
- Wi-Fi is hard to configure
5. Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421
If you are after shooting range and capacity, perhaps the Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421 is what you’re looking for. It sports an impressive 42x optical zoom, giving you premium-quality shots even from a far distance. For this reason, it’s no wonder that this camera is a favorite among those who love taking photos of wildlife.
In the same light, creative photographers will love the AZ421’s 16-megapixel camera. With this, you can embrace your creativity because it lets you enlarge, zoom, and crop without losing the details and compromising the quality of the image.
Do you enjoy capturing sceneries? It would be tough to find a budget-friendly camera that works better than this one. It comes with a 24mm wide-angle lens. Alternatively, you can switch to Panorama mode, which gives you 180-degree access for taking continuous shots.
If you want to capture movement without losing the life in your photos, you can rely on its face detection feature and highlighting. These features, along with the AZ421’s 720p resolution, will give you HD videos that are worth remembering.
There is a lot to love about this camera, especially its face beautifier feature. It lets you play around with the built-in touch-up features that enhance eyes, improves skin tone, and reduces flaws. It also has a bright, big three-inch LCD screen that allows you to scan images before and during your shoot.
You don’t have to worry about settings because its smart AUTO feature sets them for you no matter what setting you are in. On top of that, you get the benefit of having Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) features so that you can achieve better focus. In terms of battery, you can rely on its rechargeable lithium-ion battery to last a long time.
- Long battery life
- Perfect for every setting and occasion
- Ideal for creative shots
- Easy to use
- Not compatible with several memory cards
- May deteriorate after long-term use
The market offers a long list of options for the best cameras under $200, but which model stands out from the rest? If you ask us, it’s Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera for its versatility, image quality, and convenience.
Another camera worth taking a second look at is the Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD. With its various settings to match all sorts of occasions, both beginners and professionals will have fun with it. In the end, the right camera depends on your needs and skill level, so choose wisely.