The 7 Best Digital Cameras Under $100

Save money with inexpensive digital cameras

First things first: The best cheap digital cameras for under $100 are not going to be feature-rich models. They aren't going to take photos that will generate poster-sized prints.

The best cheap digital cameras can, however, yield photos of good quality for using on the Internet and for making small prints. Before you automatically dismiss a sub-$100 digital camera because of its lack of features and power, keep in mind that cameras with very similar specification lists to these cameras were probably $300, $400, and even $500 cameras half a decade ago. That's the great thing about the $100 price point: The number of features and technologies that drop down into this budget level occur continuously, so a camera that was considered pretty powerful just a few years ago may now have fallen to the $100 price point.

You also may find some refurbished cameras in this sub-$100 price point. Obviously purchasing a camera that has been re-built can have some risk, as the camera may not include a warranty or may not work for very long. Still, if you're willing to take this chance, you may find an incredible bargain that provides great results for a few years.

Thanks to technological advancements, today's inexpensive digital cameras have more power than you might think. Here are the some of the best cheap digital cameras for less than $100.

Best Overall: Sony DSCW800

When it comes to cameras, the sub-$100 category is pretty tough, namely due to the convenience of smartphone cameras. However, if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks on a standalone camera, the Sony DSCW800 is probably the best you’ll find. It features a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor with a 5x optical zoom lens. It includes Sony’s SteadyShot Image stabilization tech, which reduces blur, and it shoots 720p HD video. Among the other features are a 360° Panorama mode, USB charging, a simplified camera menu and a picture effect mode. It’s also super lightweight and compact, making it highly transportable—something any camera owner should expect in the age of the smartphone.

To be clear, this is an entry-level shooter from Sony. It may offer a bit more versatility than an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S7 (mostly thanks to the optical zoom), but the point-and-shoot category as a whole hasn’t seen much innovation in recent years. Buy this if you want a dedicated camera that can shoot fairly high quality images, but you don’t want to spend more than $100.

Best for Beginners: Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43

If simplicity is the most important factor in your budget digital camera purchase, it’s unlikely you find something easier to get started with than the Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43. This is a true beginner camera and one of the few inexpensive cameras that has been consistently updated by Kodak to keep it fresh. 

The camera is exceptionally light at .26 pounds and measures just 2.37 x 3.67 x 1.05 inches. On top of its dead-simple design and interface, it offers up a 2.7-inch LCD screen, 4x optical zoom, 16-megapixel photos and the ability to shoot HD videos in 720p.

Some reviewers have warned that the camera has an average battery life of less than two hours, so you may want to purchase some additional AA batteries to go with it just in case. That said, at this price, it’s still a good deal and we’re sure the camera would make an excellent choice for anyone that is just getting started with photography.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best Kodak cameras

Best for Connectivity: Nikon COOLPIX S3700

Nikon’s COOLPIX line of point-and-shoots is ideal for beginners as they tend to have rudimentary specs with intuitive, easy to use interfaces. Anyone can work one of these shooters. But a lot of COOLPIX models are also ideal for connecting to computers. The COOLPIX S3700, for example, has Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication technology (NFC) compatibility, allowing you to seamlessly and wirelessly connect to a computer or mobile device for instant sharing access. It features a 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor with 8x optical zoom, 720p HD video capture, an ISO range of 80, 1600, 3200, as well as 16 Scene Modes and a 16x dynamic (digital) zoom that effectively doubles the camera’s reach. The whole thing can be found around $100, and it comes in red, silver, and pink.

Best Action/Waterproof: KASO EK7000 4K

If a GoPro is out of your price range, but you still want a camera that can keep up with your crazy antics, the KASO EK7000 is your best bet. It takes 4K video with 12MP photos at up to 30 frames per second for amazing action shots – that equals four times the resolution of traditional HD cameras. It also has a 170-degree wide angle lens, so you can capture more of the scene and includes two rechargeable 1050mAh batteries, each of which captures up to 90 minutes, so you don’t miss a beat.

The camera itself is built for action. When in the included casing, it’s waterproof up to 100 feet, and it comes with a slew of mounts, tethers and clips for your bike, helmet and more. On top of all that, it has built-in Wi-Fi and an HDMI port so you can edit and share your adventures on the go.

Best Budget Point-and-Shoot: Nikon COOLPIX L32

When you’re trying to get the best deal on a budget camera, sometimes you’ll have the best luck by purchasing a higher-end model that has been certified refurbished. That’s what we found with the powerful and easy-to-use Nikon COOLPIX L32. The device is lightweight at .65 pounds and measures 3.3 x 5.4 x 7.8 inches, so it can easily fit in your pocket. It stands out among other sub-$100 camera purchases with its 20.1-megapixel photos, 5x optical zoom lens, a three-inch LCD screen for viewing photos and the ability to shoot 720p HD videos.

On top of its surprisingly good hardware, the COOLPIX L32 also has some sweet software tricks under the hood. The camera offers a “Smart Portrait System” that does some of the work for you when taking portraits, including an autofocus feature that knows to look for faces in the frame. There’s even a “Glamour Retouch” feature that softens skin to hide blemishes and can add color to cheeks.

Best Instant Camera: Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera

Instant cameras are something of a party trick these days, as there really is no digital value to them. But not everything has to be Internet-compatible. Remember the good old days of film? The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is a trip down memory lane. The specs aren’t all that impressive. It features a 95mm f/14 lens with two focus zones, an optical (not electronic) viewfinder, and controls to help add high and low-key effects to pictures. That’s it. It doesn’t even have USB charging (it runs on AA batteries). But when your camera automatically snaps, exposes and prints out pictures, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Snap images and post them all over your wall, office, locker, or wherever. Save them and share them with friends in the old-fashioned way. Cherish these cameras for their classical appeal, not their social media potential.

Best Social/Sharing Camera: Nikon COOLPIX S3700 Digital Camera

Most people who want to share their photos in a snap default to their smartphones because their connectivity makes it super easy. But if you want to take it up a notch, spring for the Nikon COOLPIX S3700, which takes noticeably better photos in just about any light thanks to its 20-megapixel sensor and 8x optical zoom. Here’s an instance where buying a refurbished model will get you more for your money.

It also records 720P HD video, and Its optical VR image stabilization keeps your footage steady. This point-and-shoot is pretty slim, so it’s easy to toss into your bag and its 2.7-inch LCD display with five-level brightness adjustment is large enough to review your pictures in all their glory. Built-in Wi-Fi capability will allow the like-hunters among us to share shots on the spot, directly to any iOS or Android device.

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