The 7 Best Digital Cameras Under $100

Save money with inexpensive digital cameras

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Sony DSC-W800

Sony DSCW800
Courtesy of Amazon.com
4

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 DSC-W800 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

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ43
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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 COOLPIX S3700
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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

GoPro HERO
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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

Nikon COOLPIX L32
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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

Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Instant Film Camera
Courtesy of Amazon.com

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.

Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best digital cameras under $200 can help you find what you're looking for.

Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent three hours testing one of our readers’ favorite digital cameras. To get the most comprehensive results, they took photos and video in different types of environments and lighting situations. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using this camera, from its zoom capability to the quality of the final photos. We've outlined the takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Digital Camera Under $100

Optical zoom - When searching for a compact point-and-shoot camera, take into consideration the optical zoom abilities advertised. If you want to capture images that are more than a few arms’ lengths away, you’ll want something with at least 4X optical zoom.

Connectivity - Having fun living in a connected digital world? If you want to quickly upload your favorite photos to Facebook and Instagram, ensure that your camera of choice offers digital connectivity options, such as Bluetooth or WiFi, to connect with your smartphone.

Video abilities - Not all compact cameras are excellent at video recording. If you’re looking for a camera to capture videos of the kids or your latest vacation, look for a solution that offers a minimum of 720p HD video. If you are able to find an option with stabilized video, it will help to remove any shakiness caused by your hand.

Test Results: Sony DSC-W800 (Best Overall)

4

What We Like

  • Super portable

  • Stylish but durable

  • Long battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Average photo quality

  • Difficult to focus

Sony DSCW800 camera
Sony DSCW800
Sony DSCW800 digital camera
Sony digital camera
Sony camera

We're going to be honest with you: Most cameras under $100 are not going to produce high-quality photos. However, if you don't want to spend a lot, the Sony DSC-W800 will get the job done. While one reviewer called the photo quality “rather average,” she liked how “surprisingly light” the camera was and the fact that it could easily fit in your pocket. Other things our testers liked? It’s durable, has a good battery life, and, according to one person, “looks much more expensive than it is.” Overall, it’s an affordable, on-the-go option, but if you’re interested in superior photos and videos, this isn’t the camera for you.