The 7 Best Digital Cameras Under $200

Save money with good, inexpensive digital cameras

Thanks to technological advancements, the best cheap digital cameras are as powerful and feature-rich as top digital cameras from a few years ago. You don't have to spend a lot of money find good, inexpensive digital cameras.

Some photographers consider the price point of up to and including $200 to be the perfect price point for someone who's new to photography. Not only will you receive a pretty good value on the $200-and-under camera, but it should have some decent features and capabilities. This is also a great price point for finding slightly older but still strong cameras from 18 to 24 months ago that have now dropped in price as the manufacturer clears out the inventory.

If you're willing to take the risk, you may find some really strong cameras in this price point that are used or refurbished. Of course, a used camera probably won't have a warranty associated with it, so you'll need to have some confidence in the person who is selling the model. Still, if you can get few years' worth of work out of a used camera in this price point, it'll have been worth the investment.

For this list, we're sticking to relatively new cameras. Here are the best cheap digital cameras under $200.

Best Overall: Canon PowerShot SX410 IS

Canon PowerShot SX410 IS
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As one of the top brands in photography, Canon offers a vast range of shooters—from entry-level point-and-shoots to professional-grade DSLRs. The PowerShot SX410 IS is definitely on the entry-level end of the spectrum, but its super powerful 40x Optical Zoom (24-960mm) and 24mm Wide-Angle lens make it among the more serious point-and-shoots available. It features a 20 megapixel sensor with Canon’s DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, both of which ensure sharp, beautiful images for most purposes. It has a Smart AUTO mode that automatically selects the best camera settings for your environment, and everything is viewed and controlled through the crisp, three-inch LCD. The SX410 is also capable of shooting 720p HD video at up to 25 frames per second. Video shooting proves much easier with the dedicated movie button, wind filter feature and active optical zoom.

This is about as powerful as it gets for the sub-$200 price range. Canon has a long history of making powerful, reliable cameras, and the SX410 is the perfect option for novices looking to delve a bit deeper into the magic of photography—or videography, for that matter.

Best Design: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera
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Here’s a trip down memory lane. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 is just one in a large line of instant cameras produced by Fujilfilm and its competitor Polaroid. What makes the Mini 90 Neo Classic unique is its impressive vintage design. It looks like something from before the digital age.

To be clear, this camera serves a very specific purpose: It shoots and immediately prints images like an old Polaroid. If that’s not something you’re into, turn away now. If it is, buckle in. The Mini 90 can automatically detect the brightness of its surroundings and adjust the flash and shutter speed accordingly—much like a digital camera. Macro mode allows for short distance photography as close as 30-60 cm, and the Kids mode boosts the shutter speed for capturing fast moving objects. Perhaps coolest of all, the Mini 90 has a double exposure mode that captures two images on one film sheet. This allows for a variety of creative options when combined with the macro, light/dark options, timer and flash modes.

Best Starter Kit: Nikon COOLPIX L340 20MP

Nikon COOLPIX L340 20MP
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There aren’t a lot of starter kits that provide everything a novice photographer needs for less than $200. But this package from Nikon has it all. At the very upper of the under $200 budget, the Nikon COOLPIX L340 20-megapixel camera has a 32GB SDHC memory card and a a 50-inch tripod. It also includes a three-piece cleaning kit for camera and lens, a tri-fold memory card wallet, tabletop tripod, HDMI to Micro-HDMI audio/video cable, USB Card Reader, LCD screen protectors, and a black carrying case. That’s a pretty good deal for just $200. But what about the most important part—the camera?

The Nikon Coolpix L340 is certainly entry-level, but with the 20.2-megapixel sensor, 720p HD video shooting, and an impressive 28x optical zoom telephoto lens, it’s sure to satisfy most novices and intermediates. The lens is fixed but still versatile enough for most shooting needs. If not, it also features a Dynamic Fine Zoom function, which digitally enhances the zoom to an effective range of 56x. Combined with all the goodies in the $200 package, there’s just not a lot of room for buyer’s remorse.

Best Waterproof Point-and-Shoot: Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera

Nikon COOLPIX S33 Waterproof Digital Camera
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GoPro’s are all pretty much waterproof, but they serve a fairly specific need: They’re helmet-mounted or fixed to the fronts of vehicles. Sometimes you just want to be able to dive into the ocean carrying your trusted point-and-shoot. If that sounds like you, the Nikon COOLPIX S33 is the best waterproof camera you can get for less than $200.

This resilient shooter is waterproof up to 33 feet deep, shockproof (drop-proof) up to five feet, and freeze-proof down to 14° F. It includes a 3x wide-angle glass zoom lens, a 13.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, full HD (1080p) video recording with stereo sound and a simplified interface with big buttons for easy underwater use. It comes in white or blue, and includes a USB cable and cleaning brush in the package. When you have all that in a device that you can literally pick up, point, and shoot, who needs a GoPro?

Best Action Cam: GoPro HERO Session

GoPro HERO Session
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When it comes to cameras, GoPro’s are already pretty simple. But when it comes to GoPro’s, the HERO Session is the simplest of all. It’s designed for basic, grab-and-go shooting. Weighing just 2.6 ounces, this impressive shooter is waterproof up to 33 feet with no exterior housing needed. It shoots impressive 1440p video at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps and 720p at 100 fps. The still image camera is a big step up from the original GoPro HERO with its 8 megapixel sensor, 10-fps burst photo mode, and time-lapse functionality of up to 60 seconds. The user experience is also remarkably simple. It features a single button to power on the camera and start capturing video or photos automatically. It’s rugged, well-designed and incredibly compact.

While you may be tempted to spend more on a HERO4 or HERO4 Silver ($400 and $500, respectively), this is a simpler option for folks who just want to plug and go. And if you’re worried about the battery in such a tiny little device, don’t be. The Session maximizes battery life by only using power when the camera is recording. A full charge allows for up to two hours of continuous recording.

Best Compact Point-and-Shoot: Panasonic DMC-ZS40S

Panasonic DMC-ZS40S
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Panasonic is perhaps one of the most underrated brands in photography. The company produces a versatile range of powerful, extremely well-designed shooters for any novice or intermediate photographer. And the Panasonic DMC-ZS40S is probably the best compact (pocket-sized) camera you can find for less than $200. It features a deluxe Leica 30X Super Zoom lens (24-720mm) with a lens-mounted control ring for improved feature control. It includes GPS, Wi-Fi, USB, NFC (near field communications) functionality, which not only ensure its compatibility well into the future, it also promises to connect easily and seamlessly to any computer or mobile devices. It includes an 18.1 megapixel sensor with an extensive ISO range of 100 - 6400, as well as a number of autofocus and exposure control functions. This is a future-proofed compact shooter to compete with any smartphone camera on the market.

Best Budget: Canon PowerShot SX400

Canon PowerShot SX400
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The PowerShot SX410 may be the ideal starter package, but its baby brother SX400 is probably a better overall value. Found for less than $150, the SX400 offers an impressive array of feature and specs for the budget, and it comes in a package that is still ideal for novices and casual shooters. It includes an impressive 30x optical zoom (24-720mm) in the fixed, 24mm wide-angle lens—sure to provide versatility in any shooting situation. The 16 megapixel sensor works with Canon’s own DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to deliver truly next-level image quality. It also captures 720p HD video, high speed autofocus and a Smart AUTO function that automatically selects the best settings for any situation. This is a solid all-around camera that’s not only a good deal, but a good entry-level device for hobbyist photographers.


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