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 sweet spot 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.

In the sub-$200 category, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better camera than the Nikon CoolPix A10. Allowing for a respectable 5X Optical Zoom with the NIKKOR glass lens, this Sony can clearly capture the detail even from a great distance. With an ergonomic design reminiscent of traditional SLR cameras, the CoolPix A10 sits comfortably in your hands and looks fantastic. Several special features make this camera stand out, like six camera filter types such as Portrait mode and Party Mode, which automatically adjusts the flash to match the available lighting, as well as Picture Effect, which lets you add a creative touch to your photos through edits.

The 2.7-inch LCD display screen makes it easy to compose shots and navigate settings even in direct sunlight. Great for filming short movies, the Nikon CoolPix A10 records at 720p and delivers sharp video quality. While not as customizable as a more expensive model, this camera is guaranteed to capture fine detail and vibrant color, making it perfect for anyone wanting to take their photography to the next level.

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.

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.

If there’s one place where your iPhone camera just won’t cut it, it’s underwater. Whether you are planning on scuba diving or venturing out on a whitewater rafting trip, you’ll want to document those memories without destroying your phone with water damage. For these occasions, the Fujifilm FinePix XP80 will give you pictures as crystal clear as the waters you dive into.

This sturdy camera is waterproof up to 50 feet, shockproof up to 5.8 feet, dustproof and freezeproof down to 14oF, so you can take it almost anywhere. Its backlit 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor allows for high-quality photos even in low light, and optical image stabilization reduces blur on zoomed in images. This camera can even be operated remotely through your phone to capture images of elusive wildlife, and images are easily transferred to your devices through WiFi.

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.

Canon has a long track record of producing top-notch cameras for any budget or experience level. With the Canon PowerShot ELPH, you get a compact point-and-shoot digital camera that delivers crisp image quality for the amateur photographer at an extremely reasonable price point.

This camera excels at its ease of use. With up to 10X zoom capabilities and an Optical Image Stabilizer, your photos will come out clear with every shot. The Smart AUTO function selects the appropriate settings for any given situation, so that you don’t have to. Once you’ve captured the perfect image, built-in WiFi capabilities allow for quick and easy photo transfers to your device of choice, which makes sharing your favorite pictures a breeze.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH also comes equipped with a few fun settings, such as Fisheye, Toy Camera and Monochrome effects, as well as HD video, so you can get creative with your imagery. Available in black, blue or red and small enough to fit in your pocket, the Canon PowerShot ELPH is the perfect point-and-shoot camera for amateur photographers who want a camera that is highly portable and easy to use without sacrificing quality.

It can be a struggle to find a decent camera that balances image quality with affordability. The Sony DSCW800/B 20.1-megapixel digital camera offers all the basic features that you would need with a point-and-shoot camera for a seriously affordable price. While you would get slightly more features with a more expensive model, the Sony DSCW800/B allows for 5X optical zoom, SteadyShot image stabilization, 360o panoramic capabilities and a 720p HD movie setting for recording high-quality videos. Sony’s simple and compact model makes it perfect for everyday use, and a USB charging port allows you to take this camera on-the-go.

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