Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
There’s never been a better time to purchase an affordable digital camera. If you’re tired of using your boring smartphone to take all your pictures and want to upgrade the quality of your images, the best option is to pick up a brand-new digital camera. That’s why today we’re looking for the best digital camera under $200.
And don’t worry, we’re going to make sense of all your options! There are tons of different digital cameras to choose from. You have underwater cameras, action cameras, and at least a dozen different manufacturers. It’s a confusing world out there, but we’ve isolated five of the best digital cameras that offer superb quality, the most ideal features, and the most user-friendly designs – and all for under $200.
If you’re still on the fence about upgrading to a digital camera, let us just say that you will be happy you did. There is a huge bump in quality when you go from a smartphone to a digital camera. Plus, technology nowadays means that digital cameras have more impressive sensors than ever before, with higher megapixels, clearer images, brighter contrasts, and more vivid colors.
For under $200, you have a wealth of options to choose from. And at the end of the day, you’re going to be seriously impressed by how much better your social media posts are when you upgrade to a digital camera.
1. Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera
First up on the list is the Canon PowerShot 180 Digital Camera. This is one of the most affordable digital cameras from Canon. It utilizes a 20-megapixel CCD sensor combined with a DIGIC 4+ image processor to deliver some of the most stunning images possible, even though it’s such a moderately-sized camera. And speaking of size, this thing is small enough to slide into your shirt pocket. That makes it one of the better cameras available for walking around the city and for everyday photography. It has 8x optical zoom, impressive optical image stabilization technology, and it’s able to capture HD video.
Some of the other great features include smart automatic selection for predefined shooting situations, special modes like the fisheye effect and the monochrome effect, and of course a ridiculously small price tag. You’re obviously not going to get the big-box features that you would find in a camera over $500, but for such a small chunk of change, you truly do get quality. Plus, you can put the camera in eco mode to help reduce power consumption, thereby providing you with a longer-lasting battery.
- Super Slim/Fits in Pocket
- Available w/ 32GB Memory Card
- 8x Zoom + Image Stabilization
- Excellent Scene Modes
- Extremely Affordable
- Poor Video Resolution
- Complex Menu
2. Sony DSCW800 20.1MP Digital Camera
It’s not hard to find a quality Sony camera. While some of their top models can cost well over $1000, the DSCW800 is significantly more affordable, even less than $75, and yet still impressive in its quality and its features.
This digital camera has a simplified menu with an easy mode, 5x optical zoom, 360 sweep panorama, and special image stabilization to reduce blur. You cannot shoot in RAW format, and you don’t have 4K movie capability, but you do take beautiful images with this camera. If you’re looking to upgrade from your smartphone or a disposable camera, this Sony model is a great place to start. It’s affordable, you can charge the battery easily using a USB cable, and you can play with your photographs thanks to the various picture effects integrated into the camera. Plus, smile shutter technology works to capture smiles automatically, which is great when trying to take a picture of the whole family!
- Incredibly Detailed Images w/ Blink Detection
- 360 Sweep Panorama Mode
- Automatically Captures Smiles
- Charges Easily via USB
- Camera is Pretty Slow
- Feels Flimsy
3. Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ401-BK 1^6MP Digital Camera
No list would be complete without a quality Kodak camera. The PIXPRO Astro Zoom is a phenomenal piece of technology with 40x optical zoom and a 3” LCD screen. This is one of the only digital cameras for under $200 that offers such an impressive zoom range. It also has a surprisingly usable screen, which makes you feel much more like a professional photographer than some of these point-and-click cameras. It may only have 16 megapixels, but unless you’re going to be blowing up your photographs for billboards, this isn’t actually a big deal.
Plus, the PIXPRO comes included with a 24mm wide-angle lens so that you don’t have to sacrifice any room in your photographs. You will always capture the entire image inside the frame. Simply point, click, and enjoy beautiful photos. This is one of the better budget cameras for landscape photography and architecture. It also utilizes a 180-degree panorama feature for those moments when you need to photograph the entire vista as far as your eye can see.
- 24mm Wide-Angle Lens
- 180-Degree Panorama Feature
- 40x Optical Zoom
- Convenience of AA Batteries
- Can Shoot the Moon!
- Not Compatible w/ Micro SD
- Only 16MP
4. AKASO EK7000 4K Sports Action Camera
The AKASO EK7000 is not technically a digital camera, but just hear us out. This is hands down the best action camera that you can get for under $50. It’s the same idea behind the super famous GoPro, mind you not quite as advanced. But it still offers 4K HD action. It has a wireless wrist remote control so that you can manipulate the camera from a distance. It also has an extremely long battery life and can record at least 90 minutes of video on a single charge. The camera utilizes Wi-Fi and it’s waterproof up to 100 feet below the surface. This is one of those cameras that can withstand extreme environments. It’s also available with a lot of different accessories so that you can turn it into the perfect travel camera depending on your needs.
And in case you were wondering, yes you can use it as a point-and-shoot digital camera. It takes burst shots, it can do time-lapse, and it has a wide-angle lens that allows you to capture anything within 170 degrees. This gives you a much more expansive field of view than you get with most standard digital cameras. It’s also extremely well-reviewed, which is surprising considering it’s ridiculously affordable.
- Over 20,000 Positive Reviews
- Less Than $50
- Full 4K Ultra HD video
- Wireless Wrist Remote
- Extremely Long Battery Life
- Only 12MP Photos
- Not as Good as GoPro
5. Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera
If you must go with the brand you trust, Nikon is always a good bet. And their COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera is one of the most affordable units available. It’s also a great beginner camera for aspiring photographers who want to practice with something more affordable and easier to understand. The menu is very simple, the 3” LCD is great to learn how to use the equipment, and it has full Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity. The lens also offers 80x dynamic zoom so that you can get up close and personal with your target even when far away. If you’re heading to the zoo, this is definitely the camera you would want to take with you.
Yes, it borders on the $200 mark. But what’s a few extra bucks for all the extra quality! It has vibration reduction technology to keep your shots clear as crystal. You can use the Nikon Snap Bridge application for an even more immersive experience, and the camera can capture full HD 1080p videos complete with stereo sound. It really is a great choice for someone who wants to learn how to use a real camera so that they can upgrade later to a more professional version. It’s also extremely lightweight and runs on AA batteries. You don’t have to worry about running out of juice halfway through a photoshoot!
- 40x Optical Zoom
- Excellent Nikon App
- Tilting 3” LCD Screen
- Convenient for Beginners
- HD 1080p w/ Stereo Sound
- Not Great in Low Light
- Not Enough Manual Options
There are a few main things you want to keep your eyes open for when shopping for the best digital camera under $200. Obviously at this price range, we’re talking about budget cameras. And if you don’t choose one of the fantastic models reviewed today, there are four aspects to be aware of going forward.
The most important thing is image and video quality. This is a huge factor when considering which camera to buy. Unfortunately, with a cheaper camera the image quality is always going to be lower than with high-end models. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still purchase a camera with 4K video capability and reasonable image quality. As a general rule, if the camera can handle 4K video, the pictures are also going to be great.
Then you will need to think about battery life. As you can imagine, companies that sell cameras don’t exactly advertise poor battery life. You need to check out the reviews before purchasing to see what you’re looking at for battery life. There’s nothing worse than buying a budget camera that only works for 30 minutes out of the day!
Then there is the zoom feature. Almost all cameras under $200 are going to be point-and-shoot models, meaning that you can’t change the lens. This means you need to check the optical zoom level before you buy. Some models seriously restrict the zoom, while other models come with a pretty substantial zoom range.
And finally, the camera should be easy to use. The good news about this is that for $200, you’re not going to get a wide range of complex features. Still, check the reviews and make sure the camera is comfortable to handle, intuitive to use with its controls, and easy when it comes to transferring images.
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