Top Cheap Cameras

Your guide to compact cameras

Compact cameras are ideal for casual use. Some of the factors you should take into account when shopping for a small camera include the sensor type, the resolution, and the zoom feature. It is also helpful to understand lens focal lengths, as these will affect your ability to capture detail at both close and long distances.

While you can shop for higher-end cameras on sale, the best cheap cameras are inherently priced at the lower end of the scale. These are perfect for beginners and people who need a reliable camera for taking everyday snapshots. You may also be able to save some money if you buy a camera online.

Here are our picks for the best cheap cameras on the market:

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Canon PowerShot A1200

This camera packs a lot of punch for a low price, and it’s a higher-end alternative to Canon’s entry level A-series PowerShot line. Loaded with features, including a full range of built in filters and Live View Control, this camera takes crisp, clear photographs and also allows you to capture HD video at 720p resolutions. It also features an optical viewfinder, something you won’t find in many other cameras in its size and price range.

The canon PowerShot A1200 is powered by AA batteries instead of a lithium-ion battery, which will save you some money in the long run. However, its zoom lens range is a little lacking, particularly at telephoto distances. On the whole, though, this camera offers a lot of advanced features that you won’t find in comparable models.

Specifications:

  • Megapixels: 12
  • Zoom: 4x
  • LCD screen: 2.7 inches
  • Dimensions: 9.75 x 6.25 x 3.07 cm
  • Weight: 185 grams
  • Macro: 3 cm
  • Video: HD
  • Memory cards: SD, SDHC, SDXC
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Samsung SH100

On paper, the Samsung SH100 offers some of the most impressive specifications for a camera its size and in its price range. It has a generous lens range, excellent zoom capabilities, an LCD touch screen and an auto shooting mode. You also have the built-in ability to email and edit photos, capture video and alter settings via an edit menu.

However, this camera isn’t as user-friendly as it could be, which can be problematic for beginners, and its SD memory card is troublesome to replace. Its advanced settings are also a little difficult to access, but on the whole, this is a sleek and dynamic camera that’s great for both looks and functionality.

Specifications:

  • Megapixels: 16.1
  • Zoom: 5x
  • LCD screen: 3 inches
  • Dimensions: 10.2  x 5.65 x 1.93 cm
  • Weight: 126.5 grams
  • Lens range: 26 to 135 mm
  • Video: HD
  • Memory cards: SD, SDHC
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Panasonic Lumix DMC FH25

This camera benefits from a sleek and compact design, and offers a complete range of easy to use features. It is very user friendly and intuitive, and makes an excellent choice for beginners and casual photographers. While it does capture 720p HD video, its resolution isn’t as good as some other comparable models, but it does offer an 8x zoom lens, one of the best in its class. On the whole, this camera provides very good value for the money.

Specifications:

  • Megapixels: 16.1 (CCD sensor)
  • Zoom: 8x
  • LCD screen: 2.7 inches
  • Dimensions: 9.92  x 5.65 x 2.78 cm
  • Weight: 126.5 grams
  • Lens range: up to 504 mm
  • Video: 720p MPEG-4
  • Memory cards: SD
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Fujifilm FinePix JZ300

This camera offers plenty to the casual user, with easy to use features, controlled shooting modes and excellent image quality. It also allows you to capture HD video and has a very generous 10x zoom lens. On the down side, though, it has a relatively meager number of effective pixels (12.1 megapixels), and you can find better resolutions in the price range.

Specifications:

  • Megapixels: 12.1
  • Zoom: 10x
  • LCD screen: 2.7 inches
  • Dimensions: 9.7  x 5.7 x 2.85 cm
  • Weight: 148 grams
  • Lens range: 28 to 280 mm
  • Video: 720p HD
  • Memory cards: SD, SDHC
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Sony Cybershot DSC W570

This is a solid all-around camera that holds strong appeal for photographers on a budget. It is very small and portable, being barely larger than a smartphone but taking much better pictures. However, you shouldn’t expect much in the way of advanced features, as this is Sony’s entry level digital camera. Given its small size, it also doesn’t give you much grip to work with.

Specifications:

  • Megapixels: 16
  • Zoom: 5x
  • LCD screen: 2.7 inches
  • Dimensions: 9.22  x 5.2 x 1.99 cm
  • Lens range: 25 to 125 mm
  • Video: 720p HD
  • Memory cards: SD, SDHC