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Best Cheap Cameras 2022: 14 Of The Best Budget Cameras

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This is our comprehensive guide to the top cheap cameras available today. Each model below has been tested to ensure it is a good value for money. We’ve collected the best options for every budget, whether you’re looking for an entry-level DSLR or a compact camera.

What is the best camera for cheap? It’s difficult to choose one model that everyone will like. A camera that is affordable to you could mean one that will grow with your photography over the years. You might also be searching for a bargain camera that fits within your budget, even if this means making some compromises on the specifications.

The Nikon D3500 is our favorite cheap camera. It is a good package, provided you don’t need to shoot a 4K video. It supports a large range of affordable lenses, has a good APS-C sensor, and great battery life.

There are many options available if you want a mirrorless camera at a reasonable price. For example, cameras like the Sony Alpha A6000 are still capable of options many years after their launch. If you are looking for a cheap way to start photography, the Polaroid Go instant camera offers great entertainment for a small amount of money.

No matter what camera type you are looking for, and no matter your budget, our list includes the best bargain cameras that you can purchase right now. Each one has been thoroughly tested to make sure it meets your needs. We keep this list updated regularly with the best-value cameras, as older models often get discounted when newer versions arrive.

Are you unsure how to choose the best camera for your budget? This buying guide will provide helpful tips and pointers to help you choose the best affordable camera for your needs.

The best cheap cameras for 2022

1. Nikon D3500

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: DSLR

Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.2MP

Lens mount: Nikon 

Screen: 3 Inch, 921K dots

Viewfinder: Optic

Continuous shooting: 5fps

Movies: 1080p

User level: Beginner

The Nikon D3400 was a popular and highly successful DSLR. Now, the Nikon D3500 is stepping up to the mirrorless era. Although DSLRs are less common these days, they still offer great value when compared to mirrorless cameras because of their optical viewfinders. The Nikon D3500 is the best budget camera for beginners.

The D3400 has had some key changes, including an upgraded APS-C sensor with 24MP and a longer battery life of 1,550 frames per recharge. This is in addition to the D3400’s 1,200 shots per charge. The D3500 has a lighter body and better grip. The Sony A6000 mirrorless alternative is also worth looking at, but the D3500 is a bit more user-friendly, especially if you need to use longer lenses.

2. Fujifilm X-T200

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor size: APS – C CMOS

Resolution: 24.2MP

Viewfinder: EVF OLED 2,360,000 dots

Monitor: 3.5-inch touchscreen with fully articulated touchscreen, 2,780,000 dots

Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps

Movies: 4K

User level: Beginner

While we still love the Fujifilm X-T30 camera, this mirrorless version is the best for beginners. The X-T100’s predecessor is vastly improved, with autofocus and a fantastic 3.5in touchscreen at the rear. You also have a viewfinder to frame shots, unlike the Fujifilm X-A7 (see below). Although subject tracking can sometimes be difficult during burst shots and is not available for video, this camera is still a great value for money for anyone looking for a mirrorless model.

3. Sony Alpha A6000

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Mirrorless

Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.3MP

Lens mount: Sony E-mount

Screen: 3.0-inch tilt-angle, 921K dots

Viewfinder: EVF is available

Continuous shooting speed: 11fps

Movies: 1080p

User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Do not let the low price fool you. Although the A6000 is priced the same as entry-level DSLRs and mirrorless cameras it is still a powerful and advanced camera that has been on the market since 2014. Although it is old, many of its specifications look fresh today. It has a 24MP APSC sensor, hybrid 179-point autofocus, and continuous shooting at 11 frames per second (fps). The screen is not touch-sensitive and it can only record 1080p Full HD video at 1080p. The latter is still true on many new Sony cameras, and the A6000’s top-end features ensure that the camera will continue to grow with you.

4. Olympus OM–D E-M10 Mark IV

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Mirrorless

Sensor: 20.3MP

Lens mount: Micro Four-Thirds

Monitor: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,037K dots

Viewfinder: 2.36m dot EVF

Continuous shooting: 15fps

Movies: 4K/30p

User level: Beginner

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a great choice for beginners looking for a compact mirrorless camera. The Mark IV is a Micro Four Thirds-friendly model that pairs a 20.3MP sensor and impressive in-body image stabilization to produce consistently beautiful images with the kit lens.

Video is not the main focus of this camera, as it has a 4K/30p resolution and does not have a microphone or headphone input. This is a powerful, small camera that can take stills. The dynamic range is superior to any smartphone’s, and the IBIS system maintains sharp images even after dark.

The Mark IV’s 121 points may have some issues with AF tracking, but it is much more reliable than the Mark III’s improved face detection and subject tracking. You’ll be able to find it quickly, even in low lighting if you keep your focus on the center point.

The Mark IV is an affordable upgrade for smartphone photographers thanks to its ergonomic grip, easy button layout, and flip-down touchscreen. It also features a large selection of lenses, making it one of the most affordable cameras available if you are looking for a modern and mirrorless experience.

5. Polaroid Go

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Instant

Sensor: Analogue

Lens mount: N/A

Monitor: N/A

Viewfinder: Analogue

Continuous shooting: N/A

Movies: N/A

User level: Beginner

The Polaroid Go is a budget camera that’s as affordable as it gets. This tiny point-and-shoot camera is extremely easy to use. Its retro shell has just a few simple controls and a handy digital shot counter. Although the Polaroid Go has no macro mode and fixed focus, it does offer flash override, self-timer, and double exposure options. This will keep analog photographers happy.

Although the prints are small, the pastel tones and detailed images have a lo-fi feel. You can find cheaper alternatives, and film refills may be less expensive, but there is no better way to experience instant photography.

6. Canon EOS M50

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Mirrorless

Sensor: 24.1MP

Lens mount: Canon EF-M

Monitor: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots

Viewfinder: 2,360K dots EVF

Continuous shooting: 10fps

Movies: 4K/25p

User level: Beginner

The original M50 is a popular mid-range model that mirrors a traditional camera. The M50 is a fun and easy option that still delivers great image quality. This is especially true after the M50 Mark II was launched. It’s a minor update to the original-gen model. The M50’s 24.1MP sensor APS-C processor by Canon and equipped with a Dual Pixel Autofocus system allow for compact photography that captures great stills.

The M50’s noise is well controlled with great detail and an impressive dynamic range. Although the M50 is affordable, there are some compromises. The battery life and plasticky finish could both be improved. In addition, the 4K footage’s heavy 1.6x crop feels outdated. The M50 is still a great budget camera with lots of features, including a bright EVF and a responsive touchscreen interface.

7. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1-inch CMOS, 20.1MP

Lens mount: N/A

Screen: 3-inch, 1,040K dots touchscreen

Viewfinder: 0.2 inch, 1,160K dot EVF

Continuous shooting: 9.9fps

Movies: 4K/30p

User level: Beginner

In 2017, the Panasonic TZ100 was our favorite compact camera.

The metal shell of the device is sturdy but small enough to fit in a pocket. Its main controls are located on the back, with function buttons offering customization and easy one-hand control.

The TZ100’s 1-inch sensor, which is larger than smartphones today, delivers vivid, vibrant images in low light. Noise is not an issue and the dynamic range is good. Most people will find the 10x optical zoom useful. You also have the option to shoot 4K footage, making it easy to create vlogs.

Although it isn’t as powerful as the premium compacts of today, the TZ100 can still capture travel photos to share online. It will also surpass most smartphones.

8. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Instant

Sensor: N/A

Lens mount: N/A

Screen: N/A

Viewfinder: Optic

Continuous shooting: N/A

Movies: N/A

User level: Beginner

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 9 is still a favorite for instant photos, even though it has been replaced by the Instax Mini 11. The Mini 9 is a compact camera that doesn’t have all the controls but instead lets you focus on the fun of taking pictures. The Mini 9’s viewfinder is simple and straightforward. Click the shutter button to take a print of the retro shell in a flash.

The Instax Mini 9’s plastic shell is charming for its simplicity. It comes in a range of bright colors, and a small mirror at the front makes it easy to frame selfies. The Mini 9’s inputs are limited to a simple five-level brightness adjustment dial. This makes it ideal for play dates and parties. Although print quality is limited, the goal is to capture retro-style memories and not crystal clear images. You’ll want to make sure your shots are worth the cost of color film.

9. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1-inch, 20.1MP

Lens: 24-70mm, f/1.8-2.8

Monitor: 3inches, 1,300K dots

Viewfinder EVF

Continuous shooting: 10fps

Movies: 1080p UHD

User level: Beginner/intermediate

The RX100 Mark III is the current best value smartphone for anyone looking to upgrade. This series now has its seventh generation. This was the first model to feature an electronic viewfinder, which is a great benefit for photographing in bright conditions. It also has a large sensor measuring 1 inch, which gives excellent image quality.

The camera also features a tilting screen, a 10fps continuous shooting mode, and a tilting screen for moving subjects. The RX100 Mark IV is a better choice if you are looking for a 4K video and slo-mo videos. However, the Mark III recently fell to incredibly low prices, making it one of the most affordable compact cameras on the market.

10. Fujifilm X-A7

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Mirrorless

Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.5MP

Lens mount: Fujifilm X-mount

Screen: 3.5-inch screen, 2,760K – dot vari-angle touchscreen

Viewfinder: N/A

Continuous shooting: 6fps

Movies: 4K/30p

User level: Beginner/intermediate

The Fujifilm X-A7 is proof that entry-level doesn’t have to mean basic or underpowered. It packs a remarkable spec list for a mirrorless camera at an affordable price.

Although the hybrid autofocus system may not be the fastest, it is a great performer in real life. It has excellent subject detection and tracking. The images are sharp and clear with excellent color reproduction. Noise control is also outstanding, even at ISO 1600.

The X-A7’s handgrip is shallow, making it difficult to hold for prolonged periods. Also, the joystick’s position makes it difficult to reach your thumb with your thumb. However, this shell is compact, lightweight, and stylish in an old-school way.

While image stabilization would have been a nice addition, some may want a viewfinder. However, with a 4K video, the X-7 is an ideal companion for traveling. It’s a great budget camera that can be used with any smartphone, despite the ergonomic issues.

11. Olympus PEN e-PL10

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor size: Micro Four-Thirds

Resolution: 16.1MP

Viewfinder: N/A

Monitor: 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040K dots

Autofocus: 121-point AF, 1 cross-type

Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8.6fps

Movies: 4K/30p

User level: Beginner

Olympus Pen EPL9 is no longer in stock. We recommend the E-PL10 as a replacement. It’s a beginner-friendly, mirrorless camera that’s affordable and offers a wide range of lenses.

The E-PL10’s small and friendly design makes it easy to use for street photography or portraits. The E-PL10 does not have a viewfinder built-in, but users who are using a smartphone will not be affected. It does however combine excellent handling with a simple, beginner-friendly menu system.

The E-PL10s 16.1MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor is a reliable and well-recognized device that captures beautifully rendered images in almost all situations. The E-PL10’s compact size means that its 3-axis image stabilizer system can be used in low-light situations. The E-PL10 is the best interchangeable lens camera available at current prices. It offers a wider range of features than any other.

12. Fujifilm XP140

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1/2.3in BSI-CMOS, 16.4MP

Lens mount: N/A

Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 920K dots

Viewfinder: N/A

Continuous shooting: 15fps

Movies: 4K/15p

User level: Beginner

The Fujifilm XP140 is a well-priced, yet tough investment. It’s a good choice for people with clumsy hands. It’s dustproof, shockproof up to 1.8m, freeze-proof up to -10oC, and waterproof down to 25m. This means that it can withstand almost anything you throw at it.

The XP140 is more than a bargain camera. It can also take great photos. The XP140’s 16.4MP stabilized sensor is still there. However, the XP140 has improved scene- and eyes-detection algorithms that help produce sharp portraits. Although 4K footage can only be captured at 15fps at 1080/60p, smooth video is possible at 100fps at 720p slow motion. With a back-illuminated sensor and a higher ISO, you can get better low-light shots, even underwater shots.

The compact camera offers 5x optical zoom, which is a good deal for rugged compacts. Additionally, the touchscreen of the 3-inch makes it easy to control the camera. The Fujifilm XP140 is a great camera for anyone who needs something durable and affordable. It also features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

13. Olympus OTG-6

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Compact

Sensor: 12MP

Lens mount: N/A

Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1.040K dots

Viewfinder: N/A

Continuous shooting: 20fps

Movies: 4K/30p

User level: Beginner

Photography can be expensive if you break your camera. The Olympus Tough TG-6 camera is one of the most rugged and durable cameras available. It is waterproof, shockproof, and freeze-proof. The rugged shell of the Olympus Tough TG-6 is strong enough to withstand all kinds of extreme situations. It is also easy to use. The large buttons make it easy to use, and the LCD display is 3-inches larger for better visibility in bright environments.

The focus is quick and the equivalent zoom range of 25 to 100mm gives you more versatility. However, there is a slight loss in detail at the telephoto end. The image quality is good enough for a 1/2.3 inch sensor with rich colors, although the TG-6 can be prone to overexposure. While the older TG-5 is similar in price and features, the TG-6 offers excellent value for adventure photographers due to its sharper screen.

14. Nikon D5600

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: APS – C CMOS

Megapixels: 24.2MP

Lens mount: Nikon DX

Screen: 3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots

Continuous shooting speed: 5fps

Max video resolution: 1080p

User level: Beginner/enthusiast

The D5600 is an upgrade to the D3000-series models and has a stronger set of specs than the Canon EOS Rebel T7i/EOS 800D. The D5600 has key advantages over the D3500 (see position one). It features a larger LCD screen that flips out and faces the front. It also responds to touch. There is also a better autofocus system, Wi-Fi, and more control on the inside. The D5600 is a bit more expensive, but it will last you many years.

How to choose the best camera at a low price

A budget camera means that you will have to accept some compromises. For example, a cheaper DSLR may not be able to capture 4K footage. A mirrorless model might have a lower speed or lack a viewfinder. However, regardless of the camera model you choose, think about what you want to shoot and ensure that it meets your needs.

If you shoot stills, then a cheaper camera’s video skills will not be as important. Look for a camera with a decent sensor, a high resolution (20MP or more), and an acceptable frame rate. If you are happy using an optical viewfinder to frame images and using buttons to navigate the menus, then you don’t have to worry about whether or not the camera’s touchscreen interface is sharp. It is important to ensure that the camera’s controls are easy to use and comfortable.

When shopping for a budget travel camera, you should focus on battery life and zoom flexibility. Do not get distracted by software tricks or raw photography. These are nice extras. However, it’s easier to edit JPEGs at home than to crop in on distant subjects.

If you are thinking of buying an interchangeable lens camera, make sure to factor in the cost of lenses. While a camera body may be inexpensive, the expensive glass will restrict your ability to experiment with different barrels. To ensure maximum flexibility when purchasing new glass, look for a camera that has a popular lens mount (Micro Four Thirds).

What camera is the best for a budget?

This list features many cameras that are affordable for photographers on a tight budget. The best option for you depends on the purpose of your camera and how versatile it is.

You can also consider entry-level models such as the Nikon D3500. They are made for beginners and have simple controls that are easy to use. Entry-level cameras are usually low-cost and don’t offer advanced features or performance. However, they should provide the essentials. This means a solid battery life, excellent handling, and decent image quality.

Alternatively, you might consider older models that are mirrorless and mid-range. Although they won’t have the latest technology, these models should still be capable, especially if you are upgrading from a smartphone. Cameras that are older than two years will usually be more affordable because they tend to sell at a lower price. The Sony A6000 is an excellent example of this: despite having a lower price than it was when it launched in 2014 it still has a 24.3MP sensor and 11fps burst photography. It also features a powerful 179-point autofocus system.

If you are looking for a budget travel camera, compacts such as the Sony HX90V offer great value and versatility. It boasts a 30x zoom range. If you are looking for a way to enjoy photography at a low price, instant cameras can be a great option. Easy-to-use cameras like the Polaroid Go make it easy to take photos. They also produce instant prints that make photography more tactile.

Unknown names don’t necessarily mean you have to be scared. Apeman’s A100 action camera is a great example of a camera that has a low price and a simple body design but captures an amazing 4K video even in low light conditions.

How to test inexpensive cameras

Cheap cameras are tested in the same manner as models of higher value. While we may place more importance on our overall rankings, cameras still have to perform. We put them through the same testing procedures as for higher-priced models to see which cameras outperform and which don’t.

We start by looking at the camera’s design, controls, and handling to determine the type of photographer it is best suited for. Then, we take the camera out for a shoot. We’ll test its startup speed as well as use it on a tripod.

We use a formatted SD Card to test the camera’s capabilities and can shoot both raw and JPEG if possible. We use our standard test settings for burst shooting (1/250 sec ISO 200, continuous AF), and then shoot a series of frames before a stopwatch to check if the official speed matches. We will also test how fast the buffers clear and then repeat the process for JPEG and raw files.

We also test the autofocus modes of the camera (including Eye AF and Face AF) under various lighting conditions. To get an idea of the camera’s metering accuracy, as well as its ability to deal with noise and fine detail, we will also take a variety of photos (portraits, low light landscapes, macro/close up) in raw and JPEG.

We’ll process some test images, provided that the raw files of the camera are compatible with Adobe Camera Raw. This will allow us to determine how far we can push areas such as shadow recovery. To get an idea of what levels the camera can handle, we will also test its ISO performance across all ranges.

The battery life of the camera is tested by using it over the course a day, with the screen set at the default settings. We’ll count the number shots taken to determine how the battery’s official CIPA rating compares. We then test the camera’s video capabilities by shooting test footage at various frame rates and resolutions along with its companion application.

Then, we take all the information about the camera and add in the price to get an idea of its value-for-money before arriving at our final verdict.

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