best budget camera

The Best Budget Camera | Wallet-friendly options of 2021

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When I started my photography journey, all I wanted was a good, reliable camera within my budget. It’s not always possible to find all the best features in a budget camera, but that does not mean we compromise and settle for any model, right? And I’m sure that When I started my photography journey, all I wanted was a good, reliable camera within my budget.

Unfortunately, finding all the best features in a budget camera is not always possible, but that does not mean we compromise and settle for any model. And I’m sure that this is the case for many of you out there who want to get into photography but don’t want to splurge on the expensive high-end gear.

Like many of you, even I wasn’t ready to simply pick any cheap camera and get started, which is why I spent a lot of time researching top models in my budget range. Although the search was extensive, I was really proud of myself for finding so many affordable cameras that don’t compromise on features. And yes, these cameras are from the best and most reliable brands, which means you are assured of good quality imagery.

In this article, I have compiled a list of these well-researched best budget camera models. So, if you have been looking to invest in a camera within your budget range, you definitely need to have a look at this list. I’m sure you’ll definitely find something that best fits your requirements in this list. So, let’s get started!

Best Budget DSLR Cameras

DSLRs are every photographer’s best buddy; you can take them along everywhere and they are compatible with nearly every genre of photography. DSLRs are packed with good features and are a great piece of equipment to get started with. They are simple, accessible, and easy to understand and use.

As a result, DSLRs are one of the most versatile camera models, known for their features as well as ability to produce professional-quality images – and that’s precisely what we, as beginners want! Let’s have a look at some of the top affordable DSLR models:

Canon EOS Rebel T7

This is among the best digital camera and is packed with great features- all for less than $400!

Focal Length Range: 18-55mmISO Range: 100 – 6400
Megapixels: 24.1Lens Mount: Canon EF
Weight: 1.04 lbsDisplay Type: Fixed LCD

Compact and capable, this entry-level model from Canon is equipped with a set of versatile, assistive features. It features a powerful sensor processor combination, which ensures good quality images in different shooting scenarios. The 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 4+ image processor delivers high-resolution imagery with accurate speed.

The camera also comes with an extendable ISO range, which means you can comfortably shoot in diverse lighting conditions. So, whether it’s early in the morning, right under the shining sun, or late at night, the camera will churn out pretty good images. You can also expect great shots with minimal noise in diverse shooting conditions.

Both the optical viewfinder and the 3-inch LCD are relatively clear and bright. But the display is fixed and lacks the flexibility you would require in slightly complex shoots. Also, the screen is not touch-sensitive. So, if you’re looking for quick access to the menu or other features, you might fumble a bit.

All of these features make the Canon EOS Rebel T7 a favorite among those who are looking for an affordable, yet capable camera. The bright and well-saturated imagery delivered by the camera is definitely one of the main reasons why it has so many takers. The modest build quality of the camera is not surprising, considering the price range it comes at.

You are free to experiment with different genres (such as portrait, landscape, and others) and turn your creative ideas into reality with the EOS T7. I personally use it to capture outdoor scenes, so you’ll find me hanging by the beach capturing impressive shots with my Canon T7 in tow. I’ve also experimented with this camera in different landscape scenarios, and it delivers good quality, bright imagery every time.

Pros
  • Affordable model
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Quick and accurate focusing
Cons
  • Fixed screen
  • The LCD screen is not touch-sensitive
  • No 4K video

Canon EOS Rebel T100

A compact, affordable, quick DSLR model with great connectivity.

Focal Length Range: 18-55mmISO Range: 100 – 6400 (expandable to 12800)
Megapixels: 18.0Lens Mount: Canon EF
Weight: 4.24 lbsDisplay Type: Fixed LCD

The Rebel T100 from Canon packs several high-end features in a compact, sleek body. it may not be the classiest-looking camera out there, but it definitely is a good pick for those looking for a budget camera.

If you’re an entry-level photographer who is looking for something more advanced than what your smartphone camera offers, this model is a great pick. It has a simple, easy-to-understand layout. This comes in handy, especially when you’re a newbie with a huge learning curve ahead. Despite having well-placed buttons, the camera lacks in its autofocusing mechanism. The autofocus performance is slow and centered.

Also, suppose you’re looking to use the camera for videography. In that case, we have some disappointing news: the model does not offer continuous autofocus, which makes filming all the more difficult for you as a beginner.

Despite these drawbacks, the image quality delivered by this camera is pretty good. It has an expandable ISO range (ISO 100 to 12800), which allows you to comfortably shoot in all types of lighting conditions. If you go beyond 1600 you’ll notice the noise, which is again a drawback of this model.

The battery life of the model is where it really shines – you can capture around 500 pictures on a single battery charge! The next time you’re out for a vacation, you know which camera to take along! High-end expensive cameras too aren’t able to deliver this in terms of battery life and struggle to deliver even half of that.

Pros
  • Excellent battery life
  • Easy to use layout
  • Good quality images
Cons
  • Unable to capture movement properly
  • Slow autofocusing

Best Compact Cameras (Point and Shoot Models)

If you love vacationing and don’t like to lug around your heavy (and expensive) photography equipment everywhere you go, simply choose a point-and-shoot model. These may not offer the top-notch features as in high-end, expensive camera models, but they’re pretty good for whatever they offer.

Point and shoot models are some of the best budget cameras you can choose. They are easy to operate (even a little kid can!) and don’t have a fancy layout. It’s just a simple lens, a couple of camera controls, and you’re good to go.

These cameras often come with a decent build (considering how budget-friendly they are) but are rugged enough to sustain your travels and outdoor shoots. Let’s run you through some of the top picks (my personal favorites!) in the point-and-shoot category:

Sony CyberShot DSC-W800

A super sleek model that easily fits in your pocket.

Focal Length Range: 26-130mmWeight: 4.24 lbs
Megapixels: 20.1Optical Zoom: 5x
Video Resolution: 720pBrand: Sony Cybershot series

This lightweight and compact camera from Sony is your perfect travel buddy. It features a 20.1MP sensor as well as a professional Sony 5x optical zoom lens, which helps capture and reproduce detailed images. For more zoom, you can also switch to the 10x digital zoom feature. You need not worry about the blur and noise, as the camera is equipped with Sony’s SteadyShot Image Stabilization mechanism too. The in-built optical image stabilization ensures you have blur-free, clear images.

Capturing images has never been easier – the camera features a simple layout, perfect for beginners and children as well. In case you have any doubts about how to use a particular feature, you wouldn’t require the instruction manual either – the internal guide of the camera is enough.

The buttons of that camera are aptly placed, except for the recording button which is somewhat awkwardly positioned. The camera is super compact, but someone with large hands may find it difficult to get used to the sleek body.

The camera has a small battery that charges quickly but also runs out of charge soon. You can expect the camera to survive for 200 shots or 100 minutes, whichever is earlier. You would need to make sure the camera is charged before you carry it along outside.

You can’t expect excellent image quality from an affordable camera – but the images have decent quality. If you add a tripod to the camera, you may be able to take the quality a notch higher, but not to the level of advanced cameras. Having said that, the camera is still one of the best cameras for less than $200.

Pros
  • Sleek, pocket-friendly design
  • Super affordable
  • Removable battery
Cons
  • Reasonable image quality
  • 720p video resolution
  • Limited manual controls

Kodak FZ53-BL

The best budget camera with great features.

Focal Length Range: 5.1-25.5mmWeight: 0.23 lbs
Megapixels: 16.5Optical Zoom: 5x
Video Resolution: 720pBrand: Kodak

This model from Kodak has a rather cool-looking slim design, which makes it one of the best entry-level cameras. It is packed with great features and is just right for a casual snapshooter. The body is made of plastic and is very lightweight. It may look cheap, but it isn’t. In fact, it has a decent, polished look and comes in three bright colors – black, blue, and red.

The camera comes with a 5x zoom feature as well as an in-built optical image stabilization mechanism. Despite this, the camera is not able to deliver completely blur-free imagery when you use the zoom feature.

The layout of the Kodak FZ53-BL is pretty convenient, and you can figure your way out without the help of the instruction manual. The camera always defaults to center autofocus mode when you turn it on, which casual photographers may find annoying. After all, even if it is a point-and-shoot model, you do expect it to automatically select the focus point – which doesn’t happen in this case.

While most of us will use the camera in the fully automatic zone, you do have some manual controls available. When set to manual, the camera allows you to control some aspects such as the brightness, ISO sensitivity, and shutter speed.

You have a range of shooting modes, each of which is useful to capture different types of scenes such as fireworks, landscapes and night landscapes too. Personally, I had a great experience when I took along this camera to capture the fireworks lighting up the city on New Year’s eve.

While the camera comes with a set of drawbacks, for its price, it delivers good enough image quality among other features. Its low-light performance is pretty good, and it offers great connectivity, too. You can instantly transfer images from your camera to other connected devices. Do note that it doesn’t offer anything more than what advanced smartphones do.

Pros
  • Lightweight compact body
  • Comes with different shooting modes
Cons
  • Grainy images

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

Wi-fi enabled camera that allows you to capture images with flexibility and ease.

Focal Length Range: 25-300mm (equivalent)Weight: 5.20 oz
Megapixels: 20.2Optical Zoom: 4.6x
Video Resolution: 1080pBrand: Canon

Looking for a sleek, stylish yet affordable camera? Well, your search ends right here. This compact camera carries just what you’re looking for – a reputed brand name, a reasonable price tag, and yes, a set of great features.

The Canon Powershot features a centered 12x optical zoom lens, which you can use to capture detailed images. To compensate for camera shake and noise, you have the built-in image stabilization mechanism which works to deliver stable, blur-free images.

Additionally, you have the native, non-expandable ISO range of 80-3200. This feature ensures the camera delivers decent images in different lighting scenarios. The 20.1MP CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 4+ image ensure you get good and detailed images.

You also have the Smart Auto and Hybrid Auto modes, which allow you to be all creative with your images and video clips. You can combine both into a video highlight reel, all within the camera! You wouldn’t even require editing software to put it all together.

The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, allowing you to easily connect it to your smartphone or other devices. You can also remotely control your camera with the help of the companion app (available for Android and iOS).

Compared to its predecessor, the camera has better features and is a worthy investment. It is definitely one of the best cheap camera models in this price range.

Pros
  • Built-in image stabilisation
  • Creative shooting modes
  • Remote control
  • Good connectivity
Cons
  • Reduced battery life

Best Budget Camera for YouTube and Vlogging

Love vlogging and capturing videos? Well, you need to invest in gear that has videography-specific features. Not every camera out there is suited for capturing videos – you need to choose your equipment carefully.

The most important features to check are the image stabilization of the camera and the video resolution it offers. Both these features are essential to ensure you have good quality, blur-free, and clear videos. 

After I compiled my list of go-to vlogging cameras and after extensive research, I realized that you can find good vlogging cameras well within your budget range too. 

So if you’ve been looking for the best camera for filmmaking on a budget, I’ve got you covered! Let’s have a look at the top picks:

 Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70S

The best camera for bloggers, packed with features like face detection, RAW shooting, remote control, and a lot more!

Megapixels: 20.3Image Stabilization: Yes
Video Resolution: 2160P4K Video: Yes
Flip Screen: YesTouch-sensitive LCD: Yes

This model from Panasonic is a point-and-shoot digital camera and is popular among photographers for its features. It boasts enough features to satisfy a broad range of users and is great for photography and videography.

The back-illuminated camera comes with the Venus processor and delivers an ISO range of 80-3200. You can comfortably shoot videos and images in low light scenes and can also extend the ISO to 6400 if need be.

The lens of this camera has a 30x optical zoom range and is equipped with the Hybrid O.I.S (Optical Image Stabilization) technology to help shoot in a stable manner in longer focal length ranges. The camera features a 3-inch flexible screen that can tilt around a full 180-degrees. The resolution of 1040k-dot is decent and renders good images and videos. The screen is touch-sensitive, making the features of this camera all the more easily accessible.

Additionally, the screen also has a bunch of selfie-friendly functions and allows you to take self-portraits quickly. All in all, the camera is a great pick for those who are looking to start their own vlog or YouTube channel.

Pros
  • Extendable ISO range
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Video-friendly features
Cons
  • Heavy body
  • No weather sealing

OLYMPUS Tough TG-6

A rugged, waterproof camera that’s best for outdoor vlogging.

Megapixels: 12Image Stabilization: Yes
Video Resolution: 2160P4K Video: Yes
Flip Screen: NoTouch-sensitive LCD: No

Looking for a weather-sealed rugged camera for your outdoor shooting sessions? The Olympus Tough TG-6 is just what you need to invest in! The camera has a water, shock, dust, crush, and freeze-proof body – something even high-end, expensive models do not offer. It definitely offers better features and builds than smartphones, which makes it a great pick for vlogging and YouTubing as well.

I’d prefer carrying g this camera for my outdoor adventures, thanks to its tough build. Apart from this, the camera offers a full-frame equivalent zoom range spanning from 25-100mm, allowing you to experiment with different types of creative shots.

You also have an accessory ring around the lens, which allows you to pair the camera with other lenses from Olympus, such as the fisheye lens. The TG-6 has a great macro feature and is apt for macros photography,

The layout of the camera is basic from the handling perspective. It has a deep handgrip and buttons placed in just the right positions for easy access. The TG-6 does not offer full manual control, but you can use the control wheel to adjust the exposure. The shutter release and zoom buttons are placed right at the top and are easily accessible.

Pros
  • Wifi connectivity
  • Tough body
  • Quick performance
Cons
  • No touch screen
  • LCD can get easily scratched

AKASO EK7000 Camera

This is the most inexpensive waterproof action camera under $200 out there.

Megapixels: 12Image Stabilization: No
Video Resolution: 1440p4K Video: No
Flip Screen: NoTouch-sensitive LCD: Yes

Built to capture high-speed action videos, this camera from Akaso is known for the quality of imagery it delivers as well as its ease of usage. The camera is very easy to use and has a simple, accessible layout. The design of the camera is unique, and you can attach it to your motorbike or bicycle easily, to effortlessly capture action videos.

The buttons of the camera are positioned well, so you won’t have to fumble to adjust any features. The screen is touch-sensitive, adding to the usability of this model. The camera is not waterproof by itself but needs to be used with its protective housing. However, you may have issues with using the touch screen of the camera while it is in the housing.

The video quality delivered by this model is pretty good, but in case of too much motion, the video may end up getting shaky. The camera lacks image stabilization, which is a major drawback for a video camera.

Pros
  • Very inexpensive
  • Responsive Wi-Fi
  • High video resolution
Cons
  • Not waterproof without the plastic housing
  • No image stabilization

Ricoh Theta SC2 White 360° Camera

A super sleek 360-degree camera for high-quality stills and videos.

Megapixels: 12Image Stabilization: Yes
Video Resolution: 2160p4K Video: No
Flip Screen: NoTouch-sensitive LCD: Yes

This 360-degree camera is so sleek and compact that you may easily mistake it for a remote! it has a clean and simple design and does not look like a typical camera. One side of the camera features only four control buttons, whereas the other side displays the shooting modes and battery life.

The top of the device has four ports through which you can connect the built-in microphone, tripod, and USB cables. The image quality rendered by this unusual camera is good enough. It has a dual 12MP CMOS sensor in place. You may feel that two lenses would deliver exceptional images but that’s not the case. The images from this camera need distortion correction. The dual lenses work well for getting a 360-degree view.

The audio quality of the camera is acceptable, and not up-to-the-mark. But for the price range, it comes in, the camera has pretty good overall features. It comes at less than $300, so it is totally worth the investment!

Pros
  • Super compact
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Audio quality is not up to the mark
  • No additional storage

FAQs

Which is the best budget camera for video?

The Panasonic Lumix is a great pick for those looking for video-specific cameras. It has built-in image stabilization, good video quality, and the audio quality is pretty decent. For starters, this camera is a good choice. The only drawback of the camera is that it is heavy and does not have a weather-sealed body. Apart from this, the camera has a lot of video-centric features, making it worth the investment.

Which budget compact digital camera is best?

This totally depends on the purpose for which you are choosing the camera. For photography, you can pick DSLR models such as Canon EOS Rebel T7. If you are looking for a simple, point and shoot model, you can opt for the Sony DSCW800. For compact action cameras, you have many options that are tough, waterproof, and loaded with good features. You can choose any that fits your budget.

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Mathew Daly

Mathew Daly, is a 32-year old photographer from Boston. Mathew has been intrigued by photography from an early age ever since he was given his first camera. He started wandering his neighbourhood to capture the beauty in the most mundane of things. He curates interesting buyer guides on cameras and helps buyers make an informed choice. 

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