There are many reasons to buy a cheap digital camera. Even in this age of smartphones with amazing cameras. There are times you can’t or don’t want to use your expensive camera. That’s where a cheap digital camera comes in.
It’s quite a narrow field, as smartphones take over this end of the market. But we’ve picked a few winners for you. Our top pick combines a slim compact body, 5x optical zoom, and in-body image stabilization.
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What Is the Best Cheap Digital Camera in 2022?
Before we look at our recommendations in detail, here is a summary of the cheap digital cameras we recommend.
- Optical 5x zoom
- Built-in image stabilization
- Slim, compact design
- Large clear screen
- 4K video
- Waterproof down to 100 feet (30 m)
- Super-wide-angle lens
- 30 fps burst mode
- 16.1 MP sensor
- 28 mm wide-angle lens
- Panning mode for action shots
- Face detection AF
- Range of fun colors available
- Easy to use point-and-shoot camera
- Integral flash
- Instant photos are wallet size
- Prints pictures and stores them digitally
- Photos are water resistant
- Integral flash
- Available in several colors
- Shoots Full HD video
- Waterproof down to 50 feet (15 m)
- Robust, hard-to-lose body
- Impressive optical zoom
- 16 MP sensor
- A real talking point in design
- Many different designs available
- Fun picture presets built in
Starting with our top pick, let’s look at these cameras in a little detail.
1. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W800/B
This Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W800 is the best inexpensive all-rounder compact camera in our comparison.
It’s a very intuitive device. And it allows for fast shooting and provides excellent results. It beats the others with its stylish design and balanced features.
A separate movie button is provided so you can instantly record videos. And you don’t have to worry about searching for a video mode in the menus.
The camera has Sony’s SteadyShot built-in image stabilization.
It also boasts an advanced automatic setting called party mode. This helps you capture the best moments in one of the harshest lighting conditions. The mode combines flash,
The optical zoom will give you many more options than with your phone. And it’s such a compact camera it’s easy keeping it with you.
2. AKASO EK7000
It’s not a point-and-shoot camera. But this inexpensive AKASO EK7000 action camera is more than up to the job. It’s small in size, but relatively heavy.
It features a fairly bright 2-inch IPS touchscreen for controls and playback. You can connect your smartphone via Wi-Fi to access the images and control the camera remotely.
It’s waterproof down to 130 feet (40 m), so you can go diving with it.
The EK7000 shoots fantastic 4K videos. And it shoots photos up to 16 megapixels.
This camera is only meant for you if you often record videos or need excessive water resistance. But there are better choices for everyday photography.
However, it has made our list. This is mainly due to its outstanding capabilities and surprisingly reasonable price.
3. Kodak PIXPRO FZ53
This is a very cheap but lovely camera from Kodak. The Kodak PIXPRO FZ53 has an outstandingly low price. Despite a rather questionable build quality, this camera produces bright and sharp images.
It is among the lightest on the market weighing only 3.75 oz (106 g).
Smile detection helps you capture the perfect moments with people. The 28mm wide angle lens, and 5x zoom are what make this stand out from the smartphone crowd.
If you want the best value for your money, this is the way to go.
4. Instax Mini 11
The Instax Mini is a Polaroid-style instant camera. With just four different light settings, you can set it up in seconds and shoot. The photo then prints out of the top.
It is an entirely different photography experience than any other camera on this list. It’s tons of fun. Sometimes it might be challenging to get the results you want, but the outcome is always great.
Maybe you’re not afraid of experimenting and sometimes getting imperfect results. If so, this Instax is a camera for you.
5. Kodak Printomatic
A slightly different instant camera is the Kodak Printomatic Instant Print Camera. This prints instant photos, as you’d expect. But it also keeps a digital image on a microSD card. The prints are a decent size, too. They’re 2 x 3 inches (5 x 7.5 cm). And you don’t have to wait for them to print before you take another.
An instant camera is never going to rival a digital camera or even your phone. But that’s not the point. These cameras are all about fun in the moment and making a memory of it.
There’s a range of bright, jolly colors to choose from. It all adds up to a fun package for special occasions and memories that will last.
6. Kodak Pixpro WPZ2
It will be difficult to lose the Kodak PIXPRO WPZ2 in its bright yellow livery. And that’s good. Because you’ll want to take this camera everywhere. You can take it where you wouldn’t want to take your phone or expensive DSLR. On the beach, in the sea—anywhere you want.
The Kodak is bigger than a traditional GoPro-style action camera. It offers a bigger screen and is easier to hold. It also has a more traditional field of view. So you get a 27-108mm optical zoom lens. There’s a 16 MP sensor and Full HD video as well.
This camera answers one of the two main reasons for buying a cheap digital camera. It thrives where normal cameras and phones would fail or break. And that means you make memories anywhere you want.
7. Paper Shoot
The Paper Shoot camera is about as different as they come. First of all, you build it yourself. Secondly, it has no screen. You get that analog photography surprise with your megapixels.
But there are 16 of those megapixels in this unusual body. And there are roughly 20 different iterations of that body. Each of them is unusual and rather charming. The camera is competent. It has four filter modes. So you can shoot in monochrome, sepia, or blue.
You can also shoot 10-second videos at 1080p, and there is a time-lapse facility. Other than this, it is a quirky, simple, point-and-shoot camera that is bound to get you noticed.
Why Choose a Compact and Inexpensive Digital Camera?
If you are an aspiring beginner, you may not want to invest much in photography. Cheap cameras are an easy and safe option. They are light and inexpensive gear. This way you can learn the basics and find out if photography really is for you.
Even as a professional, you might want a lightweight option along with your main cameras. You can take a cheap digital camera everywhere with you. It fits in your back pocket and you don’t have to worry about it.
Things to Consider When Buying a Cheap Digital Camera
In this price range, no product does it all. You have to figure out what you need and what you can go without.
Many of these cheap cameras feature a 2.7″ LCD screen, which is standard. Their resolution is also mostly 16 to 20 megapixels. That is large enough to allow detailed, sharp images, or plenty of extra digital zoom. Sensor resolution in our experience is not as important, though.
Control surfaces are an important aspect to consider. If you want to practice manual or semi-manual settings on these, you won’t find it very easy. Still, there are differences. A touchscreen allows for more control than one with only the basic buttons.
If you want to use your camera in wet conditions, water resistance helps. It usually protects at shallow water depths only. But there is one cheap digital camera on the list that goes as deep as 100ft.
Once you’ve found what fits your needs, the best buying choices are quite amazing for the money. If you’re considering other types of cheap cameras, check out our review of the best budget cameras.
The competition faced by cheap digital cameras comes from smartphones. Many people leave their cameras behind. Usually because they have a very competent camera with them already.
Many of these cheap digital cameras survive by offering things that phones can’t. It might be proper waterproofing or instant printing. Perhaps it’s a proper optical zoom. Whatever it is, they all manage to remain relevant as standalone cameras.
Out top choice is a very competent camera that will mainly outperform your smartphone: