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The Best Cameras Under $100

I've been researching and writing about consumer electronics for over 13 years.

Looking for the Most Affordable Digital Camera?

So you want a new digital camera but you don't want to spend big. In fact, you don't want to spend more than $100. Well, this page can help you find the best cameras under $100.

If you want a new camera, versus used or refurbished, there are a few models out there that perform well as long as your photographic needs are basic. This page will try to guide you in finding one, providing you tips for the features that you want to look for to assure your satisfaction. Affordable digital cameras aren't a "bargain" if they don't perform well after all.

If you want a digital camera with more features than $100 will buy, your other option is to consider a refurbished camera. These have been serviced to repair any malfunction and should function like new.

The pricing on the cameras we discuss here will fluctuate from time to time and thus they may sell for slightly over $100 at any given time.

The Sensor and Image Quality

Affordable cameras really aren't that hard to come by; however, you need to assure they can do the job to your satisfaction.

Cameras under $100 aren't going to offer the same quality and controls that cameras over $300 offer. However, they can still be quite good for the average, casual user and can be very easy to use.

Two basic things to examine that reflect image quality are the camera's lens and the sensor type, size, and number. Most of the point and shoot cameras that are less expensive will have one sensor, a small one. Shoppers can compare of course. A 1/2.5" sensor is a good minimum. Consumers can also look at the megapixel rating. Generally, a 5-megapixel camera is quite sufficient for sharing images online and for producing good prints that are 4x6, 5x7 or 9x10. Larger prints generally require 6 megapixels or more. Most modern cameras, even the budget ones offer 16-20 megapixels.

It's important to know that more megapixels don't always mean better images though. If the sensor is very small, then 16 megapixels likely won't produce a better photo than say an 8 or 10-megapixel camera if all else is equal.

Larger sensors and cameras with more than one sensor as well as higher quality lenses can produce better-looking photographs but this comes with an increased price tag.

It's important to remember that a quality lens and a good processor are also tied closely to image quality so often it's a good idea to stick to a brand name that is known for quality lenses and so forth.

Memory

Memory or storage is important with a digital camera so that you don't have to stop shooting every few photos just to download your photos. Most cameras have at least 16MB of internal storage and then offer a card slot for additional memory.

SD card slots are by far the most common. They may offer 2 or 4 GB of memory or more. As you might suspect a card with a higher capacity will cost more. For most purposes, a 2GB card is sufficient for most people.

Features

There are a number of features to consider if you want the best camera under $100 or for any price for that matter.

  • Image Stabilization.
    Any form of stabilization can help reduce blurriness due to unintentional camera movement when the photographer isn't able to stabilize the camera. (For instance, if your hands shake.) Optical/mechanical stabilization is preferable to digital/electronic stabilization but again, it's more expensive. Certainly, a tripod can help assure a steady camera, but most of us don't find them convenient to use in most circumstances.
  • Zoom.
    Zoom allows you to take an up-close shot despite being physically further away from a subject. Optical zoom is superior in quality, but digital zoom can be useful without degrading image quality in smaller print sizes (4x6). Obviously 3x zoom won't give the user as much ability to get up close as 8x zoom.
  • Shooting and scene modes.
    Many point and shoot cameras give automated controls to users that help adjust exposure, shutter speed, and/or white balance to capture better shots despite changes in lighting and more challenging situations. If you would rather that the camera does this for you, look to see if the camera you are considering offers a variety of scene modes to help you out. Certainly, for the easiest operation, a Smart Auto or Intelligent Auto Mode is good as it allows the camera to choose the correct settings without the photographer having to figure it all out.

    If you want to be able to get up close shots of insects, flowers, and so forth, then a macro mode is very useful. If you tend to shoot a lot of pictures indoors, in the evening, and in other low light situations, then a night mode can be important. Look for scene and shooting modes that will coincide with the types of shots you will be taking.

    Sweep Panorama mode helps in getting great panoramic images and a burst mode can allow the ability to capture multiple shots with one push of a button; great when photographing something or someone in motion.

  • Self-timer.
    Many casual photographers have situations in which they want to be in the shot. A self-timer can allow you to do this.
  • Built-in flash with red-eye reduction.
    One of the most common complaints when using a flash is that subjects end up with red eyes. This feature helps to reduce this effect.
  • Manual Controls.
    For those who want to learn more or have more experience, manual controls are important. The ability to turn off the flash at a minimum is critical. Being able to adjust shutter speed or aperture may not be common on lower end cameras but certainly gives the user much more control in a variety of settings such as low light, high speed (like sports), and other scenarios.
  • Built-in Technologies.
    There are a number of common technologies digital cameras offer which can improve the quality of your photos. Face detection allows the camera to identify faces and assure they get the right exposure and focus. Motion detection helps to keep things in focus despite small movements. There are various technologies like these that are particularly useful for those who like simplicity.

An affordable camera lacking in many of these features probably won't meet your needs.

Ease of Sharing Photos

The images stored on a digital camera are generally downloaded to a computer, printed, and/or shared online.

Shoppers need to be sure they understand how they will transfer their photos to a computer. A USB 2.0 or Firewire connection is fast but both the camera and your computer must have the appropriate connections and the camera must be compatible with your operating system. Most budget cameras under $100 won't offer wireless transfer abilities.

Many modern computers offer memory card slots that allow for transferring photos directly from the card. Some printers have a memory card slot as well, but if you don't have this it is possible to obtain a memory card reader to transfer pictures.

To print photos at home, a compatible printer is needed but for those who prefer, various stores and kiosks can do this work as well.

The key point is that buyers need to be sure they know what they want to do with their photos and assure they have the connections and compatible devices they need.

So What Are Some of the Best Cameras Under $100?

Just a few to consider:

  • Sony W800
  • Kodak PixPro FZ43
  • Canon Powershot ELPH 180

Other Options

Perhaps the devices you're finding as far as new models aren't meeting your expectations. Another option as mentioned above is to look for refurbished cameras or perhaps used. Refurbished cameras can be purchased many places. eBay and Amazon certainly have some and even the makers typically offer them. You can search by brand or by a specific model.

These cameras should be restored to meet factory specifications and yet will be priced lower so that you get more camera for your money.

The other obvious option is to use a camera phone. Most modern smartphones have a camera, and if your photographic needs are basic, even the lower end phones that you can typically get through cellular providers for under $100, can do the job. Certainly, there are a number of higher-end phones with great cameras, but they have a hefty price. However, if you will be investing significant money in a phone anyway, you'll have the added bonus of a good camera without having to make an additional purchase. The iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and the Google Pixel 2 XL are great examples.

© 2008 Ruth Coffee

Let Us Know You Stopped By!

anonymous on December 08, 2012:

Thanks the info is really helpful

robertzimmerman2 on October 14, 2012:

Lots of choices, thanks!

Kumar P S on October 07, 2012:

Nice collection ! Thanks for sharing.

abirshakir on April 18, 2012:

I love love pictures of a lily flower. It was just few months ago that I took a picture of this lovely flower.

nigel7725 on March 15, 2012:

Thanks for sharing such great information.

krakensquid on January 14, 2012:

Great list!

Edutopia on January 01, 2012:

At under $100 your camera is going to do well at one of the three: picture quality, storage space, or feature set. Pick which one is most important to you and go for it.

tonyb65 on December 22, 2011:

An informative and interesting lens, thanks

Tony

anonymous on December 14, 2011:

I could get a camera under $100. Nice Christmas gift.

PCReviews on November 04, 2011:

Amazon what you can get for just $100. I bought something similar to the PowerShot 2 years ago for over $200.

desa999 lm on November 04, 2011:

thanks for the great reviews. I have an Olympus which I'm very happy with.

GadgetKnowHow on November 01, 2011:

Great reviews, simple and concise information. Thanks for doing the research for us!

LeopoldBlatt on September 13, 2011:

Great review, all I need to know in one place and much better than the awful price comparison sites which never show the entire range of what you want. This is perfect for my needs.

seosrija on August 24, 2011:

Wao! What a great collection of cameras. And useful suggestions will definitely help me to find out the best one.

grifith on August 14, 2011:

Thank You for The Great Info

scangirl on August 07, 2011:

Great lens! Lots of good info.

Spikey64 on August 03, 2011:

I am more aware of what to look for now when choosing my next camera. Thanks for the info.

Spikey64 on August 03, 2011:

I am more aware of what to look for now when choosing my next camera. Thanks for the info.

laki2lav on July 16, 2011:

i use canon powershot and it's great

Teddi14 LM on July 09, 2011:

I so need a new camera. This will help me out for sure.

AigulErali on July 02, 2011:

Nice picks for affordable digital cameras. Thanks!

markets on June 21, 2011:

Another great page. Surely will help people shopping for cameras on a tight budget :)

Jack-in-the-Box on June 10, 2011:

@RuthCoffee: What do you think about purchasing one at a pawn shop?

Downloadsoftwar1 on June 09, 2011:

Cool lens. Thank you for sharing good stuffs

Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on June 08, 2011:

@Jack-in-the-Box: Personally, I am a Canon fan. The Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS is great but it's $225 or so. If you want something around $100, my niece loves her Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530, I think it's $119. Refurbished can get you a better camera. I purchased a Canon Powershot A590IS for $99, normally 3x that price and it has worked just fine for 3 years and counting. I will be updating the choices here this week, researching some of the newer options, but that may be too late for you. Don't get dazzled by a bunch of megapixels. Inexpensive compact cameras have tiny sensors and more megapixels won't help image quality.

Jack-in-the-Box on June 07, 2011:

Great selection, but I want to know what you think. You are the expert. My son is having a baby at the end of the month and I really need one quick. Can you help me select the best buy for my money???

Thanks

anonymous on May 16, 2011:

Nice collection here! loved reading about colorful new cameras.

gizmodose on April 25, 2011:

wow, another great lens by mulberry! Camera newbies would sure love this!

UKGhostwriter on April 18, 2011:

fantastic resource

magento-templates on March 31, 2011:

Great Article, but too many eBay offers - kinda irritating.

canonpowershotprice on March 21, 2011:

Great Lens as expected from you . Tons of info

flutestar123 lm on March 20, 2011:

Great lens! I really want to get a digital camera, but with so many choices out there, it can be extremely hard to choose. Which camera brands do you think are the best?

Francis Luxford from United Kingdom on March 16, 2011:

Very handy lens. It's great to know you can get decent cameras so cheaply.

anonymous on February 25, 2011:

Wow! Thank you for your information.

Motion activated cameras

chrisqw on February 17, 2011:

Very helpful lens for the camera beginner (me).

Many thanks!

anonymous on February 02, 2011:

This lens is so helpful for anyone who has budget $100 or less for their favorite camera. Nice guide and information. Five under $100 cameras lovers stars for you .. dear, lovely mulberry :)

anonymous on February 02, 2011:

This lens is so helpful for anyone who has budget $100 or less for their favorite camera. Nice guide and information. Five under $100 cameras lovers stars for you .. dear, lovely mulberry :)

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on January 29, 2011:

Thank yu, thank you for htis informatio. I'll be returning to this lens later this year when I am ready to buy my new camerea.

VanDykeJewelry LM on December 31, 2010:

Could you tell me which camera is the fastest when taking shots without flash? Preferably one that takes AA batteries. Thanks for the lens.

QuirkySue on December 20, 2010:

I'm amazed at the quality and features of such cheap cameras. My first was a 2MP Fuji and it cost over $400! Perfect for a first or amateur snapshot type photographer that won't break the bank.

Patricia on December 17, 2010:

This is a great lens! Good starter cameras

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on December 16, 2010:

Interesting to see..years ago I remember when I bought my first digital camera..cost me way more than 100 and it was something like 2 (maybe 3 I don't remember) pixels! How fast technology goes

Joyfulmusic90 on December 04, 2010:

Cool! You have just helped me greatly in my search for a new camera. Thanks! : )

javr from British Columbia, Canada on November 30, 2010:

These low priced cameras are sure getting a lot of features now. They are generally all great for Internet photos that you can post on lenses, add to Facebook or share on Flickr. I have a Canon Powershot that I take with me everywhere.

jia6bei6 lm on November 28, 2010:

Nice one

TimothyAdam LM on October 14, 2010:

Thanks for all the camera ideas!

Ruth Coffee (author) from Zionsville, Indiana on October 10, 2010:

@ssomu007: It really depends on your needs. A $100 digital camera definitely will not compete with a $300, $400, $500 camera. Not in any instance. However, if you just take pictures of family and friends, some of the better $100 cameras may be just fine. I have a Canon A590IS that I got for $98, (it typically costs more) It takes nice shots, especially macro images. Often, it is the "photographer" that makes the biggest difference in how images turn out. I would suggest to focus your attention on the best lens and best sensor you can find for your price range and don't worry much about megapixels.

ssomu007 on October 09, 2010:

I just doubt about quality of camera under 100$. Can u explain more based on quality?

RebeccaE on September 12, 2010:

thanks for this lens, it has made my search a lot easier...

anonymous on September 04, 2010:

Helpful information on selecting a camera and available cameras under $100. Ringing my Squid Angel bell with a blessing.

steamtown on August 19, 2010:

Thanks for all of the great information on cameras!! And thanks for you comments on my rails-to-trails lens. I can use one of these inexpensive cameras while I'm biking on the trails.

SmartDad LM on August 15, 2010:

Great lens here and the under $100 is a real bonus. I am a massive fan of the Casio Exilim (EX) range, Just love how it's truly a point and click that takes great shots, even my 6yrold and 9yr old love them ad are regularly taking pic's of all sorts ;)

designdd on August 11, 2010:

thanks for Cool digital camera

but i love digital slr camera

anonymous on July 24, 2010:

Excellent article, very informative!

AGS Direct - Music, Magazines, Books and Electronics

anonymous on July 09, 2010:

@Faye Rutledge: Great news, I'm glad he likes it and that this paged helped.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on July 06, 2010:

Update: I got my grandson (16 years old) the Kodak Easyshare M340 pictured above. He loves it! It's easy to use and takes great pictures and videos. It's everything that is mentioned in the description. His came with a rechargeable battery, too. Your review really helped find an affordable digital camera!

Brian Stephens from France on April 28, 2010:

Nice review work, adding the videos is a great idea.

anonymous on April 06, 2010:

You certainly provide a public service to consumers with your knowledgeable lenses. Thank you.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on April 02, 2010:

Thanks for these ideas! I'm looking for digital camera for my 16 year old grandson...so don't want a real expensive one.

phob99 on February 22, 2010:

have more product in your store. I will come again when ready.

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on February 18, 2010:

Great idea to present affordable digital camera reviews.

Bellezza-Decor from Canada on December 27, 2009:

I've been thinking about getting a new digital camera, so I'll return again!

lasertek lm on December 10, 2009:

Exactly what I needed! It is pretty difficult to find the perfect camera . By perfect, I mean having good quality and an affordable price tag. But thanks to this lens, I have many options. I have already shared this lens to my family & friends and they too were ecstatic.

Rated 5* Hope you could visit my lenses and become a fan of my fb page . Thanks again

Laniann on November 03, 2009:

Nice to see some great cameras that can be purchased for under $100. Good presentation. 5*s

electronicdeals91 on October 31, 2009:

Our favorite digital cameras are from Sony and Nikon, however you're presenting some really affordable alternatives here. Nice work!

anonymous on October 18, 2009:

This is exactly what i have been scouring the web for for.Precisely what i need to know. ya know?.Thank you so much i intend to take full advantage of this!. My days of searching are over!

Andy-Po on August 12, 2009:

Excellent lens. It's incredible how inexpensive these cameras are now.

anonymous on August 06, 2009:

Great information. I'm thinking of getting a different camera. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to afford one that takes great pictures where we could count the hairs on a bee's legs. Wow!

A person could make some money with a high end camera. ~ I'll be looking for the low end though. ~ A Great lens!

Susie

greenerme on February 02, 2009:

I have the Panasonic Lumix, I highly recommend it! It's a great lens...and this lens is great, too!

anonymous on February 01, 2009:

I've had bad experiences with the Kodak desktop software. It slows down your computer a LOT, and frequently brings up annoying messages. They might have fixed this in new versions, but I still recommend Google Picasa (picasa.google.com) and an SD card reader.

Achim Thiemermann from Austin, Texas on January 20, 2009:

Great values to be found here! 5*s

anonymous on January 07, 2009:

I think you would want to buy the cannon or the kodak because it has a lot of times zoom in and its really good looking.The kodak easy share is easy to get a software to your computer.I also like cannon because its kind of the kodak a little but it has good lenses and easy to get a software for your computer and the panasonic is cool too.It has a darkness and brightness buttons to make it bright or dark.

GrowWear on December 15, 2008:

Great lens! Wonderful resource! Next camera purchase will definitely be through your lenses and recommendation. :)

anonymous on August 25, 2008:

Great Job!

I'd recommend the Kodak EasyShare! I've got the CX6200, which is a step up from the one offered here, but Kodak's cameras are reliable and have easy to add software to your computer. Now, all I do is take some pics, open up a little spot on the camera to stick the usb cord into it, turn it on, and the computer does the rest! COOL!

JonitasKalimpo on August 22, 2008:

What lens this one!!! i should have seen this lens before these year vacations.

clouda9 lm on August 04, 2008:

Excellent focused (pun intended :) lens!

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