best cameras under 100 dollars

Small camera budget? No problem! Today we live in a world where, amazingly, small and technology-packed cameras are available for less than $100. In this page, I have selected the 5 best cameras under 100 dollars you can get today. Don’t spend days researching and comparing a million models, the work is already done for you here!

But before diving in the actual camera reviews, I just want to manage your expectations a little. We are dealing with cameras that are incredibly cheap. Don’t expect miracles. You always get what you pay for.

To tell you the truth, I am quite appalled when I read some of the reviews on Amazon or other websites, with some people finding totally scandalous that their dirt cheap camera doesn’t have this or that feature. Come on, I know that technology is making great progress and is getting more and more accessible, but you are paying peanuts for what is already quite advanced technology.

Obviously, you want the best bang for your buck and I understand that, we all do. All I want to say is, don’t expect your $70 camera to last 20 years, shoot DSLR-class photographs and offer 72 fancy functions.

Now that my little rant is out, let me tell you that even for that price, there are pretty good little cameras out there that are reliable and easy to use, and shoot more than decent photos. As for videos, the quality varies and most of the time it is capped at 720p (which appears pretty lame when you know 4K and 8K exist, but again we are below $100), but it’s enough to capture nice clips of your holidays or the time spent with friends and family.

I have listed below the 5 best cameras you can get today for less than 100 dollars, and selected my top pick.

Let’s go!

The 5 Best Cameras Under 100 Dollars for 2018

Sony DSC-W800 Digital Camera

The Sony DSC-W800 is a nice little camera that is very easy to use and take anywhere with you. With its 20 MP sensor, it offers good image resolution and an overall good product quality as you can expect from a brand like Sony.

In addition, the built-in SteadyShot image stabilization greatly helps reduce the risk of getting blurry images due to camera shake in low light. Of course, like everything in life it works only to some extent; don’t expect to get miraculously sharp pictures in the night with no tripod! The 5x optical zoom is quite standard. The video quality in 720p is not impressive but enough for most uses.

A nice feature worth noting is the panorama mode enabling you to sweep the landscape and create a panoramic image on the spot.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 2.13 x 1.97 x 0.87 in / 5.4 x 5 x 2.2 cm
  • Weight: 4.48 oz / 127 g
  • Resolution: 20.1 MP
  • Zoom: 5x optical
  • Screen: 2.7” fixed LCD
  • Video: 720p HD

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good image resolution
  • Can be charged by USB
  • SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Sweep Panorama mode
  • Quality Sony Zeiss lens

Cons

  • Video is only 720p
  • Durability is questionable

Minolta MN5Z Digital CameraOur Top Pick

The Minolta MN5Z is a nice 20 MP point & shoot camera that is packed with features helping you to make your life easier. You can choose any of the 23 preset scene modes, enabling you to get the right camera settings for virtually any situation.

The ISO capacity is pretty good up 6400. Coupled with the Optical Stabilization system, clear shots in low light are within reach.

The panorama mode helps you capture panoramic images on the spot and the burst mode enables you to take up to 30 images in a single burst, for fast moving objects.

Overall, this camera is a good option and because of all the good technical specs and the large variety of modes and features, along with the reputable quality from Minolta, it is my top pick.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 84 x 3.95 x 2.32 in / 2.1 x 10 x 5.9 cm
  • Weight: 4 oz / 113.3 g
  • Resolution: 20 MP
  • Zoom: 5x optical
  • Screen: 2.7” fixed LCD
  • Video: 720p at 30 fps

Pros

  • Great image resolution
  • Lots of scene modes and functions
  • Built-in Optical Stabilization
  • High ISO sensibility

Cons

  • Can sometimes be a little slow to react

Andoer R1 Digital Camera

If you are looking for a hassle-free basic and affordable camera, the Andoer R1 might just be what you need! The 24 PM sensor results in a good image resolution, but the focal length is fixed and the 4x zoom is digital and not optical. This means that zooms inside the image by reducing its size. It’s not a big deal for the average user though.

The image quality is pretty good overall, so is the video – this camera is able to record full HD 1080p footage (at 15 frames per second). The anti-shake stabilization system also helps getting better shots, reducing camera shake.

The battery life is also satisfying for a camera of this grade. For the price, I would say that this camera is worth giving it a shot, even if it wasn’t manufactured by a well-known brand like Canon or Sony.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4 x 6.8 x 5.2 cm / 4.9 x 2.7 x 2.0 in
  • Weight: 10 oz / 283.5 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Zoom: 4x digital
  • Screen: 3” rotatable TFT
  • Video: HD 1080p at 15 fps

Pros

  • Basic and easy to use
  • Good image quality and resolution
  • Anti-Shake image stabilization
  • 180° rotatable screen
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • Comes with a UV filter

Cons

  • Fixed focal length
  • No optical zoom, only digital (result of the fixed focal length)

Nikon COOLPIX A10

Nikon Coolpix is now a well-known line in the world of compact and affordable point-and-shoot cameras.

With its 16 MP resolution and its good quality Nikkor lens, the Coolpix A10 is capable of capturing great images effortlessly. It has a quite standard 5x optical zoom and a built-in image stabilization (Electronic Vibration Reduction) that helps you take sharper images in challenging conditions.

This camera is powered by regular AA batteries. It was a choice from Nikon to have you change the batteries and get your camera ready immediately instead of waiting for it to charge. If like me you prefer to charge your camera, it also accepts rechargeable batteries.

Overall, a decent camera below $100 that does the job without making miracles.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 34 x 3.8 x 1.14 in / 5.94 x 9.65 x 2.9 cm
  • Weight: 5.7 oz / 161.6 g
  • Resolution: 16.1 MP
  • Zoom: 5x optical
  • Screen: 2.7” fixed LCD
  • Video: 720p HD

Pros

  • Good quality Nikkor lens
  • Good image resolution
  • Electronic Vibration Reduction system
  • Choice of using either regular AA batteries or rechargeable batteries (sold separately)

Cons

  • Video is only up to 720p
  • No USB cable is included

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom FZ53 Digital Camera

Kodak is a historical player in the world of photography and it is trying to get a share of the below $100 market with its PIXPRO line. Like other cameras on this page, the FZ53 is a very small camera that can be satisfying as long as you take it for what it is: a small and cheap camera.

Powered by two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, this camera is capable of taking good looking pictures with a 16 megapixel resolution. However, there is no image stabilization system, which could have been useful in low light conditions.

The video button is pretty convenient, as instead of having to go inside a video mode you can start recording directly by pushing this button. The HD video quality is acceptable for most uses at 720p, even if nowadays we are more used to having a 1080p quality.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 2.22 in / 9.1 x 2.3 x 5.6 cm
  • Weight: 3.68 oz / 104 g
  • Resolution: 16.1 MP
  • Zoom: 5x optical
  • Screen: 2.7” fixed LCD
  • Video: 720p HD

Pros

  • Good image resolution
  • Small & lightweight
  • Convenient video recording button
  • 28 mm wide angle lens

Cons

  • Video only up to 720p
  • Durability is questionable
  • No image stabilization

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Pay Attention to When Choosing my Camera?

There are of course many factors to consider when choosing your camera – not only tech specifications but also what use you will make of the camera, what features are most important to you.

Typically, a common issue with such cheap cameras is the durability of the materials, buttons, battery doors… Pay extra attention to be gentle with your equipment. Unfortunately, even cameras from leading brands can have this durability problem.

Image & Video quality: This one is obviously very important, and all cameras are not made equal. A big sensor with a lot of megapixels does not always ensure great image quality, other factors come into play such as the quality of the optics, the way images are processed, etc.

Image Stabilization: When the light conditions are getting challenging (i.e. dark), camera shake becomes a major problems and inevitably results in blurry images, because the camera needs more exposure time to capture enough light for the picture. A built-in image stabilization can help reduce this phenomenon, even if it will never replace a tripod. Moreover, these cameras are small and not so easy to hold stable while shooting your pictures.

ISO sensibility & Noise: In low light conditions, it may be necessary for the camera to increase the ISO to get a correct exposure. That’s why it is interesting to have a high maximum ISO sensibility – but this usually comes with increased noise in the image. Some low quality cameras have noisy image even at lower ISO.

Features & Functionality: Depending on the way you intend to use the camera, it can be interesting to have many different scene modes and artistic features, allowing you to get correct camera settings and get creative with your photography without any hassle, at the push of a button.

Optical Zoom or Digital Zoom, What’s The Difference?

The optical zoom is a change of the focal length of the lens, magnifying the image while keeping the same reolution and image quality.

The digital zoom on the other hand, zooms inside the image. As a result, the zoomed picture is like a cropped picture, with a lower resolution and quality.

What to Really Expect From a Camera Under $100?

You can expect a basic camera with mostly automatic modes, enabling you to shoot decent quality pictures and video without much hassle. Creativity is possible but again, it will be through automatic modes and filters, not by playing with camera settings like you would with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera.

As for durability, it is quite variable across the different brands and camera models, and it is a little more frequent to get unlucky with faulty parts, than it is with more expensive cameras.

New, Refurbished, Used Cameras?

I have personally always bought my cameras new. Some people are comfortable with buying refurbished or even used cameras, some are not. In this page, I only show cameras for under $100 new. If you go into refurbished and used ones, you will have more options.

Why Don’t You Show Any Price on This Page?

I prefer not showing any definitive price on this page because it will be impossible to keep them up to date, as they can change at any moment. That’s why I’d rather you click to see the latest price when you are ready to buy. You already know that they are all below $100, anyway 🙂

How Did You Choose Your Top Pick?

It’s not easy to choose the top pick. There are many factors to consider and my goal was to select the camera offering the most satisfying features, build quality and image quality for a price that feels right.

At a price of below 100 dollars it is especially challenging, as we can’t expect the same quality as the more expensive gear.

The top pick only reflects my own opinion, and that’s the reason why I show my top 5 cameras and not only my top pick, so you can make your own opinion.

Final Thoughts

Choosing 5 best cameras under 100 dollars was challenging. To tell you the full story, I usually look to review the best 7 products, but I only found 5 that were good enough to be presented on this page. There are a lot of models, but many don’t live up to our expectations.

While it’s certain that some people simply expect too much from their cheap camera, it is normal to look for the best quality and the best features you can find for your budget.

I believe that the 5 cameras in this page are a good sample of the best gear you can find for this price range.

Disclosure: Exploration Junkie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you purchase an item on Amazon through the affiliate links in this page, this website will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keeping this site ad-free, and it helps you say thank you if our content is useful to you 🙂


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