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The best cheap digital cameras (starting at $90)

Are you looking for the best cheap digital cameras that take great pictures? My picks feature optical image stabilization, HD video, and zoom range.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer and  Sean Jackson, Contributor
Reviewed by Amy Lieu
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D | Best cheap digital camera overall
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D
Best cheap digital camera overall
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AKASO Brave 4 | Best affordable digital camera for action shots
AKASO Brave 4
Best affordable digital camera for action shots
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Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 | Best instant affordable digital camera
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
Best instant affordable digital camera
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Olympus Tough TG-6 | Best waterproof affordable digital camera
Olympus Tough TG-6
Best waterproof affordable digital camera
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Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 | Best point-and-shoot affordable digital camera
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
Best point-and-shoot affordable digital camera
View now View at Amazon

Whether it is personally or professionally, pictures can say a thousand words. But first, you need the right equipment. Sometimes, your iPhone just won't do, so for those more serious purposes, you need a digital camera for its clarity and quality. 

However, finding the best digital cameras is not always so easy, and they can end up being quite costly. 

To make the search process easier for you, we've rounded up the best cheap digital cameras that are all under $500, so you can take the best photos for way less. 

Also: The best cameras for beginners

Pros & Cons
  • Excellent image quality
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • Multiple lenses included
  • Slower burst mode
  • Battery dies quickly
More Details

Specs: Cost: $429 | Body type: DSLR | Mirrorless: No | Optical zoom: 55x | Continuous shooting speed: 3.0 frames per second | Focus type: Autofocus | Waterproof: No

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D includes Canon's exclusive optical image stabilizer technology with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom and up to approximately 0.8x magnification. It is capable of slow shutter speeds but can also keep up in faster settings, like with sports. There is a careful focus on detail and enlargements with a 24.1-megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, allowing you to photograph even in low light when other cameras cannot keep up. 

Also: The best DSLR Cameras

There is nine-point autofocus for easy tracking when finding a subject, plus you can choose between two frame rates of either standard 30p or cinematic 24p, depending on your preference. You can enjoy your film in full 1080p HD when complete, especially when sharing is made simple with built-in capabilities for Wi-Fi, NFC, and PictBridge for quick transfers or printing. 

Review: Excellent value for new and experienced photographers

Pros & Cons
  • Built-in camcorder
  • Portable design
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Mediocre video quality
  • Case only is waterproof
More Details

Specs: Cost: $89.99 | Body type: Camcorder | Optical zoom: 5x | Waterproof: Yes | Zoom type: Digital | Video capture resolution: 4K 30FPS

When you are on a budget, the AKASO Brave 4 is a fantastic option for an affordable digital camera. It offers dual screens to make viewing easy, plus is completely waterproof up to 131 feet or 40 meters for added peace of mind. 

When you are ready to take your photo, enjoy built-in Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) 2.0 and 6-axis gyroscope to automatically detect any changes to position or motion. That means that even if you move the camera, it will still offer stable video without any sign of motion. 

There is 5x zoom, plus an included driving mode that allows you to use the camera as a dash cam. A wireless remote is included, and if you have an external AKASO microphone, it will work with that, too. 

Pros & Cons
  • Instant photo printing
  • Several available modes
  • Available in rose gold
  • Pricey
  • Limited camera
More Details

Specs: Cost: $290 | Autofocus: No | Film type: Instant | Optical zoom: 1.5x | Waterproof: No

The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 will take you back to the good ole days with its instant printing capability. It is Fujifilm's first Analog instant camera, where photos are printed on exclusive Fujifilm square film in a 1:1 format. 

That does not mean that it skimps on features. There is built-in auto exposure and a fixed lens for proper portraits, as well as three filters, including orange, purple, and green. 

You will also find several different ready-made modes, like Macro Mode and Landscape Mode. To help you get that perfect photo, use the Self Timer option, which is controlled electronically with a 10-second delay. Either way, your brand-new photo will be developed within 90 seconds for instant access. 

Pros & Cons
  • Built tough
  • 4K and HD video
  • Outdoor features
  • Expensive
  • Restricted image resolution
More Details

Specs: Cost: $409 | Optical zoom: 4x | Focus type: Autofocus | Waterproof: Yes

The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the rugged affordable digital camera you want for your collection. Its list is long: it is waterproof, dust-proof, shock-proof, crush-proof, and freeze-proof with a fog deterrent. 

Still, it manages to offer a high-resolution F2.0 lens with a maximum 8x zoom and a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor. It is powered by a TruePic VIII Image Processor, offering four macro shooting modes within the variable macro system. 

Also: The best action cameras

You are not limited underwater, either, with five underwater shooting modes and three white balance modes. If you prefer video, you can shoot 4K and full HD movies with this camera. Because it is meant to be used outdoors, there are added bonuses, too, like built-in WiFi and a GPS module within the included Field Sensor System. 

Pros & Cons
  • 4K video
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Waterproof
  • On the pricier end
  • No touchscreen
More Details

Specs: Cost: $398 | Body type: Point and shoot | Optical zoom: 60x

The Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 is a multi-featured, affordable point-and-shoot camera that will not break the bank at around $398. It includes an optical zoom of up to 60x for even greater focus and attention to detail, using a very long DC Vario lens with Power O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) to provide high-quality photos. 

Other features include 4K QFHD video with low light capture to tackle even those darker settings. The three-inch screen incorporates an 18.1 megapixel MOS sensor and is matched by a high-resolution viewfinder that allows you to monitor your progress. As an added bonus, it is built for travel with Wi-Fi, USB, and HDMI connectivity for wider use. 

What is the best cheap camera?

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D is our pick for the overall best affordable digital camera. It may not be the cheapest, but it offers up to 55x zoom for incredible detail. You also receive multiple lenses for greater flexibility, plus Cannon's optical image stabilizer technology and 1080 HD capability. 

To best understand how the best affordable digital cameras stack up against one another, here is a comparison chart. 

Best affordable digital camera



Key feature

Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D



Multiple lenses

AKASO Brave 4



Waterproof camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6



Instant printing

Olympus Tough TG-6



Incredible durability

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80



Image stabilization

Which is the right affordable digital camera for you?

To help you find the best affordable digital camera for your specific needs, check out our expert recommendations below. 

Choose this affordable digital camera...

If you...

Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D

Want a budget DSLR camera with excellent image quality and multiple lenses included 

AKASO Brave 4

Like to shoot live action with an affordable digital camera and fantastic battery life 

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

You want instant photo printing capabilities and a stylish rose gold option 

Olympus Tough TG-6

Want an affordable digital camera that is built tough with 4K video and outdoor features 

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80

Prefer to point-and-shoot your digital camera with 4K video, built-in Wi-Fi, and a waterproof body

As this table shows, we chose a diverse selection of the best cheap digital cameras based on different uses. Therefore, whether you're looking for a point-and-shoot for your outdoor adventures or something that offers instant printing, we have you covered. 

How did we choose these affordable digital cameras?

To find the best budget camera, we based our research on a number of factors. 

  • Quality: Image quality was one of the driving factors, as we consider exactly what technology is available to provide a perfect picture. 

  • Size: We also consider size, as well as ergonomics and comfort, for those who intend to spend long hours with their new prized camera.  

  • Lenses: Most affordable digital cameras include multiple lenses that you can use, depending on the photo you want to take.

  • Cost: We consider how much each camera costs, looking for affordable models that cost below $450. 

Before you select the right affordable digital camera for you, consider how the specs stack up against each other to find the best camera for your needs.

What is a digital camera?

A digital camera is a type of camera that takes digital optics and turns them into pixel data based on the color and intensity of light. It then stores the images on a memory card as either a photo or video, depending on capability.

There are a variety of camera options available, such as point-and-shoot, video, vlogging, and even compact models.

Also: The 5 best compact cameras

How much do affordable digital cameras cost?

The best affordable digital cameras range in price from $90 to $450, depending on the model that works best for you. Here we focus on affordable digital cameras, choosing models under $500, but you can easily spend thousands of dollars on other models. 

The key to choosing the best budget cameras for you is determining your purposes for it and your experience level. Often, a point-and-shoot camera works best if you're looking to capture memories or you're new to photography. However, if you become an avid hobbyist or want to shoot movies, then you'll need to invest in a camera that matches your needs. 

What are the advantages of a digital camera?

A digital camera has several benefits like a rear LCD screen for simple viewing, massive storage, and easy development. Many models allow you to take both photos and videos, depending on which works best for the moment. 

They're also easy to transport, making them a must-have traveling companion for vacations, sporting events, and more. You can buy kits containing carrying cases, storage cards, etc.

Are there alternative affordable digital cameras worth considering?

We chose some pretty sweet options to help you get started. However, if you want a few more, you cannot go wrong with these choices:

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For other tools, consider our top picks for the best photo editing software, and the best photo editing apps!

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