The best of point-and-shoot cameras that are sold for $200 or less are unlikely going to get you professional looking images, but then nobody is a professional when they just started. Despite lacking advanced specifications, many believe that any digital cameras in this price point are good enough for beginners who are just beginning to feel stills capture as their new hobby. They offer overall good value for money in addition to adequate features and functionalities. You get to know what it’s like to take a picture using optical zoom and image stabilizer – two main features that make many people prefer compact camera to smartphone camera.
A number of great compact cameras released from one or two years ago may also get a sweet price drop since camera makers are constantly pushing out new models. They may be sold for a little higher than $200, but if you can get better cameras for a few more bucks, I think it’s worth it. There’s an option to get a refurbished camera, officially sold by the manufacturer. You may not get any warranty for your purchase, but you can get a nice point-and-shoot camera for half its price. For the purpose of this article, though, I’m going to stick with some new digital cameras with respectable performance that won”t set you back more than $200. Check them out!
Top 10 Cheap Point and Shoot Cameras under $200
|Digital Cameras||Sensor||Optical Zoom||Image Stabilization||Burst Shooting||Video|
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS||20MP||12X||Yes||7fps||1080P|
|Sony Cyber-Shot WX220||18MP||10X||Yes||10fps||1080P|
|Nikon Coolpix L340||20MP||28X||Yes||720P|
|Canon PowerShot SX610 HS||20MP||18X||Yes||7fps||1080P|
|Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W830||20MP||4X||Yes||1fps||720P|
|Nikon Coolpix W100||13MP||3X||Yes||4fps||1080P|
|Canon PowerShot SX420||20MP||42X||Yes||2fps||720P|
|Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W800||20MP||5X||Yes||1fps||720P|
|Nikon Coolpix S7000||16MP||20X||Yes||9fps||1080P|
|Polaroid Snap Touch||13MP||1x||No||1080P|
Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS
In many cases, you will find Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS a good little shooter to have in your pocket. Taking photos with this camera is so easy and fun as you don’t need to bother with multiple confusing manual controls. The outward design is so basic that it makes it a simple and straightforward process to use the camera, an ideal option for fun gathering with friends and families. With its thickness measuring no more than 1-inch, this camera is perfectly pocketable. Additionally, the buttons are meant for adult’s finger. They’re big enough to be pushed with ease.
In bright daylight, this camera can capture vibrant still images with all the sharpness you can expect from a cheap compact camera. The quality of the photos drop with the lack of light, which is to be expected. However, compared to other digital cameras in this price range, Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS still produce a reasonable image in low light setting. Another notable thing it can do is it only takes one second from the time you turn it on to the time when you can push the shutter button, all while keeping the lens focus. Not even an expensive camera can do that, which makes it perfect for a secondary camera for sports and outdoor photography.
Sony Cyber-Shot WX220
For less than $200, it’s amazing that you can still get a point-and-shoot camera with 18MP image sensor. While image quality is not solely influenced by the camera’s megapixels, such number should get you bright photos while keeping small details sharp. Sony CyberShot WX220 also incorporates BIONZ X image processor. It may not be as advanced as other chipsets infused in Sony’s higher end digital cameras, but it does allow for speedy autofocus and great noise reduction at high ISOs, enabling you to get some good shots in dim light situations. There’s also a burst shooting mode, which to my surprise, can capture up to 10 different images in one second.
If you’re concerned about the photos looking blur, don’t be. Sony CyberShot WX220 comes with Sony’s remarkable SteadyShot image stabilization. Such system is designed to make the the camera capture sharp images constantly, no matter if your hand is a bit shaky. Its 4.45-44.5 mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/33 to f/5.9 and allows for up to 10x optical zoom. The interface is displayed on a bright 2.7-inch LCD screen on the camera’s back. It has enough pixels on it to closely emulate what the camera actually sees. You won’t miss the absence of a viewfinder with it.
Nikon Coolpix L340
Nikon Coolpix L340 is not your regular point-and-shoot camera. For once, this camera is a little too bulky to fit a pocket. Unless your jeans have ultra roomy pocket, you’re going to need to put it in your bag, instead. For another thing, this camera is one of those models that people call superzoom. Bringing in tow the power of 28x optical zoom and dynamic zoom of twice as much, you can capture an object from a distant spot without getting closed to it physically. There’s a report that setting it to max zoom will produce chromatic noise around the edges, though, so use it with caution.
Nikon Coolpix L340 has a 20MP image sensor that takes great images without requiring you to fiddle with a bunch of control you know little about. This makes this cheap digital camera perfect for beginners. Despite its low price tag, the camera performs reasonably well up to ISO 400 with no noise being apparent at all. It won’t help you much in the darkest situation, but shooting indoor won’t be much of a problem. The noise become more visible as you increase the ISO, so keep it in control if you want your photos to still look usable. Its autofocus is fairly fast too, though it struggles a bit as you put the object real close to the camera (macro focusing).
Canon PowerShot SX610 HS
One major shortcoming from Nikon Coolpix L340 is its video recording capability is limited to 720p, instead of full HD. If this doesn’t please you, you can look at Canon PowerShot SX610 HS. It’s a little more expensive but for the extra bucks you shell out, you get a smaller camera that’s less challenging to put into your pocket and a full HD 1080p video mode. Its optical zoom is not as magnificent as the Coolpix L340 (maxes out at 18x), BUT it comes with a more powerful processor, which is DIGIC 4+. With a more able chipset, you can bet that this camera can focus faster and handle noise better at high ISO sensitivity.
Canon PowerShot SX610 HS has a larger and brighter LCD, too, measuring at 3-inch with up to 922,000 pixels, allowing it to remain bright when viewed from wide angle. There’s also a built-in pop-up flash that should be handy if you take some shots in places where there isn’t enough light. File transfer is a painless process in this camera. Simply toggle its Wi-Fi button and connect it with your computer or mobile devices. Last but not least, its image stabilization comes in various modes. What this means is you can get sharp looking images in any situations without worrying that it will drop the quality.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W830
Another pocketable camera in this list is Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830. Featuring a 20MP CCD image sensor, this compact shooter captures clean sharp images with amazing details while offering unprecedented ease of use for beginners. Shooting on a cold winter day with your hands unable to stop shaking won’t be much of an issue for this camera as it also comes with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. The lens itself is capable of performing optical zoom up to eight times. It’s not much, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any camera with amazing value for money like this one.
Although its size is pretty small already, Sony still manages to squeeze in a built-in flash light into it which should help illuminate a darker scene, though not much. The autofocus on Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 is by no means exceptionally fast. However, it’s able to recognize faces of up to eight individuals, making it so much easier to take quality photos of friends and families. The advantage of using a point-and-shoot camera will be rendered null if the camera itself has no intelligent auto mode, which in this case, the W830 does it very well. The camera can recognize the lighting intensity and the object it captures, adjusting its focus, white balance and exposure automatically to get you stunning images without much fuss.
Nikon Coolpix W100
An update to the Coolpix S33 – an insanely popular point-and-shoot camera by Nikon that’s been discontinued – is the Coolpix W100. Similar to its predecessor, this camera is waterproof up to 33 feet, but that’s not all. Added to its overall durability is shockproof and freezeproof design that can survive 5.9 feet drop and a temperature as low as 14°F. So, if you want a compact camera that can withstand some serious abuse, this camera is the perfect option for you.
Ruggedness is just one of the many good things Nikon Coolpix W100 offers. Its connectivity options, for instance. Not only does it come with Wi-Fi, but it also offers wireless pairing through NFC and Bluetooth. It even comes with its own Snapbridge app that you can install on your smartphone to allow for automatic file transfer. Want to control the camera remotely like a GoPro? Yes, the app also makes that possible. The quality of images that it captures is far from disappointing too. Despite the humble 13MP sensor, the camera is equipped with with NIKKOR glass lens, the same lens that’s been used by the company to make its flagship shooters. All your photos will look vivid with bright colors, though may be not as rich in details as those taken by other compact cameras with larger megapixels.
Canon PowerShot SX420
The second cheap point-and-shoot camera with superzoom capability in this list is Canon PowerShot SX420. It’s the second iteration to the original SX400, offering optical zoom up to 42 times paired with unbelievably smooth optical image stabilization. You really don’t have to worry about getting soft looking photos, even if you use max zoom. A 20-megapixel image sensor should be able to capture images rich in details, while DIGIC 4+ processor will make sure that colors are reproduced accurately while keeping the pictures bright and vibrant. While it lacks any viewfinder, you can check your shot easily through the 3-inch LCD screen with wide viewing angle.
Canon PowerShot SX420 comes with several preset smart auto options. Basically, what they do is adjusting the camera settings – i.e. exposure, white balance, ISO, focus, etc. – quickly based on the situation you’re in. Just choose one of the presets, and push the shutter button, and you’ll get a nice photo with print quality. Naturally, with the upgraded specs and features, the price of this camera has to be higher than the original model and for this one you’re going to have to pay a little more than $200. However, with quality shots it promises to deliver, the extra few bucks are worth it I believe. Only thing I’m not very keen on is its video capability is only limited to 720p.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W800
An economic yet highly able digital compact camera is how Sony DSC-W800 should be described. Less than 1-inch thick, this 20MP point-and-shoot camera can be slipped into any pocket without you even realizing it’s there. Easy Mode is handy for anyone wanting to get quality pictures of their moments without having to mess with multiple settings, while the proprietary SteadyShot image stabilization reduce the risk of getting blurred shot due to unstable hand. Multiple autofocus options are also aboard for your choosing; from regular contrast detect to tracking and face detection. There’s this smile detection technology too. It doesn’t directly contribute to a better image quality but it’s fun because the camera can activate the shutter automatically once it sees you smile.
Everything else with Sony DSC-W800 is very basic, but for less than $100, you can’t really ask for more. Its video capability, for example. While it’s tempting to complain that it tops out at 720p, if you have done your research before, you’ll find that some other cameras sold for twice its price also offer the same. So if we’re talking about getting the best bang for your buck, this camera is obviously the winner. Still, just to remind you not to have too high an expectation, this camera performs only moderately in low light condition. Other than that, it’s worth every penny.
Nikon Coolpix S7000
Optical zoom up to 20 times might not sound too exciting for you, especially after I present you with a couple of cameras that can do over 30 easily for the same low price. However, when you take the ultra-slim form-factor of Nikon Coolpix S7000 into account, such a feat is huge. This camera is so compact it can fit your jeans pocket effortlessly. Not to say the one in black looks very stylish too. It comes with optical image stabilization too and though it may not be as proficient as Sony’s SteadyShot, it does help capture sharp images with the zoom activated. There are 18 different presets – snow, night, portrait, sunset, and many more – that let you adjust the camera settings fast to suit your situation.
Should you want to get closer than what the optical zoom allows, you can use the dynamic zoom instead, which lets you magnify up to 40 times. I wouldn’t do that much if I were you, though, because dynamic zoom is always less reliable than optical zoom, raising the chance of getting soft and unfocused shots. Video recording is where Nikon Coolpix S7000 shines brighter. With full HD resolution captured at 60fps, you can get a cinematic looking video even without all the heavy videomakers’ equipment.
Polaroid Snap Touch
Polaroid Snap Touch is one of those instant cameras that lets you print your photos right away after you capture them. Its internal printer will transform your digital images to a life-like photos. So if printed photographs are not your thing, you may want to look at other cameras in this list. What separates this one from other instant cameras is it also supports a memory card to save your pictures digitally. You can sort out the best of your shots before proceed to printing them and you’ll save a good deal of paper film. By the way, it requires no ink too. All you need is the ZINK photo paper also made by Polaroid.
Polatoid Snap Touch is equipped with 13-megapixel CMOS sensor. It’s not amazing but as far as functionality is concerned, it can produce high resolution and detailed JPEG images. Alternatively, you can print them into 2 x 3 inches photos. The fixed lens can’t perform any optical zoom but it does come with image stabilization. Handheld shooting shouldn’t be an issue. The camera itself looks very stylish and thoughtfully laid out. The built-in flash is placed right in the top middle of the camera instead of on the side like many others. The LCD display at the back is also large (3.5-inch), though it may not be as bright as the one in Canon adn Sony camera because it only has 150K pixels.