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The best camera under $200: how to get a good camera at a reasonable price

best camera under $200
(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Those looking for the best camera under $200 have never been more spoiled for choice! Once, the idea of getting a decent digital camera for less than $200 would have been a total pipedream, but time marches on, and now there are loads of great options available at this price point.

One of the main reasons for this is that new models of camera are coming out all the time, but the previous ones don't just vanish! Some manufacturers keep them in production specifically to tempt users who don't have the cash the latest models, while for others, there's a booming second-hand market. 

Of course, there are also plenty of cameras that have been released new with a sub-$200 price tag. While these tend to be pretty simple affairs, lacking the latest features or larger sensors, they will cover the basics very well, and are definitely worth considering.

So, with all this in mind, what are the best cameras under $200 right now? We've compiled this list of our favorites, with a broad mix of types to suit all tastes. You might want a lightweight travel camera with a powerful zoom lens, or a lightweight do-it-all compact for general shooting, a waterproof tough camera for underwater adventures, or a fun instant film camera for parties with friends. We've included them all in this guide!

In this list, we reckon we've got the perfect cameras for anyone who's shopping with a budget of less than $200. There are models from all the leading camera manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony. There’s also a GoPro camera on the list for those who want an all-out action camera, and a 360-degree camera from Ricoh for those who want to experiment with a different kind of imaging. 

This list includes a mix of new models available at a low price point, as well as older cameras that have since been superseded by upgraded models, and therefore can be picked up for a bargain price. No matter what category a camera falls into, you can be sure that it comes with our ironclad recommendation. There's nothing on this list that isn't worth anyone's time. 

Everything here should be available for less than $200, though prices do fluctuate from time to time. So, let’s take a look at our favourite cameras in this price bracket. And if this is still too dear for you, make sure you check out our list of the best cameras under $100.

(Image credit: Canon)

1. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

This Canon combines a slim build with powerful features

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 461k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 12x zoom | Max burst speed: 2.5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Slim design packed with smart features
Very good image quality
Eye-watering purple option
Modest 2.5fps maximum burst rate

Typical of ELPH cameras, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 has a very slim-line and pocket-friendly design. More unusually, it’s available in a particularly garish shade of purple, as well as the more usual black and silver options. For such a small camera, it packs a big punch in terms of features. The 20.2MP ‘HS’ image sensor helps to retain low-noise image quality at high ISO settings, there’s a powerful 12x optical zoom lens, a 3-inch LCD screen, plus built-in Wi-Fi and NFC. 

Typical of Canon cameras great and small, the layout of buttons and menus is simple and intuitive. All in all, it’s a great little camera, the only slight frustration being that the 2.5fps maximum burst rate is a little pedestrian.

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

2. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1

A fun instant point-and-shoot, with better exposures than previous Instax cameras

Type: Instant | Film type: Fujifilm instax square | Image size: 6.2cm x 6.2cm | LCD: No | Viewfinder: Optical | Lens type: 65.75mm f/12.6 | Max burst speed: N/a | Max video resolution: None | User level: Beginner

Fun instant prints
Improved exposure accuracy
Ongoing film cost
No self-timer

Instant film cameras are always a hit at parties, and the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 is a fine example available at a great price. With a click of the shutter button, it'll create 6.2cm square prints that look fantastic, with punchy colours and less of the tendency towards overexposure that has plagued previous Instax cameras. 

The thing to remember about instant film is that it is of course an ongoing cost, so while you're paying $120 or so for the camera, you'll have to keep buying refills every time you run out. Also, this is a very basic point-and-shoot model, which is arguably all you need in an instant camera, though some users may lament the lack of basic quality-of-life features like a self-timer. Still, for the price this is loads of fun, and a wonderfully inexpensive way to make physical images that last.

(Image credit: Panasonic)

3. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT30

Lights, camera, action... this tough Panasonic can handle all of it

Type: Compact (tough) | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Screen: 2.7-inch 230k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 4x zoom | Max burst speed: 1.3fps | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Tough and waterproof
Available in red, blue, black or orange
Only 720p video capture
Boxy design

Whether you’re on the beach, up a mountain or in the desert, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30 should prove ideal. It’s waterproof down to a depth of 8m, freezeproof to -10C, dustproof, and shockproof to withstand being dropped from heights up to 1.5m. In short, it’s as tough as a brick but sadly looks a bit like one as well, with a very boxy design. 

Unlike some ‘tough’ cameras, this one has a zoom lens, which is a nice bonus. Video resolution is a little disappointing but image quality is good and it’s an easy camera to use.

(Image credit: Nikon)

4. Nikon Coolpix W150

A Nikon for adventurous photographers on a budget

Type: Compact (tough) | Sensor: 1/3.1-inch | Megapixels: 13.2MP | Screen: 2.7-inch 230k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 3x zoom | Max burst speed: 4.7fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Waterproof, shockproof build
Choice of colours
Minimal zoom range
Small image sensor

A waterproof choice for those who like a little adventure with their photography, the Nikon Coolpix W150 isn't the most sophisticated camera you'll ever see, but it does its job well enough and is a good choice for family holidays where you might have little ones who won't treat a camera with quite the care you might want them to. The W150 is scrappy enough to take a few knocks, and while it does have a zoom lens, you won't be writing home to anyone about the fairly middling range of 3x. Decent for the price, and the choice of colors is a nice extra. 

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

5. Fujifilm FinePix XP140

The latest tough camera from Fujifilm for an active lifestyle

Type: Compact (tough) | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 16.4MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 920k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 5x zoom | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner

Can be taken 25m underwater
Fast 10fps burst rate
4K only 15p
Image noise under low lighting

Fujifilm toughened up its tough camera with the latest XP140, which can be taken down to impressive depths of 25m, as well as being freezeproof down to -10ºC and shockproof to drops of up to 1.75m. It's also got tech to back this up on the inside, with impressive burst speeds of up to 10fps, and some useful Scene Recognition modes that help even novice users get the most out of the camera.

All this comes at an excellent price, making the XP140 a seriously tempting option for the budget-conscious photographer, especially those planning some travels. One word of warning though: while the XP140 does technically shoot 4K video, it's at a disappointing frame rate of 15p and doesn't look particularly good. Don't buy it for this feature alone.

(Image credit: Sony)

6. Sony Cyber-shot WX350

The WX350 from Sony is a small camera with a big zoom

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 18.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 461k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 20x zoom | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: 1,080p | User level: Beginner

Big 20x optical zoom range
Small and sleek
Fiddly menu system
Not quite as slim and light as the WX220

At about an inch thick, Sony’s WX350 isn’t quite as super-skinny as the WX220 and it’s a little heavier too. The main reason is that it doubles up on optical zoom range, with a massive 20x capability. Even so, the WX350 is still a very pocketable camera, and remarkably thin considering its zoom range. It’s also a bit more intuitive to use, with the addition of a shooting mode dial on the top of the camera, putting the extra 4mm of body depth to good use. 

The rear screen is slightly larger as well but has the same 461k resolution. In other respects, both cameras are very similar, with the same image sensor, 10fps maximum burst rate, Full HD 1080p video capture, Wi-Fi and NFC, along with a slightly fiddly menu system. Again, image quality is very impressive.

(Image credit: Canon)

7. Canon PowerShot SX620 HS

How big are your pockets? This capable Canon will stretch them...

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.2MP | Screen: 3.0-inch 922k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 25x zoom | Max burst speed: 2.5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner

Mighty 25x optical zoom
High-resolution LCD screen
Thick for a ‘pocket’ camera
2.5fps maximum burst rate

The phenomenal 25x optical zoom range of this Canon PowerShot SX620 HS equates to 25-625mm in conventional, full-frame terms. That takes you all the way from ultra-wide-angle to super-telephoto at just the touch of a zoom lever. The downside is that, compared with the PowerShot ELPH 360, this camera is noticeably thicker, with a depth of 28mm instead of just 23mm. Canon still claims that it’s a ‘pocketable’ camera, but it’s not such an easy fit. 

Image quality is similarly impressive from both cameras, with gorgeous colour rendition and relatively low image noise at high sensitivity settings. There’s also the same provision of Wi-Fi and NFC. Handling is more refined in the SX620 HX, with a sculpted grip area, and the LCD screen has twice the pixel count as well, for a more detailed display.

(Image credit: GoPro)

8. GoPro Hero7 Silver

An action camera with a new budget-friendly price tag

Megapixels: 10MP | Screen: 2in touchscreen | Connectivity: Wi-Fi (5GHz), Bluetooth | Max continuous shooting speed: 15fps | Max video resolution: 4K (30fps) | Frame rates: 30fps (4K), 60fps (1080p) | Waterproofing: 10m | Voice control: Yes | GPS: Yes | Battery life: 1-3hrs estimated | User level: Beginner

Easy to use, complete with voice control
High-quality 4K video
Great range of accessories
More suited to video than stills

A growing number of ‘action cameras’ are often quite pricy but this one from the acclaimed GoPro manufacturer squeaks in below our maximum price limit. It has the same physical dimensions as the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black, and the same provision of a rear LCD for composing shots. In fact, it’s the only camera in this roundup to have a touchscreen. 

It also features voice control, which can be very useful if the camera is mounted in place and you’ve got your hands full with adventurous activities. Speaking of which, the GoPro Hero7 Silver is waterproof to a depth of 10m and additional cases are available if you feel the need to dive deeper – as well as other useful GoPro accessories.

(Image credit: Ricoh)

9. Ricoh Theta SC 360

Get a completely different perspective with a 360-degree camera

Type: 360 camera | Sensor: Two 1/2.3-inch sensors | Megapixels: 12MP | Screen: No | Viewfinder: No | Lens type: Two f/2 lenses | Max burst speed: Not specified | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Intermediate

Impressive 360 functionality
Cheaper than comparable rivals
Highly specialised
Occasional stitching issues

For something completely different, why not try creating 360-degree images and videos? The Ricoh Theta SC 360 is one of the most affordable 360 cameras on the market, and produces really quite excellent images and footage for its price point; it's significantly cheaper than many cameras offering similar functionality. Small enough to take anywhere, it's best used in conjunction with the dedicated app on your smartphone, which allows you to easily take control of the camera's various functions and modes. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to do something different without breaking the bank.

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