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The best camera under $100 in 2022: low cost cameras that still take decent shots

Included in this guide:

best camera under $100: Polaroid Go
(Image credit: James Artaius)

The best camera under $100 is unlikely to set the world alight but these pocket-sized shooters will be better than you think! Whether you're looking for a digital, instant film or even an underwater camera, major manufacturers have done a good job of making sure there are powerful cameras available for two-figure prices.

• Check out our Black Friday camera deals page for best holiday deals

Investing in the best camera under $100 is a cost-effective way to learn the basics of photography, and can also be a good choice for getting kids into snapping pictures. After all, if a camera is going to get accidentally dropped or lost, you'd probably rather it wasn't an expensive one!

We've put together a guide of what we think are the best cameras available for $100 or less right now. They aren't going to have cutting-edge features or massive megapixel counts, but all of the cameras on our list are reliable, capable, and will do the basics that you need of them. You'll find cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and more on this list of our top ten picks, so you can be confident you'll be getting a name you trust.

Bear in mind that if you pick an instant film camera, refilling it will represent an ongoing cost, and not all digital cameras come with memory cards, so double-check that as well.

The prices of cameras are always changing, so while we've done our best to ensure that we include cameras available for $100 or less, some of them may creep over the line from time to time. Keep checking back though, as our tool pulls in all the latest deals, so you can be sure you're always getting the best price on each model!

Best camera under $100: instax mini 11

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

Probably the most instant film camera there is and it comes in pretty pastel colors

Specifications
Type: Instant film
Film type: Instax mini
Image Size: 54×86mm
Viewfinder: Yes
Lens: 60mm
Flash: Yes
Exposure modes: No
Self timer: No
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Inexpensive
+
Film costs less than Polaroid
+
Fun to use
Reasons to avoid
-
A little bulky
-
Images can be hit and miss

The Instax Mini 11 is the latest edition in Fujifilm's popular lineup of instant cameras and currently comes in way under budget. It stills looks and feels like the previous models but the exposure dial has been removed in favor of an automated exposure where the flash always fires. A dial on the back of the camera shows you how many shots you have left and film cartridges are super easy to replace - just match up the yellow lines. Remember, you'll need to fire one shot off to get rid of the plastic protective cover. Film ejects almost instantly and is fully developed in 90 seconds. These cameras are a lot of fun and a great way of documenting a special event or collecting memories you can hold.

Read more: Instax Mini 11 review

(Image credit: Akaso)

2. AKASO EK7000 Pro

A budget action camera that can still shoot 4K video

Specifications
Weight: 61g
Waterproof: Yes, to 40 metres
4K video: At 25fps
1080p video: At 60fps
Stills resolution: 16 megapixels
Battery life: Up to 90 minute per charge
Reasons to buy
+
Fully waterproof
+
4K video capture, 
+
Remote operation 
Reasons to avoid
-
No zoom

Planning an action and adventure holiday but don't have a big budget for an action camera? The AKASO EK7000 Pro would be a great choice, it offers plenty of fun features and is one of our favorite budget action cameras. You might be surprised to find out it's capable of shooting 4K video, it can take 16-megapixel photos and it has a two-inch touch screen. It has a fixed wide-angle lens which is perfect for getting a lot of background in, electronic image stabilization will help your video to look smooth and with its waterproof housing, it can go down to depths of 131 feet. If that hasn't you, it even as a time-lapse special effect so this is well worth considering. 

(Image credit: Lomography)

4. Lomo'instant Automat

Retro-styled alternative to Instax but it takes Instax film

Specifications
Type: Instant
Film type: Fujifilm instax mini
Image size: 6.2cm x 4.6cm
Minimum shooting distance: 35cm
Viewfinder: Optical
Lens: 60mm f/8
Flash: Built in
Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb
Self-timer: No
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Smart retro styling
+
Takes instax mini film
Reasons to avoid
-
Small optical viewfinder
-
Uses CR2 batteries

For those who hanker after the styling and size of the Leica Sofort, Lomography’s Lomo’instant Automat is the closest instant camera you'll get under $100.

For your money, you'll get a camera equipped with a 60mm lens with an aperture of f/8. There's a lens ring to dial in the focus distance from 60cm to infinity, and the front-mounted shutter release doubles up as a mirror for those essential selfies.

The viewfinder is a little on the small side, but build quality is otherwise good, and it takes instax mini film which means convenience in buying new packs. 

Overall, there's not much to quibble over between the Automat and its Fujifilm Instax peers, apart from the aesthetics and personal choice.

Best camera under $100: Polaroid Go Instant Mini Camera

(Image credit: Polaroid)

The world's tiniest, cutest, analog instant camera

Specifications
Type: Instant
Film type: Color go film
Image size: 2.122-inch
Minimum shooting distance: 35cm
Viewfinder: Optical
Lens: 34mm full-frame equivalent
Flash: Built in, automatic
Exposure modes: Auto, Bulb
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Small and compact
+
Double exposure mode
Reasons to avoid
-
Expensive film
-
Struggles in bright sunlight

Polaroid's smallest camera yet is hard not to love. It's designed that you can even wear it around your neck should you want to add a funky accessory to your outfit. The square, polaroid prints are smaller than those you would get out of the Polaroid OneStep 2 but that only adds to its cuteness factor. In bright sunlight it does have the tendency to overexpose and considering how expensive a pack of 8 film is, you don't want to be wasting shots. One of the features we loved was its ability to create double exposure images - something the Instax range of cameras can't do. It's a fun, quirky little camera that is fun to use for both young and old making it one of the best cameras for kids

Best camera under £100: ILFORD Sprite 35-II Film Camera

(Image credit: Ilford)

6. ILFORD Sprite 35-II Film Camera

This affordable, fun camera is great for anyone just getting into film photography

Specifications
Type: 35mm film
Sensor Size: Full-frame
Viewfinder: Yes
Lens: 31mm fixed
Flash: Built-in
Zoom: No
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Affordable film camera
+
Easy to use
+
Takes 3x AAA batteries
Reasons to avoid
-
Ongoing film costs
-
Cheap, plastic case

This quirky little camera from Ilford is perfect for anyone who is just thinking about getting into film photography. It's reimagined version of a popular camera from the 90s - the Sprite 35 - which was the go-to model at the time. This 35mm camera is the only full-frame camera on the list, it features a 31mm f/9 fixed lens, has a built-in flash and a viewfinder. It's certainly a step up from a disposable camera plus it's better for the planet as you don't need a new one every time. If you're someone who likes to shoot film but doesn't want to commit to anything more advanced, this is ideal for beginners. It looks great, is small enough to keep in your pocket and super lightweight at just 122g.

best camera under $100: Kodak PIXPRO FZ53

(Image credit: Kodak)

7. Kodak PIXPRO FZ53

Larger-than-average prints from this chunky Instant

Specifications
Type: Compact
Sensor size: 1/2.3-inch
Resolution : 16.15MP
Viewfinder: None
Lens: 28-140mm
Flash: Built in
Zoom: 5x Optical 6x Digital
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Pocket-sized
+
Easy to use
Reasons to avoid
-
No viewfinder
-
Can't see the screen in bright sunlight

We've been a bit cheeky leaving the Kodak Pixpro FZ53 as it actually costs a little over out $100 budget but if you can stretch $10 more we think it's worth it. This no-nonsense, pocket-sized point-and-shoot is perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a phone camera upgrade. It features a 16.15-megapixel 1/2.3-inch sensor so you won't be able to print your images very big but they're still perfect for sharing on social media. It has a zoom range equivalent to a 28-140mm on a full-frame camera and a 6x digital zoom if you need to get that little bit closer. One of the downsides is it doesn't come with a viewfinder and the screen is hard to see on a sunny day but otherwise, it's a great buy for the price. 

Best camera under $100: Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

8. Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300

Larger-than-average prints from this chunky Instant

Specifications
Type: Instant
Film type: Fujifilm Instax Wide film
Image size: 6.2cm x 9.9cm
Minimum shooting distance: 40cm
Viewfinder: Optical
Lens: 95mm f/14
Flash: Built in
Exposure modes: Dark, Normal, Light
Self-timer: No
User level: Beginner
Reasons to buy
+
Big prints
+
User-friendly
Reasons to avoid
-
It'll be too chunky for some
-
Small viewfinder

The biggest of Fujifilm's Instax range, as the name suggest, the Wide 300 delivers larger prints (via instax WIDE film packs).

Depending on your taste, its size is either a blessing - it feels substantial and well-built - or a curse (it's not a great choice for selfies, small hands may struggle, and it isn't as friendly to carry around).

Control is limited to adjusting brightness, and that huge built-in flash, while the 95mm lens is extended via a level next to the shutter release. 

It's all a bit on the chunky side, apart from - strangely - the slightly ungenerous viewfinder. Still, if you're after larger prints from an instant camera, and still want change from $100, then the Wide 300 may be for you. Just make sure you handle it and check you're comfortable with the size before buying. 

(Image credit: Lomography)

9. Lomography Konstruktor F

A retro film camera that comes in kit form

Specifications
Type: 35mm film camera
Film format: 35mm
Lens: 50mm f/10
Viewfinder: Waist level screen
User modes: Manual
User level: Enthusiast
Reasons to buy
+
A camera that you build yourself
+
Relive the analog dream by shooting film
Reasons to avoid
-
Film and processing costs extra
-
You have to build it yourself!

A left-field choice for those wanting a camera for under $100 is to go 35mm - as there are a number of film cameras available at budget prices - and in fact, many of the best Lomography cameras can be bought for under $100. But they don't get much more left-field than the Konstructor... which you build yourself out of the plastic bits contained in this kit. It is a great project for those who want to live the analog life - and a great present for a patient teenager. Remember though, the film costs extra. 

Read more:
The best cameras under $200
The best camera under $500
The best camera for kids
The best beginner cameras 
The best point-and-shoot cameras
The best waterproof cameras
The best compact cameras
Best budget action cameras under $100

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specialises in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylised product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.