Best camera under $100/£100: bargain cameras that take great shots

Blue Canon IXUS 190 camera

Whether you're strapped for cash, or just after a bargain compact to carry as a spare, there are plenty of options available from big name brands. 

The $100 or £100 price point makes these cameras perfect choices for kids wanting to get their hands on their first 'proper' camera too. And with some models featuring WiFi for simple sharing and printing, they're good alternatives for youngsters who are still too young to own their own smartphone.

Naturally, these aren't all feature-packed models, but there are some pretty impressive examples on offer which are perfect as second cameras, travel companions, and emergency back-ups. 

You'll find several Nikon, Canon and Sony models in our top ten picks, along with ever-popular instant cameras which are great fun - but obviously come with on-going film costs to consider. 

Prices change all the time, but all of our choices should be available for under £100 or $100 – as prices can vary from week to week, some models may be just over the $100 mark on occasion.

Nikon Coolpix A10 camera in red

1. Nikon Coolpix A10 camera

Very cheap, and fairly cheerful

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Screen: 2.7-inch 230k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 5x zoom | Max burst speed: 1.2fps | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Bargain price
Pretty good build-quality
Maximum 720p video capture
Only 5x zoom

Nikon's supremely affordable Coolpix A10 is routinely the cheapest model from any big name manufacturer. It might only have a 5x zoom lens, but with both image and video stabilisation, it's a good entry-level option. 

Like many other models in this price bracket, it features a 2.7 inch LCD screen, and with the emphasis on user-friendly button layout and controls, it's a really simply camera to use. Best of all, you'll get up and running with just two standard AA batteries, making it simple to keep powered up.  

You can forget any extra sophisticated features from the Coolpix A10 - and it's not an option for those who want to shoot full HD video. But at this price, who's complaining? 

Canon IXUS 190 in black

2. Canon Powershot ELPH 190/IXUS 190

Ultra-slim, and a generous feature set

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.5MP | Screen: 2.7-inch 230k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 10x zoom | Max burst speed: 0.8fps | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Wi-Fi and NFC
10x zoom
Only 720pm video capture

Canon's Powershot ELPH models (known as IXUS outside the United States), remain a very popular budget choice - and rightly so. Combining a low price with a fairly generous feature set, the 190 is ultra-slim and light, and incredibly easy to carry as a spare or travel camera. 

You should be able to find the most recent 190 model for a fraction under £100/$150, and it's our choice ahead of the cheaper 185. The latter doesn't feature Wi-Fi and NFC, and has only an 8x zoom rather than 190's 10x. Whether those features are worth the extra £30/$40 is the main question when deciding between the two.

With a 20.5MP sensor, sharp picture quality, and easy controls, the 190 is a small and slim compact with broad appeal that's available in a range of colors. Picture quality is bright and sharp, and the Wi-Fi and NFC should appeal to photographers wanting to quickly and easily upload and preserve their images. 

Sony Cybershot DSC-W810 in silver

3. Sony Cybershot DSC-W810

Good value, albeit a limited feature set

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Screen: 2.7-inch | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 6x zoom | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Very light and compact
Often available at a bargain price
Only 720p video capture
No Wi-Fi

Sony's Cybershot range offer a number of models under £100/$150, with a variety of zoom options being the main difference between them. 

Our first pick, the DSC-W810, is a 6x zoom model with 20.1MP sensor, and a few other features to get younger snappers happy, such as Sweep Panorama, Night Scene, Beach and Pet modes.

One of the lightest models we could find, it's perfect to slip into your pocket. And while it's not going to set the world on fire, (with only 720p video capture, and no WiFi), it's routinely available for a price that'll give you £20 or so change from your £100 budget.

Sony Cybershot DSC-W830 in black

4. Sony Cybershot DSC-W830

More zoom for a few more notes

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Screen: 2.7-inch | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 8x zoom | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Middling feature set
8x zoom
No Wi-Fi
Only 720p video capture

This Cybershot hovers above and below the magic £100/$150 mark - with the standard black model often seen slightly cheaper than the silver, pink and (bonkers) purple models that are also available. 

It's got the same 20.1MP sensor as its little brother the W810, but your extra £20 or so will be invested on the improved 8x zoom.

Elsewhere, with in-camera retouching, image stabilisation and 720p video capture, it's a similar story to its peers. And with face detection for up to eight faces, red eye reduction and blink detection, it should ensure good results for group shots.

It's a lighter camera than many, and remains a good choice for those wanting a big name brand and quality lens for their budget.

Nikon Coolpix A300 in red

5. Nikon Coolpix A300

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3-inch | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Screen: 2.7-inch 230k | Viewfinder: None | Lens type: 8x zoom | Max video resolution: 720p | User level: Beginner

Wi-Fi/SnapBridge
8x zoom
720p video capture
Not the best LCD screen

Not often discounted under £100, but at the time of writing, Nikon's Coolpix A300 is currently available for just a penny shy of our budget - making it a reasonable choice for those after a cheap, connected compact from Nikon.

With that familiar specs line-up of 20.1MP, 8x zoom and 2.7" LCD screen, there's little in the way of standout features to recommend the A300 above its peers. Although the built-in Wi-Fi and SnapBridge means it's a reasonable choice for those who want to sync and share their pictures with ease. 

The LCD screen wasn't the best we've seen, but it's another super light and small compact that's perfect for travel and as a back-up camera, and like many of the others in this list, comes in a range of colors to choose from (black, pink, red, and silver).

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 in blue

6. Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Instant fun from Fujifilm

Type: Instant | Film type: Fujifilm instax square | Image size: 6.2cm x 6.2cm | Lens: 65.75mm f/12.6 | LCD screen: No | Flash: Built in, three flash color filters | Self-timer: Yes, 10 secs | User level: Beginner

Great build quality
Perfect for party pics
Prints a little bleached vs digital
No LCD screen

The Instax price reductions that started on Cyber Monday remain in place, so now's still a great time to pick up one of the incredibly-popular instant cameras from Fujifilm. 

The latest analogue SQ6 model has a retractable lens (a focal length of 65.75mm which is 32mm in 35mm terms, and prints 62x62mm images at a 1:1 ratio. 

You'll find a front-mounted selfie mirror to ensure you perfect your pout before printing, and with dedicated modes for macro, landscape and double exposure, as well as three color filters, it gives you a certain amount of creative control.

For more ambitious youngsters, there's a tripod socket, and an LED display lets you see shooting information and take control of flash suppression, brightness and a handy self-timer.

Of course, film will regularly need buying too, and most of the buying options we found didn't come with packs, so bear that in mind when budgeting. 

The Blush Gold, Graphite Grey and Pearl White models are all available at the same price, but you'll have to shell out extra if you're after the black and gold Taylor Swift edition.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 in blue

7. Fujifilm Instax Mini 70

Type: Instant | Film type: Fujifilm instax mini | Image size: 6.2cm x 4.6cm | Lens: 60mm f/12.7 | LCD screen: No | Flash: Built in, auto, fill | Self-timer: Yes, 2-10 secs | User level: Beginner

Very simple to use
Smart design
Uses CR2 batteries
Small, slightly bleached images

If you're after an instant, and don't mind smaller shots, the mid-range Mini 70 fits the bill. Printing credit card-size images (62mm x 46mm), it's a lifestyle camera aimed predominantly at younger photographers. As such, it comes in a rainbow of fruity colors to choose from.

Featuring a more retro design than the SQ6, it's just about small and light enough to carry around (despite needing two CR2 batteries). Like Fujfilm's other instants, it's equipped with the all-important selfie mirror, as well as modes for landscape and macro images. Most offers we found bundle 10 shots of mini film to get you started too. 

For an even greater saving, the Instax Mini 9 is also available. This even smaller option is a great entry-level instant, but its cutesy design might put off all but the youngest shooters.

Lomo'instant Automat camera

8. Lomo'instant Automat

Retro-styled alternative to Instax

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

Smart retro styling
Takes instax mini film
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.

Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300 camera

9. Fujifilm Instax WIDE 300

Larger-than-average prints from this chunky Instant

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

Big prints
User-friendly
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. 

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30 in orange

10. Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS30/DMC-FT30

Entry-level waterproof camera that's ideal for stills

Type: Compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 16.1 | Minimum shooting distance: 40cm | LCD screen: 2.7in 230k | Lens: 25-100mm (equiv) f/3.9-5.7 | Waterproof: 8m/26ft | Shockproof: 1.5m/5ft | Freezeproof: -10ºC/14ºF | Video: 720p

Smart, cool design
Great price
Specs are ageing now
Video only 720p

The only specialist waterproof camera on this list, Panasonic's Lumix TS30 (known as the FT30 in Europe) usually hovers just above the £100 mark. As such it is a great entry-level option for anyone needing a robust camera for travel adventures, despite now showing its age a little when it comes to its specs. The robustness will not only suit adrenaline junkies - but may also be a wise choice for accident prone children

Small and light enough to carry with ease, we'd nevertheless recommend buying a strap to ensure the TS30/FT30 remains on hand if you're using it in aquatic conditions. 

Video functionality isn't going to win any awards, with only 720p max being captured, but at this price, the Lumix TS30/FT30 is still a great choice for stills photography in challenging environments.