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The best cheap cameras in 2022: these are the best camera bargains today

The best cheap cameras

What exactly IS the best cheap camera? We've gone for cameras which we think offer the best combination of price and value. Many of these cameras originally sold for a lot more money than they do now, but while their tech has dated only a little, their prices have plummeted! There are also some new cameras which have been designed to offer the best features for the least money and succeed brilliantly.

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The best cheap camera deals aren't only at the lower and of the market, and there are cameras here for experts and enthusiasts too. In this guide we've picked out DSLR and mirrorless cameras – you might say 'proper' cameras. There are cheaper alternatives than this, such as the best point and shoot cameras (opens in new tab), the best instant cameras (opens in new tab) and the best cameras under $100/£100 (opens in new tab).

What counts as a cheap camera depends on the user. If you're a beginner, then price is likely to be your key factor, but if you're an enthusiast, you're going to want to get the most bang for your buck. 

Since the focus is on value, we've put these cameras in approximate price order, with the cheapest first and the better, more advanced cameras further down the list. It's up to you how far you want to go in the pursuit of quality, but all of these cameras offer a lot for your money.

So let's go!

The best cheap cameras in 2022

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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1. Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80

An amazing bargain as a twin-lens kit or on its own, this little Lumix is perfect for travel and even shoots 4K

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 16MP
Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
Screen: 3in tilting, touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots
Max burst speed: 8fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
4K video recording
+
Electronic viewfinder

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 16 megapixels
-
Restricted tilt-screen range

The diminutive GX85 (GX80 in some territories) has an older 16MP Micro Four thirds sensor, but still takes top-quality images and can also shoot 4K video. The built-in electronic viewfinder (amazing in a mirrorless camera at this price) makes it a great option for using in harsh sunlight or darker conditions, while the tilting screen makes it easy to shoot from ground level. Together with Panasonic's tiny Micro Four Thirds lenses, this makes it perfect for travelling or holidays. These days it looks like you can only get this great little camera in a twin-lens kit which also includes the compact Panasonic 45-150mm telephoto. It's a great combination at a great price, but being a twin lens kit it does push the price up.

Read more: These are the best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab) right now

(Image credit: Canon )
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It's the cheapest of the cheap. It's not a great DSLR, to be honest, but it is cheap. Did we mention that?

Specifications

Type: DSLR
Sensor: APS-C CMOS
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Lens mount: Canon EF-S
Screen: 3in fixed, 921K dots
Continuous shooting speed: 3fps
Max video resolution: 1080p
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Inexpensive
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
No 4K video
-
Fixed rear screen

We'll come right out and say it. The Canon Rebel T7 (EOS 2000D in some territories) is not a bad camera to get started with, but it is pretty basic. It has a fixed rear screen and only shoots full HD video, and it doesn't come with Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF for faster focusing in live view. It does have a 24-megapixel sensor, which is pretty amazing for the money, and for anyone wanting to get started with a proper camera at the lowest possible price, it's a perfectly competent camera at a rock bottom price.

Read more: Canon EOS Rebel T7 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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3. Panasonic Lumix G7

This DSLR Lumix is pretty old tech by today's standards, but a terrific bargain

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: MFT Live MOS
Megapixels: 16MP
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3in vari-angle
Continuous shooting speed: Max 40fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Vari-angle screen
+
Electronic viewfinder
+
4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
Only 16MP
-
No in-body stabilization

Launched way back in 2015, the Lumix G7 is a generation or two behind the latest Panasonic technologies, but it was surprisingly modern for its day and is still a compelling budget buy even now. The 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor is a little behind the latest for outright resolution, but the image quality is pretty good and ths camera can even shoot 4K video. There's no in-body stabilization, but many Panasonic lenses are stabilized and there are lots of small and affordable lenses out there for this camera. It may be sold with a Panasonic 14-42mm kit lens, which is fine, but if you can get it with the later and better 12-60mm kit lens, all the better!

(Image credit: Future)
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The evergreen A6000 packs in some high-end features at a low-end price

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.3MP
Lens mount: Sony E-mount
Screen: 3in tilting, 921,600 dots
Viewfinder: Electronic, 0.39-inch, 1,440,000 dots
Max burst speed: 11fps
Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p)
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Superb AF system
+
Sound image quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Video not 4K
-
No weather sealing

For a time, this was our absolute favorite low-price mirrorless camera. Now several years old, the A6000 is a once top-end camera that's just got cheaper and cheaper. Later A6000-series models beat it for video and autofocus features, but for regular stills photography the A6000 is just as good at a fraction of the price. However, prices have crept up in the last couple of yearrs, so either Sony has realised this camera is better that it thought it was (bah!), or it's being lined up for some big, big discounts. Either way, the A6000 still deserves its place in our list of the best cheap cameras.

Read more: Sony A6000 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Jon Devo)
Panasonic's tiny vlogging camera is just as capable at stills photography too

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle, 1,840k dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 3.69m dots
Max continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Quality video and stills
+
Audio-recording capabilities

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body stabilization
-
No headphone jack or USB-C port

Vloggers and creatives more broadly will enjoy the simplicity of the Lumix G100. It makes it easy to capture high-quality video and stills with its approachable button layout. Even people uninterested in the technicalities of capturing great-looking videos will be able to get results with this camera. 

There’s an inherent risk of dumbing things down too much when creating a camera for social media creatives, but Panasonic has avoided that pitfall with the Lumix G100, as we discovered to our delight when we gave it a full review. By giving it a decent viewfinder and “proper camera” ergonomics, Panasonic has given the G100 an edge in a highly competitive market. This is a great camera to start with if you're more interested in vlogging than regular photography – or both!

Read more: Panasonic Lumix G100 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Panasonic)
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6. Panasonic Lumix G85 / G80

The successor to the Lumix G7, above, is an even better camera for not much more money

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 16
Lens mount: MFT
Screen: 3-inch vari-angle
Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36m dots
Max continuous shooting speed: Up to 40fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
5-axis in-body stabilization
+
Vari-angle rear screen
+
Electronic viewfinder

Reasons to avoid

-
Older 16MP MFT sensor

Panasonic's Lumix camera models can quickly leave you feeling lost and confused, especially since many of the older models remain on sale, so we're here to straighten it out. The Lumix G85 (or G80 in some territories) is Panasonic's DSLR style enthusiast camera. It replaces the Lumix G7 (above) and was then superseded by the G95 (G90). The G95/90 is getting harder to find now, but the G85/80 is still on sale at great prices. This is a powerful, good-handling camera with a vari-angle screen and an electronic viewfinder. The 16MP sensor is not the newest, but still pretty good, but this camera has in-body stabilization, which makes it a good step up from the older G7. The G85/80 is often sold with Panasonic's newer 12-60mm kit lens, which makes this camera an even better deal.

(Image credit: James Artaius)
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The mirrorless EOS M50 is compact, well equipped and affordable!

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C size
Megapixels: 24.1MP
Screen type: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen LCD, 1.04million dots
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,36million dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner

Reasons to buy

+
Vari-angle touchscreen
+
Built-in electronic viewfinder

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited lens range
-
4K video limitations

With the mirrorless EOS M50, we think Canon hit the sweet spot. This camera is easy to use for beginners but has a built-in electronic viewfinder. The EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens has a retracting mechanism to make the camera smaller to carry around when it's not in use, and there is a small but handy selection of other EOS M lenses you can use with this camera. If travel is your thing and a couple of lenses is all you need, the EOS M50 is great, and because it's now been out for a little while, the prices are starting to fall. There is a new Canon EOS M50 Mark II (opens in new tab) on sale now, but the differences are so minor it's hard to know why Canon bothered! The only thing that worries us is that we know an APS-C version of Canon's EOS R range is on its way, and that could spell the end for Canon's EOS M range.

Read more: Canon EOS M50 Mark II review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
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We're happy to swap a viewfinder for the flip-out screen on this good value vlogging camera

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: Sony E mount
LCD: Vari-angle
Viewfinder: None
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps for 116 JPEGs
Max video resolution: 4K 30p
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Autofocus features and performance
+
Vari-angle screen
+
Clip on wind muffler

Reasons to avoid

-
No in-body stabilization
-
Rolling shutter (the 'jello' effect)
-
No viewfinder

The Sony ZV-E10 is not going to win any awards on the photography front, where it's specs are good but completely mainstream – but it is a great option for content creators cutting their teeth in vlogging and videography. While Sony hasn't moved its APS-C 4K video tech along much in recent years, the ZV-E10 is the manufacturer's first APS-C body to feature an articulating touchscreen (which is obviously vital for vlogging). It also packs a large and well-performing internal microphone (with clip-on muffler), Sony's excellent autofocus, and an appealing price tag. It's a shame that there is no in-body image stabilization, and the menus can't be touch-controlled (a rather glaring omission for a vlogging camera), but for a very specific YouTube-era audience this camera hits the nail on the head. 

• Read more: Sony ZV-E10 review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
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Our favorite entry-level Olympus gets a great update

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Screen: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen, 1,037K dots
Viewfinder: Electronic 2,360K dots
Lens: Micro Four Thirds
Continuous shooting speed: 15fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Intermediate/Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Updated 20MP sensor
+
Flip-down monitor

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic build
-
No mic port for vloggers

The E-M10 IV was affordable right from the start, and it's one of our favorite cheap cameras for beginners, vloggers and travel fans. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV's predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, was a great camera with plenty to offer. However, its aging 16MP sensor and contrast AF left room for improvement. Luckily the Mark IV is a great update, with the same 20.3MP sensor as the PEN-F and improved Continuous Autofocus. While some improvements are incremental, the Mark IV brings some interesting new offerings to the table including a zippy 15fps continuous burst mode. We're also a fan of the extra-tiltable screen, which is capable of flipping 180° down to create the perfect selfie screen. 

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Future)
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Full frame cameras don't come much cheaper, or cuter, than this

Specifications

Type: Mirrorless
Sensor: Full frame CMOS
Megapixels: 26.2MP
Monitor: 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040k dots
Continuous shooting speed: 5fps
Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Size, weight and low cost
+
Fully articulating screen

Reasons to avoid

-
1.6x crop and no Dual Pixel AF in 4K
-
Weak battery life

The EOS RP was Canon's second full frame mirrorless camera, and it's smaller, lighter and a lot cheaper than all of the others. It's designed to be a compact, affordable and easy to use entry point into Canon's full frame mirrorless system, and it succeeds brilliantly. Its small dimensions mean it can sometimes feel overbalanced by larger lenses, though, and the 4K video mode comes with some caveats – the image frame is cropped by a factor of 1.6 and you can't use Canon's speedy Dual Pixel CMOS AF system unless you drop the resolution to full HD. On the upside, the pictures are clear and sharp, the vari-angle touchscreen display is a real advantage for both stills and video, and the inclusion of an EF lens adaptor means you can use existing Canon DSLR lenses alongside the new but growing RF lens system. At $1,000/£1,000 or more you wouldn't say it was 'cheap' in the general run of things, but for a full frame camera its price is practically miraculous.

Read more: Canon EOS RP review (opens in new tab)

Read more:

The best digital camera: which one should you buy? (opens in new tab)
Best camera accessories (opens in new tab)
The best tripods for travel (opens in new tab)
Best compact cameras (opens in new tab)
Best cameras under $500 (opens in new tab) /£500 (opens in new tab)
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Best camera for beginners (opens in new tab) 
Best professional cameras (opens in new tab) 
Best point and shoot cameras (opens in new tab) 
Cheapest full frame cameras (opens in new tab) 
Best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)

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