The best cheap camera deals can offer spectacular savings compared to newer models. The longer cameras stay on sale, the further the prices fall. Very often, you can pick up an older model that's performs brilliantly, even by today's standards, but is massively cheaper than a newer version.
The fact is, even the best cheap cameras are now so advanced that you don't have to pay through the nose to get great quality.
To help you decide which camera is best for you, we've pulled together our best DSLR deals, favorite compacts and more affordable mirrorless cameras into one handy list that will cater to all your photographic needs – and you'll find today's best camera deals on each model below.
Of course, just because it's easy to buy a cheap camera doesn't mean there's no point in buying the best camera that you can afford. There are many good reasons to do so. But if you just need something that will give you all the essentials – that's capable, reliable and able to produce fantastic images – without breaking the bank, you're in the right place.
Whether you just want a budget camera to slip into your pocket, or something that will allow you to access a world of lenses and camera accessories to take your photography in new directions, read on for our pick of the best cheap cameras – and see the best camera deals for each one, too.
Cheap DSLR deals
We've got a couple of great DSLR deals in our list right now. The DSLR market has slowed a little with the arrival of mirrorless cameras, but we've still found two models we'd recommend for cost-conscious snappers.
1. Nikon D3500
Nikon's newest beginner DSLR delivers brilliant results on a budget
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Screen: 3in fixed, 921K dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
The entry-level model in Nikon's DSLR range looks a lot like the previous Nikon D3400 before it, but subtle design tweaks have produced improved on a winning formula to produce a camera that's small and light, yet comfortable to grip. It's an entry-level model but it has a 24.2MP sensor as good as those in cameras at twice the price, and it offers a very good 5fps continuous shooting speed for a beginners camera. The Guide mode will help beginners get started and understand the basic principles, and the D3500 has all the manual controls you need to learn about photography as you improve your skills. The cheapest deals include a non-VR kit lens but we'd recommend paying that little bit extra for the VR version of the 18-55mm standard zoom.
Read more: The best Nikon lenses right now
2. Canon EOS Rebel T100 / EOS 4000D
There is no cheaper way into DSLR photography than this!
Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 18MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 2.7-inch, 230,000K dots | Viewfinder: Yes, optical | Continuous shooting: 3fps | Movies: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Beginner
Canon has deliberately designed the EOS 4000D down to a price, even to the point of using a single paint colour for all the buttons, integrating the power switch into the mode dial and using a plastic lens mounting plate. It uses Canon's old 18-megapixel sensor rather than one of its newer 24MP sensors, while the kit lens is quite basic and lacks both stabilisation and quiet USM autofocus. And yet the EOS 4000D takes decent pictures and is a ludicrously cheap route into DSLR photography. And if you do get bitten by the camera bug, you'll already have a foothold in the huge Canon camera range and accessory system.
Mirrorless camera deals
There's a lot more going on in the mirrorless camera market right now, and this means a fast turnover of new models. That's great news for bargain hunters, as it means older models are now becoming available at a fraction of their original price.
3. Sony A7
Sony's first full-frame mirrorless camera is now ridiculously cheap
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens mount: Sony E | Screen: 3in tiltable, 921,600 dots | Viewfinder: Electronic | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Enthusiast
We're going straight in at the deep end here with an expert/pro full frame mirrorless camera that you can now buy for less than the price of many enthusiast cameras. The Sony A7 was launched way back in 2013, and it was far from cheap at the time. Five years later, though, it's still on sale, and it's the cheapest full frame camera you can buy. Is it out of date? No, not really. In fact Sony tells us that it's still making it. Compared to a DSLR, the A7 is small and lightweight, though, once you add a decent kit lens or a telephoto, that advantage quickly disappears. The A7 was the first full-frame compact system camera on the market, and although it lacks some newer features like a touchscreen display and 4K video, the quality of the Raw images produced by the 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor continues to impress. The only real letdown is that first generation A7 models do not have the in-body stabilization now standard across the range. You can get this camera body-only (if you already have Sony lenses) or with the cheap but adequate Sony 28-70mm kit lens.
Read more: the best Sony lenses
4. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
A pocket-sized mirrorless camera with bags of power and control
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: Micro Four Thirds | Megapixels: 16.1MP | Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds | Screen: 3in tilting, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36million dots | Max burst speed: 8.5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Beginner/enthusiast
Another example of a camera that's a little older and now great value because of it, the OM-D EM-10 Mark II has an admittedly ageing 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor, but on top of this it boasts a 2.36million-dot EVF, a tilting touchscreen, a very effective five-axis image stabilisation system, Wi-Fi and an 8.5fps burst-shooting mode. 4K video doesn't feature, but you do get a 4K time-lapse function that lets you output images captured over an extended period of time as 4K-quality time-lapse video, and the Full HD recording to 60p offered is at least the next best thing. Definitely a camera that's designed for those who want far more than just point-and-shoot control, the body is laden with buttons and switches, and you can customise these external controls to a high degree. Furthermore, an exhaustive range of Micro Four Thirds lenses makes it unlikely that the lens you need doesn't exist. Make sure you get this camera with the tiny Olympus EZ 14-42mm 'pancake' kit lens.
5. Sony A6000
The A6000 packs in a raft of mid-range features at a low-end price
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
It's Sony again! This time, the company is selling its first-generation A6000 model, originally designed for enthusiasts and experts, for a knock-down price. For a long time it was the Sony A5100 that made more sense for the cash-strapped beginner looking to get to grips with mirrorless shooting, but as the A6000 has steadily dropped in price, it's now the clear favourite. Much like its RX100 compact camera, Sony has kept this in its mirrorless line up for some time, and it continues to offer an amazing set of specs against other models in in the same price bracket. Highlights include a 24.3MP APS-C sensor, 11fps burst option, Wi-Fi with NFC and a tilting LCD screen on the back, but its the excellent 179-point phase-detect AF system and 2.36million-dot EVF that really show it to be a camera willing to perform to a standard beyond expectations at this level. Keep watching the price on this camera because retailers often drop it to silly levels.
Read more: The best lenses for Sony A6000 cameras
6. Fujifilm X-A5
It's worth seeking out: this is a great camera now at crazy prices
Type: Mirrorless | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Fujifilm X-mount | Screen: 3in tilting, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 6fps | Max video resolution: 4K | User level: Beginner
We have seen some great deals on the X-A5 this year, but we expect to see more now that the X-A7 has been launched. The older model is well worth seeking out as it has great family pedigree, with a beautiful retro design and a very good 24-megapixel APS-C sensor. If you're looking for a low-cost retro-styled camera for blogging, Instagram or regular snapshot photography, the Fujifilm X-A5 is superb.
7. Panasonic Lumix GX80
If size is key, this tiny mirrorless camera and its kit lens are perfect
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
The diminutive GX80 can be adapted to the needs of any user, from the beginner that just wants to rely on the leave-it-to-the-camera Intelligent Auto option, to the photographer that wants complete control over all exposure settings like shutter speed and aperture. You also get 4K video recording capability and Panasonic's speed DFD (Depth From Defocus) autofocus system. 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. So what's the catch? It uses Panasonic's older 16MP sensor rather than the lates 20MP version, but that's only a 4MP difference and given what else this camera can do – and at this price – we wouldn't worry about it. Make sure you get it with the retracting 12-32mm 'pancake' lens – this combination is not a whole lot bigger than a compact point and shoot camera.
Read more: These are the best mirrorless cameras right now
Compact camera deals
The compact camera market has taken a bit of a hit from the rise in use of camera phones, but there are still some great deals to be had. There are some things a compact camera can do that a camera phone can't... such as long zoom ranges, and prices that wouldn't even get you a mid-range smartphone.
8. Panasonic Lumix ZS50 / TZ70
With a 30x optical zoom and a built-in EVF, the ZS50 is ideal for travel
Type: Superzoom compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 12.1MP | Lens: 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4 | Screen: 3in fixed LCD, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 1.116million dots | Max burst speed: 10fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | User level: Beginner
The Panasonic ZS50, also known as the TZ70, gives you a mammoth zoom range that goes up to 720mm (35mm-equivalent) setting, plus a built-in electronic viewfinder – very useful in bright light. Panasonic has even provided focus peaking for precision when manually focusing and time-lapse video option, and even Raw shooting (although this is arguably less significant on a camera with such a small sensor). On that subject, don't let the sensor's 12.1MP pixel count throw you off; Panasonic deliberately reduced this from the 18.1MP TZ60 that came before it for the benefit of image quality in low light. Full HD video recording to 60p, effective Hybrid O.I.S. image stabilisation and both Wi-Fi and NFC on top of all this make the SZ50 unquestionably brilliant value for money and another great camera for travel.
9. Sony RX100
Sony's first 1in-sensor RX100 model still feels up to date... and cheap
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm (equiv.) f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in fixed, 1.228million dots | Viewfinder: No | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD (1080p) | User level: Enthusiast
Sony's original RX100 was released all the way back in 2012, but the fact that you can still pick one up brand new says a lot. Blending a 20.1MP 1in-type sensor with a 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9 lens inside a tiny body, this was the camera that very much raised the standard for such models. The series has since welcomed four further iterations, and these have all been very well received, but in terms of value for money the original model is still difficult to argue with. Sure, its age means it misses out on a few newer technologies, but you get Steady-Shot image stabilisation, 10fps burst shooting, Full HD video to 60p and a control ring around the lens for more immediate changes to key settings. Do note that there are now seven (yes, SEVEN) different generations of RX100 family currently on sale – but even this oldest, first version, is still rather good.
10. Panasonic FZ1000
With its 1-in sensor and fast superzoom lens, the FZ1000 is a bargain
Type: Supzerzoom compact | Sensor: 1in type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 25-400mm (equiv.) f/2.8-4 | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36million dots | LCD: 3in vari-angle LCD, 921k dots | Max burst speed: 12fps (50fps in SH mode) | Movies: 4K and Full HD | User level: Enthusiast
It's one of the pricier cameras on this list, but the FZ1000 offers such superb value for money that it simply can't be left out. On top of the very solid foundation of a 20.1MP 1in sensor and a 25-400mm f/2.8-4 Leica-branded optic, Panasonic has gifted the camera with Power O.I.S. image stabilisation, Raw file capture, 12fps burst shooting and both Wi-Fi and NFC. Videos are captured in both 4K and Full HD quality, with a 120fps setting in Full HD for slow-motion output, together with advanced options such as zebra patterning and even a 3.5mm mic port, while a 2.36million-dot electronic viewfinder is partnered with a fully-articulated 3in LCD. Can you find another camera that can provide all of that for the same money? Nope!
Here are some other great deals we've spotted right now.
The best US camera deals right now
Canon EOS Rebel T6 EF-S 18-55mm + EF 75-300mm Double Zoom Kit : $449.99 (was $749.99)
This is a great beginner's DSLR - and it is currently being sold in a tremendous deal that gives you a fantastic dual zoom kit. This kit at Walmart includes two zoom lenses and a carry case – great if you want to cover all eventualities without emptying your bank account. Get it here
Deal subject to availabilityView Deal
Canon PowerShot SX420 IS - Save $100, now just $199 - This 20MP bridge camera boasts a whopping 24-1008mm (35mm equiv.) focal range, HD video and Wi-Fi connectivity among other things. A great-value all-in-one that would be particularly ideal for the first-time user. Deal hereView Deal
The best UK camera deals right now
Sony A6300 with Power Zoom lens: £755.63
You can pick up the Sony A6300 with Power Zoom lens for just £755.63 down from £1,250 - that's a fantastic saving of over £400! With a 24.2MP sensor, Fast Hybrid AF and 4K video, this is truly a fantastic camera (UK only)View Deal
£639.99 after cashback
This looks a great deal, and we haven't spotted this combination at such a low price before. Not only do you get this mini mirrorless camera with its 4K video capability and vlogging-friendly screen - but there is a great zoom too which gives an effective focal length of 29-240mm, perfect for almost every scenario you could shoot. You pay £699.99, but can claim £60 through the Canon Cashback scheme - giving an overall cost of just £639.99View Deal
More camera buying guides: