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The best cheap camera deals in 2020: we pick the best discounted camera bargains

cheap camera deals

There are a couple of ways to get the best cheap camera deals. One is to keep your eye on the latest prices, deals and camera promotions. The other is to shop amongst cameras which are a couple of years old. 

Very often, a camera that's been out for a year or longer will start to fall in price, and some makers keep older models on sale alongside newer ones at massively reduced prices. This means buying last year's model (or the year before) can save you MASSES of money.

The fact is, even cameras a few years old are still pretty advanced and more than a match for many brand new entry level cameras. Even though it looks as if camera technology is racing ahead at breakneck speed, this is mostly at the higher end of he market, and further down the price scale things move a little more slowly. Some of the best DSLRs and best mirrorless cameras are surprisingly affordable cameras which have actually been out for a while.

So here's our list of what we think are the best cheap camera deals right now. You can use our navigation buttons to go straight to the section you want: Cheap DSLR deals, Mirrorless camera deals, Compact camera deals

The best cheap camera deals in 2020

Cheap DSLR deals

You can get some great cheap DSLR deals right now. The DSLR market has slowed a little with the arrival of mirrorless cameras, but a DSLR is still one of the best ways to get started in photography, and the models we've chosen still stand up really well today.

Best cheap camera deals: Nikon D3500

1. Nikon D3500

Nikon's cheapest 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

Great image quality
Neat retracting kit lens
Beginner friendly
Fixed screen not touch-sensitive

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

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2. Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / EOS 250D

This is the best beginner DSLR around and quite affordable now

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 25p

A lightweight, intuitive DSLR
Superb Live View shooting
Larger than mirrorless rivals
Relatively few AF points

This isn't the cheapest DSLR you can buy by any means, but very often it's worth paying a little extra money to get a much better range of features – and this is the perfect example. The EOS Rebel SL3 (aka EOS 250D) has Canon’s top-of-the range APS-C sensor with 24.1MP of resolution and brilliant Live View shooting, thanks to a fully-articulating touchscreen display and Canon's fast Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus. In fact, we’d actually say this is one of the only DSLRs where composing shots with the screen is downright preferable to using the viewfinder. Canon also packs in 4K video and Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, wrapped up in the smallest DSLR body you'll ever see. It's not the cheapest DSLR you can get, but we think if you take all its features into account, it is actually the best value.

Read more: Canon EOS SL3 / Canon EOS 250D review

Best cheap camera: Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D

(Image credit: Canon)

3. Canon EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D

Canon's most affordable DSLR cuts a few corners but it is cheap!

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

Cheap entry to the Canon system
Easy to use
Basic features and kit lens
Quite cheaply made

For a time there was an even cheaper Canon DSLR than this – the EOS Rebel T6 / EOS 4000D, but this was REALLY built down to a price and it's getting quite hard to find now. The new cheapest Canon DSLR is the EOS Rebel T7 / EOS 2000D, and although it's still priced quite cheaply, it's a much better camera. It has 24-megapixel sensor, though it does lack Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF for faster focusing in live view and it can only capture full HD video rather than 4K, but it's a perfectly decent camera to get started with if the EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D (above) is too pricey. 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.

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Side angle: Nikon D5600

Side angle: Nikon D5600
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Rear view: Nikon D5600

Rear view: Nikon D5600
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Side view: Nikon D5600

Side view: Nikon D5600
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Top view: Nikon D5600

Top view: Nikon D5600

4. Nikon D5600

A more advanced DSLR if you're prepared to pay the extra

Type: DSLR | Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon F (DX) | Screen: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p (Full HD) | User level: Beginner

Advanced AF system
Performs well at high ISOs
Vari-angle screen
SnapBridge not great

The D5600 is more expensive than other DSLRs in this list, but it's a very good camera that was once sold at much higher prices. The 39-point AF system offers more focus points than other cheap DSLRs and the 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen display on the back is bigger than most. The live view autofocus isn’t as accomplished as on the Canon Rebel SL3 or any of the compact system cameras here (particularly for video), but the overall performance is still excellent, and lens options are plentiful. We probably wouldn't choose it for video, but as a versatile, high-quality compact DSLR it's a really good deal these days. We especially like it for travel, because of its size, we recommend getting it with Nikon's retracting AF-P 18-55mm VR kit lens.

Read more: Nikon D5600 review

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.

Best cheap camera: Sony A7

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5. 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

Small form factor
Impressive image quality
Amazing price
Poor battery life
No in-body image stabilization
No 4K video

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: Sony A7 review

Best cheap camera deals: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

6. 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

Excellent image stabilisation
Twin dials for DSLR-like control
Complex menus
Not the newest sensor

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.

Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II review

Best cheap camera: Sony A6000

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7. 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

Superb AF system
Sound image quality
Video not 4K
No weather sealing

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

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

8. 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

Cute retro looks
180-degree selfie screen
15-45mm kit lens
4K video
No eyelevel viewfinder

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.

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9. 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

4K video recording
Electronic viewfinder
Only 16 megapixels
Restricted tilt-screen range

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

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10. Canon EOS M50

The mirrorless EOS M50 is compact, well equipped and affordable!

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

Vari-angle touchscreen
Built-in electronic viewfinder
Limited lens range
4K video limitations

With the EOS M50, though, 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.

Read more: Canon EOS M50 review

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.

Best cheap camera deals: Panasonic Lumix ZS50 / TZ70

11. 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

Massive zoom range
Built-in EVF
No touchscreen
LCD fixed in place

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.

Best cheap camera deals: Sony RX100

12. 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

1in-type sensor
Excellent value for money
Small maximum aperture at 100mm
Handling not for everyone

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.

Best cheap camera deals: Panasonic FZ1000

13. 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

Excellent sensor/lens combination
Great 4K video recording
No touchscreen

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!

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