If you're looking for the best camera under $200 you've never been more spoilt for choice. Long gone are the days where getting a camera for less than $200 was a pipedream, now you can find digital cameras, instant film cameras and even tough, waterproof cameras available at this price point.
One of the reasons camera prices drop so much is that as new models are released, the older ones get cheaper. Manufacturers often won't discontinue a line straight away, especially if it was really popular which means there's an opportunity to grab yourself a bargain.
If you're looking for an even cheaper camera, we've also got a guide on the best camera under $100 and you'll be surprised by how many there are on the list. For now though, we're looking at the slightly more advanced instant film cameras that include different shooting modes and compact cameras that offer great image quality and a few very useful features.
Most of the cameras below don't feature the most up-to-date technology and have smallish sensors but that doesn't mean they can't still take good photos. On the plus side, they're all pretty compact (except for perhaps the Polaroid OneStep+ but it's such a nice design we can allow it.)
In this list, we reckon we've got the perfect cameras for anyone who's shopping with a budget of less than $200. There are models from all the leading camera manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, and Sony. There's also a 2-in1 camera from Fujifilm that doubles up as a printer so you're definitely getting your money's worth.
This list includes a mix of new models available at a low price point, as well as older cameras that have since been superseded by upgraded models, and therefore can be picked up for a bargain price. No matter what category a camera falls into, you can be sure that it comes with our ironclad recommendation. There's nothing on this list that isn't worth anyone's time.
Everything here should be available for less than $200, though prices do fluctuate from time to time. So, let’s take a look at our favorite cameras in this price bracket.
Instant film cameras are always a hit at parties, and the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 is a fine example available at a great price. With a click of the shutter button, it'll create 6.2cm square prints that look fantastic, with punchy colours and less of the tendency towards overexposure that has plagued previous Instax cameras.
The thing to remember about instant film is that it is of course an ongoing cost, so while you're paying $120 or so for the camera, you'll have to keep buying refills every time you run out. Also, this is a very basic point-and-shoot model, which is arguably all you need in an instant camera, though some users may lament the lack of basic quality-of-life features like a self-timer. Still, for the price this is loads of fun, and a wonderfully inexpensive way to make physical images that last.
Not only can you take photos using the Instax Hybrid Mini LiPlay but it can also print photos from your phone. Small enough to fit in your pocket its compact design makes it perfect for having on you at all times. Featuring an LCD screen and a selfie mirror on the front so you can make sure you're looking your best, Fujifilm really has thought of it all. Connect it to the LiPlay app on your phone so you can edit your photos and add things such as colored frames or apply a filter for a bit of fun. Even though the photos print out onto Instax Mini film, you can also choose to just keep the pictures stored on a micro SD card. Choose from Blush Gold, Elegant Black or Stone White depending on your style and it's time to get snapping. It has a rechargeable battery, a built-in flash and three shortcut buttons so you can save your favorite settings. We haven't had a chance to test one yet, but with all it's nifty features we're sure it will find its way onto our best instant film camera guide.
Whether you’re on the beach, up a mountain or in the desert, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT30 should prove ideal. It’s waterproof down to a depth of 8m, freezeproof to -10C, dustproof, and shockproof to withstand being dropped from heights up to 1.5m. In short, it’s as tough as a brick but sadly looks a bit like one as well, with a very boxy design.
Unlike some ‘tough’ cameras, this one has a zoom lens, which is a nice bonus. Video resolution is a little disappointing but image quality is good and it’s an easy camera to use.
A waterproof choice for those who like a little adventure with their photography, the Nikon Coolpix W150 isn't the most sophisticated camera you'll ever see, but it does its job well enough and is a good choice for family holidays where you might have little ones who won't treat a camera with quite the care you might want them to. The W150 is scrappy enough to take a few knocks, and while it does have a zoom lens, you won't be writing home to anyone about the fairly middling range of 3x. Decent for the price, and the choice of colours is a nice extra.
Fujifilm toughened up its tough camera with the latest XP140, which can be taken down to impressive depths of 25m, as well as being freezeproof down to -10ºC and shockproof to drops of up to 1.75m. It's also got tech to back this up on the inside, with impressive burst speeds of up to 10fps, and some useful Scene Recognition modes that help even novice users get the most out of the camera.
All this comes at an excellent price, making the XP140 a seriously tempting option for the budget-conscious photographer, especially those planning some travels. One word of warning though: while the XP140 does technically shoot 4K video, it's at a disappointing frame rate of 15p and doesn't look particularly good. Don't buy it for this feature alone.
The Sony WX350 might not be quite as small as the WX220 but it's got double the optical zoom with a massive 20x capability. Despite the difference in size and weight (it's also a tad heavier), it's still a pocket-sized camera that is easy to keep on you at all times. It features an intuitive shooting mode dial on the top of the camera making it hassle free to change settings. The rear screen is also slightly larger but has the same 461k resolution. Both cameras are pretty similar with the same sensor, a max burst rate of 10fps and full HD video capabilities. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi for on-the-go connectivity and the image quality is really impressive.
It was a sad day when Polaroid announced its last factory would close but luckily The Impossible Project stepped in to save the day. Renaming the brand Polaroid Originals, it launched a series of modern Polaroid cameras, the second of which was the OneStep+ (the first was the OneStep 2 - confusing we know). Rather than reinventing the wheel, Polaroid has simply brought the much-loved camera into the 21st. It now features an 89mm portrait lens and has Bluetooth connectivity so you can control the shutter with your phone. There are also several shooting modes you can play around with such as double exposure, light painting and even a noise activate trigger which enables you to control the remote shutter with a clap. This is without a doubt one of the most advanced, instant film cameras you can buy and will make a great addition to any film enthusiast's camera collection. Not to mention, it looks great too.