Finding a solid digital camera under $200 can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Either the options don’t have the best features or they’re just plain bad quality. Because of this, we at GadgetReview decided to research the most popular cameras online and find the best for you. After our online research – which factored customer sentiment, as well – we purchased the top 10 cameras under $200 to test them out. We took them out with us on hikes and kept them around the office, testing out features like image quality, image stabilization, Wi-Fi connectivity and more.
This testing led us to find the best digital camera under $200 for 2019: the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190. This camera offers a slim profile, high MP resolution and built-in Wi-Fi. Keep reading to learn more about the ELPH 190 and the 2 other options we found to be the best cameras under $200.
Best Rated Digital Cameras Under $200 Compared
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 190||Sony DSCH300/B||Nikon Coolpix A10|
|Ranking||#1 - Editor's Pick||#2 - Best Zoom Camera||#3 - Best Budget Camera|
|Resolution||20.0 MP||16.0 MP||16.1 MP|
|Optical Zoom Lens||10X||20X||5X|
|Movie Recording||HD 720p, 30 fps||HD 720p, 30 fps||HD 720p, 30 fps|
|Display Screen||5.0 inches||3.0 inches||2.7 inches|
|Touch Screen Display|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
#1 Pick Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 (Editor’s Choice)
Retail Price: $149 | Optical Zoom: 8X | Resolution: 20.0 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Great value with desirable features in thin camera body.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 is a slightly older camera that has dropped a little bit in price point since its introduction, making it a nice value now.
Samsung includes an 8X optical zoom lens and built-in WiFi with this model, which are great to find at this price point. This model is a pretty fast performer, offering the ability to capture six photos in less than 1 second, which is a strong performance for a $200 camera. The built-in flash is bright and peforms well in low light, allowing you to capture good photos even when there isn’t great lighting available, which is rare to find in the best point and shoot camera 2019.
And you’ll really appreciate the massive 5-inch display, which makes the ELPH 190 very easy to use.
3 Things to Avoid in a Camera Under $200
- Poor Build Quality: Some inexpensive cameras have a cheap design and build quality, leaving them susceptible to breaking if they’re ever dropped. A camera that has a poor build quality may feel too light as you hold it. The battery compartment door hinge may feel flimsy too.
- Digital Zoom Measurement: Many manufacturers of inexpensive cameras may tout the digital zoom capability of their models, but digital zoom causes loss of image quality in exchange for the zoom. Only pay attention to the optical zoom measurement.
- Battery Life: Many sub-$200 cameras don’t have a very big battery, and they’ll only be able to shoot 150 or so photos per charge. Look through the camera’s specifications for a battery life estimate, keeping in mind using WiFi will quickly drain the camera battery versus just shooting photos.
Key Indicators of a Great Camera Under $200
The best cameras under $200 contain a few key features.
- Ease of Use: A camera in this price point likely is going to appeal to a beginner-level photographer, which means you’re going to want the camera to be easy to use. Most $200 cameras will have plenty of automatic control options, making the photography process simple. If you’re fortunate enough to find a camera in this price point with a touch screen display, the camera should be easier to use than some others.
- Optical Zoom Lens: Finding a camera with a $200 budget that has a large optical zoom lens can be a challenge. While you may find a 50X optical zoom on a significantly older model that has dropped into this price point, you’re probably going to find new cameras for $200 or less with 10X or 20X optical zoom lenses. In the long run, you’ll be happier with a larger zoom lens in your beginner-level camera than a smaller zoom.
- Camera Size and Style: A beginning photographer may be seeking a camera he or she can carry in a pocket or purse. And such a camera may need to have a brightly colored body or some other interesting stylistic feature to be appealing. Fortunately, cameras in the $200 price range often offer plenty of style in a camera that’s typically thin and lightweight.
Most Important Camera Under $200 Features
- Image Sensor
- As discussed in our list of the Best Digital Cameras for 2019, image sensor size plays a key role in image quality. Most cameras under $200 have a small 1/2.3-inch image sensor, but if you can find a larger sensor in a camera for this price, you’ll appreciate the improved image quality you’ll receive.
- The number of megapixels of resolution you can record also plays a role in image quality, although not quite as strongly as the image sensor size.
- Optical Zoom Lens
- A thin camera with a big optical zoom lens measurement is a desirable model at this price point.
- Movie Recording
- One of the biggest improvements in low cost cameras in recent years is high-quality HD movie recording.
- Built-in Flash Unit
- If you’re going to use this cheap camera while out with friends and family, you’ll probably be shooting a lot of night photos, so a good flash unit is needed. A popup flash will perform better than a flash embedded in the corner of the camera body.
- Display Screen
- Because a camera in this price point will be competing with a smartphone camera, a large, high-resolution screen is a must.
- Touch Screen Display
- With beginning photographers, a touch screen display is desirable for making the camera easy to use.
- Built-in Wireless Connectivity
- Finding WiFi and NFC capabilities in a low-cost camera is becoming more common.
- Fun Features
- As cameras in this price point try to compete with smartphone cameras, they need to have fun features, such as bright body colors.
#2 PICK Sony DSCH300/B – Best Zoom Camera Under $200
Retail Price: $177.90 | Optical Zoom: 20X | Resolution: 16 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Mid-range zoom lens great to find in inexpensive camera.
It’s great to find a 35X optical zoom lens in the thin and inexpensive Sony DSCH300/B. This easy to use model even has Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. It would have been nice if Sony had produced the DSCH300/B with touch screen capabilities, but it’s still a really nice model inside the sub-$200 price point.
#3 PICK Nikon Coolpix A10 – Best Budget Camera Under $200
Retail Price: $86.95 | Optical Zoom: 5X | Resolution: 16.1 MP
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Best collection of all-around features in cheap camera.
Nikon’s line of Coolpix point-and-shoot cameras have always been solid models, providing good features and easy to use functionality, and the Coolpix A10 follows along that same vein. The Nikon Coolpix A10 offers a 5X optical zoom lens and 15 different scene modes. This camera won’t offer top of the line features, but it’s a solid under $200 camera option.
Which Camera Under $200 Is Right For You?
If you have $200 or less in the budget for your camera, you have to have the right mindset when it comes to searching for the best digital camera to meet your needs. Don’t plan on receiving top flight image quality or performance levels in this price range. But what you can find are models with some helpful photographic features that will allow them to greatly outperform smartphone cameras. Image quality is going to be limited in this price point, as most such cameras have a small 1/2.3-inch image sensor. So look for a good optical zoom lens first of all when seeking the best camera under $200. And then look for some fun features that will appeal to a beginning photographer, and you’ll have a nice starter camera.
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