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Large form factor fits well in the hands during long periods of shooting. Comes with a 35x optical zoom for some of the best telephoto shots. Built-in optical stabilization.
Integrated lens has poor low-light performance. Camera body is too big to fit in a pocket.
Comes with a variety of helpful, beginner-friendly features such as optical image stabilization, panorama shooting, and several image effects and filters.
The autofocus can take a few moments to resolve the image when photographing people and small objects.
Built-in image stabilization makes it easier to get clear pictures without any blur. Comes with a 8x optical zoom for closer shots from far away. Easy-to-use menus.
The image quality is limited to only 20 megapixels, lower than other point-and-shoot cameras.
Large LCD panel in the rear flips up for selfie shots and limited vlogging with the built-in video recording feature. Good auto focus and automatic image settings.
The built-in flash doesn't provide enough light for quality night photography shots.
Large LCD panel makes it easy to frame photos and see results in real time. Camera automatically detects smiles for selfies and group shots without manual input.
Non-articulating LCD screen makes it difficult to get tricky shots in small spaces.
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Digital cameras have been around for a few decades, and during that time the technology has undergone a multitude of changes. In the early days, only simple point-and-shoot cameras were available. Soon, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with advanced technology began to dominate the market. Then came smartphone cameras, which grabbed more of the market from point-and-shoot cameras. But inexpensive digital cameras take great pictures, they’re simple to use, and they’re relatively cheap. They may not be as plentiful as they once were, but these cameras work nicely for beginners.
If you want a simple point-and-shoot digital camera that costs less than $200, you can find many options. We can help you sort through the features to find a camera that’s right for you. When you’re ready to buy, check out our top picks for digital cameras under $200.
When seeking a digital camera in this price range, you’ll be limited to what are called point-and-shoot cameras. You may also see them referred to as fixed-lens cameras. Here are some definitions.
A digital camera that costs under $200 is called a point-and-shoot camera, which refers to the simplicity of its operation. You just point the camera at the subject and press the shutter button to shoot the picture.
Many point-and-shoot cameras have some limited manual control features and shooting modes, but most people choose one of these digital cameras for its simplicity and use it in automatic mode. Manufacturers can keep the price low by not including advanced features in these cameras.
A fixed-lens digital camera lens is built right into the camera body. You can’t remove it or change it out for a different lens. Point-and-shoot cameras are all fixed-lens cameras, but not all fixed-lens cameras are point-and-shoot cameras. Fixed-lens cameras occasionally offer high-end features, giving them an ability to create better photos than those you can take with point-and-shoot cameras. Some high-end fixed-lens cameras cost as much as $1,500.
Point-and-shoot cameras are made for beginners. When you’re ready for more advanced photography, you’ll be looking at interchangeable-lens cameras (or ILCs). These models include DSLRs and mirrorless ILCs. In an ILC, you can change out the lens depending on the type of photography you want to do. Unfortunately, you won’t find new ILCs that cost less than $200, but you might occasionally find an older, used DSLR or mirrorless ILC in that price range.
To make a smart choice about a camera that costs less than $200, it helps to understand basic digital camera terminology. You’ll then be able to figure out which features you want in your camera.
Image sensor: This internal chip senses the amount of ambient light and records the photo. The image sensor’s physical size plays a big role in image quality. Most digital cameras in this price range have a 1/2.3-inch image sensor, which is smaller than the image sensors in more expensive cameras.
Megapixels: Digital photos consist of individual dots called pixels A megapixel (MP) is equal to 1 million pixels. More megapixels are desirable in terms of image quality. However, the image sensor’s physical size plays a far bigger role in image quality versus the number of megapixels a camera can record. Point-and-shoot camera image sensors can record anywhere from 12 MP to 24 MP.
Zoom lens: The zoom lens allows you to shoot a scene from different distances without moving your feet. You can magnify the scene with the zoom lens or shoot from a wide-angle view by using no zoom magnification or something in between. A fixed-lens camera has a zoom measurement listed as a number followed by an x. Larger numbers give you more versatility in shooting.
Optical zoom: Optical zoom is the magnification of the scene that the lens achieves. Optical zoom involves shifting physical elements of the lens to create the magnification. This results in sharp photos.
Digital zoom: Digital zoom involves magnifying the scene through software manipulation inside the camera. This causes a loss in image sharpness versus optical zoom. A camera’s optical zoom capability is significantly more important than its digital zoom capability.
Digital cameras that cost under $200 can still have some nice features. For example, you can occasionally find waterproof cameras at this price. Inexpensive waterproof cameras won’t work in deep water, but they’ll let you shoot in shallow water. Some of these digital cameras have large optical zoom lenses, which is a handy feature when you’re traveling. Many thin, pocket-size digital cameras in this price range feature optical zoom measurements from 5x to 15x. Cameras with an optical zoom of 2
Q. Why would I want a camera that costs under $200 instead of using a smartphone camera?
A. Many people choose to use smartphone cameras for convenience. And the image quality of smartphone cameras has improved quite a bit in the past few years. But an inexpensive point-and-shoot camera still has the advantage of an optical zoom lens. Smartphone cameras use digital zoom, which causes a loss in image quality versus optical zoom.
Q. Why do DSLRs shoot better photos than point-and-shoot cameras?
A. A DSLR camera is an advanced camera with outstanding image quality and advanced manual control features. The point-and-shoot camera is a simple camera usually used in automatic mode. DSLRs primarily cost more because they use high-quality image sensors.
Q. How does the cost of a point-and-shoot camera compare to that of an interchangeable-lens camera?
A. Cameras that cost under $200 cost quite a bit less than advanced ILCs. DSLRs can cost anywhere from $400 to $4,000. Mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras cost roughly $400 to $3,000.
Q. Why are these cameras colorful?
A. Advanced DSLR cameras typically are black, but you’ll find a few different color options with inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras. Manufacturers have always offered multiple colors with entry-level cameras. The idea behind the colors is to make point-and-shoot cameras fun to carry and use.
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