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8 Best Budget Cameras for Photography in 2024 (And Video)

Last updated: March 13, 2024 - 29 min read
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Finding the best budget camera is a challenge. You often find yourself looking at old, secondhand, or renewed cameras. And sometimes, the source might not be reliable. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We’ve compiled a list of the best budget cameras. We have everything, including DSLR, compact, and mirrorless cameras. And these aren’t inferior machines. They are good cameras at even better prices.

The Canon EOS R100 is the best budget camera right now. It’s one of Canon’s latest releases. And it’s also one of their most affordable cameras to date. It’s a compact mirrorless with excellent features for photos and video. It shows a little money can go a long way when you shop smart.

Our Top 3 Choices for The Best Budget Camera
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Sony a6100
Sony a6100
Sony a6100
 

What Is the Best Budget Camera to Buy?

Let’s dive in and discover which is the best budget camera. We’ll see how the cameras compare, differ, and more!

Our Top Choice
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
  • Excellent image quality from the 24.1 MP sensor
  • Canon's reliable Dual Pixel CMOS AF system
  • AF also has auto subject, face, and eye detection
  • 4K video recording and Full HD at 60 fps
  • High-precision 2.36 million-dot electronic viewfinder
Best All-Round Mirrorless
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
  • Affordable
  • High-quality images
  • Fast 30 fps with 1.25x crop
  • Small and light
  • Stylish retro, black-and-silver look
Best for Portraits
Sony a6100
Sony a6100
Sony a6100
  • Great value for the price
  • Eye-detect autofocus for humans and animals
  • Compact size
  • 4K video option
  • Flip-out touchscreen for selfies and vlogging
Best for Video
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Canon EOS M50 Mark II
  • Strong sensor resolution
  • 4K and Full HD video options
  • Time-lapse recording
  • External mic port
  • Webcam functionality
Best for Night Shots
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
  • Affordable
  • Very beginner-friendly
  • Excellent image quality
  • Built-in image stabilization for video and low light
  • Endless list of compatible lenses
  • Excellent 4K video features
Best Compact Choice
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
  • Excellent photo quality
  • 5-axis optical image stabilization
  • Nifty “Post Focus” mode can help increase depth of field
  • High-resolution 4K video and photos
  • Incredibly lightweight
Best for Beginners
Sony a6000
Sony a6000
Sony a6000
  • Unbeatable price
  • Superb JPEG image quality straight out of the camera
  • Small and lightweight design
  • USB charging
  • Built-in Wi-Fi to transfer files
Best DSLR
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D
Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D
  • Excellent image quality
  • Can be used as webcam
  • In-camera feature guide
  • Ergonomic body
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity

1. Canon EOS R100

Canon EOS R100
Brand
Brand
Canon
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon RF
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
3975
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
6.5 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Canon EOS R100 is one of Canon’s latest releases. But despite being brand new, it’s one of their most affordable mirrorless cameras. It was made to be a budget camera. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a good camera. In fact, it’s a great camera.

Sensor and Image Quality

The R100 has an APS-C CMOS sensor. And this has a resolution of 24.1 MP, giving you high-quality images. It defies the price range with sharp, well-rendered photos. They’re bright, rich, and vibrant yet true to life. 

The native 100-12,800 ISO range gives you plenty of wiggle room in changeable lighting. But you can also expand the top end to 25,600 if necessary. That allows you to keep working in low-light situations. You might experience some digital noise at higher levels, but the images stay clean until you hit the top numbers.

You can shoot in JPEG or RAW. The JPEG images look great if you’re taking pictures for fun. But the RAW images give you far more options in post-processing. You can make impressive changes using photo editing software.

Focusing and Burst

With Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus system, you get reliable focusing for photo and video. It uses 143 focus zones for accurate subject detection and tracking. It copes well with fast-moving subjects. And it has eye-detection AF for human subjects. 

With 88% horizontal and 100% vertical AF coverage, the camera can detect and track subjects over most of the frame. 

The burst mode is slow for a mirrorless camera. The max speed is 6.5 fps. But with the One-Shot AF mode, you get full autofocus support when using burst mode. That gives you razor-sharp action shots when shooting something like sports photography.

Video Features

The quality video features make the C100 an affordable hybrid camera. You can shoot clear and sharp footage with 4K resolution at 24 fps. And if that frame rate isn’t enough, you can switch to Full HD (1080p). This gives you faster rates, including 60 and 120 fps. The Full HD footage is also uncropped. 

The 120 fps frame rate gives you high-definition slow-motion videos. That’s another excellent feature for shooting fast action like sports or wildlife. The C100 also has ports for external audio devices like microphones. It’s an all-in-one unit for making movies. 

You can also use the Canon R100 as a webcam. Pair it with your computer and the Canon webcam software, and it gives you live HD video. It’s great for vlogging and live streaming

Body and Handling

With an APS-C sensor, it’s lightweight and compact. The body weighs 0.78 lb / 356 g, which is feather-light even by mirrorless standards. It’s also small enough for any camera backpack, even day bags like the Wandrd Duo Daypack

The ergonomic design is reminiscent of Canon’s older DSLR models. It has a comfortable grip that fits nicely into your hand. You can hold it for hours on end with no discomfort at all. 

All the buttons and controls are nicely laid out. Even inexperienced users will master the controls in no time. The LCD screen is fixed and has no touch controls. This is one frustration with the R100. But it does have an excellent 2.34m dot electronic viewfinder. 

 

2. Fujifilm X-T30 II

Fujifilm X-T30 II
Brand
Brand
Fujifilm
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fujifilm X
Megapixels
Megapixels
26 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
425
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
30 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is a superb mirrorless camera at a budget-friendly price. It’s the best budget camera on the market. And it’s a fantastic choice for photographers, filmmakers, and hybrid shooters.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Fujifilm X-T30 II is an inexpensive mirrorless camera boasting a 26MP APC-C sensor. It has a slightly higher price tag than the budget cameras above. But it operates like a professional DSLR. The X-T30 II is a great option for those who may step into more professional roles in the future.

RAW and JPEG files keep extensive detail and remain noise-free up to higher ISOs. The dynamic range is excellent. And it provides tons of freedom to edit photos in post-production.

Try one of the three popular Dynamic Range modes. They increase sharpening if editing isn’t your thing. Another appealing feature is the new “clarity effect.” It boosts contrast and gives an extra glow to your photos when applied.

Focusing and Burst

Fuji has worked hard on its AF technology throughout the years and is now one of the industry leaders. The X-T30 II uses a hybrid, 117-point phase-detection system.

Three AF-Area modes are available—SinglePpoint, Zone, and Wide/Tracking. Tracking during continuous AF is a strong point of this camera. That’s even when using eye detection or shooting bursts.

With continuous shooting speed, the max frame rate is 30 fps. It’s great and will be more than fast enough to freeze time.

One final note on autofocus. It is controllable using the touch-sensitive LCD on the back of the camera. Tapping or dragging your thumb on the screen selects focus points, and there is almost no lag time!

Video Features

The still capabilities are great. But what elevates the Fujifilm X-T30 II to the top of this list is how it functions as a video camera. First off, its 4K video quality is off the charts. My closest comparison would be the significantly more expensive Sony a6600.

It captures un-cropped 4K footage up to 30 fps. That means it uses the entire sensor area and holds up well even when shooting low-light scenes. The only negative of 4K is the 15-minute time limit.

While 1080p is available, the quality is a little soft for my liking. More monumental video features include the following:

  • An articulating LCD widescreen
  • A dual microphone
  • Headphone ports
  • Advanced audio controls

Body and Handling

I can’t rave enough about the X-T30 II’s body. It would be the runaway winner if I had to pick one best budget camera solely based on looks. It’s elegant, functional, and durable.

The camera body is sturdy and well-built due to its premium metal construction. It’s not technically weather-sealed. But it can withstand harsher conditions than plastic bodies.

On top of that, there are three control dials and four customizable buttons. These make the ergonomics outstanding. Once you figure out what setup works best for you, you can fly through your photoshoots.

Lastly, it uses the Fujifilm X-mount lens system. Fuji X-mount interchangeable lenses use premium glass. And a wide selection of focal distances is available. Also, third parties like Sigma and Rokinon make some terrific compatible lenses.

 

3. Sony a6100

Sony a6100
Brand
Brand
Sony
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Sony E
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
425
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
32000
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
11 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The a6100 is an entry-level camera and the successor to the a6000. It’s jam-packed with professional features and a fantastic all-around camera. It’s perfect for family photos, action shots, and travel.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Sony a6100 is the updated version of the a6000. It hit stores in late 2019 and features a new and improved 24.3 MP APS-C CMOS sensor. On top of that, it boasts a more powerful BIONZ X image processor and a new LSI chip. Sony claims the trio makes the a6100 1.8x faster than the a6000.

The 14-bit RAW images are of good quality. But JPEGs are where this camera excels. They have good, edge-to-edge detail retention. Plus, the image colors are some of the best from any Sony camera. That’s thanks to a tweak in the algorithm that adds sharpness, saturation, and contrast.

ISO sensitivity has also increased. The a6000 has an ISO range of 100 to 32000. It’s further expandable to 51200 if you enter the menu system). You can shoot noise-free images up to ISO 6400. And if you crank it up to 12800, you still have useable photos.

There are two more killer stills features worth mentioning. There are 14 stops of dynamic range. And a built-in intervalometer allows the a6100 to capture time lapses. But for the a6000, you must buy a separate app to take time lapses.

Focusing and Burst Mode

I said it earlier, but I will repeat it, Sony is the king of autofocus. The a6100 uses hybrid autofocus technology. It features 425 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points. It’s lightning-fast and is one of the best AF systems ever created. It compares favorably even with high-end professional cameras like the Sony a7 IV.

Also, I have to mention face and eye autofocus. The AI and machine learning technology powering them are improved. It has made them faster and more accurate than ever. Better yet, Eye-AF now works with animals as well. Wildlife, bird, and pet photographers are three groups who enjoy this addition.

The a6100 excels at continuous shooting speed. Its top burst speed is 11 fps. And it maintains that number even when using continuous, face- or eye-detection AF. Moreover, a silent shooting option is available for up to 8 fps. I love to use silent mode when photographing animals and weddings.

Buffer speed is quick, and the camera can take as many as 77 photos in one burst. Remember, you cannot adjust the camera settings inside the main menu during buffering. But you can access the Function (Fn) menu to make quick adjustments.

Video Features

The Sony Alpha a6100 records 4K Ultra HD videos at 24 and 30 fps. Shooting at 24 fps utilizes the entire sensor, while the faster 30 fps applies a generous crop factor. You are better off sticking with 24 fps unless you want a specific stylistic look.

It has S&Q (slow and quick) mode. So it can capture slow-motion and fast-motion footage directly in the camera. Slow-motion videos are played back at a quarter or a fifth of the speed. But fast-motion videos can be sped up and played back at 60x speed.

The body has a microphone jack but no headphone jack. The in-camera microphone gets the job done okay. But for crystal clear audio, it’s better to use an external mike like the Rode VideoMic.

It has no in-camera stabilization. But most native Sony lenses include optical image stabilization. And Sony has reduced rolling shutter problems and overheating issues in cheaper cameras.

Body and Handling

The a6100 has a durable plastic construction that is both lightweight and compact. It weighs 396 grams (battery included) and measures 120 x 67 x 59 mm.

Sony has slightly expanded the grip when compared to the a6000. Its rubber coating gives it a more secure and robust in-hand feel. There are two specific custom buttons (C1 and C2). But almost all the buttons are customizable.

Another new feature is the three-inch flip-up LCD monitor. It’s a touchscreen and can be used to assign focus. But like Sony’s other cameras, you still can’t use the touchscreen with the menus.

Lastly, it uses the Sony E-mount lens system. The standard kit is the Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 optical zoom lens. But my favorite lens to pair with it is the Sony Zeiss 18-70mm f/4 zoom.

 

4. Canon EOS M50 Mark II

Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Brand
Brand
Canon
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon EF-M
Megapixels
Megapixels
24 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
143
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
10 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is an advanced mirrorless camera. It’s ideal for hybrid photographers or videographers. And it’s a fan favorite of YouTubers and vloggers.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II mirrorless camera has a 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor. The sensor measures 22.3 x 14.9 mm and applies the standard Canon crop factor of 1.6x to images and videos.

The camera uses a DIGIC 8 image processor along with the sensor. This yields sharp and vibrant stills with a max resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels. JPEGs, in particular, have strong and attractive colors courtesy of automatic in-camera sharpening.

The ISO range is 100 to 25600. Even at higher levels, the camera does a good job of retaining image detail and reducing noise. You can boost the ISO to 6400 for social media and online images.

With a fantastic DR of 13.4 stops, RAW files are the way to go if you plan to edit your photos. They store tons of extra information in the highlights and shadows. And you can bring your pictures to life.

Focusing and Burst Mode

The Canon M50 Mark II has solid autofocus performance. That’s courtesy of its Dual Pixel AF system featuring 143 phase-detection points. The core components of the AF system are the same as the original Canon M50. But it has some much-needed upgrades.

The most glaring improvements are visible when using face and eye-detection modes. In continuous AF, the camera does a terrific job locating and tracking faces. That’s even when subjects are moving and if there is poor lighting.

A real-world example when this is particularly useful is photographing events. Weddings and concerts are two settings where lighting is often insufficient. But you can still get great photos with the M50 Mark II.

Looking at burst shooting, it has a max frame rate of 10 fps. If you want to take advantage of autofocus and live view, that number goes down to 7.4 fps. One tip for achieving better results when shooting bursts? Use Shutter Priority mode and assign a fast shutter speed (1000+).

Video Features

Even though it has 4K video capabilities, you are better off shooting in 1080p Full HD in most situations. Unfortunately, when recording in 4K, the M50 Mark II applies a heavy crop factor. The one exception is if you have an ultra-wide lens like the Sigma 16mm.

Also, in a bit of an odd decision from Canon, its Dual Pixel autofocus isn’t available when shooting 4K. You can still use autofocus. But it will only use the contrast detection focus points and is noticeably slower.

This camera is a fan favorite of YouTubers and vloggers. (Most never want to shoot in 4K due to how much storage it takes up and how it reduces the amount of content they can create.)

A few other video features have made content creators fall in love with the M50 Mark II. It has a fully articulating LCD touchscreen and a microphone port. Plus, you can live stream directly to YouTube.

Body and Handling

Another reason people can’t get enough of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is how light and portable it is. It weighs 387 grams (battery included) and has dimensions of 116 x 88 x 59 mm.

People who have used DSLRs before will appreciate the design. It is essentially a mini DSLR. It has a similar design and control layout as classic Canon entry-level cameras. But there is less space on the camera. So you may find the buttons feel cramped—especially if you have larger hands.

The overall ergonomics and handling are off the charts. The grip is comfortable and secure to hold. There are many customization options to increase productivity and workflow. Furthermore, the touchscreen capabilities and well-thought-out menus are both industry-leading.

Lastly, it uses the Canon E-FM lens mount system. As a newer lens mount, native lenses are a bit limited. But don’t worry! You can buy an adapter like the Canon EF-EOS M lens mount adapter. Then, you can unlock the entire fleet of Canon EF lenses.

 

5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Brand
Brand
Olympus
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Micro 4/3
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
121
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
6400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
15 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Olympus OM-D is a beautiful and compact mirrorless camera with a retro look. It’s an excellent first camera for those looking to upgrade from smartphone photography.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV has a new 20 MP Micro Four Thirds sensor at its core. Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensors are slightly smaller than APS-C sensors, measuring 17.4 x 13 mm. They are the go-to choice for Olympus and Panasonic crop sensor cameras.

Another essential thing to keep in mind about MFT sensors is that they apply a 2x crop factor to images. For example, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV with the 14-42mm kit lens has an equivalent focal length of 28-84mm.

While its RAW files keep more detail, JPEG resolution is equally impressive. I recommend sticking with the smaller JPEG files for personal use and social media.

Since the sensor is small, you might expect poor low-light performance. But low-light shooting is a strength. That’s due to 5-axis stabilization that adds 4.5 stops of exposure. On top of that, it has a dynamic range of 12.5 with a TruePic VIII image processor.

Focusing and Burst

The E-M10 Mark IV uses 121 point contrast detection autofocus. It’s an outdated system that is slower than hybrid phase-detection autofocus. It works well for static and slow-moving subjects. But it’s not great for sports or action photography.

There was a big issue with the previous model, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It would lock focus onto the wrong subject or the background in continuous AF. Luckily, the engineers at Olympus updated the AF algorithm, significantly reducing this problem.

Face and eye-detection AF have also improved. It now recognizes faces, such as profiles looking away from the camera. But there are problems with a busy background. It still struggles to consistently lock on and track subjects.

At first, the max frame rate of 15 fps sounds stellar. But the numbers aren’t great upon closer examination. The speed tumbles to a below-average 5 fps as soon as autofocus is activated.

Video Features

It has high-quality 4K 30p video and built-in stabilization. So the E-M10 Mark IV is a terrific little video camera. The colors look natural and bright. Plus, the footage is usable straight from the camera.

Also, shooting handheld videos is possible thanks to in-body image stabilization. The results are even smoother when paired with a stabilized lens like the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 prime lens.

Another premium video feature is recording slow-motion movies directly in the camera. The mode uses 720p/120p video settings and plays back at 30 fps. That gives it a playback speed 4x slower than in real life.

Additionally, it features a tilting screen which is excellent for vloggers. My biggest complaint is the lack of a microphone and a headphone jack.

Body and Handling

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV manages to be both stylish and user-friendly. It measures 122 x 84 x 49 mm, weighs 383 grams (battery included), and has an attractive silver and black retro design.

The first things that jump out are the two control dials on the top of the camera. Because crop sensor cameras are more compact, most only include one dial. I love having two! In my experience, it makes adjusting the exposure settings far quicker.

The rest of the buttons are well-placed. You can control the camera using only one hand. Also, there are three customizable buttons on the back of the camera. Overall, the design and handling are two of the biggest strengths of this Olympus OM-D E camera.

Lastly, it uses the Micro Four Thirds lens mount system. All MFT lenses are the same. This means tons of compatible lenses are available. You can look at Olympus, Panasonic, and third-party lenses.

 

6. Panasonic Lumix ZS100

Panasonic Lumix DMC ZS100
Brand
Brand
Panasonic
Camera Type
Camera Type
Compact
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
1"
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Fixed
Megapixels
Megapixels
20 MP
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization
1
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
49
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
12800
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
10 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Lumix ZS100 is the best budget point-and-shoot camera on the market. It’s ideal for travelers, hikers, and anyone who wants an ultra-lightweight camera.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is a compact, superzoom camera. It features a 20 MP, one-inch BSI CMOS sensor. The sensor is four times bigger than most competing travel zoom cameras! But Panasonic managed to fit it inside the same tiny body.

It has a max image resolution of 5472 x 3648 pixels and four different image ratio options (1:1, 4:3, 3:2, and 16:9). Furthermore, it couples the powerful sensor with Panasonic’s famous Venus Engine image processor. The pair works hand in hand to produce colorful and attractive photos.

Even more impressive, the large sensor helps eliminate noise. It blows the competition out of the water for low-light performance. The ISO range is 125 to 12800. And it is noise-free up to ISO 3200.

An exciting new feature is the Post Focus mode. It records a short video clip and allows you to play it back and save 8MP still images. It won’t capture award-winning photos. But it’s helpful in some situations, like shooting macro shots.

Focusing and Burst Mode

The Lumix ZS100 carries the same stellar Depth from Defocus (DFD) AF system as the FZ1000. It has 49 focus points. It uses DFD technology to constantly scan what’s in the frame. And it eliminates lag and focus hunting.

Autofocus single, continuous autofocus and manual focus modes are all available. Face and eye detection can also be activated when shooting in continuous AF. I find this particularly handy when photographing portraits.

Bursts can be shot at up to 10 fps while using Single-AF. When using continuous AF or the live view (both of which I highly recommend), that number falls to 6 fps. If you don’t mind ditching some resolution, it can shoot 5MP stills at 40 fps using the electronic shutter.

I want to highlight another cool feature—you can use the touchpad to control focus. You look through the built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). Then you can tap or drag your thumb on the rear screen to select a focus point.

Video Features

Hybrid shooters will be blown away by the video potential of the Panasonic Lumix ZS100. It shoots 4K Ultra HD at 30 fps and 1080p Full HD at up to 60 fps. So it’s arguably the best budget compact camera for video on the planet!

You can capture video in any shooting mode. But you have limited controls unless you are in Movie mode. Some features are only available in Movie mode. They are precision exposure adjustments, high-speed video, and Snap Movie Mode.

Snap Movie mode films two- to eight-second clips. You can add them together in the camera to create longer videos. You can also apply specific effects to the clips, like fading in or out and pulling focus.

Moreover, 5-axis optical image stabilization is available when filming. It reduces unwanted camera shake and creates smoother videos. The only thing missing is an articulating screen. That would have made it the perfect point-and-shoot camera for vloggers and YouTubers.

Body and Handling

As a compact zoom camera, the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is the smallest and lightest camera on this list. It weighs 312 grams (battery included), and its dimensions are 111 x 65 x 44 mm. And it isn’t an interchangeable lens camera. So you don’t have to worry about lugging around extra heavy lenses.

The built-in lens has a super-versatile and equivalent focal length of 25-250mm. That’s an optical zoom of 10x. Also, it has a max aperture of f/2.8-5.9. Portrait and street photographers will love the beautiful bokeh effect. It’s created by shooting with a shallow depth of field.

There are a few noteworthy features that improve its ergonomics. It has a three-inch LCD touchscreen, a dedicated Movie mode button, and solid battery life. On the downside, the camera’s biggest letdown is the built-in electronic viewfinder. It’s small, somewhat awkward to look through, and has a resolution of only 1.17 million pixels.

 

7. Sony a6000

Sony a6000
Brand
Brand
Sony
Camera Type
Camera Type
Mirrorless
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Sony E
Megapixels
Megapixels
24.3 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
179
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
25600
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
11 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

Sony first released it in 2014. So the Alpha a600 is its longest-running and most-sold mirrorless camera ever. It’s a great first camera to learn on.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Sony Alpha a6000 has a 24.3 MP APS-C CMOS sensor. It’s the same sensor found in the older Sony Alpha a5100 and the newer, more advanced Sony Alpha a6500. Plus, it houses a speedy BIONZ X image processor.

With 24.3MP, the pixel count is identical to professional cameras like the Sony Alpha a7 III. The max resolution is 6000 x 4000 pixels. And the excellent image quality is impressive for such a small and cheap camera.

One common complaint is the image colors. Sony colors, in general, tend to be flatter and more muted than other camera brands. There is one quick fix I discovered shooting with my a6000. I shoot JPEGs with the creative style setting switched to “Vivid.” Or you can edit your photos with software like Adobe Lightroom.

Two features the camera excels in are ISO performance and dynamic range. There are three high ISO noise reduction settings. And I consistently get noise-free test images up to ISO 3200. Lastly, it has a generous 12 stops of dynamic range.

Focusing and Burst Mode

Sony mirrorless cameras are generally considered the kings of autofocus. It’s one of the strong points of the Sony a6000. It uses a hybrid AF system. It features 179 phase-detection points and 25 contrast-detection points.

There are three main autofocus modes—Single-AF, Continuous-AF, and Auto-AF. Moreover, there are lock-on and face-detection modes. Both have little trouble recognizing subjects and tracking them… even when they are on the move.

The a6000 also excels with its continuous shooting speed. It has three distinct burst speeds of 2.5, 6, and 11 fps. The latter is one of the best numbers on an entry-level camera. It makes it a good option for action and sports photography.

Video Features

While it can’t shoot in 4K, the video capabilities of the Sony a6000 are still impressive. It boasts 1080p Full HD video at 24, 30, and 60 fps. Plus, you have complete control of the footage thanks to its long list of video features.

One of the best features—you can adjust exposure settings during filming. That means you can change the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO even when the camera is rolling. While I don’t suggest doing this if you are a beginner, it is a big plus once you have more experience.

Manual focus and autofocus both work during video recording. Continuous AF does a surprisingly good job maintaining focus for moving subjects. It does exceptionally well when lock-on AF is activated.

What are the two most significant weaknesses of its video? It lacks in-body image stabilization and audio. There is no microphone port. And the in-camera microphone isn’t exceptionally sensitive.

Body and Handling

The first thing you notice about the camera body of the a6000 is how compact it is. It is literally pocket-sized. It measures 120 x 67 x 45 mm and weighs 344 grams (battery included).

It may feel awkward for people switching over from DSLRs or for people with larger hands at first. But you may grow to love how small it is after a while. I know I did. It’s a perfect everyday camera to carry wherever you go.

There is one control dial on the camera’s top and a four-way dial on the back. And there are seven customizable buttons to help increase individual workflow. The primary menus can be overwhelming. But the customizable function (Fn) menu is excellent for storing your most-used settings.

Lastly, it uses the Sony E-mount lens system. When the a6000 first came out, there weren’t many lens options. But Sony has done a fantastic job building up the lineup in the last few years.

 

8. Canon EOS Rebel T7

Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D
Brand
Brand
Canon
Camera Type
Camera Type
DSLR
Sensor Format
Sensor Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Lens Mount
Canon EF-S
Megapixels
Megapixels
24.1 MP
Autofocus Points
Autofocus Points
9
Maximum ISO (Native)
Maximum ISO (Native)
6400
Frame Rate
Frame Rate
3 fps
Video
Video
1
Screen Size
Screen Size
3

The Canon’s Rebel T7 is an excellent choice for people who like the look and feel of classic cameras. It’s the perfect budget DSLR for beginners.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 features a 24.1 MP APS-C CMOS Sensor. It’s an upgraded sensor. And it’s the highest image resolution in the Rebel lineup of entry-level DSLR cameras. The previous model, the Canon Rebel EOS T6, only has 18MP.

The new sensor, paired with a DIGIC 4+ image processor, delivers good images. Photos have a max resolution of 6000 x 4000 pixels. Regardless of shooting JPEGs or RAW files, you can expect edge-to-edge sharpness. And there is little to no distortion. Additionally, the Rebel T7 boasts all Canon cameras‘ beloved, rich, vivid colors.

It has no built-in image stabilization and a max ISO of 6400. So, one area that’s not great is shooting in low-light conditions, like sunsets. You can only expect grain-free, low-light images up to ISO 1600. Higher than that, unwanted noise may start to appear in your photos.

Furthermore, the Canon Rebel T7 has a high dynamic range of just over nine. It’s good but not great and gives you some wiggle room when editing RAW images. But overall, this camera is better for photographers who shoot JPEGs.

Focusing and Burst Mode

Autofocus may be the biggest drawback of the Canon EOS Rebel T7. Whereas most new best budget cameras have over 100 AF points, it only has nine. Most people shoot exclusively in autofocus. So Canon’s decision not to upgrade the AF system is a real head-scratcher.

It takes approximately 0.1 seconds to find focus with direct sunlight. But that falls to 0.6 seconds if there is less light. These numbers are slower than average. But they are fine if you plan to shoot portraits or non-moving subjects.

What’s even stranger is the lack of autofocus capabilities when recording video. Autofocus can usually set focus before filming. But with the Rebel T7, you must make all focus adjustments manually once rolling.

On a positive note, subject tracking is available in AI Servo mode (Canon’s continuous AF). So is continuous shooting. The three-frame-per-second burst mode is by no means lightning-fast. But it gets the job done for slower-moving subjects.

Video Features

The Canon Rebel T7 can’t capture 4K footage but has three distinct video formats—1080p Full HD, 720p HD, and 480p SD. The 1080p Full HD video can be shot at 24 or 30 fps, while you can shoot 720p at 60 fps. A good option for creating a slow-motion video? You can shoot at 60 fps and slow it down in post-production.

Shooting handheld movies is strongly discouraged. There is no in-body image stabilization (IBIS). Unless there is no other option, you will always want to use a tripod or gimbal. They help remove camera shake and generate much smoother movies.

One cool video feature is the Video Snapshot mode. It captures short video clips of up to eight seconds. And the camera automatically merges them to create a highlight video. Another extraordinary trait? You can edit your movies directly on the camera in playback mode. You can’t do everything, but basic adjustments like trimming are possible.

Body and Handling

The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is incredibly light and compact for a DSLR camera. It weighs only 475 grams (battery included) and measures 129 x 101 x 78 mm. Its portability is, without a doubt, one of its most attractive features.

The plastic body has a textured rubber grip for extra comfort and control. Even though it’s plastic, it feels well-made and is reasonably durable. There is no weather sealing, though. You would have to keep it away from rain and dust.

Handling is a strong point of this camera. The layout of the buttons and dials is straightforward and perfect for beginners. You can quickly change the most-used settings by pressing a button or going to the Q menu. And if you need to enter the main menu, they are color-coded and easy to navigate.

Lastly, it uses the standard Canon EF lens mount. You can access some of the best and most popular budget lenses ever made!

 

Conclusion: Best Budget Cameras

Cheap, good-quality cameras are hard to come by. Let’s review a few of our recommendations:

I put this list together to help budding photographers and videographers on a budget. I wanted them to make an informed and confident buy of cheap but good cameras. Not everyone wants to spend weeks or months of paychecks on a new camera. Helping you find the best budget camera was important to me. So good luck with your decision!

Our Top 3 Choices for The Best Budget Camera
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
Canon EOS R100
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Fujifilm X-T30 II
Sony a6100
Sony a6100
Sony a6100