Do you want to take well executed photos and still have enough cash left over for rent? Well guess what? Expensive isn’t always better. With just $200 you can get an original and well built digital camera for regular use. And although the low-end point-and-shoot market has been destroyed by smartphones, there are people who still find a dedicated camera irreplaceable.
Besides, any seasoned photographer understands the world of difference a zoom lens can make when you can’t get physically close to a subject; unlike a smartphone that just crops the existing image and adds fake pixels to enlarge it, a real zoom lens goes miles beyond to provide the best image quality. The cameras listed below are easily available in stores and are not the mediocre models of last year either. Plus, to separate the fakers from the real deals, I spent hours poring over manufacturer’s spec sheets and reading reviews from authoritative sources to provide you with this list of decent cameras under $200, are you ready to zoom?
Nikon Coolpix L340
Pro: Powerful Lens
Con: No view Finder
Double Your Reach: As if Nikon’s outstanding 28x optical zoom NIKKOR glass telephoto lens doesn’t make capturing both distant and faraway action exhilarating enough, the Dynamic Fine Zoom actually increases the zoom range to 56x to create outstanding images. What’s more you don’t have to worry about shaky images owing to the Vibration Reduction (VR) feature. Even though this camera lacks a view finder, the large zoom range makes it a flexible choice; you couldn’t get this quality out of a tablet or phone camera.
Canon PowerShot SX400 Digital Camera
Pro: Great Design
Con: No Wi-Fi or touch screen
Basic Build: Bearing much semblance to a mini DSLR, the Canon PowerShot SX400 feels light for its design and is superbly constructed if you consider the price. It could survive a drop or two but it’s not dust or water resistant so don’t attempt to leave it at the mercy of the elements. The right handed grip features an agreeable texture that makes holding the camera a pleasure. However, some of the buttons are located where you are supposed to rest your thumb when gripping the camera making an accidental press more likely. Still, what Canon doesn’t deliver with its poor navigation menu, it does compensate with its 30x optical zoom alongside a 16-megaixel CCD; few devices come close to replicating the clarity and convenience offered by the SX400.
Canon Digital Rebel XT DSLR Camera
Pro: Very Responsive
Con: Unimpressive kit lens
Excellent image quality: The Rebel XT delivers colorful images and intricately detailed images at a competitive price. Featuring through-the-lens exposure control, this Canon camera ensures that even when dealing with highly reflective environment, the image captured is optimally exposed. What’s more, Rebel XT features Canon’s latest and most powerful SLR imaging engine, DIGIC II, which provides improved auto white balance and high precision and speed. And while D.R may lack some of the features offered by the pricier and more solid Nikon D70, it is important to mention that this camera is a clear winner when it comes to dynamic range and resolution.
Olympus Evolt E500 8MP Digital SLR
Pro: Strong Autofocus performance
Con: Unreliable automatic white balance
Packed Full of Olympus Innovations: Recommended for both the serious hobbyist and curious SLR newbie, the E500 is an easy to use and compact SLR camera that packs a multitude of innovative features. From Olympus’ signature dust-reduction system to its 2.5 inch LCD monitor, it is accurate to state that this camera offers a broad set of features for its class and thus offers an appealing alternative to competitors. If you are looking for a reassuring ‘thump’ when you press the shutter instead of the puny ‘snick’ and total control on the manual mode, not to mention the flexibility of interchangeable lenses then this is your best bet.
Canon Rebel XTi DSLR Camera
Pro: Shooting Friendly Layout
Con: Poor exposure of backlit subjects
Intelligent Design: Like other Digital Rebel family iteration, Canon has raised the bar on camera features and image quality. The Canon Rebel XTi is easy enough for a beginner to use but still powerful enough to get the job done for any professional. And leading the XTi’s list of improvements is a bigger and better LCD screen (2.5 inches) that allows for readable method of monitoring settings. Next in line is the brand new Canon-designed 10.1 Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor creating excellent low noise photos. Weighing 4 ounces more than its predecessor, the EOS Rebel XT, XTi is a sophisticated digital SLR that will undoubtedly satisfy most of your needs; a rather clear indication that Canon continues to lead the way towards phenomenal digital SLRS.
Nikon COOLPIX L830 16 MP CMOS Digital Camera
Pro: Great autofocus speed
Con: No control over shutter speed
Great Image Quality: Representing the new pinnacle of Nikon’s easy to use, budget-conscious Coolpix L-Series, the L830 is an elegantly designed camera that features 34x zoom lens and utilizes Nikon’s Hybrid Vibration Reduction system. This means that you get to get capture images from a distance while still maintaining quality and not worrying about fuzziness. What’s more, this Nikon model offers a 16.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor that is capable of a max of ISO3200 sensitivity assuring you of the highest quality and clarity of images. If you are looking for a camera that combines the styling of advanced cameras with the simplicity of point-and-shoot cameras, then you should check this digital camera out.
Nikon Coolpix L330 Digital Camera
Pro: 20.2 MP CCD Sensor for excellent image quality
Con: No manual shooting mode
More detail, sharper shots: While getting the best sit in the stadium always means that you can get dazzling close-up pics of the action, Nikon’s L330 ensures that regardless of your position in the stadium, you can always get the same dazzling pictures owing to the legendary optics that have made Nikon famous; NIKOR glass lenses. This lens features a much larger objective than any pocket camera allowing you to take wide-angle group shots in an instant. What’s more, the COOLPIX L330 lens is paired with 20.2 megapixel CCD image that effectively captures bright vibrant images that you will love to share with everyone. And although this camera lacks the manual shooting mode setting, it is so easy to use that everyone can take great photos and videos with it.
Casio EXILIM EX-ZR50 (Pink) High Speed Digital Camera
Pro: Tilting LCD
Con: Poor optical zoom
Perfect for Selfies: Featuring a tilting LCD screen and a built-in Wi-Fi, the EX-ZR50 allows you to take beautiful selfies and group shots. Plus, its design also allows you hold the camera out lengthwise with the lens trained on yourself and easily release the shutter at the same time to create spectacular self portraits. And just to make sure that everyone has the best time, Casio has incorporated a makeup mode that automatically recognizes the faces of the subjects in a frame and expresses their skin tones in brighter or smoother tones; clearly this camera is a must have for any vacation. And although it doesn’t pack a powerful lens or impressive zooming capabilities, it does cover up for the shortage with its numerous features.
Casio Digital Camera Exilim Zr1100
Pro: High speed function
Con: Poor screen quality
Functional and performance versatility: An update to the Z1000, Casio ZR1100 features a higher resolution 3 inch tilting screen that competes well with other cameras within the $200 range. Also, for purposes of providing high speed processing, this digital camera features both a re-configurable processor and 2 parallel image processors, this means that you get to take high quality images that do not appear fuzzy. Although the picture quality is poor than expected, this camera is still fun and easy to use given its well thought out design and handling features.
Shopping for a camera under $200 has much to do with separating the wheat from the chaff. And there is a lot of chaff in the market. Ideally, what I have listed above are cameras that debuted at a higher cost a little while back and have since been marked down. Besides, a $250 camera that now goes for $150 will generally be much better compared to one that started at $150 and now goes for even less, right? If you are looking for something more expensive, check our list of DSLR cameras for under 1000$. After going through a number of cameras and dismissing those that didn’t hold up to some of the more competent alternatives, the list above was created. My best pick was the Nikon CoolPix L830 with its ease of use and myriad of features. What is your best pick?