The Best Cheapo Cameras for 2017

  • By Naomi Harreman
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I think we all know that photography is an expensive hobby. After all, if you’re reading an article about the best cheap cameras of 2017, you must have had a bit of sticker shock at some point! But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t still get a great camera with good features that will help you take improved photos. Buying on a budget doesn’t relegate you to low-end point-and-shoots or compact cameras, either. In fact, you can get a DSLR or a mirrorless camera on a budget too. Let’s have a look at some of the very best inexpensive cameras you can pick up right now.

Nikon D5300

Essential Specs

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: 24.2-megapixel
  • Lens: Interchangeable Nikon DX Mount
  • Screen: 3.2-inch articulating with 1.037-million dots
  • Video: 1080p

If you want a solid DSLR with an excellent sensor, you might consider the Nikon D5300 as a good choice. Though it’s now been replaced a couple of times over by newer models, the D5300 still shares the very same 24.2-megapixel CMOS APS-C sensor of the newer models. That means you get the same impeccable image quality, colour rendition, and contrast of more expensive cameras in the Nikon line but without the heftier price tag. The D5300 also sports an ISO range that extends to 25600, a 39-point autofocus system, and an EXPEED 4 image processor for fast operation. There’s no touchscreen, which is a shame, but with this sensor and autofocus system, there’s plenty to be happy about.

Canon EOS Rebel T6

Essential Specs

  • Type: DSLR
  • Sensor: 18-megapixel
  • Lens: Interchangeable EF-S Mount
  • Screen: 3-inch with 920,000 dots
  • Video: 1080p

If it’s a DSLR you’re after, it’s hard to find a less expensive one than the EOS Rebel T6. It’s highly affordable because it lacks some of the features of newer models, but it still has the essentials to help you take improved photos. The 18-megapixel sensor is a bit long in the tooth, but it still offers plenty of resolution for making prints of the photos you take. Additionally, since it’s an interchangeable system, you can outfit it with anything from a macro lens to a telephoto lens to suit your needs or tastes. The camera is equipped with live view, which is handy for shooting video (which it does in 1080p), however, autofocusing in live view is pretty sluggish. Nevertheless, this is a DSLR for a compact camera price, and that’s tough to beat!

Sony Cybershot RX100

Essential Specs

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 20.2-megapixel
  • Lens: Fixed 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
  • Screen: 3-inch with 1.229-million dots
  • Video: 1080p

The RX100 might not be the newest camera on this list, but it’s still a very capable camera. The aperture range of the lens is also quite good, with an f/1.8 opening on the wide end and a more than respectable f/4.9 opening on the long end. And, since it’s a compact, the RX100 is an ideal option for shooters that want something quick and easy to use. Those that travel often will especially appreciate this little rig. The RX100 doesn’t have a viewfinder and the LCD is fixed, neither of which is ideal. However, the screen offers beautiful clarity so you can easily see the shot, even in bright light. This is certainly a more advanced camera than others on this list. If you’ve outgrown your current camera and have confidence in your photography know-how, this could be the one for you.

Sony Cyber-Shot WX220

Essential Specs

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 18.2-megapixel
  • Lens: Fixed 25-250mm f/3.3-5.9
  • Screen: 2.7-inch with 460,000 dots
  • Video: 1080p

The Sony Cyber-Shot WX220 isn’t going to blow you away with its specs, especially compared to other compact cameras on this list. However, though it doesn’t match the zooming capability of other cameras and has a smaller, less-defined LCD, it’s 18.2-megapixel sensor is quite good. The WX220 produces images that have good detail, bright highlights, and punchy colors. It’s an ideal setup for taking casual photos of your friends and family and sharing them online or having small prints made. The other nice thing about this camera is that it’s so small. It’s easy to carry (and discreetly so), so you can have something with more capabilities than your smartphone without feeling like you have a ton of stuff in your pockets.

Panasonic Lumix ZS50

Essential Specs

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 12.1-megapixel
  • Lens: Fixed 24-720mm f/3.3-6.4
  • Screen: 3-inch with 1.04-million dots
  • Video: 1080p

Panasonic has typically produced excellent compact cameras, and the Lumix ZS50 is no exception. Though it doesn’t have as good a sensor as the Sony RX100 reviewed above, it’s still capable of producing sharp, clear images. Unlike the RX100, the ZS50 has an electronic viewfinder for situations in which the lighting makes it hard to use the LCD, which is a nice touch. You can also get out of auto mode and control the exposure settings yourself and shoot in RAW. That means this is a great camera for beginners that will grow with you over time.

Canon PowerShot SX720HS

Essential Specs

  • Type: Compact
  • Sensor: 20.3-megapixel
  • Lens: Fixed 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9
  • Screen: 3-inch with 922,000 dots
  • Video: 1080p

Another compact camera to consider is the Canon PowerShot SX720HS, which, with an incredible 40x zoom, makes it among the most versatile cameras on this list. It has a 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor that garners pleasing results both in terms of detail and dynamic range. The DIGIC 6 processor is fast, too, something you’ll appreciate if you’re shooting stills or full HD videos. The screen is fixed and lacks the resolution of other cameras on this list, but it’s by no means a terrible LCD with which to work. Add in NFC and Wi-Fi, and you have a camera that allows you to share pictures quickly and easily after you take them.

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