Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The RundownBest Overall:Sony DSC-W800 at Amazon"Packed with a boatload of features, Sony's DSC-W800 is hands down one of the best point-and-shoot digital cameras out there."Best Budget:Kodak PixPro FZ53 at Amazon"If you're on a shoestring budget but still want a capable digital camera, look no further than Kodak's PixPro FZ53."Best Action Camera:AKASO Brave 4 at Amazon"The Akaso Brave 4 comes with a transparent case that makes it waterproof up to 30m (100ft)"Best Instant Camera:Polaroid Mint at Amazon"Lets you click sharp and vibrant images in a jiffy."Runner-Up, Best Instant Camera:Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 at Amazon"features worth mentioning are a self-timer, automatic brightness control, and a"Double Exposure"mode that makes for some really artistic images."Best Design:Lomography Lomography Konstruktor F at Amazon"Lomography's cameras are renowned for having some of the coolest designs ever, and the Konstruktor F is no exception."Best For Kids:Canon Ivy Cliq at Amazon"Available in three bright colors (Bumblebee Yellow, Lady Bug Red, and Seaside Blue)"
Although smartphone cameras are getting better by the day, they still can't match up to proper cameras when it comes to serious photography. This is primarily because real cameras offer a wide array of advanced features, such as bigger image sensors and long range optical zoom lenses. What's more, the continued improvements in the world of technology have made these features more affordable than ever.
Even if you have a tight budget of just $100, there's a diverse variety of cameras available in the market to choose from. These include point-and-shoot snappers such as Kodak's PixPro FZ53, instant cameras with integrated printers like Polaroid's Mint, and even compact action cameras like Canon's Ivy Rec. That said, having these many choices can (and often does) get confusing, which is why we've rounded up some of the best digital cameras under $100 you can buy. Read all about them, and take your pick.
Best Overall:Sony DSC-W8004Buy on AmazonBuy on Best BuyWhat We Like
Lots of shooting modes and scene presets
In-camera USB chargingWhat We Don't Like
Video recording limited to 720p HD quality
Packed with a boatload of features, Sony's DSC-W800 is hands down one of the best point-and-shoot digital cameras out there. It features a 20.1MP Super HAD CCD sensor that lets you capture beautiful high-resolution images. The camera's 26mm wide-angle lens allows each frame to have more visual detail, and you also get 5x optical zoom for shooting distant subjects. Even pictures taken in low light settings come out to be great, thanks to the integrated flash and an ISO range of 100-3200. The DSC-W800 includes a variety of built-in shooting modes (e.g. Intelligent Auto, Easy Shooting, Panorama, and Party), and also comes with Sony's"SteadyShot"image stabilization technology for blur-free photos. The camera's 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor makes it easy to compose/view still photos, while a dedicated"movie"button lets you record 720p HD videos at 30fps with little to no effort. Other notable features include USB charging support, 360-degree panoramic shooting, self-timer, and a lot more.Sony DSC-W800 Review
“Offering goodies such as a high-resolution sensor, 5x optical zoom, and manual controls in a slim and lightweight package, Sony DSC-W800 is certainly the best digital camera under $100.” - Rajat Sharma
Best Budget:Kodak PixPro FZ53 Digital Camera4Buy on AmazonBuy on WalmartBuy on B&H Photo VideoWhat We Like
Smile and Blink detectionWhat We Don't Like
Autofocus isn't exactly the best
If you're on a shoestring budget but still want a capable digital camera, look no further than Kodak's PixPro FZ53. Having a 16MP sensor and a 28mm wide-angle lens, this inexpensive shooter lets you capture more detail in every frame. There's also 5x optical zoom for taking pictures of faraway subjects, and the camera's"auto detection"feature - which can recognize faces, smiles, and blinks - makes getting the perfect shot even easier.
You get numerous shooting modes (e.g. Auto, Image Stabilization, and Panorama), as well as a plethora of scene presets such as Landscape, Fireworks, Glass, Indoor, and Night Portrait. The PixPro FZ53 uses digital image stabilization technology to reduce blur, and its 2.7-inch LCD monitor allows for effortless composition/viewing of pictures. You can also capture 720p HD videos at 30fps with the simple touch of a button, and shoot up to 200 images with the camera's battery fully charged. Some other features worth noting are SD card support (up to 32GB), an ISO range of 80-1600, and macro shooting.
Best Action Camera:AKASO Brave 4 Wi-Fi Action CameraBuy on AmazonBuy on EBayWhat We Like
Good video and photo quality (for the price)
Lots of bundled accessoriesWhat We Don't Like
Some reliability issues
Arguably one of the best action cameras available in the market, Akaso's Brave 4 offers a lot of features for less than $100. Its 20MP Sony sensor lets you record crisp 4K footage at 24fps and Full-HD videos at 60fps. Not only that, you can shoot 20MP still images with up to 5x zoom as well. The camera includes a number of adjustable viewing angles (e.g. 70 degrees, 140 degrees), and its built-in smart gyroscope results in super-smooth videos with enhanced stabilization.
A 2-inch IPS LCD screen makes it easy to preview/compose photos and videos, and there's also a smaller display on the front that can show important information such as battery level and recording time. Akaso Brave 4 comes with a transparent case that makes it waterproof up to 30m (100ft), and there's even a dedicated"diving mode"for filming all your underwater adventures. For connectivity and I/O, there's Wi-Fi and HDMI included in the mix. In addition to other accessories, the camera's bundled with two batteries (each having a capacity of 1050mAh) that provide a total recording time of up to 180 minutes.
“With high-end features like 4K video recording, gyroscope-based stabilization, and wireless connectivity included, it's a surprise that Akaso Brave 4 costs under $100.”—Rajat Sharma
Best Instant Camera:Polaroid Mint Instant Print Digital CameraBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Functional and easy-to-use design
Printing a photo takes less than a minuteWhat We Don't Like
Connectivity with mobile app isn't great
Snapping digital pictures is indeed great, but what if you could immediately turn them into"real"photos as well? Say hello to Polaroid's Mint, a funky instant camera that lets you do exactly that. Designed to be used vertically (or in"portrait"orientation) like smartphones, it lets you click sharp and vibrant images in a jiffy. You get a 16MP sensor on the front, along with an automatic LED flash and a"selfie mirror"for taking selfies.
There's also a simple circular viewfinder for composing shots. However, the real star of the show here is the camera's integrated printer, which prints out a captured photo in less than a minute. The pictures (with a size of 2 x 3 inches) are printed on a special sticky-back paper, using"ZINK"(Zero Ink) technology. Polaroid Mint offers six picture modes (e.g. Black & White, Vintage, and Vibrant color with Polaroid border) to choose from, and supports microSD cards of up to 256GB in size. Its built-in battery is rated for up to 40 prints on a full charge. Other noteworthy additions include a self-timer, and a no paper indicator.
Runner-Up, Best Instant Camera:Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6Buy on AmazonWhat We Like
Numerous creative shooting modes
Colored filters for LED flash work wellWhat We Don't Like
Uses non-rechargeable batteries
On the hunt for a feature-laden instant camera that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Our vote goes to Fujifilm's Instax Square SQ6. Boasting a stylish two-tone design, it lets you shoot beautiful square photos. The pictures (having a size of 2.4 x 2.4 inches) are then printed on a special film paper, with each shot taking as little as 90 seconds to develop completely. The camera features a retractable lens on the front, in addition to a"selfie mirror"and a built-in LED flash. You also get three colored filters (Orange, Purple, and Green) that can be attached to the flash, giving your photos a unique tinted appearance.
A motor-driven mechanism allows for easy switching between different focus ranges, as needed for the camera's shooting modes (e.g. Normal, Macro, and Landscape). The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 is powered by two lithium batteries that are good for shooting/developing up to 300 photos. Some other features worth mentioning are a self-timer, automatic brightness control, and a"Double Exposure"mode that makes for some really artistic images.
“Packing everything from colored flash filters to multiple exposure capabilities in a hip-looking square body, Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 makes instant photography a joy.”—Rajat Sharma
Best Design:Lomography Konstruktor FBuy on AmazonBuy on B&H Photo VideoBuy on Adorama.comWhat We Like
Truly unique and fun DIY construction
No batteries neededWhat We Don't Like
Average picture quality
Lomography's cameras are renowned for having some of the coolest designs ever, and the Konstruktor F is no exception. However, there's a lot more to it than just good looks. This is an old school 35mm film camera that you have to first"build"in order to use. Yep, you read that right! It comes in the form of a DIY (Do It Yourself) kit, complete with all the essential components and detailed assembly instructions. And even though the 50mm fixed aperture lens can't really match up to the advanced optics of today's digital cameras, the resulting photos have a timeless retro charm that's simply incomparable. Interestingly, the camera also includes a PC socket that lets you connect a flash accessory (available for purchase separately) to it, resulting in better low light pictures. Lomography Konstruktor F uses a twin-lens reflex viewfinder, along with basic manual controls for adjusting exposure and focus. Oh, and it doesn't need a battery to work. How awesome is that!
“Utilizing a fun Do-It-Yourself approach and technology of the past, Lomography Konstruktor F helps you capture timeless photos like no other camera can.”—Rajat Sharma
Best For Kids:Canon IVY CLIQ Instant Camera PrinterBuy on AmazonBuy on WalmartBuy on B&H Photo VideoWhat We Like
Extremely easy to use
Dedicated button for reprinting photosWhat We Don't Like
5MP sensor is nothing special
Canon's digital cameras are the preferred choice of professionals around the world, but the Ivy Cliq is geared more towards budding young photographers. Available in three bright colors (Bumblebee Yellow, Lady Bug Red, and Seaside Blue), it features a 5MP sensor, along with a"selfie mirror"and an automatic LED flash. However, the best thing about this kid-friendly camera is its built-in printer, which prints out amazing photos in a matter of seconds.
The pictures (having a size of 2 x 3 inches) are printed using"ZINK"(Zero Ink) technology, on a special sticky-back paper that allows them to be stuck anywhere. You even get a dedicated"reprint"button for printing copies with little to no effort. Canon Ivy Cliq is ridiculously easy to use, thanks to an optical viewfinder that makes for uncomplicated framing of shots. It also comes with a MicroSD card slot, as well as a MicroUSB port for connecting it to a PC (both Windows and macOS systems are supported) for transferring/viewing saved images. The camera's 700mAh battery takes around 90 minutes to charge completely.Final Verdict
As unique and feature-packed as all of the cameras detailed above are, our top choice is Sony's excellent DSC-W800. It gives you a host of goodies like a high-resolution sensor, USB charging, multiple creative presets, and more, all at a reasonable price. If you'd have something a bit more affordable, check out Kodak's PixPro FZ53. Simple and easy to use, it includes features such as automatic smile/blink detection, 5x optical zoom, and digital image stabilization technology.
How We Tested
Our expert testers and reviewers evaluate the quality of digital cameras under $100 the same as we evaluate most cameras, though we put a stronger focus on the value proposition and the quality trade-off. One of the elements we look at are design and physical features, focusing on portability, ease of use, and durability.
The more important factors are photo and video quality, including optical zoom capability. We test these by taking sample shots and video, both indoors and outdoors, in a variety of environments, modes, and lightning conditions. Then we look at the resulting images and video on a monitor. Finally, we take a look at the price and competition to evaluate how much value the digital camera offers and make our final judgement. All of the digital cameras we test are purchased by Ach5; none are provided by manufacturers.
About Our Trusted Experts
As a technology writer and editor with close to seven years (and counting) of experience, Rajat Sharma has tested/reviewed dozens of cameras (among other gadgets) over the course of his career so far. Before joining Ach5, he has worked as a senior technology journalist with two of India's biggest media houses - The Times Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited.
What to Look for When Buying Digital Cameras Under $100
Optical zoom - When searching for a compact point-and-shoot camera, take into consideration the optical zoom abilities advertised. If you want to capture images that are more than a few arms' lengths away, you'll want something with at least 4X optical zoom.
Connectivity - Having fun living in a connected digital world? If you want to quickly upload your favorite photos to Facebook and Instagram, ensure that your camera of choice offers digital connectivity options, such as Bluetooth or WiFi, to connect with your smartphone.
Video abilities - Not all compact cameras are excellent at video recording. If you're looking for a camera to capture videos of the kids or your latest vacation, look for a solution that offers a minimum of 720p HD video. If you are able to find an option with stabilized video, it will help to remove any shakiness caused by your hand.