Point and Shoot cameras are blessings when you want to do more with the less budget you have. Believe it or not, a budget-friendly camera will do the heavy lifting if you use it well enough.
You don’t even need your Smartphone as a substitute (I’ll get to the “Why” part of it soon). But you have to know which camera to pick.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help.
In this article of mine, I’ll be telling you about the best point and shoot cameras under $100. I’ll be documenting my experience with these things in short reviews. Pick any one of these items and you’ll be good to go.
While we’re at it, let’s go over some of the obvious ways a compact camera “One-ups” your pricey Smartphone.
TL;DR – Our Top 3 Picks
Let’s get on with the part where I tell you about cameras that you can get at the meager price of less than a 100-dollar bill. Read these short reviews and marvel at the benefits money (rather lack thereof) can buy for you.
1. Sony DSCW800
Want a beginner-friendly camera that does the bulk of the work for you while you take photos? Of course you do! Guess what? Sony agrees with you! That’s why we have Sony DSCW800 compact camera right at the beginning of our list.
What impressed me about this device is the fact that it has a detailed Menu system. The in-built system lets beginners effortlessly surf through the menu without any difficulties. Not feeling like going through intricacies of the menu? Feel free to enable “Easy Mode” and the controls will be further simplified!
Don’t mistake the DSCW800 to be a “Cheap” camera just because the control system is easier to handle than most of its peers. This Budget-friendly camera packs several picture modes that spice up your photos and videos once you put them into effect.
Intrigued? I can tell you that users have three picture modes in total to apply to their still photos, portraits, landscapes etc. For movies, you have four different modes to apply as well. Guess what? You have three different picture modes for panoramic shots as well.
I guess you never expected this from an entry-level camera, did you? Wait, there’s more!
Videos recorded with the DSCW800 are quite good for the price. The camera delivers 720p videos on command. Users can record in segments of 29 minutes. These are just like half an hour episodes of a soap opera. Want to pair this device with your Smart TV? You’ll require an HDTV or HDMI Cable.
Okay, let’s get back to photos. This device here features 5X optical zoom. You get 20.1 Megapixels to work with. This delivers detailed photos when you combine it with the Super HAD CCD sensor. The lens is from Sony as well. So, there won’t be any concerns regarding mismatch qualities.
Of course, Sony gave it the power of digital zooming as well. However, based on your distance from the target, digital zoom capacity of DSCW800 will vary.
I know how much we like to smile in our photos. And smiling IS important. Sony gets that! That’s why there’s an “Automatic Smile Detector” at play here. It does what it says. It takes the best shot of your portrait when you’re smiling. The sensor detects when you blink as well. That’s just the cherry on top.
Now, I’m not saying that the pictures will be “Super Incredible” or “Lifelike.” But hey, you get image stabilization and less blurry photos than Sony’s competitors.
People say that a camera is only as good as its battery. They are not wrong! The battery here has a long life. Once it depletes, you just need an hour or so to bring it back to shape. Use a standard USB cable or a charging adapter (included in the package) for the job at hand.
Believe it or not, you can get reliable photo shooting devices under 100 dollars as well. Just ask Nikon! They brought out Nikon COOLPIX A10 for beginners who want to get in touch with photography for the first time. Despite being beginner-friendly, this camera packs interesting features and benefits within.
For example, people will have 16 Megapixels worth of detail to work with when taking photos. An entry-level compact camera providing this level of detail signifies quality! You can get up close or zoom out at will with the easy control panel. Just point at the object you’re capturing and shoot!
The benefits don’t end there! You have a dedicated 5X optical zooming system as well. This lets you capture nature and people in an incredible detail. You can use digital zoom to further refine the images.
At this kind of price, Nikon provides a CCD image sensor. The sensor allows you to discern between various weather modes and surroundings for wonderful images. The sensor is packed within NIKKOR glass lens. I can understand people objecting about such a lens but a glass lens is all you get at this price.
If you think that Nikon is only good at taking photos, think again! NIKKOR glass lens and CCD sensor allowed me to capture home movies in 720p quality. There’s a dedicated “Movie” button on the control panel.
All I needed to do is to push the button and begin recording. If I wanted to stop, I needed to push it again. It is that easy, folks! Want to see what you guys did at family dinner on TV? Just connect audio, video or HDMI cable to a port and enjoy your antics on the big screen!
Nikon A10 doesn’t sell you short when it comes to photo modes as well. You have the “Auto” mode as it’s typical with cameras within 100 dollars. And, people get as many as 15 different photo modes that apply various effects to their photos.
People can even experiment with changing the skin tone, blink mode, and Auto Portrait as well. Feel free to tweak the minute detail as you please.
The Nikon CoolPix A10 never leaves you high and dry at the middle of a photoshoot. People can navigate the menus and track what’s going on through an LCD screen. Don’t worry. The screen is 2.7 inches long and super bright for you to make everything out in crystal clear detail.
Nikon A10 is never short of power as well. What you get with the package is a standard Li-on battery. It’s quick to charge and runs a long race. People can always buy a spare if they don’t want to wait while the main battery juices up to full in 60 minutes.
I’m listing best point and shoot cameras under $100 and it has to have a Kodak product on it. In this case, the model is Kodak PIXPRO FZ53 Digital Camera. You might ask, “Why?” First of all, the design of this device impressed me. This is a compact camera that fits in any pocket and is portable as well.
Travelers can take it anywhere they like without worrying about protective cases. Plus, the FZ53-BK comes with 5X optical zooming facility. All the photographers need is to point it in any direction and press the shutter. The camera will take fantastic photos without you doing anything else.
You can zoom in on whatever you like. The 28mm wide lens is here to take astonishing photos and videos without you missing anything. The frame captures everything that you see without cutting or blurring the edges. Yes, a professional performance within budget indeed!
Every digital camera has a bunch of settings that make taking photos easier. In Kodak PIXPRO FZ23-BK’s case the camera does the work for you. Meaning, it’ll set the mode automatically without pressing any button. One can cycle through “Smile Detection,” “Blink Detection,” and “Face Detection” modes.
All you have to do is press “On” button and cycle through the menu. Of course there will be additional modes and you can cycle through those modes without breaking any sweat.
People will have additional buttons as part of the control panel as well. Don’t worry, the manual here will tell you in details about what each button does and how.
Okay, I’m taking photos. But wouldn’t it be nice if I could track what’s going on with the camera? The good news is, with a 2.7-inch display, people can. This LCD screen lets you see what’s happening with the photo frame, various modes, functions, and the menu without you going wild with the camera.
I understand that people can take good photos with this tiny camera but what about recording videos?
As it turns out, one can record videos with 720p resolution. Don’t worry about switching between taking photos and recording videos. There’s a button on the camera that helps you in doing that.
Oh, and you’ll have a Li-on battery with the package as well. The battery can be recharged fairly quickly as well. When the camera needs charging, it’ll flash orange.
Yes, this package lacks a “Memory Card.” You’ll have to buy this one separately. I’d suggest going for SanDisk which has a terrific data transfer rate (80MB/s) and can hold full HD 1080p videos as well.
With Canon, the secret lies in its megapixel counts. SD780IS is one of my favorite models because it gives users 12.1 megapixels within a 100-dollar budget. No, the number isn’t some gimmick. You actually get 12.1 megapixels that grant outstanding clarity to your images no matter how mundane they are.
Sounds too salesy to you?
Well, take it from a user… Cannon’s very own image stabilizer paired with the megapixel count will turn the simplest of photos into prized keepsakes. I know, because I have a portrait of my niece at my desk.
How does it work? The image stabilizer detects whether your hands are shaking at the time of taking pictures or not. If it does, this feature helps to correct the distortion of the image.
Canon SD780IS comes with 3X optical zoom to capture distant subjects for a clear image. 3X might not be a significant number when it comes to lens power for some. But let’s be realistic here. What more could we ask from Canon when the budget is under $100 for a camera?
Photography becomes fun when you get to use numerous modes that Canon SD780IS offers. Believe me or not, you have 20 different modes to sink your teeth into (pun intended) many of which I didn’t use yet. But the possibilities are endless. I could play with portrait, night mode, fish-eye, and B&W modes.
The results I got are too good for a budget-friendly point and shoot camera.
Don’t feel like tweaking the photo modes for optimum results? Don’t.
One can simply select the “Auto” mode instead. This mode puts everything in autopilot while you worry about your subject in front of the lens. I didn’t know this at first but apparently “Auto” mode selects the most appropriate setting from 18 available ones. Depending on what you’re capturing, the settings will change.
To be honest with you, I didn’t expect Canon to go all guns blazing in PowerShot SD780IS. Yet; to my surprise, they did. I found DIGIC4 processor at work. This tiny chip follows my subject until I’m ready to shoot however long it may take.
Once I do a photoshoot, the processor optimizes my image with ideal contrast and color correction to make sure the image stands out. However, the processor is not alone in image processing. Canon uses ISPAS technology that improves on the focus and accuracy of the photographer.
One can monitor what’s happening in real-time with the help of a 2.5-inch LCD screen. The control system is super easy to navigate thanks to the “Push Button” technology. It goes without saying that the buttons are well-defined as well. You won’t have problems understanding anything.
This “Point and Shoot” camera gives you excellent HD quality video among other things. One can capture videos and movies at a resolution of 1280x720p. I was surprised to see a HDMI adapter included in the package just so I can play videos on my HD TV.
There’s also a USB cable as well. It’s mainly used for transferring files. If you don’t want to use the charging adapter, use the USB cable to connect to your PC and recharge the device. I’d say this is a good deal for the price I paid for it.
As we come to the last device on my list of Best Point and Shoot Cameras under $100, there’s Kodak. Despite how simple it looks, Kodak packs a punch when it comes to quality. For example, you get to enjoy 4X optical zoom with this device. This means capturing photos from a further distance.
The FZ43 comes with a digital zoom facility as well. This is done to give that “Extra Nudge” where you can capture photos with distant subjects. One can cover more distance than my earlier Canon model.
Unlike other models, Kodak Pixpro FZ43 comes with a widescreen and 27mm lens. This is particularly useful when you have to photograph many people in a group. With this, people won’t have to struggle and tug on one another just to fit into the frame and feature in the photo.
Unlike my previous model on this list, Kodak FZ43 features 16 megapixels of detailing power. That’s plenty when you want to play around with your photos. Thanks to the depth in images, PixPro FZ43 lets colors shine brightly and vividly.
A 2.7-inch LCD screen helps you see everything that’s going on with your camera at the time of taking pictures. Controls are fairly straightforward to understand and work with. In fact, you can take pictures at amazing speeds. I could remove red-eye and add various effects with the touch of a single button.
I didn’t find buttons jamming whenever I tried to access the menus. Good thing is, you get to utilize every mode of the camera without too much of a fuss of any kind.
I for one, like some memories in the form of videos. Kodak FZ43 agrees. That’s why the makers put in a specific button dedicated to capturing videos. Push it and the camera instantly turns into a video recorder. And it’s good! One can capture amazingly vibrant videos in 720p quality resolution.
As it turns out, you don’t have to do anything extravagant for the batteries. Guys at Kodak gave us two AA battery slots to work with. Simple, right? One can use any brand he/she likes and at a cheap price.
Did I say that the FZ43 is compatible with both PC and Mac for you to do image transfers? It is! The best thing is people won’t need separate software to use on each of the platforms. The instructions we get as part of the package is very clear. Even a kid (no pun intended) can interpret them.
Why Would You Buy a Camera in Less Than $100 and Not a Smartphone?
Let’s face it, some of us are toppled by the advent of smartphones these days. So much so that we don’t even see the need for a “Point and Shoot” or Compact camera these days. But are these things really that much inferior to Smartphones? Have they become obsolete? I don’t believe so. Let me explain why.
Let’s See the Price Factor
Yes, Smartphones ARE modern and follow a sleek design. They are attractive compared to “Point and Shoot” cameras which may seem bulky at times. But let’s be realistic. Compared to these compact cameras, your smartphone will cost you a lot more money.
One can get a dedicated camera for less than a 100-dollar bill in this case. The camera is a great device for photography only. An Apple iPhone does a lot of things besides taking photos. But is it an ideal device to depend on if you are on a budget? Not exactly.
Case and point: it’s better to spend on inexpensive cameras rather than going for flagship phones which grant you pictures of “Just about the Same” quality.
Inexpensive Cameras are Better at Conserving Space and Battery Life than Smartphones
Your iPhone or a Samsung flagship smartphone may come with either 64GB or 128GB SD or MicroSD memory card, right? In hindsight, you have a lot of room to work with. Now consider this, you have several applications to fit in within that space. Things aren’t looking so bright now, are they?
Not to mention, constant photography and running numerous apps on your phones take their toll on the battery. Although not at first but gradually it’ll die out leaving you with less and less juice to work with.
Instead, if we look at a “Point and Shoot” camera, it’s solely dedicated to taking pictures. A 64GB memory card will hold more pictures than you can imagine. Also, it doesn’t run additional apps. That’s why you’ll enjoy a prolonged battery life than a Smartphone.
Most importantly, you’ll get these babies in less than 100 bucks. They are light on your wallet as well.
A Compact or Point and Shoot Camera Gives You More Options
At the end of the day, a camera is a camera. Smartphones might look and be fancy but they’ll cut you pretty deep when it comes to the price. But a compact camera is easy to handle and gives you numerous modes to work with when taking photographs or recording videos (yes, it does that too).
I’ll be honest with you… Smartphones might have 10 different modes at best to capture the photos you need. But a camera (at a fraction of the budget), lets you control the ISO count of the image, you can set different modes (night, fish-eye or low light), and even control the lens exposure in some cases.
Smartphones don’t have that. In fact, even 100-dollar cameras come with a detailed manual explaining different modes, menus, and controls. Do you get that with your $700 Smartphones on image capturing? Yes, that’s the point. That’s why I think cameras under $100 still beat phones in quality.
Even Budge-Friendly Cameras Have Better Sensors
Yes, I’m not kidding. When it comes to sensors, bigger is better. Compact cameras win in this regard as they have bigger space in the housing for a CCD or CMOS sensor. Bigger and better sensors mean better images. This is especially true when you’re working in places with low light.
You don’t get cheap Smartphones with good sensors. They’re not big enough. See the image below to compare between the sensor size of Apple’s iPhone, Canon’s PowerShot, and Sony’s CyberShot DSC model. You’ll notice the difference right away.
Another thing you’ll notice is the fact that even the reputed Smartphones produce some sort of noise when we examine some of the images taken. Compare images from a low-budget camera side-by-side and you’ll see that there’s no noise at all!
Cameras are Better at Specialized Photography
Look, Smartphones can grant you good selfies. I do not deny that. But if you’re a traveler like me and love mother nature, your photos will become your keepsakes. Simple selfies won’t do. That’s where even the entry-level point and shoot cameras shine. They are better equipped to shoot a variety of images and fast when compared to Smartphones.
For example, you can add various effects in both Smartphones and normal cameras. Yet, people can’t challenge smartphones to take snap a photo underwater or in the middle of a rocky cave, can they? But here’s the catch! Cameras under $100 have a sturdy housing despite their price range.
That’s why, they are damage-resistant. These things can go through an underwater photography session without damaging their innards. To get a competing smartphone that can do the same, you’ll might have to loosen your wallet too much (at least six times the price of the camera).
Thus, a budget-friendly camera is a better option than to own a smartphone for photography. I’d choose it nine out of ten times if given a chance.
Last Few Words
It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice photographer or an experienced one, you’ll always want the best equipment that complements your skills. When the budget limits you, you’ll have to choose between several features and benefits of the camera.
Rest assured, you won’t have to compromise too much of the good stuff thanks to my guide on Best Point and Shoot Cameras under $100. I’ve gone as deep as I could with the brands and devices I used in the past. I’m sure anyone of these machines will serve you well if you take good care of it.
I’m a firm believer in frugal living. I prefer going for a full-on device for photography rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a Smartphone that can do a bit of this and a bit of that. Hopefully, after reading this guide, you’ll agree with me as well.