A Review of the Best Digital Cameras Under $200 with Optical Zoom

If you are in the market for a new digital camera, but you do not have a lot of money to spend, it is best to do some research before you make a purchase.

When you are looking to buy an inexpensive camera, there are several things you want to keep under consideration.

The first thing you need to consider is You will want to look for the best digital camera under $200, because it is a good starting point.

I have limited this camera review list to five products, because more selections tends to become redundant and only serves to make the final choice more difficult.

In general, you will be looking for three main things:

  1. The Cost - Generally speaking, when cost is a concern, you will want to look for the best digital camera under $200, because it is a good starting point. Photography industry standards tend to dictate that camera features and functions at or beneath the $200 starting point are generally the same - some cameras have more or fewer features, and the purpose of this review list is to point out the best in the under $200 class.
  2. The Ease of Use - The cameras that have been reviewed on this page will be easy to use, even for beginners. Few things are more frustrating than owning a piece of technology that is difficult to use.
  3. Ample Supply of Basic Functions - Some digital cameras are laid out in such a way that it is hard to manipulate the camera functions, and take good pictures at the same time. This list will point out the cameras where this type of hassle is not an issue.

Once you have finished your researching this list, you will be able to make an intelligent choice about which inexpensive camera to buy.

Canon PowerShot A495

The first camera in this list of the best digital cameras under $200 is the Canon PowerShot A495.

It is a 10.0 MP Digital Camera with 3.3x Optical Zoom and 2.5-Inch LCD, it comes in blue, and it sports the following features that make it a decent camera at an affordable price:

  • Easy to use - you'll only have to skim through the manual to learn about all the features.
  • Actually takes excellent photos
  • Exceptionally good video quality
  • Direct to YouTube feature
  • Lightweight
  • Uses AA batteries, and you can get 300 shouts out of rechargeable batteries
  • Fairly decent video editing software

This entry level priced Canon model makes a perfect gift for a youth. The Canon PowerShot A495 is a decent budget camera, and you will not find a better model in this particular price range.

Nikon COOLPIX L24

The second camera on the list is the Nikon COOLPIX L24. It is a 14 MP camera that sports a 3.0 inch LCD.

This particular unit comes in a beautiful cherry red color, and it has the following features that make it a good camera, at a good price:

  • Photos are Bright and Clear
  • Face Detection System
  • Tiny and easily slips into a pocket (pants, jacket, shirt, etc.)
  • Image Stabalizaton minimizes negative effect of "shaky hands:
  • Decent Zoom Range
  • Uses AA batteries
  • Large 3.0 inch Display

At only a few more dollars than the Canon PowerShot A495, you get a slightly better camera, due to the image stabilization.

The difference will not be that noticeable to many people, but some people will prefer to pay the extra money to get this camera.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530

The third camera on our list is the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530.

It has 14 MP, an advanced wide angle optical zoom lens, and a 2.7 inch LCD.

The picture of the model shown is a pretty pink, but the camera also comes in fresh green, cool periwinkle, sophisticated black, and a sleek metallic silver finish.

The price jump from the is due to this camera’s high performance (in its class) zoom lens.

Some of the features that make this camera worth owning include the following:

  • High-performing Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 4x optical zoom lens
  • Ultra High Quality Photographs
  • A Cool Sweep Panorama Mode (everything fits in)
  • Steady Shot Image Stabilization
  • Intelligent Auto and Scene Recognition Modes
  • Fast Shutter Speed
  • Face Detection Technology
  • Smile Shutter Technology (to make sure you catch the smiles)
  • In-Camera tools for Retouching Photographs
  • Soft Skin Mode (recognizes skin tone and softens the appearance blemishes and wrinkles )

This camera is jam-packed with quality features that make it well worth the price difference from the Nikon COOLPIX L24.

You will not be able to beat the quality of this incredible little Sony camera, not at this particular price point.

If you are looking for an inexpensive point and shoot camera that is a cut above, this will probably be the camera for you.

Panasonic LUMIX FH25

The fourth camera on the list is the Panasonic LUMIX FH25. It features a whopping 16 MP and an adequate 2.7 inch display.

This beautiful Panasonic camera is the first high definition (HD) video entry on this review list of the best digital cameras under $200

The sleek body of the model most prominently shown, is a graphite infused black with polished silver finishes, but the other color choices for the camera are Dark Blue, Deep Violet, Shiny Red, and Polished Silver.

The camera is a handsome camera to carry, and its performance is superior for its class.

  • Hand Shake Detection (shaky hands produce blurry pictures)
  • Intelligent ISO Motion Control Detection (for picture subjects)
  • Face Detection
  • Scene Detection
  • Intelligent LCD (adjusts the brightness of the LCD according to camera environment)
  • Intelligent Exposure Light Detection (prevents over and underexposure)
  • Easy to use Settings
  • Good Battery Life
  • High Megapixels
  • Max Zoom still produced Good Pictures
  • Built in 70 MB Memory (decent internal memory if you run our of memory card space)
  • Great HD (720P) Video Quality
  • Intelligent Auto Function

This camera's high definition video (HD) feature makes it worth the price jump from the Nikon Coolpix L24.

Many people who have discovered HD quality, simply cannot go back to standard quality video.

The cool extras, such as the quality max zoom, multiple intelligent technologies, and 70 MB internal memory make the Panasonic LUMIX FH25 well worth the money you will spend to own it.

Cannon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS

The Cannon PoweShot ELPH 300 HS is the fifth and most feature packed camera on the list. It sports 12.1 MP, a 2.7 inch LCD display, and it is touted as one of the world's thinnest cameras.

This camera shoots high definition (HD) in full 1080p, and it contains an impressive list of the most sought after camera qualities, prepare to be amazed:

  1. Auto Select of 32 Predefined Shooting Settings
  2. Canon's acclaimed Digic 4 Image Processor (no flash needed for low light situations)
  3. Burst Mode (for high speed shooting usually found in higher end and DSLR cameras)
  4. Optical Zoom while Shooting Video
  5. 5X Optical Zoom
  6. Optical Image Stabilizer
  7. 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  8. Brilliant, Crisp Photos
  9. Amazing HD Video Quality (full 1080p)
  10. Fun and Useful Slow Motion Video Capture
  11. Unique Movie Digest Mode (records a brief video clip before each still shot, and then combines full day's worth of clips)
  12. Artistic Modes (Toy Camera, Monochrome, etc.)
  13. Mini HDMI Connector
  14. Simple, Easy to Understand Controls

The Cannon PoweShot ELPH 300 is one of the best cameras on the market, at any price range.

Photography related forums are filled with DSLR camera users who regularly carry this camera for their point and shoot usage.

If you want the absolute best camera for under $200, the Cannon PoweShot ELPH 300 has positively everything you could want to take brilliant photos.

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Comments 4 comments

KathyH profile image

KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

Great information! I actually have the Canon Powershot A495 and LOVE it, I have not tried taking video's with it yet, I'll have to do that! Voted "Up" and "Useful."


Rachelle Williams profile image

Rachelle Williams 5 years ago from Tempe, AZ Author

Kathy, thank you so much adding weight to my review. Let me know how that video works out for you.


Entourage_007 profile image

Entourage_007 5 years ago from Santa Barbara, CA

I really like the Canon Powershot ELPH 300 HS - such a good looking camera with tons of possibilities - great article.


2besure profile image

2besure 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

My son just gave me his old cyber-shot. I wanted a decent digital camera, for pictures for my articles. Thanks for this powerful information. Voted up and shared socially!

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