Best Digital Cameras Under $100
In this post, we will give a detailed review of every camera that I think is worth your attention. $100 is not that much money to spare for the camera when we take a look at the prices these days but surely there are some awesome cameras for under $100.
Right off the bat, I will be honest, you cant expect to get a camera at will blow your mind for under $100 because cameras in this price range are old. In today’s world of technology, especially cameras a lot of things change in 2 years because manufacturers are always adding new accessories and capabilities to the cameras.
I will do my best to provide you with both technical capabilities of every camera and give you my personal opinion, at the end of the post you will surely know which one of these digital cameras is the best for your needs. So without further ado, let’s see the best digital cameras under $100.
The first item on the list of best digital cameras under $100 is Nikon D3100. This is a DSLR from Nikon that of course has an interchangeable lens with a Nikon F mount. As you can expect for a camera under $100 this is an older camera. It was first introduced in 2010, meaning it’s 12 years old. 12 years is of course big period and surely newer cameras are much more advanced.
This camera shoots 14.2 megapixels of raw photos and course, it supports jpeg photos as well.
Nikon D3100 also has aps-c sized crop sensor with a 1.5 times crop factor, this means that it is a pretty much standard aps-c sensor camera.
It is important to note that Nikon D3100 has a hot shoe ( this is a slot that has electronic contacts, it is usually found on top of the camera ) on top which means you will be able to control certain compatible accessories such as flashes, microphones, wireless triggers, viewfinders, and other gear. This is one of the pluses of the Nikon D3100 when you compare it with the other cameras under $100 since most of them don’t have a hot shoe.
On the back it has a 3inch fixed LCD screen, of course, it is NOT a touch screen and it does not articulate or flips out in any way. This is probably the biggest con of this camera because its screen is not of good quality. You can only use it for scrolling through the menus and look the framing of your photos. Of course, these are the basic tasks and you can not check the exposure, focus, etc.
If you are looking for a camera for video recording this is probably not your best bet. I am not saying that you cannot create good videos with this camera if you have a good composition and set everything up perfectly. All I am saying is that there are certainly better digital cameras under $100 that we have listed below if your main goal is to take videos.
Nikon D3100 has a flash that is built on top of it. I would not recommend using a built-in flash because it omits harsh light on the subject. Light travels in a straight line until it is either reflected or absorbed. A built-in flash objective is to just set light to whatever subject is in front of the lens. It does not work to bounce light or even make it softer. Instead, you should use an external flash because that allows you to control the direction from which the light will be coming. If you want to check out the external flash, I found one that is super affordable on Amazon, it costs only $12, and here is the link.
To go back to the topic, Nikon D3100 is a fairly lightweight camera, it weighs 550 grams. It also falls into the category of relatively small cameras and it has a decent grip too. Of course, this is a good thing because it makes handling it much easier than when the camera is too heavy.
It doesn’t have too many buttons or other accessories and looks really simple. The good thing about the Nikon D3100 camera is that the battery slot is on the bottom and the SD Card slot is on the side.
This means that you won’t have to take your tripod plate off every time you want to get to the SD Card.
Since this camera is old 12 years of course it won’t blow you away with any specifications or accessories.
As for the available ports, it has a GPS port that is used for proprietary accessory, a USB port, HDMI out, and AV out also.
2. Nikon D80
First of all, I want to say that Nikon is not the sponsor of this post and I am not advertising them, I guess they are just making quality cameras under $100. Jokes aside, the first thing that I can say is that Nikon D80 is much heavier and more robust compared to the Nikon D3100.
An important note is also that D80 falls into the series of Nikon cameras that are aimed at professionals which is not the case with the Nikon D3100. This camera was first manufactured in 2006 and this can say a lot, even though it’s much older than D3100 it is on a higher-end line.
D80 shoots 10 megapixels of raw photos compared to the 14.2 megapixels of D3100. It has an aps-c sized CCD sensor. This type of sensor is praised by a lot of people whom that claim how it allows photos to be more natural and that it renders colors better. As for the crop sensor, it has the same 1.5 times crop factor as the D3100. It also has an f-mount so which means it will support any Nikon lens.
Now the deal breaker in my opinion is that Nikon D80 has an even worse screen than the Nikon D3100. It has a 2.5-inch lc screen that will only allow you to do the basic scrolling and you will be able to check the framing of your photos. This means that you will have to wait till you get your photos on the computer to be able to check for the things like exposure or focus.
One more con of the Nikon D80 is that it cant film any video, not even ones in 480p resolution.
Nikon D80 takes 3 photos in one second if you put it in burst mode, and of course, it has a built-in flash and hot shoe on the top.
Compared to the Nikon D3100 it’s mostly down to controls. The D80 also has exposure help when looking at the photos, unlike the 3100. It takes nicer photos, but at a slightly lower quality. Another BIG difference is that the D80 has an autofocus motor, which the D3100 doesn’t. That makes it compatible with a wider range of lenses that Nikon offers.
I would personally recommend this camera to someone who likes to have a better grip on the camera. This one is slightly heavier than D3100 and weighs 668 grams. Of course, if you want to take videos this is not an option for you.
3. Sony NEX c3
Sony NEX c3 is the smallest camera I am going to list in this post, this of course can be both a good and bad thing depending on your needs. This camera was first time released in 2011 and it shoots 16.2 megapixels of raw photos which means that it has a higher resolution than both Nikon cameras.
It has an aps-c cmos sensor with a 1.5 crop factor. Nex c3 has a Sony e-mount which means that this is a mirrorless camera. Of course, there are massive differences between those two types of cameras when it comes to performance but again everything leads to one question, what type of photos or videos do you want to take with your camera? Which is better mirrorless or DSLR?
The DSLR offers a wider selection of interchangeable lenses, longer battery life, and better low-light shooting thanks to the optical viewfinder. So far I have reviewed two DSLR cameras which are Nikon D3100 and Nikon D80. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras are lighter, more portable, offer better video quality even in lower-end models, and can shoot more images at faster shutter speeds.
Sony NEX c3 has a 3-inch screen that is partially articulate, you can move it to a certain down-low angle and see directly at the screen. So this is the first camera I have mentioned in this post that has a screen that is not fixed, which is certainly a big plus.
With this screen, you will be able to take down low or up high-angle shots without any problems. Also what is better than both Nikon models I have mentioned so far is that it can shoot up to 6 photos in burst mode. Also, it shoots videos that can be a maximum az 720p resolution. This is certainly not much but in any case better than so far mentioned cameras.
I would personally not recommend you to get this camera if your goal is to take videos, it can do it but not on the desired quality. As for the weight of the Sony NEX c3, it weighs 230 grams, which is almost a third of the weight of the Nikon D80. This can certainly tell you that this is a very light camera and very easy to handle.
When it comes to the available ports, it has USB and HDMI ports. Of course, it has a battery slot. The SD card slot is found close to the tripod screw so if you decide to use a tripod you will have to remove it to be able to take the SD card out.
This camera has no hot shoe or flashes implemented in itself. But it has a Sony proprietary adapter where you can technically connect a hot shoe or flash or any other accessory. This all sounds great but it is important to note that it only accepts sony parts which are extremely hard to find.
4. Canon Rebel XT
This is the oldest camera that I am going to mention in this post. It is first released in 2005, of course, according to its age it will have specifications in the same manner.
It shoots 8 megapixels of raw photos and it has an aps-c cmos sensor with a 1.6 times crop factor. This is a slightly bigger crop factor than the all previously mentioned cameras. As this is a Canon camera it has a pretty popular canons ef mount. Of course, this means that you will have an almost unlimited pool of lenses you can attach to it.
Also, Canon Rebel XT has by far the smallest screen of all of the mentioned cameras so far. The screen is only 1.8 inches which means you will need pretty good eyesight to even check the framing of your photos on this screen. I don’t even have to mention how impossible it would be to check exposure or focus. Similarly, like the Nikon cameras mentioned above, it shoots 3 photos in one second in continuous shooting mode and it has a built-in flash and hot shoe.
The interface of this camera is pretty basic as you would expect from a camera made in 2005. It is important to note that it doesn’t support regular SD cards instead it uses compact flash cards. It weighs around 550 grams and it provides the best grip out of all mentioned cameras so far.
5. Panasonic gf3
This camera was released by Panasonic in 2011, not so old compared to the Canon Rebel XT. It shoots 13 megapixels of raw photos and it has a micro four-thirds cmos sensor and 2 times crop factor, so far the biggest crop factor of all mentioned cameras. It has the smallest sensor with micro four-thirds but it has a micro four-thirds lens mount.
Of course, this is a mirrorless camera that will allow you to use a lot of lenses with it. When it comes to the screen it is three inches fixed touchscreen. This will allow you to use it to adjust some settings. You also have to keep in mind that this is a camera from 2011 so the touchscreen probably won’t be as responsive as it is on your mobile phone.
It can shoot 3 photos in one second when in continuous shooting mode. Now we came to the most interesting part, this camera can take videos in 1080p resolution, which is by far the best when compared to the cameras we have mentioned above. All of the videos are in 30 FPS.
Now, this doesn’t mean that this camera can be recommended if you want to take videos, my personal opinion is that you will need at least a $250 budget to afford a camera that will take a decent-looking video.
6. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47K
You will probably have to buy a used one if you want to get Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ47K but I assure you, it will be worth it. This camera has an optical zoom lens and AVC HD 1080 60 I recording. AVCHD 60i is the process of recording 60 frames per second using the interlace scanning system.
Probably the greatest thing about this camera is that it is well equipped with both lens and LCD with all of the camera controls. This gives it a huge advantage over all of the other cameras mentioned before. When it comes to image quality, it shoots 12.1 megapixel raw photos. This means that it is a typical point-and-shoot performance.
The biggest problem with this camera would be shooting in low light. When you take a photo with it in a bright light photos look good, both details and colors are pretty accurate. I would personally not recommend it to anyone who likes to take a shot in a low-light environment because it brings noise and grains. The same problem occurs when taking HD videos, everything looks super good in bright light but when you get to the low light environment everything becomes a mess. Please take this into the consideration before making a purchase.
When it comes to the design of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47K everything is impressive of course taking into consideration its price range and competition. It is equipped with 24x optical zoom with power O.I.S which is a Panasonic image stabilization system. Panasonic did a really good job and it has one of the best systems in its class. This means that you will be able to maintain the camera steady even when zooming to the maximum.
The camera also has options for manual focus, f-stop, & shutter speed, along with the rear dial to adjust these. Together the options will surely work well. Also, it has a focus button which will certainly provide help with manual focus.
Overall, certainly, the best camera so far that I have mentioned.
7. Kodak PIXPRO FZ53-RD
This is probably the most budget-friendly camera that has relatively decent specs that you can find. It costs only $80 when you want to buy it new and not used. Kodak Pixpro is a very tiny camera that weighs only 106 grams, of course, this is the weight of the body. This camera shoots 16 megapixels of raw photos and it uses CMOS Sensor. It will also allow you a 5x zoom so you will be able to get close to a lot of things.
As for the design, I think that it looks great but the grip is a problem, of course only because it’s so tiny. It has a 2.7 fixed LCD screen. The buttons and controls are the basic ones that will allow you to scroll the menus. As for the available ports, that is also pretty basic with the USB and HDMI available ports.
8. Nikon 1 V1
This camera was first published 10 years ago, meaning it came out in 2012. Of course, this also falls into the category of old cameras but certainly, this one is worth your attention. You can get your hands on it for only $85 which in my opinion is certainly worth it. Nikon 1 V1 is a member of Nikon’s V series of cameras.
This camera shoots 10 megapixels of raw photos and it has a CMOS sensor. Some of the biggest pros of the Nikon 1V1 are that is has an Electronic Built-in Viewfinder. It means that a camera allows the photographer to see the image captured by the lens displayed on a small screen. It has an external microphone port which is especially useful with videos, of course, this means that you will be able to attack a microphone to it. There are certainly some more pros but you can see that in the table.
The biggest cons in my opinion are that it has no wireless connection, no image shift stabilization, and the resolution is really low, only 10 MP. The final big cons are that the battery life is low, you will be able to take 350 photos before it runs out and the camera performed badly in a low-light environment.
This camera is good for anyone who shoots fast action outdoors and those who prefer the ergonomic handling of a larger camera body. But it is not recommended if you intend to shoot indoors and in low light conditions or if you like to work creatively with shallow depth of field.
There are 8 of my picks when it comes to cameras under $100, as I said at the start of this post it is impossible to get something outstanding with this budget and it is how the technology works. New technology is always at price and it will cost money.
In any case, it is important not to compare the best digital cameras under $100 to the ones that cost a lot more like Canon EOS Rebel T7 which usually costs around $500, or even Panasonic FZ300 which is in the same price range. In any case, I hope that my post helped you find your camera under $100.