Best Cheap camera

If you’re shopping for a camera on a budget, you’ve come to the right place! At Camera Labs I write in-depth reviews of cameras but understand you’re busy people who sometimes just want recommendations of the most outstanding products. So here I’ll cut to the chase and list the best affordable cameras around right now. I’ve included what I consider are the best deals in a variety of categories, and like my other guides they’re listed by review date, not in order of preference.

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Best Cheap Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 review

The Instax Mini 9 is one of the most affordable cameras to use Fujifilm's hugely popular Instax Mini film cartridges - these produce small business card size prints which emerge seconds after taking the photo and self-develop before your eyes within a minute. The Mini 9 is almost identical to the best-selling Mini 8, but adds a small mirror by the lens for framing selfies, is supplied with a close-up adapter lens, and available in five pastel colours. Like other Instax Mini cameras, don't expect 100% accurate framing with the basic viewfinder and beware that prints can often be over-exposed under very bright conditions. If you want instant pictures with accurate framing and guaranteed exposure, then consider Fujifilm's digital Instax SQ10, or their portable Instax printer that'll talk to phones and other cameras. But once you understand what Instax Mini can and cannot do, it's enormous fun. I've not met anyone, young or old, who's not spellbound by a low-cost camera that pumps out instant prints, and it's perfect for events or breaking the ice in street photography. There are more sophisticated and compact models in the Instax Mini range, but I'm fond of the basic charm the Mini 9 inherits from its predecessor. Once again it may not cope with all conditions, but I still believe very home should have one. Refreshingly retro and recommended!

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Nikon Coolpix W100 review

The Nikon COOLPIX W100 is a budget point-and-shoot waterproof compact. If you were asked to describe it in two words they would be simple and inexpensive, given a couple more you could also add fun and stylish. With a 3x optical zoom, a 2.7 inch screen and a small sensor of the kind found in mobile phones, it has a fairly basic specification, but the icing on the cake is WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity which with Nikon's SnapBridge app lets you automatically transfer all your photos to your phone in the background while you shoot. You can also remotely control the camera with your phone. So it's an inexpensive no frills waterproof compact that scores highly on connectivity and ease of use. We highly recommend it, either for the kids or as a holiday camera you can take anywhere and not worry about.

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Panasonic Lumix GX80 GX85 review

The Lumix GX80 / GX85 is one of Panasonic's most compelling cameras to date. It takes the fairly compact flat-topped body of the earlier GX7 and packs it with a wealth of innovation and upgrades. The highlight is the built-in stabilisation which, with the right lenses, matches the performance of Olympus bodies. Like many Lumix bodies, the GX80 / GX85 also sports a touchscreen and 4k video that's exploited in a multitude of cunning modes to shoot still photos at 30fps or adjust the focus after the event by simply tapping the area you'd like to be sharp. The sensor may 'only' have 16 Megapixels, but by removing the low-pass filter, the images are genuinely a little crisper than before; I also love the new high-contrast L Monochrome style. There's still no phase-detect autofocus, but Panasonic's DFD system has steadily improved to a point where you can capture action better than any Micro Four Thirds camera I've tested to date, plus the single AF remains one of the fastest around while also working in very low light. Annoyingly there's no microphone input nor an official cable release, but there's little else to complain about and a great deal to like - especially when you consider its affordable price. If you're looking for a mid-range interchangeable lens camera, there's little that'll match its overall feature-set and performance for the money.

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Panasonic Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 review

The Lumix TZ100 / ZS100 resets the clock on Travel zoom development. Rather than exclusively continue with ever longer zooms, Panasonic has boldly split the range, leaving the TZ80 / ZS60 to pursue the long zoom market and allowing the new TZ100 / ZS100 to go for photographers willing to sacrifice some reach for improved quality. So with its latest generation, the top-end Lumix travel zoom once again finds itself offering something unique in the market. Of course Canon and Sony might have something similar in the wings, but with their latest G-series and RX100 IV still being fairly recent, Panasonic may find itself with a one of a kind proposition for some time. Either way, there's nothing to match it if you desire the quality of a 1in sensor with a longish zoom that will fit in your pocket.

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Nikon COOLPIX L840 review

Nikon's COOLPIX L840 is a DSLR-styled super-zoom camera with a surprisingly powerful feature-set for the money. You get 16 Megapixels, 1080p video, a tilting 3in screen and a 38x optical range equivalent to 22.5-855mm. It's also powered by AA batteries that may increase the weight, but at least a spare set is easy to get hold of. The major update over its best-selling predecessor is the inclusion of Wifi with NFC which makes it an even more compelling proposition, especially for the price. A great super-zoom camera at an entry-level price.

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Sony Cyber-shot HX90V review

Sony's Cyber-shot HX90V is one of the smallest compacts with a 30x optical zoom. Successor to the popular HX60 and HX50, it shares a similar optical zoom range, but packed into a smaller body. The HX90V delivers an equivalent range of 24-720mm, taking you all the way from respectable wide angle to super-telephoto, although the earlier G-series optics have been upgraded to a new design by Zeiss. Like its big rival, Panasonic's Lumix TZ80 / ZS60, the HX90V features a built-in electronic viewfinder which is popped-out the top of the body for use like the recent RX100 models. Unlike the TZ80 / ZS60 though, the HX90V also sports an articulated (albeit not touch-sensitive) screen which can tilt up to face forward for selfies, along with built-in GPS hardware that's more convenient than syncing a log made with a smartphone. Ultimately, the Lumix takes the lead with 4k video, touch controls and support for RAW, but the HX90V has the GPS, tilting screen and slightly smaller body. Both are great high-end pocket super-zooms, but also consider Canon's SX720 HS which boasts a longer zoom than either at 40x.

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Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review

The Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 is a DSLR-styled superzoom with a 16x 24-400mm f2.8-4 lens, 1in sensor and 4k video recording capabilities. The zoom range may be shorter than the 24x of the FZ200 or 60x of the FZ70 / FZ72, but the FZ1000's sensor boasts four times the surface area for better quality. The FZ1000 also has an articulated screen, the same OLED viewfinder as the Lumix GH4, 12fps shooting, built-in Wifi with NFC and support for 1080p video at up to 120fps depending on region.

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Sony Alpha A6000 review

If you're looking for a mirrorless camera that's great at sports and action shooting, as well as delivering superb video, look no further than Sony's Alpha A6000 series. There's three models, the original A6000, the recent A6300 (which adds 4k video, weather-proofing and even better AF), and the latest A6500 (which takes the A6300 and adds a touch-screen and built-in stabilisation). All three are great choices, but if you don't need 4k video or weather-proofing, the original A6000 is simply hard to beat for value. It packs a 24 Megapixel APS-C sensor, electronic viewfinder, tilting screen, Wifi with NFC, 1080p movies up to 60fps and a hotshoe / accessory mount into a tiny body. Most exciting of all is the hybrid AF system which embeds phase-detect AF points across almost the entire sensor area, allowing it to confidently track fast-moving subjects wherever they may be

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