Top five best cheap compact cameras for 2021
If you're looking for a fantastic point-and-shoot model that won't break the bank but still takes great pictures, you'll find the best models listed here.
We've selected five of the best compact cameras available for around £200 or less in the table below. Plus, it's worth knowing which compact cameras to avoid – so we've highlighted some Don't Buys you should steer well clear of.
Some of the models we've selected aren't recent launches, but they're still some of the highest performing cameras out there. You can check our camera reviews page for new reviews bimonthly. Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of March 2021.
And here are some cheap compact cameras to avoid
The worst compact cameras from our testing not only take terrible-quality photos and video, but they're cumbersome to use and have limited features. We've seen compact models with flimsy and easily breakable camera bodies, tiny and fuzzy LCD screens for framing or reviewing shots, and snail-like shutter speeds. Make sure you don't waste your money on sub-par cameras.
How to choose the best compact camera
Here are some of the key criteria worth keeping in mind before you select your next camera, especially if you're in the market for a cheap model.
- Video You might not be able to expect 4K video from a cheaper camera, but that's not to say the best don't still record good-quality footage. 1,080p can be perfectly acceptable, especially if you don't have a 4K device to display video on anyway.
- Viewfinder Not all compact models have a viewfinder, but a lot of people like to have the option to shoot with one, as well as an LCD screen. Look out for this when you're shopping for a cheap compact.
- Zoom Digital zoom enlarges the pixels in an image after it has been taken. What you want is an optical zoom. This is when a camera’s lens magnifies an image for much sharper results.
- Build quality Cheaper cameras are more likely to be made of lower-quality materials, so avoid those which are obviously plastic and go for the models that look and feel a bit more sturdy. You'll also want to look out for a grip and a good weight behind the camera.