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Technology.

23 November 2021

Best cheap compact cameras for 2021

We round up the top-scoring compact cameras costing less than £200 to help you find the perfect cheap camera to best suit your needs.
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Which?Editorial team
Best cheap compact cameras 1

If you're looking for a fantastic point-and-shoot camera that takes great photos but won't break the bank, the best models are listed here. 

We've selected five of the best compact cameras available for around £200 or less. Plus, it's worth knowing which compact cameras to avoid – so we've highlighted some Don't Buys to steer well clear of. 

Best cheap compact cameras

Only logged-in Which? members can read our full compact camera reviews in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to all our reviews – from tablets and TVs to electric cars and electric toothbrushes –  by joining Which?.

  • 65%
    £346.99

    Ideal for travel photography, this camera includes a whopping 40x zoom for getting up close and personal with your subject. Its tiny body is also great for slipping into your jacket pocket or bag, without the heft of a larger camera.

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  • 65%
    £214.00

    This is a first-class camera, with a fantastic zoom, that takes great photos in just about any situation. Its electronic viewfinder, manual controls and multifunction ring make it a better choice for creative photographers than most competitors, and it's still great to use.

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  • 64%
    £179.99

    This is a fantastic little camera; it's very small, so it feels light in your pocket, plus the photo and video quality isn't compromised by its diminutive size. It's the kind of camera you can carry with you to take all types of photos.

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  • 62%
    £169.00

    A solid camera all-round, its 20x zoom allows you to pick out distant landmarks with relative ease and, at 164g, it's surprisingly lightweight to hold. It's certainly worth considering if you're shopping for a compact camera on a strict budget.

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Some of the models we've selected aren't recent launches, but they're still some of the highest performing compact cameras on the market. Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of November 2021.

Not found the right model for you? Browse all our digital camera reviews.

Revealed: the cheap compact cameras to avoid

The photos and videos taken on the worst compact cameras were of a terrible quality, and they were also cumbersome to use with 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.

Worst cheap compact cameras

Only logged-in Which? members can read our compact cameras to avoid, below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access to these models and all of our reviews by joining Which?.

  • 31%
    £63.99

    This Don’t Buy camera is not worth your money; don't be tempted by the cheap price and take a look at some of the other waterproof cameras we've tested to document your next holiday by the sea.

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  • 18%
    £54.00

    This isn't just a poor camera – it's so terrible we've declared it a Don't Buy. From the disappointing pictures and videos to the sub-par build quality and battery life — it's basically unusable. We'd recommend you spend your money on another camera.

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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.

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The best instant cameras

If you're on a tight budget, and a fan of retro designs, you may want to consider an instant camera. We tested eight popular instant cameras from Fujifilm, Kodak and Polaroid, ranging in price from £50 to £150. To help you choose, see our instant camera reviews. Remember to check out the cost for camera film too.