Best Budget Cameras | 2024

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We’ve picked out a selection of our top budget cameras to buy right now. Photography has a reputation for being expensive, and while it’s true that if you’re so inclined you can drop thousands and thousands on your imaging equipment, the truth is that it’s possible to get started in photography on a very small budget indeed.

Budget cameras are also great for buying for children or for taking on holiday. They tend to be simple to get to grips with, and in many cases still offer excellent image quality that’s a step above what you’d get from a smartphone. Some of the cameras on our list are full interchangeable-lens system cameras, while others are self-contained compacts with fixed lenses. 

With a mix of options from Canon, Sony, Panasonic and more, here is our guide to the best budget cameras to buy right now…

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Our top picks

Canon EOS 250D Digital SLR Camera Body - Black

£619.00 View

Pros:

  • DSLR handling with optical viewfinder
  • EF-S mount offers lots of lenses
  • Dual Pixel autofocus (in Live View)

Cons:

  • Only 9AF points in viewfinder shooting

A lightweight DSLR that gives the user access to the amazing range of EF-mount lenses, the EOS 250D offers a broad feature-set that provides real flexibility for photographers and videographers alike. Its 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor is paired with a vari-angle screen and Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, giving the camera a strong balance between power and useability. It shoots 4K video too, and composition is easy and enjoyable thanks to the optical viewfinder.

If you’re new to DSLRs generally, the EOS 250D is a great starting point, with a guided user interface that gives you the lowdown on how to capture the images you want. It’s fantastic for travel, lightweight and with a small form factor that makes it easy to throw into a small bag and take on your adventures. If you want to step up from smartphone photography and start pushing your images further, this is a fantastic place to start.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ2000 Digital Camera

£899.00 View

Pros:

  • 5-Axis HYBRID O.I.S
  • 12fps burst shooting
  • 4K video

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better
  • ISO noise can become quite noticeable

Rugged and durably built, with a 20x optical zoom, the FZ2000 comes from a long line of rock-solid Panasonic bridge cameras. It's got a high-sensitivity 20.9MP sensor that really comes into its own in low light, and ensures crisp shots throughout the zoom range. The lens is a 24-480mm equivalent Leica optic, so you’ve got the scope to capture all sorts of subjects and its f2.8-4.5 aperture is going to help with those different shooting scenarios.

The ergonomics of the FZ2000, while they can be seen as a little bulky, make it really satisfying to handle and use. Plus, with features like 7fps burst shooting, you can be confident that it'll handle even challenging shooting situations with ease. High-resolution QFHD 4K video rounds out a hugely impressive package that's available for an excellent price.

Ricoh WG-80 Digital Camera - Orange with Floating Strap and Neoprene Case

£369.00 View

Pros:

  • Extensive tough waterproofing
  • Macro mode with built-in light
  • Can be bought with wrist strap and neoprene case

Cons:

  • 16MP is fairly low
  • Small 1/2.3-inch sensor limits dynamic range

You won’t believe how much imaging tech you get for the money with this heavy-duty outdoor camera from Ricoh. Not only does it shoot 16MP images on its CMOS sensor, it can also capture Full HD video, covering a broad range of perspectives with its 28-140mm equivalent optical zoom lens. Thanks to the minimum focusing distance of just 1cm, you can get extremely close to your subjects, and even illuminate them yourself with the built-in ring light that surrounds the lens.

Waterproof down to 20m, shockproof against drops of up to 2.1m and cold-resistant down to -10°C, the Ricoh WG-80 is a true outdoor camera. Use its creative scene modes to capture unforgettable images, log your position with the GPS module, and view your compositions on the 3-inch LCD monitor – it really does it all.

Canon EOS 2000D Digital SLR Camera Body

£429.00 View

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest DSLRs out there
  • Can connect via Wi-Fi
  • Useful tutorial modes

Cons:

  • No 4K video
  • Only 3fps burst

Expanding Canon’s range of budget-friendly, entry-level DSLRs, the EOS 2000D is a pleasingly comprehensive entry that doesn’t skimp on quality despite its low price point. It’s equipped with a 24.1-megapixel APS-C sensor that produces fantastic images, rich in detail and colour, and it has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern camera – connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, 3fps burst shooting, fast autofocus and more.

It’s definitely designed with the new user in mind, featuring a selection of guide modes and tutorials designed to help anyone get up to speed with using it as quickly as possible. Images come out looking just as good as you remember seeing them, and for the budding filmmakers, it’s also possible to shoot Full HD movies on the EOS 2000D, making it an extremely solid all-rounder.

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 III Digital Camera

£479.00 View

Pros:

  • Very portable compact
  • Great-looking 4K
  • Quality processor and sensor

Cons:

  • Small body can feel cramped in use
  • Similar cameras have a broader focal range

An ideal portable camera for vlogging and travel snaps, the Sony RX100 III can shoot up to 10fps continuously and records 4K video with full pixel readout, as well as Full HD video at 120fps for super-slow-motion. Its 24-70mm is a Zeiss model, ensuring superior optical quality, and the camera is equipped with Optical SteadyShot, helping keep its shots blur-free and balanced even when being used handheld.

The rear screen flips 180 degrees, making it extra useful for selfies and vlogging, and it also has touchscreen functionality. The RX100 III is also capable of RAW shooting, which is useful for those who like to fine-tune their images in post-production.

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FAQs

What features should I look for in a budget camera for beginners?

When choosing a budget camera for beginners, there are several key features to look for. You will want a camera with at least 16 megapixels, user-friendly interfaces and automatic modes, lightweight and compact design, Full HD (1080p) video capabilities, and connectivity options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for easy sharing of photos to your devices and social media.

What is the best budget camera for beginners under £500?

The best budget cameras for beginners under £500 should offer a good balance of image quality, ease of use, and additional features such as video capabilities and connectivity. Look for well-reviewed models that meet these criteria to ensure you get the most value for your money. 

Is it better to start with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera as a beginner?

Both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have their pros and cons. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences and intended use. Mirrorless cameras are popular due to their advanced features and portability, and arguably the future of photography. However, DSLRs remain a solid choice for beginners and many professionals swear by them.

Can I take professional-quality photos with a budget camera?

Yes, if you are dedicated to learning the basics of photography and applying yourself, you can easily take professional-quality photos with a budget camera. 

Are used or refurbished cameras a good option for beginners on a budget?

Yes, used or refurbished cameras can be an excellent option for beginners on a budget. You’ll save money and if you buy from our large selection of used equipment, they come with a 12-month warranty.

How do we decide?


Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers. We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media. And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy