The Best Budget Cameras for Photography in 2021

Posted by Grant Patten on Jan 12, 2021 8:19:06 AM

The Best Budget Cameras for Photography in 2021 | Best Budget Photography Cameras

The Best Budget Cameras for Photography

As a companion piece to our popular best budget cameras for filmmaking article, we thought it would be nice to provide a high-level overview of some of the best budget photography cameras available on the market also. 

We will discuss (in no particular order):


Nikon D3500 | The best budget DSLR | The best beginner DSLR

The Nikon D3500The Nikon D3500 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a lightweight, reasonably priced, easy-to-use camera offering great image quality (24.2-Megapixel) and battery life (~1,550 shots per charge). 

Connecting the D3500 to a compatible smartphone or tablet is easy, allowing photographers to share what they capture. The Bluetooth connectivity allows continuous downloading of images to a phone. The camera shoots 1080/60p video, too.

The camera has a useful Guide Mode to help beginners learn and manual controls for more advanced photographers. Photographers can switch between autofocus, manual mode and turn Nikon's vibration reduction (VR) image stabilizer on and off.


Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR | Best budget digital camera

The Canon EOS Rebel T7The Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera [Amazon Affiliate Link] is comparable to the Nikon D3500 in terms of image quality (24.1-Megapixel) and cost, but quite a bit lower in terms of battery life (~600 shots per charge).

This camera also offers the ability to download photographs directly to a compatible smartphone using its built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology. The camera’s “scene intelligent auto mode” delivers accurate focus and exposure, simply. The autofocus can be overridden through the lens.

This camera includes a large optical viewfinder, auto-white balancing functionality and an on-board Feature Guide with a simple description explaining each function.


Canon PowerShot Digital Camera | Best point-and-shoot digital camera

Canon PowerShot G7Another good budget Canon camera to consider would be the PowerShot G7 Digital Camera [Amazon Affiliate Link]. This point-and-shoot camera has a large 20.1-Megapixel CMOS sensor; although smaller than the EOS Rebel T7 sensor, it will still capture very high-quality images.

The compact form factor of the camera (4.19 x 6.1 x 10.54 cm) means that it is very durable, portable and ideal as a travel camera. The G7 offers high-speed continuous shooting up to 8 fps in RAW2, JPEG and RAW+JPEG2 modes, so if you’re into photographing sports, animals or other fast-moving subjects, this camera is for you.

The large, high-resolution, 3.0" LCD touchscreen display is quite impressive for a point-and-shoot. The screen can be tilted up 180° and down 45° to compose “selfie” shots.


Panasonic LUMIX LX100 | Best budget point-and-shoot

Panasonic LUMIX LX100If you are open to a point-and-shoot camera instead of a DSLR, consider the Panasonic LUMIX LX100 [Amazon Affiliate Link]. This is a reasonably priced point-and-shoot with a decent sized image sensor (21.7-MP total) and fair battery life (~300 shots per charge when using flash or ~340 shots without flash).

This camera can shoot photos at 4K and offers “macro shooting” in which photographers can shoot at 3cm at wide-angle and 30cm at telephoto. This is ideal for photographing flowers, plants, etc. to reveal the finer details.

This camera also has Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity, so photographers can share their images straight to a compatible smartphone using their Image App (Android/iOS).


Fujifilm X-E3 | Best budget mirrorless camera 

The Fujifilm X-E3The Fujifilm X-E3 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a mirrorless digital camera that is quite reasonably priced and has a CPU (Fujifilm X-E3's X-Processor Pro) built for high-speed processing.

For those into photographing fast-moving subjects, such as sporting events, this camera offers continuous shooting at up to 8.0 fps. The camera has a sleek, somewhat retro, simple form factor and was “created in the pursuit of minimalism,” according to Fuji.

Various Amazon reviewers have commented that this camera’s ergonomics are excellent. The JPEGs look great, the dynamic range is stellar (9.6 to 9.8 f-stops), the highlight retention is excellent and the camera has accurate auto-white balancing.


Sony RX100 | Best affordable digital camera

The Sony RX100The Sony RX100 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is a fixed lens digital camera that is affordably priced and has a decent sized image sensor (20.1-Megapixel). The attached lens is a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-200mmviii F2.8-4.5 high magnification zoom lens.

Sony claims that this camera has the “world’s fastest hybrid autofocus system” to capture fleeting moments with precision. The camera includes a variety of other nice features, such as single burst shooting, AI-based real-time tracking to focus on moving subjects, “Active” mode image stabilization and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity to compatible smartphones and tablets. 

This camera also has an LCD display that rotates in various angles (up ~180° and down ~90°) to be able to capture the perfect selfie.


Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III | Best digital camera for travel | Best travel digital camera

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IIIThe Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III [Amazon Affiliate Link] is an affordable DSLR with a 16-Megapixel Live MOS Sensor. This camera’s in-body 5-axis image stabilization technology allows photographers to capture blur-free photos.

The Olympus has an intuitive touch screen interface, shortcut buttons to make camera settings accessible and a built-in flash. The convenient touch autofocus function lets photographers instantly focus on their subject with one touch of the screen.

The Olympus is a good camera for traveling because of its small body (4.8 x 2 x 3.3 inches). The “OLYMPUS Image Share” mobile app (Android/iOS) makes it quick and easy to transfer pictures to your phone for sharing on social media.


Pentax K-5 | Best weather sealed DSLR | Best weatherproof DSLR

The Pentax K-5The Pentax K-5 [Amazon Affiliate Link] is an affordable DSLR that is weather sealed, robust and has good image quality (16.3-Megapixel CMOS sensor). The sensor and high ISO (80-12,800) perform capably in low light.

It should take 6 to 8 hours (~740 shots) to recharge a fully depleted K-5 battery. Pentax cameras are known for their durability and the K-5 is no exception; it is small and light but “built like a tank.” The camera’s continuous shooting mode can do 22 images in a single sequence, so it can comfortably handle high-speed subjects such as sporting events.

The K-5 can take good, affordable lenses and has a great optical viewfinder with a nearly 100% field of view. The camera’s autofocus system is excellent, featuring a new-generation, wide-frame SAFOX IX+ with 11 sensor points.


Get Photography Insurance | Photographers Insurance | Photography Equipment Insurance | Photography Camera Liability Insurance

If you end up buying any of these above cameras (or any other gear) – you will want to have the right insurance coverage in place to protect that valuable gear. 

Consider Front Row’s online policies. If a location requires evidence of liability insurance before they will allow you on the property to shoot, Front Row can provide that to you in 5 minutes, 24/7 for 12 months of coverage. Online means lower cost.

Front Row’s insurance for photographers (Canada) is a good option for insuring your photo gear against theft, breakage and/or fire. You can get a quote and purchase a policy online in just a few minutes. Read more about the coverages available on the photography insurance site.

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