The best camera under $200 is going to be a used camera. Generally, the newer the camera, the better it will be.
eBay prices are going to be used as a reference point for prices. You can also look on Amazon or other used camera stores.
You can also find deals at garage sales, Facebook marketplace, Craiglist, thrift stores, or Etsy.
If you're looking to spend less, check out the best used DSLRs under $100.
- 1. Best Used Canon - Canon EOS T1i (500D) (15.1 MP)
- 2. Best Used Nikon - Nikon D3200 (24.2 MP)
- 3. Best Used Sony - Sony Alpha A57 (16.1 MP)
- 4. Best Used Pentax - Pentax K-50 (16.3 MP)
- 5. Best Used Olympus - Olympus EVolt E-620 (12.3 MP)
- Look for Complete Kits
1. Best Used Canon - Canon EOS T1i (500D) (15.1 MP)
Released in May, 2009, with a MSRP of $1,099, the Canon EOS T1i (500D in Europe) is a entry level camera with a 15.1 MP sensor.
The Canon T1i was sold as a kit with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. In addition, any EF or EF-S lens can be used on the camera.
The camera uses SD memory cards with a maximum size of 32GB.
A LP-E5 battery is used, which can be charged with a Canon LC-E5 charger.
Major features include:
- 9 Autofocus Points
- 3" LCD
- 3.4 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO 100-3200, Expandable to 12800
- 1080p Video at 20 frames/sec.
Magic Lantern can be installed on the camera, which will add features to the camera. The most notable one is that it will allow the camera to shoot 1080p video at 30 frames/sec.
Magic Lantern is a third party open source firmware that runs off of the SD card.
Canon has the largest market share of digital cameras. Finding a used Canon DSLR will be easier than with any other brand. Additionally, you'll have plenty of options for future upgrades.
Other Good Canon Cameras Under $100
Canon EOS 60D (18.1 MP)
Canon Digital Rebel T3 (1100D) (12.2 MP)
2. Best Used Nikon - Nikon D3200 (24.2 MP)
18-55mm kit lens
Released in April, 2012, the Nikon D3200 is a entry level camera. It had an original MSRP of $669.95, with a kit lens.
It features a 24.2 MP sensor and was sold in two different kits. The first kit had a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens. A second kit was available that also included a 55-200mm f/4-5.6G VR lens.
SD memory cards are used by the D3200, with a max of 2TiB. EN-EL14 batteries are used which can be charged by a MH-24 charger.
The D3200 uses Nikon F-mount lenses. There is a huge number of lenses available from Nikon as well as third party manufactures.
Major Features of the D3200 are:
- 11-Point Autofocus System
- 3” LCD
- 4 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO Range 100-6400, Boost to 12800
- 1080p at 30, 25, or 24 Frames per Second
The camera was popular and sold well when it was released. You should be able to easily find one bundled with accessories.
The Nikon F-mount has been around since 1959. There are many lenses out there to choose from.
With so many lenses available you can find inexpensive specialty lenses. Macro, telephoto, ultra wide angle, and zooms can be found without have to spend much money.
Similar Nikon Used DSLRs to Look For
Nikon D3300 (24.2MP)
Nikon D5100 (16.2MP)
Nikon D300 (12.0MP)
Nikon's Coolpix lineup is also a good choice if you need a small digital camera. For less than $200, you'll be able to find a camera packed full of features.
3. Best Used Sony - Sony Alpha A57 (16.1 MP)
Released in 2012, the Sony Alpha A57 had an original MSRP of $799 with the 18-55mm kit lens.
While technically not a DSLR, the Sony A57 is still a camera worth considering.
The Sony A57 uses a Single-Lens Translucent design. Instead of a mirror the flips up and down, there is a fixed semi-transparent mirror.
The fixed mirror allows some light to be diverted away from the image sensor to phase-detection autofocus sensors. In effect, it is a middle ground between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Key features of the A57 include:
- 15 Autofocus Points
- 3" LCD
- 12 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO Range 100-16,000 (25600 with Boost)
- 1080p Video at 60p and 24p or 50p and 25p
SD cards or Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo cards be used in the camera. SD memory cards are going to be easier to find and cheaper.
Battery model is NP-FM500H, which is charged by a Sony BC-VM10 charger. Try to find a camera with the charger bundled with the camera.
Lenses for the camera use the Sony/Minolta A-mount. The A-mout was developed by Minolta. When Sony acquired Minolta’s camera division in 2005, they continued to use the lens mount.
There is not as large of a lens selection than with Canon or Nikon, but the prices for used lenses is lower.
More Sony DSLRs Under $200
Sony Alpha A55 (16.2MP)
Sony A550 (14.2MP)
Sony A350 (14.2MP)
4. Best Used Pentax - Pentax K-50 (16.3 MP)
Released in, 2013, the Pentax K-50 had a MSRP of $699, for only the camera body. The camera can be found in red, white, and black colors.
The K-50 was a mid-level camera with weather sealing, which camera by other manufacturers do not. If you want a camera for outdoor activities, hikes, or camping, this is a great choice.
Key features of the K-50 include:
- 11 Autofocus Points
- 3” LCD
- 5.9 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO Range 100 - 51200
- Can Capture 1080p30 Video
The K-50 uses SD memory cards, which are inexpensive and easy to find.
The camera uses a D-LI109 rechargeable battery. It can also be powered by four AA batteries with an adapter. Replacement third party adapters are available online.
Any Pentax K mount lens can be used for the camera. However, older K mount lenses do not have autofocus. Lenses that will have compatible autofocus with the camera will be described as KA or KA mount lenses.
More Second Hand Pentax Options
Pentax K-30 (16.3MP)
Pentax K-7 (14.6MP)
5. Best Used Olympus - Olympus EVolt E-620 (12.3 MP)
The Olympus EVolt E-620 was released in 2009, with an MSRP of $849, with a kit kit 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
The E-620 was a mid level camera targeted at photography enthusiasts. Key features of the camera include:
- 7 Autofocus Points
- 2.7" LCD
- 5 FPS Continuous Shooting
- ISO Range 100 - 3200
- No Video
The camera uses CompactFlash memory cards. These are easy to find, but can be more expensive than SD memory cards.
Batteries used in the camera are BLS-1, which are charged with the BCS-1 charger. Both replacement batteries and chargers are available online.
The camera has a Four Thirds lens mount, which is discontinued. This is different than the Micro Four Thirds mount that replaced it, which is a constant source of confusion.
Beyond the downside of the discontinued mount, EVOLT cameras have poor low light performance and autofocus speed.
Another issue is that there really isn't an upgrade path. The E-5 and E-30 are the only Four Thirds cameras that would be considered better than the E-620.
If those negatives are not deal breakers for you, you can benefit from a compact system that has the lowest costs on the used market for cameras and lenses.
More Olympus Cameras for Less Than $200
Olympus EVOLT E-5 (12.3MP)
Olympus EVOLT E-30 (12.3MP)
Look for Complete Kits
When you look for a camera to buy, try to get one that includes accessories. A lone camera body is not going to do you any good.
If you don't already have the items listed below, factor in those costs before you buy a camera.
Lens – The least expensive lens you’ll be able to find for any of the cameras listed above will be $15-$20. Look for cameras that include the kit zoom lens they were sold with. Getting a lens bundled will lead to a lower overall cost than buying them separately.
Memory Card – It is easy to get a quality SD memory card for less than $10. CompactFlash cards are going to be a bit more expensive.
Look for brand name cards from SanDisk, Lexar, or PNY. Avoid generic cards as they are more likely to fail.
Battery Charger – Replacement battery chargers are easily found online for less than $10. However, OEM chargers are noticeably nicer.
If you need to buy a replacement charger, go with a universal battery charger. That way, it can be used to recharge batteries for other devices, or future cameras.
Batteries – Even if a battery is included, it will likely have to be replaced. Li-Ion batteries can last a long time, but they don't last forever.
Neck Strap – These often get dirty or damaged and then removed from the camera. It's nice to have one in good condition included, so you don't have to track one down yourself.