Cost can be such a major issue when one is looking for a camera. In fact, you’re bound to give up on this quest if you choose to listen to the naysayers. Fortunately, the market is full of cheap options. It’s worth clarifying that the word “cheap” does not necessarily mean “compromise”. As we’ll clearly show you in the following review, you can get a very good camera on a tight budget.
You only need to be familiar with a few factors that set different models apart. These include:
- Number of frames per second (FPS)
- Quality of focus
So, you basically want to settle for a final choice that at least provides you with a fair balance of these three. Other than that, it would be a good idea to go for a camera that can perform well in dimly lit conditions.
Awesome Digital Camera Under $400 – Comparison Chart
Don’t have the time to read our in-depth reviews? Here’s a quick primer for you – presented in the form of an easy-to-digest chart.
|Ranking||Product Name||Screen Size||Video Capture Resolution|
|1||Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR||3 inches||1080p|
|2||Nikon Coolpix L340||–||–|
|3||GoPro Hero5 Black||2 Inches||4K30, 2.7K60, 1080p120 Video|
|4||Sony RX100 Premium||3 inches||FHD 1080p|
|5||Canon SX530 PowerShot||–||–|
|6||Nikon D3400 Digital Camera||3 inches||1080p|
|7||Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Camera||3 inches||1080p|
|8||GoPro HERO4 Black||0.5 Inches||4K|
|9||Canon EOS Rebel DLSR T6 Camera||3 inches||1080p|
|10||Olympus TG-5 Camera||3 inches||2160p|
1. Canon EOS Rebel T5 DSLR Kit with IS II Lens
If precision and high-definition matter a lot to you, the Canon EOS Rebel T5 would certainly not disappoint. It comes loaded with a highly sensitive 18MP CMOS sensor which is further backed up by a powerful image processor. For anyone who might be looking to capture close up details, the fact that this unit comes with standard zoom lens makes it a good pick. That’s not forgetting its flexible LCD screen which takes user experience to a whole new level.
You can confidently use this kit to record award-winning 1080p images in full HD. Its expanded ISO range does an incredible job in helping you capture images in HD and brilliant colors. And to top it all up, the camera is pretty well built. Its light and quite rugged and, therefore, ideal for anyone who wants to enjoy life to the fullest.
- Powerful image processor
- Great image quality
- At 3FPS captures superb 1080p content
- Rugged yet lightweight
- Poor battery life
2. Nikon Coolpix L340 Digital Camera
How good would your life become if only you have a 30FPS camera? Well, this is what this tiny camera presents you with. Although it may not capture 4K or 1080p images, it does an incredible job at 720p. In other words, it offers moderately good quality but overcomes that challenge by offering you a high FPS rate. So, YES, you can still count on it to deliver sharp images with every detail captured.
On top of that, it comes with a 28X optical zoom which allows you to view your subjects in greater detail. Its body is also ergonomically designed hence with a great grip for the best experience even in rugged conditions.To top up all the goodness is a 16-mode auto selector which gives you all the flexibility you need to capture award-winning images. Therefore, you don’t have to be a guru to attain the right focus, as this camera is designed to do the heavy-lifting for you.
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- Great 720p video quality
- Fast FPS
- Ergonomically designed
- Easy to use
- Reasonably priced
- 4-second delay between successive photo shots
You may love to read: 6 Best Pelican Camera Case – Reviews
3. GoPro Hero5 Black
The GoPro Hero5 may be tiny but that does not in any way reflect what it is capable of. It is worth noting that while other under 400 digital cameras struggle to deliver 1080p and 720p images, this one stuns to 4K content.
And to make the deal even sweeter, this cute little thing is designed to be durable. In fact, it can even survive if immersed to a water depth of 33 feet. Wait, is there any other budget-friendly camera that can beat that? We’re yet to come across one such yet. Besides ruggedness, the Hero 5 boasts a fantastic battery-life offering a whopping 90 minutes of continuous recording at 4K.
On top of that this camera has a built-in video stabilization feature in addition to enhanced access to QuickStories feature which enables you to edit footage using your phone.
- Light in weight
- Rugged and durable design
- Easy to use TouchScreen
- Excellent image stability
- QuickStories usability
- Digital grain visible when used under shade or cloudy conditions
4. Sony RX100 Premium Compact Camera
Loaded with a wide range of controls, the Sony RX100 is superbly designed to give you greater control over the shots you make. For instance, it allows you to make settings on shutter priority and aperture priority using a manual mode. Of course, that’s a boon for advanced photographers.That Sony RX100 is the king of user-experience is not in doubt because the great camera offers superb on-screen prompts. These prompts are meant to guide you until you capture that perfect shot.
Moving on swiftly, this miniature camera boasts 60FPS video capturing speed as well as 10FPS for ultra-high-quality still images. Unfortunately, these ultra-high-quality images are stored in RAW format which necessitates the use of Sony software to access them.Nonetheless, the good thing with RAW is that it’s great at achieving proper white balance, sharpness as well as color enhancement.
- Easy to use
- Comes with a wide range of controls
- Built-in controls and command prompts
- The ability to capture high-quality footage
- Hard to find compatible software for RAW processing
5. Canon SX530 PowerShot Digital Camera
Canon SX530 is big on autofocus (AF). Indeed, it’s rare to come across such a cheap camera with such an advanced, algorithmic AF system. So, we’re looking at a potentially high-quality camera which goes for a dirt-cheap price. It’s a steal considering that it goes for well under 300. What you need to know is that the SX530 is meant to capture 1080p footage at 30FPS. Of course, 30FPS at 1080p is a little slow as we’ve already come across competitors with 60FPS.
But if looking for a slow but sure approach to life, this camera might do the trick. And in case you’re out there looking to capture HD photos, you’ll only need to turn on the burst mode and capture jaw-dropping images at 10FPS.
- High-speed AF
- Great image quality
- Easy to use
- Greatly priced
- Tends to be slow to lock focus when it’s zoomed
6. Nikon D3400 Digital Camera
If you’re looking for a camera capable of capturing 1080p Full HD photos at 24.2 megapixels, this is it. Admittedly, its 5FPS (with full autofocus performance) may be a bit slow although it still manages to get the job done without compromising on quality.
The Nikon D3400 boasts a native ISO range from 100-25,600 which is great for shooting even when faced with dimly lit conditions. Further to that, it comes compatible with the Nikon SnapBridge which comes in handy when you need to transfer images to your tablet or phone fast.
To conclude, this highly-sought-after digital camera’s housing is built from plastic which makes it right enough for long use. Its ergonomic design makes it even better at preventing hand fatigue all thanks to its textured grip as well as thumb rest.
- Incredibly powerful
- Captures good images
- Easy to use
- Fast transfer of files to other devices
- Light in weight
- Ergonomically designed
- Its housing feels cheap
- A bit expensive compared to others of it range
7. Nikon D3300 Digital SLR Camera
If the power of your lens keeps disappointing you and you’re looking for an upgrade, the Nikon D3300 provides a perfect fit. It comes with a 24.2MP lens which is highly sensitive. On top of that, this SLR camera is designed to provide you with 5FPS under continuous shooting.
In case you want to push your photographing abilities a notch-higher, you’ll be glad to learn that this one comes with an 11 point AF. That provides you with greater control so you can fine-tune the cameras focus. Just like any other high-end camera, this one comes with ISO100-12800 which can be expanded to 25600.
Can you guess what that means? Well, it means you can confidently face low light conditions and still record great images.
- Powerful lens and sensor
- Capable of delivering moderate FPS
- Enhanced autofocus feature
- Great LCD screen for optimal flexibility
- Built-in WiFi capability
- Tricky to get quality images at low ISO settings
8. GoPro HERO4 Black
The HERO4 is a true hero when the ability to capture fast-moving subjects is in the spotlight. It boasts 30FPS at 720P – a feat that makes it a simple yet highly effective camera. If you thought that was good enough, you haven’t seen nothing yet. GoPro Hero4 offers a built-in trimming tool which makes it possible to edit and save short clips without using a computer or external device. In addition to that, this superbly efficient system is designed and optimized to transfer files to iOS and Android devices as well as Windows PCS.
And let’s also not forget that just like other GoPro cameras, this one is designed for the toughest conditions that Mother Nature can offer. In fact, it is waterproof to 131 feet which is only 2 feet shy of what GoPro Hero5 offers.
- Small but strong
- Usable in rugged conditions
- Ideal for adventure-seekers
- Excellent ability to record fast-moving subjects
- Built-in WiFi and Bluetooth support
- Poor battery life
Also read: 10 Best GoPro Case – In-Depth Reviews
9. Canon EOS Rebel DLSR T6 Camera
Renowned for its above-board image processor, the Rebel DLSR T6 camera is the king of speed and definition. It boasts an 18MP lens which produces fantastic images under different conditions. And in case you’re worried about its sensitivity to light, you’ll be glad to learn about its ISO feature.
Packing an ISO100-64600 that’s expandable to 12800, this camera promises excellent performance in both bright and low light conditions. In line with the needs of the digital world, the camera prides itself in having a built-in WiFi capability along with NFC connectivity. That means you can transfer your footage from the camera to your devices and even social media sites with greater ease.
Last but not least, you get a 9-point AF system which allows you to determine the quality of focus you set.
- Great 3FPS continuous shooting
- High-quality RAW format images
- Enhanced connectivity
- Superb optical viewfinder
- Great performance in bright and low light conditions
- Built-in auto white balance
- Raw files need special software to access
10. Olympus TG-5 Camera with Waterproof Housing
Don’t let the under 400 price tag fool you. This cheap digital camera offers high speed, precision and image stability even in dimly lit conditions. It boasts a humble 12MP which is just enough to handle noise reduction. Its housing is pretty well-made.
It’s crushproof and dustproof. On top of that, it comes with an anti-fog lens. In other words, this is your go-to camera when toughness is a priority. Indeed, the Olympus TG-5 boasts an abundance of photo capturing modes. It also spots 4K resolution, 20FPS in burst-mode as well as the ability to capture ultra-high-quality RAW images.
Last but not least, this tiny camera comes with a handful of manual controls. For instance, there’s an extra control dial at the top which you can use to control and change exposure in order to achieve better image quality.
- High-speed image sensor
- Excellent housing
- High resolution
- Easy to use
- Extra manual controls for better image quality
- Good value for money
- Struggle to deliver in low light conditions
The Buying Guide
Buying the best digital camera under 400 isn’t always a straightforward thing to do. You might easily fall for a well-advertised but poor quality unit and end up losing your hard-earned money. We’re here so you may prevent that from happening. Some awesome tips to use in this regard include:
Always consider the image quality of the camera. Cameras capable of delivering 4K quality are fast gaining popularity due to the existing demand for high-quality content. That said, you can still play it safe with a 1080p. The 720p should be the last choice and only recommended for people on a tight budget.
If you’re looking for something capable of capturing great photos even in dimly lit conditions, go for a camera with great ISO capability. A standard ISO 100-12,800 is recommended for beginners.
Depending on the planned usage, go for a camera that’s housed in a powerful, rugged, and ergonomically designed housing. A waterproof housing would be an added advantage, especially for outdoor lovers.
Tip 4:Megapixels (MP)
Megapixels are a measure of the resolution of a digital camera. Therefore, the greater the number of pixels, the better the quality of images it can capture.
While most people think that the more the megapixels the better, this isn’t always the case. So, you probably don’t need a digital camera with a huge number of pixels.
Most digital cameras feature over 12 megapixels making it easy to capture high-quality and sharp images. Therefore, with a 20MP camera, you can create extremely high-quality prints measuring 12×18 inches.
Generally speaking, you should consider what sort of resolution you really need to determine the best megapixels.
Tip 5: Auto focus system
Another factor worth considering is the focus of the camera. Great focus plays a major role in photography. After all, you don’t want to ruin a great shot.
Basically, you need to consider if the camera focuses quickly and accurately. You can try focusing on anything close to you and far away. And if the camera has difficulty focusing or is slow to focus, then you may need to look for another digital camera.
Tip 6: Image stabilization
This feature is designed to help reduce shakiness and vibration when shooting. Consequently, this minimizes blurriness in extremely low light conditions.
Generally, most cameras include digital image stabilization, a software that does the job of reducing the vibration. Some high-end cameras, on the other hand, feature optical image stabilization which is of better quality compared to the digital one.
If you plan to use the camera to capture videos, you might want to consider one with a video stabilization feature. This will help you record videos that are stunningly smooth.
Tip 7: Lenses aperture
This is the hole inside the lens that is responsible for controlling the amount of light passing through the camera. The aperture is represented by the symbol “f” like f/2.8 or f/5.6.
Basically, lenses are normally described by their maximum aperture. For instance, a lens that is 50mm f/1.4 means it has a 50mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/1.4.
So, the larger the aperture, the smaller the ‘f’ value and such lenses are quite expensive. This is because such lenses are capable of collecting more light. And as a result, it becomes easy for you to shoot in low-light conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, we’re going to address some of the commonly asked questions about digital cameras under 400. Check them out:
What is the best digital camera under 400 in 2021?
There are so many options available but the ones discussed above are some of the best on the market. But in the end, the best camera depends on your needs and preferences.
Do I really need a digital camera with waterproof housing?
If you’re an outdoor lover, then it would be a good idea to get a camera with a waterproof casing. The housing should also be rugged for optimal durability.
Which brand of digital camera is better, Canon or Nikon?
Both brands have great digital cameras when it comes to overall performance. However, they may vary in terms of features such as the resolution, battery life, and autofocus system. Therefore, we recommend you compare each camera individually.
Which One Is The Best?
All the 10 cameras reviewed here are great but the GoPro Hero5 Black takes a commanding lead in terms of pricing, quality, and ruggedness. The second runners-up position goes to Nikon Coolpix L340 for its great features and user-friendliness.
Investing in a good camera can change your life or career in a significant way. So, don’t compromise. A good shot begins with a powerful camera with lenses capable of images that inspire greatness.