The best cheap digital cameras can, however, yield photos of good quality for using on the Internet and for making small prints. Thanks to technological advancements, today's inexpensive digital cameras have more power than you might think. Here are the some of the best cheap digital cameras for less than $100, listed in alphabetical order.
Canon's PowerShot A2200 digital camera isn't going to provide features that will overly impress you, but it does have a nice set of basic features that compare well to other cameras in its price range. The A2200 includes several easy-to-use features, including what Canon calls "Smart Auto," which attempts to simplify photography, while improving the camera's accuracy in automatic mode.
With this camera, you'll find 14.1 megapixels of resolution, a 2.7-inch LCD, 720p HD video capabilities, and a 4X optical zoom lens. The PowerShot A2200 is available in four body colors: Blue, black, red, or silver.
Beginning photographers will find a top-end, 16MP of resolution with the Canon PowerShot A2400 camera, but some of its other features are only average or a bit below average.
With the A2400, which Canon recently announced, you'll find a 5X optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, and 720p HD video. All of these features are a bit lacking, at least when compared to other new 2012 models.
However, considering the A2400's low price, some beginning photographers can deal with average features. The A2400, which is available in light blue, pink, silver, and black, also measures just 0.84 inches in thickness, which is great.
Nikon is offering it's latest rugged waterproof camera -- the Coolpix S31 -- in some interesting color combinations and at a desirable price point.
The S31 has quite a few basic photography options, including a 10.1MP image sensor, a 3X optical zoom lens, 720p HD video recording, and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. These features are all below average versus other cameras currently on the market.
However, the S31 is waterproof up to 16.4 feet and it can survive a fall up to 3.9 feet, which are tough features rarely found at this price point. Look for the Coolpix S31 in white, blue, pink, brown, or yellow camera body colors.
The Nikon Coolpix S3500 has one of the more interesting pairings of price point and resolution currently on the market.
Paired with a bargain price is 20.1 megapixels of resolution, easily making this the least expensive 20-plus megapixel camera on the market.
However, don't expect those 20.1MP to translate into well above average image quality with this camera, as the S3500 uses a small 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor. So even with a large number of megapixels, they're still being squeezed onto an image sensor that's as small as what you'd find on a beginner-level 12MP or 14MP camera.
The Coolpix S3500 has a 7X optical zoom lens, 720p HD video recording, and a 2.7-inch LCD screen. The Nikon S3500 is available in purple, pink, orange, silver, and red.
Among sub-$100 cameras, the Olympus VG-160 carries one of the better specification lists that you're going to find.
Granted, the VG-160's features aren't going to stand up well against most of the other cameras currently in the market, but this model does compare strongly against other cameras in this price range, thanks in particular to a really good performance with flash photos.
You'll find 14 megapixels of resolution, a 3.0-inch LCD, a 5X optical zoom lens, and 720p HD video capabilities with this model. Olympus is offering the VG-160 in red, orange, black, and silver body colors.
If you're looking for the thinnest, cheapest camera currently on the market, Panasonic may have you covered with one of its just released 2013 models, the Lumix FH10.
This camera measures only 0.7 inches in thickness. The FH10 has 16.1 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD, and 720p HD video recording. A variety of body colors are available, including pink, violet, silver, and black.
The 5X optical zoom lens with the FX78 includes a high-quality lens with an f/2.5 aperture. You can shoot HD video at full 1080p with the FX78, and you can shoot 12.1MP images with an emphasis on high-speed photography and good response times.
The FX78 -- which is known as the FX77 in some parts of the world -- contains a "beauty retouch" mode, which automatically whitens teeth, removes bags under the eyes, and improves skin tones. With this camera's "makeup mode," you even can add eye shadow or blush to the final image.
Look for the FX78 in black, gold, or white camera bodies.
I've always like the DualView camera design from Samsung, starting with the first model a few years ago, as it simplifies self portraits while allowing quite a bit of fun photography options.
The DV300F adds Wi-Fi capabilities to the camera that has LCD screens on the front (1.5 inches) and back (3.0 inches) of the model.
In addition, the DV300F has 16.1 megapixels of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, and 720p HD video. The DV300F is a low-priced camera and is a really nice and fun option for beginners.
9. Samsung ST72
Bargain camera shoppers looking for a fun, thin model may want to give the Samsung ST72 consideration.
The ST72 has 16MP of resolution, a 5X optical zoom lens, a 3.0-inch LCD screen, and 720p HD video recording. This is a fully automatic camera aimed squarely at beginners.
The ST72 measures only about 0.7 inches in thickness, and it's available in black, white, red, plum, or navy blue camera bodies.
10. Samsung ST76
It wasn't too many years ago that imagining a thin digital camera with 16 megapixels of resolution seemed almost impossible. Now, you can find that type of camera for less than $100.
The recently released Samsung ST76 measures only 0.67 inches in thickness, while including 16.1 megapixels of resolution.
Outside of the resolution, there aren't a lot of high-end features on this camera, as it has a 5X optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, and can shoot only at 720p HD video quality, but that's still a great price for a 16MP camera. The ST76 is only available in black.
Sony has always done a nice job with thin and stylish digital cameras, and now the company is offering a few really inexpensive models, including the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W620.
You won't find a lot of top-of-the-line features with the W620, as it offers a 5X optical zoom lens, 14.1 megapixels of resolution, 720p HD video, and a 2.7-inch LCD. It measures 0.78 inches in thickness. Look for the W620 in black, red, or silver camera bodies with silver lens housings.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W710 is one of the smaller and thinner cameras on the market right now, and it offers a small starting price, too. The W710 is available in pink, silver, or black camera bodies.
As you might suspect, the Cyber-shot W710 isn't going to offer high-end photography features. You'll find a 16.1MP resolution measurement, a 5X optical zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD screen, and 720p HD video capabilities.