Photography can be expensive but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of great cameras under $400 that can help you take good photos and have fun at the same time.
As a photographer with a limited budget (this was me 10 years ago), I know firsthand how daunting it can be to find the right camera for your needs.
But fear not, because I’m here to share some great news with you – a limited budget doesn’t necessarily mean limited quality when it comes to cameras.
Together, we’ll explore the factors to consider when choosing a camera, the different types of cameras available, and the best options within each category whether brand new or used. Although, at this price range we will definitely find more used cameras than brand-new ones because believed it or not camera prices are now surging.
Best Cameras Under $400
- Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens – Best Canon DSLR under $400
- Nikon D700 – Best Nikon Full Frame DSLR under $400
- Canon 6D – Best Canon Full Frame DSLR under $400
- Fujifilm X-T10 – Best Used Fujifilm Mirrorless Camera under $400
- Sony a6000 – Best Used Sony Mirrorless Camera under $400
- Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II – Best Used Micro Four Thirds Camera under $400
- Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS70K – Best Brand New Point-and-Shoot Camera under $400
1. Canon EOS Rebel T7 / 2000D DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens
+ Great for beginners
+ Easy to use and navigate
+ Sharp images
+ Colors are good and accurate
+ Autofocus is decent but slower than other cameras
– Bad at higher ISOs
– No external mic port
First things first, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 also known as 2000D is a budget-friendly DSLR camera that’s perfect for beginners who want to get into photography without breaking the bank.
It comes with a 24.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor, which deliver high-quality images with plenty of detail.
Using this camera feels like the next logical step after using a point-and-shoot, but it also has some beginner-friendly features to help you get started.
The weight of the camera is substantial enough to feel solid, but not too heavy to carry around with you all day. The grip is comfortable, and the buttons are intuitive and easy to navigate. It’s the perfect balance between simplicity and functionality in my opinion.
It’s actually like driving a dependable, yet fun car that you know will get you from point A to point B, but also has some cool features like a good sound system. It’s not the fanciest or most expensive car out there, but it gets the job done and makes you happy.
Compared to other cameras in this price range, the T7 holds its own. It produces images that are on par with other entry-level DSLRs, like the Nikon D3500 or the Sony A6000. However, if you’re looking for a camera with more advanced features or higher image quality, you’ll have to pay more.
The T7’s sensor and image quality are excellent for its price point. You can expect sharp, detailed images with accurate colors and good low-light performance. Its autofocus system is also reliable and fast.
While the T7 is definitely an entry-level camera, I was pleasantly surprised by its image quality and autofocus performance. I’ve used it for everything from portraits to macro photography, and it is actually really good.
Of course, as a more experienced photographer, I do sometimes wish the T7 had some more advanced features. For example, I would have loved to have a touchscreen or a tilting LCD screen for easier framing. And while the nine-point autofocus system is reliable, it can be limiting for more complex shots.
However, I think it’s important to remember that the T7 is designed for beginners, not professionals. And for that purpose, it’s an excellent camera. It’s easy to use, produces great images, and won’t break the bank. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s just starting out in photography.
Some photographers might argue that the T7 is too basic and doesn’t offer enough room for growth. While it’s true that it doesn’t have as many features as more expensive cameras, it’s important to remember that this is an entry-level camera. It’s perfect for beginners who want to learn the basics of photography without feeling overwhelmed.
Overall, I think the Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a great camera for its price point. It’s perfect for beginners who want to learn the basics of photography without feeling overwhelmed. And even as an experienced photographer, I found myself enjoying using it for its simplicity and reliability.
However, the T7 does have some downsides. Its build quality isn’t as robust as some of the higher-end Canon cameras, and it doesn’t have features like 4K video or a touchscreen. But these are things you can expect at this price point.
2. Nikon D700
+ Fantastic image quality even in low-light situations
+ Built like a tank
+ Custom buttons and menus
+ Big and bright viewfinder
+ Lots of fantastic Nikon lenses
+ Suitable for shooting sports, weddings, portraits, and other events
– Since it’s a pro-grade camera, it can be overwhelming for beginners
– Uses an older 12mp sensor and autofocus system
Oldie but goodie! The Nikon D700 is an iconic, well-loved, professional-grade DSLR camera that was released back in 2008, but it’s still relevant today. It’s like a vintage car that has stood the test of time, still runs smoothly, and is capable of delivering some serious horsepower.
If you’re looking for a used Nikon full-frame DSLR for under $400, then I will recommend getting it without any hesitation. It has all the professional-grade features you’ll need at this price point: full-frame sensor, good build quality, and impressive image quality.
The feel of the camera is solid and sturdy, like a tank, which can be both good and bad. On one hand, it’s great because it feels like a high-quality piece of equipment that can withstand some rough handling.
On the other hand, it can be heavy and cumbersome, especially if you’re carrying it around all day.
And honestly, shooting weddings with it alongside heavy lenses is a bit of a pain. That’s why I moved to mirrorless cameras for my business.
But don’t let the weight fool you, the Nikon D700’s sensor and image quality is top-notch, even by today’s standards. It’s like a chef’s knife that’s sharp and precise, allowing you to capture stunning photos with ease.
The autofocus performance is also impressive, like a Formula One car that can quickly and accurately focus on your subject.
It has a 51-point af system that’s easy to use in all light conditions, and it’s capable of locking onto moving subjects with ease.
Compared to other cameras on the market with a similar price point, the Nikon D700 holds its own. Its image quality is on par with cameras that cost twice as much, and its build quality is exceptional.
However, newer cameras like the D850 and Nikon Z series do have some advantages, such as better video capabilities and more advanced autofocus systems.
Some may argue that the Nikon D700 is outdated and not worth investing in, given that there are newer models available. But, as someone who has used this camera for portraits and weddings, I can attest that it still delivers amazing results.
The output is sharp and the colors are punchy! The camera’s high ISO performance is also quite good! Yes, it only has a 12-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, which is fewer megapixels than newer cameras.
But, the D700 has a much larger sensor (35mm) than the Canon Rebel T7 above. This means you can get away with cropping and still maintain high resolution—which is important, especially if you’re shooting portraits or weddings.
The Nikon D700 is one of my all-time favorites. It’s reliable, versatile, and produces stunning images. Plus, it’s like an old friend that I know I can always count on.
To wrap things up, if you’re in the market for a professional-grade DSLR camera, the Nikon D700 is definitely worth considering.
It may be a bit heavy and outdated, but its sensor, image quality, and autofocus performance are still top-notch. Just be prepared to carry it around like a backpack full of bricks.
3. Canon 6D
+ Lightweight full-frame DSLR
+ Access to Canon’s legendary yet expensive L glasses
+ Great for portraits and weddings
+ Fantastic in low light conditions
+ Great build quality
+ Big and bright viewfinder
+ Battery can last up to 1000 shots
– Off-center focus points are inconsistent
– Burst rate frame is only 4.5fps
This camera has been around for a while now, but it’s still a great option for anyone looking for an affordable full-frame camera.
So, what is the Canon 6D? Well, it’s a camera that will help you capture those special moments in your life with crystal-clear images. Think of it like a trusty steed that you can rely on to carry you through any photographic adventure.
This camera is much newer than the Nikon D700 and offers some great features that make it worth a look.
For starters, the Canon 6D has a 20.2-megapixel full-frame image sensor with an ISO range of 100-25600 for low-light photography. It also has a good 11-point autofocus system that can lock onto your subject quickly and easily even in dark environments.
However, during my time using this camera and I used it for about 3 years, only the center focus point was fast, accurate, and reliable.
The rest of the focus points were inconsistent and would often lose track of what you wanted to focus on.
But it didn’t stop me to enjoy the camera, as a matter of fact, the Canon 6D is one of my favorite DSLRs ever.
When you hold the Canon 6D in your hands, you’ll immediately notice how well-built it is. It’s like holding a rock-solid brick in your hand, but one that’s surprisingly lightweight.
It’s built to last, and it can take a beating, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking if you accidentally drop it.
Using the Canon 6D is a breeze. It’s like playing a game of Tetris, where everything just fits together perfectly. The buttons are well-placed, and the menus are intuitive, so you can easily find what you need.
One of the standout features of the Canon 6D is its sensor. The 20mp full-frame sensor in this camera is top-notch, and it produces stunning image quality. The colors are vibrant, and the details are sharp, so you can capture every moment in stunning clarity.
Canon’s signature color science is also used in this camera, which means that you can expect natural-looking skin tones and accurate color reproduction.
Now, let’s talk about the good and the bad.
The Canon 6D is an entry-level full-frame camera, so it’s not perfect. The autofocus points are a bit limited, so you might struggle to get the focus just right in some situations. It also lacks some of the more advanced features you’ll find in more expensive cameras like a faster burst rate, weather-sealing, and 4K video recording.
But, if you’re looking for a solid full-frame DSLR with excellent image quality and a great price point, the Canon 6D is definitely worth considering.
Overall, I think the Canon 6D is an excellent camera for anyone looking for an affordable full-frame option. It’s like a diamond in the rough, a hidden gem that’s waiting to be discovered. I’ve used it for portraits and weddings, and it’s never let me down.
If you’re on a budget but still want a full-frame camera, I highly recommend giving the Canon 6D a try.
4. Fujifilm X-T10
+ Film simulations
+ Superb jpegs, straight-out-of-camera images
+ Form factor and design
+ Fast autofocus performance
+ Good for low-light shooting
+ Can shoot 8 fps
– Made of plastic components
– No touchscreen
First things first, let me break it down for you. The Fuji X-T10 is a mirrorless camera that’s perfect for both newbies and seasoned shooters like me.
It’s compact, lightweight, and packs a punch with its features. This little powerhouse is not only affordable, but it also delivers image quality that I really adore.
Fuji colors are gorgeous, the lens selection is fantastic and Fuji’s film simulations are the best in the industry.
The camera itself is small but sturdy, making it easy to travel with and carry around on your adventures. It’s also great for taking portraits because of its fast autofocus capabilities and sharp images!
When I first held the Fuji X-T10 in my hands, I was struck by its sleek and retro design. It’s like holding a vintage film camera from the future!
The dials and buttons are perfectly placed, making it a breeze to adjust settings on the go. Plus, its small size makes it easy to carry around, whether I’m exploring the bustling streets of a city or hiking up a mountain.
Let’s talk about the image quality – oh my goodness, it’s amazing! The X-T10 boasts a 16mp APS-C sensor that captures sharp, detailed, and vibrant images that are a feast for the eyes. Although, 16mp might not be up to par with other digital cameras available today.
The dynamic range is fantastic, allowing me to capture stunning landscapes with rich colors and deep shadows.
And the low-light performance? It’s surprisingly good! I can confidently shoot in higher ISOs in low-light situations without worrying about noise ruining my shots.
The autofocus performance of the X-T10 is fast and incredibly accurate. It’s like having a trusty sidekick that never misses a moment.
Of course, like any camera, the X-T10 has its pros and cons. One downside is that it doesn’t have weather sealing, so I have to be careful when shooting in challenging weather conditions.
Also, it is made of durable plastic, unlike the XT-1 which is made of magnesium alloy. This means that the X-T10 is lighter than the XT-1, but it’s not as tough.
However, the build quality is still good, with a solid feel and durable construction.
In terms of comparison, the Fuji X-T10 is in a league of its own in its price range. Other cameras may offer similar features, but none can match the unique character and performance of the X-T10. It’s like finding a rare gem among a sea of ordinary stones!
5. Sony a6000
+ Great image quality
+ Fast autofocus
+ Small and light
– Not weather sealed
– Menu system
Well, let me tell you, this little guy is quite the powerhouse. It’s like a tiny superhero that packs a punch! This mirrorless camera is one of my early favorites!
The Sony a6000 is an APS-C mirrorless camera that’s designed for photographers who want something that’s compact and easy to use.
It has a 24-megapixel sensor which delivers superb image quality. The colors are great and the overall image quality is very impressive to me.
This camera is great for beginners, travel photographers, or those who want a camera that’s easy to carry around but can still perform decently in low-light situations. Especially if you pair it with a fast glass like the Sigma 56mm f/1.4.
Now, let’s talk about how it feels to use the Sony a6000. The build quality seems solid and particularly well-made. It only has one dial which makes it very easy to use but I’m not sure if this is enough for more advanced users.
Sadly, this model is still plagued with Sony’s terrible menu system which I find to be very confusing and difficult to navigate at first.
The camera also has a couple of buttons that can be customized which is great for those who want more control over their camera.
Now, let’s move on to its autofocus performance.
I find its AF performance fast enough for my needs. The tracking may need some work but still pretty accurate in most cases. It can also shoot 11 fps in continuous mode which is pretty good. This camera performs well when shooting sports and action.
And as an experienced photographer, I was really impressed with the Sony a6000. It’s a great camera that delivers professional-level image quality in a compact and affordable package. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to take their photography to the next level without breaking the bank.
Although, some might argue that it isn’t as user-friendly as some other cameras on the market. While it’s true that the menu system can take a bit of getting used to, it’s also true that once you’re familiar with it, the camera is a breeze to use.
So, that’s my take on the Sony A6000. If you’re looking for a camera that’s powerful, versatile, and affordable, this is definitely one to consider.
6. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
+ Excellent build quality
+ Image quality is great. Plenty of dynamic range to play with
+ Image stabilisation
+ Autofocus is really fast
+ Fully articulated screen is useful
– Battery life could be better
– Has a lower resolution compared to other cameras
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that boasts impressive features for photography enthusiasts who want a compact yet powerful camera for their creative pursuits.
Imagine holding a sleek and stylish camera in your hands, with its metallic body and retro design reminiscent of classic film cameras. Its compact size makes it easy to carry around, and the button placements are intuitive, giving you quick access to all the controls you need to capture that perfect shot.
I love to bring this camera since it was so compact yet it gives me the features that I need when shooting vacation photos.
This wonderful camera features a 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, which delivers impressive image quality with rich colors and sharp details for its size.
Its rugged magnesium alloy body is weather-sealed, providing durability and protection against dust and moisture. Which is a huge plus for me!
And also, the camera’s autofocus performance is fast and reliable, with a variety of autofocus modes to suit different shooting situations. I don’t have any focusing issues even in low-light conditions as long as it’s not completely dark.
Now, when you pick up the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, you can feel the solid build quality and the attention to detail.
The dials and buttons have a satisfying click, and the camera feels comfortable to hold, allowing you to focus on your photography without any distractions.
The high-resolution 2.36 million-dot Electronic Viewfinder with eye detection (EVF) provides a clear and immersive shooting experience. It is the same EVF that is used in the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1.
While at the back of the camera, the articulating touchscreen LCD screen allows for versatile shooting angles. It’s a fully articulated one and can be rotated to the front of the camera. Selfie anyone? And yes, I use it for selfies and I’m not ashamed to say that.
One thing that I really like about the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is its Image stabilization. It’s a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation (IS) system, which allows me to take sharper photos when I’m using a slower shutter speed. It also makes it easier to achieve a handheld video with less camera shake.
Yes, it is a great and affordable camera. However, one downside is that the camera’s smaller sensor size compared to full-frame cameras may result in lower image quality in high ISO settings.
Also, some may argue that the 16-megapixel sensor of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II may not match the image quality of higher-resolution sensors found in other cameras on the market.
However, it’s important to note that the E-M5 Mark II’s sensor, combined with its image stabilization technology, delivers excellent image quality for most photographic needs, and the smaller sensor size can be an advantage in terms of portability and lens options.
I have some friends who shoot wildlife and landscape and they always use OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
They are very happy with this camera because it’s light and small, easy to carry around with them.
And finally, in my opinion, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers a great balance between performance, portability, and image quality. Its retro design, rugged body, and advanced features make it a reliable and enjoyable camera to use.
7. Panasonic LUMIX ZS70
+ Great image quality for its size
+ Can shoot 4K and Raw
+ Built-in EVF with eye sensor is good but tiny
+ 30x optical zoom lens
+ Flip up touchscreen LCD
+ Autofocus is quite fast and accurate
+ Great for traveling and family photos
– Battery life can only last up to 250 shots
– Small hand grip
This compact camera is a fantastic travel companion and a great tool for learning photography.
Firstly, let’s talk about the Lumix ZS70’s design. The camera feels light yet sturdy and well-built, with a tiny grip that makes it easier to hold. It has a typical point-and-shoot camera look with modern touches, and its small size makes it easy to carry around in your pocket or camera bag.
Now, let’s talk about image quality. The ZS70 is equipped with a 20.3-megapixel sensor that produces good enough images. They aren’t as sharp or detailed as those taken with the Nikon D700 or Canon 2000D, but they are still good for a camera this size.
The colors are actually good and the metering of this camera is well done. The camera does have some problems when it comes to dynamic range, which is the range of brightness values between pure white and pure black.
The 5-axis Hybrid optical image stabilization system is also a plus, making it easier to capture sharp photos in low-light conditions, when filming videos, or when shooting with slower shutter speeds.
One of the standout features that I like about this camera is the autofocus performance. The 49-area autofocus is actually fast and reliable as long as you’re not shooting in super dark lighting conditions.
I like to bring the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 when I’m just strolling around. It’s a good travel camera that you can use for capturing moments, but it also has enough features to make it an excellent choice for beginners.
Another unique feature of this compact camera is its built-in electronic viewfinder, which is great for those who prefer using an EVF over an LCD screen.
But there’s bad news, it’s so tiny that it’s giving me some sort of eye strain when using it for long periods of time.
The camera also has a versatile zoom lens. It is a Leica branded 24-720mm equivalent lens with a 30x optical zoom range that is pretty capable of shooting a wide variety of situations.
The zoom range is perfect for travel photography, where you may not always be able to physically get closer to your subject.
The camera’s video capabilities are also impressive. It can shoot 4K video which produces beautiful and detailed footage.
Additionally, the camera has a variety of creative modes and filters that allow you to experiment with different looks and styles.
However, no camera is perfect. While the Panasonic Lumix ZS70 is a great option for beginners and intermediate photographers, more experienced photographers may find it limiting.
The camera’s small sensor size means that it may struggle in low light conditions, and the overall image quality may not be on par with higher-end cameras.
Emma Lucy is the Founder & CEO of Emma Lucy Photography. She has over a decade of experience shooting weddings and other intimate events. She also tests the latest digital camera bodies, lenses, analog cameras and other gear from Canon, Nikon, Sony and other camera brands. She currently lives in London where she spends most of her time being a self-employed professional photographer and writer.