Quality is a clear issue with some digital cameras that cost less than $20, but others are surprisingly reliable and useful. Here are the best cheap digital cameras — really cheap.
Some really cheap digital cameras are not even worth the $8 price tag, but keep looking and you might find a good cheap compact digital camera for $4. Here is an overview of four super-cheap digital cameras. They are listed by Amazon price low to high.
Zina 300K Mini Digital Keychain Camera: $3.99
The good: For $4, Hong Kong's Zina can fit a still and video camera and 8MB of memory into a package smaller than a credit card. The camera can take 99 low-resolution photos or 17 seconds of silent video.
The bad: It has no digital viewfinder, so the photos are a mystery until you return to your computer. It also is incompatible with Windows Vista (but aren't most PC users incompatible with Windows Vista?).
The ugly: Some users complain the camera does not work at all, but it costs less than lunch at McDonalds and you have a free keychain complete with an attached silver conversation piece.
Get the Zina 300K Mini Digital Keychain Camera here.
Vupoint 3-in-1 Keychain Digital Camera: $7.99
The good: The blue camera has a few more curves than the Zina, and an extra 8MB of memory.
The bad: Everything else about the camera is actually a step down from the Zina for double the price, an outrageous $8.
The Ugly: Pictures are blurry and they will all be erased when the AAA battery dies, which sometimes happens very fast, according to some users.
Purchase the Vupoint 3-in-1 Keychain Digital Camera here.
Coby 1.5-inch Digital Photo Keychain: $11.93
The good: Another $4 gets you a 1.5-inch LCD viewfinder. Not bad for a camera three inches wide. It also comes with software that is compatible with most Mac and Windows operating systems.
The bad: The rechargeable battery lasts longer than the cheaper models, but not by much.
The ugly: Photo quality is still really low, and it is also prone to sudden and unexpected death.
To buy the Coby Digital Photo Keychain, click here.
Cobra Mini Digital Camera with Keychain: $24.95
The good: The camera can store up to 200 images.
The bad: Picture quality seems a little higher than the cheaper models, but the difference is marginal.
The ugly: The camera is basically an overpriced knockoff of the $8 Vupoint - for three times the price. It only has 8 MB of memory and, like the Vupoint, only shoots at 0.3 megapixels.
Get the Cobra Mini Digital Camera here.
The bottom line
If you're getting a keychain toy, go really cheap and get the $4 Zina. If you really want to splurge, fork out $12 for the Coby with its LCD screen.