Best Budget DSLR for under 100

You should be skeptical of this title, “Best Budget DSLR for under 100“, buts its 100% true!  No one will sell a working DSLR with lens for around $100.  Well, I bought one.  I use it as my spare camera and I love it.

I will tell you what my budget DSLR camera is and review it so you can decide if it is right for you too.

What Did I Buy and Why?

I bought a Nikon D50 DSLR from Amazon in 2016.

I paid under $120 for the camera body and 18-55 lens.  This is the typical Nikon DSLR kit sold and are available everywhere.

Why was mine so cheap?  I bought it used from Amazon.

When you buy a used car, most people focus a lot on the mileage.

When you buy a used camera, you need to focus on the shutter count.  This tells you how many pictures the camera has taken and gives you a great indication of its overall shape.

The Nikon D50 (according to Nikon) will last to about 50,000 clicks.  The camera I bought had about 5,000 clicks on it.  It was still a baby.

Amazon has a great return policy on most items so I didn’t have any worries about the camera condition.  If there were any issues, I would simply return it. Make sure you check the return policy before you buy something.  Seller reviews are key too.

When I wrote this, I searched Amazon for similar deals and found a D60, D70, D80, and D100 all selling for under $100. The Nikon D50 is currently selling for under $60.  All great cameras and will serve you well for many years to come.

I would match the D50 Body with the YONGNUO YN50mm F1.8N Standard Prime Lens.  There are cheaper lens you can get without the motor.  The D50 has a motor drive that can use older (cheaper) lens but I recommend spending a little more and getting a lens that can work on newer camera models.

The total with the upgraded lens and D50 body will cost under $140.  This was the price as of this writing.

Prices change everyday so check back and when the price is just right, jump on it.

If you want to keep the cost under $100, then replace the lens with the older model.

You can also use the kit lens and they are sold everywhere really cheap.

If you do, remember that the older lens will not be able to be used with the newer Nikon camera when you are ready for an upgrade.

Nikon D50 Review

I had a D50 for almost 10 years with over 50,000 clicks and I loved it (until it died).  I had a very good understanding on how nice the camera is and it was a no brainier to get a replacement.

This camera is reviewed all over the internet and is considered a fantastic camera.  Remember this camera was released in 2005 and will not have newer features available on current models.  It also doesn’t have the current model price tag.

The CNET review says “Performance and features that rival those of more expensive digital SLR cameras make the 6-megapixel Nikon D50 one of the best entry-level options“.

Most people would complain about the 6 MP D50 but on my more expensive D3200 (24 MP), I rarely capture everyday images at over this size anyway.  It just takes up too much space on my server to have 50 MB images around.

The weight is quite a bit heavier then modern models but for the cost savings, I don’t mind.  I wrote a review on the D3200.  Check it out and compare for yourself.

D50 Specs at a glance

  • Effective Pixels (Megapixels): 6.1 million
  • Sensor Size: 23.7 mm x 15.6 mm
  • Image Sensor Format: DX
  • Storage Media: SD
  • Top Continuous Shooting Speed at full resolution: 2.5 frames per second
  • ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200 – 1600
  • Monitor Size: 2.0 in. diagonal: Monitor Type: TFT-LCD
  • Battery / Batteries: EN-EL3 Li-ion Battery Pack
  • Approx. Dimensions (WxHxD): 5.2 in. x 4.0 in. x 3.0 in.
  • Approx. Weight: 19 oz. (540 g)camera body only


If I had to do it all over again, I would shop for just the camera body and get a prime 50 lens.

I love the simplicity and F stop of the prime lens and makes picture taking so much more versatile.  They are usually under F/2.0 and can take great pictures in very low light.

Prices change very often in the used and refurbished market so prices today could be very different then next week.

Keep checking back and wait for the right deal (unless you need it now like I did).

Its been 2 years since I bought my D50 and its still going strong.  I am using it as a backup camera so I only pull it out maybe once a month but it is serving its purpose perfectly.

Share your experience with the Nikon D50 or YONGNUO YN50mm F1.8N lens below.  Do you agree with this recommendation?  Good or bad, lets share our knowledge and make buying a Budget DSLR for under 100 easier for the next person.

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