Best Digital Cameras Under $500 in 2021 -Top 10 Reviews

Best camera under 500 in 2021 for beginners ,canon camera comparison,best compact digital camera 2021

Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020-Welcome to Online Camera Store : Best Camera Comparison and Digital Camera Buying Guide 2020– a great page for Choosing a camera and best camera Buying Guide of Best Dslr Cameras Under $500 ,$300 ,$400 In 2021

Thinking about buying a camera but don’t have a right place where to start? No worried, You are in the perfect place and On this page you’ll find our best camera and  buying guide to buy a camera best suited to your needs.

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 we test virtually every type of camera, and we can guide you through the options, which lets you quickly compare different models to find the right one for you.

 Top 10 Best Digital Camera 2021 At a Glance

Best Overall Camera-Canon PowerShot SX280

Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera w/25x Optical Zoom - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black)

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What’s good from this point and shoot digital cameras is that it can offer as much as 12.1 Megapixel High- Sensor. Working with Canon processor, this camera could make the renowned Canon HS SYSTEM. Because of these features, it becomes possible for you to make shots even in the place with low light. It sure has exceptional low-light performance. With the speed of ISO 6400, you can capture clearer images with maximum detail. Surely, you will be satisfied with the result.

This compact camera is also good when it comes to its optical zoom. Why not? With 25mm wide-angle lens, you will get 20 times more powerful optical zoom than you normally find in other cameras. Working with optical image stabilizer, you are ensured to get bright and vivid results. The lens-shift technology in it is the one that will help you to reduce unwanted camera movement that used to cause blurry images. Thus, it becomes possible for you to get such amazing results.

Best Point and Shoot-Canon PowerShot G9 X Camera

Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom, Built-in Wi-Fi and 3 inch LCD touch panel (Silver)

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Since it is important to know how much megapixel is offered from its CMOS Sensor, we will tell you here. Did you know? This camera can offer up to 20.2 MP CMOS Sensor. Although there are others that might be higher than it, it still gives you exceptional results. With Canon DIGIC 6 Image Processor, you get HS SYSTEM to get amazing performance with the speed up to ISO 12800. The image quality is sure to be outstanding one and is fast to get.

One thing that you might want to know from this compact camera is that it offers Star Shooting Mode. Normally, it would be difficult to shoot breathtaking images and videos of the stars.

However, this mode works with supportive functions, like Night Display, Color Adjustment, and Star Emphasis in order to make it possible for us to capture starry sky easily. Of course, the images captured are all impressive. There is no need buy more expensive camera to capture the stars of the night sky.

Best Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS (Black)

Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera w/ 10x Optical Zoom and Image Stabilization - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Blue)

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Are you interested in slim point and shoot camera? Anyone would want to get such thing and this is what you will get from this camera here. However, even if it is compact in its design, it is still reliable camera to choose. It can offer as much as 20.0 Megapixel CCD Sensor to you. Combined with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, it is capable of giving stunning image quality to you. 10x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer will also be there to help you take shots with flexibility and ease.

Talking about creative freedom when capturing, you can rely on this camera pretty much. It has reliable modes and effects for you to use. There is Fisheye Effect to get a classic photographic distortion without fisheye lens. There is Miniature Effect to give emphasis on perspective by the way of blurring the top and bottom of the image. There is also Toy Camera Effect to make vignette effect by the way of darkening the edges of the image. They would be of help to you.

Best Dslr camera-Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS

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If you are a fan of Nikon, this compact camera might be the best one for you. Unlike the others, it can even offer as much as 24.2 Megapixel CMOS DX-Format Sensor. With ISO speed all the way from 100 to 12800, you can expect to get outstandingly beautiful low-light shots with greatly maximum detail. Not to mention, it can be expendable to even 25600. When it comes to its outcomes, there is no need for you to doubt this camera for you will really get what you deserve from it.

Well, it is not like you can’t record video with it. Most digital cameras nowadays are made to let you do such thing too. Dazzling 1080p Full HD video with sound is something you will definitely get from it. This camera helps you to smoothly record ultra-sharp HD movies. Not to mention, it even allows you to apply special effects to make the movies more interesting and creative. This camera is just fun to work with. It lets you do all possible things for capturing and recording.

Best Under 300-Canon PowerShot SX510

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Although price can change from time to time, you need to know that this camera is currently priced lower than its kind. That makes it quite an affordable choice for you. Of course, it has worthy features to consider. Let us tell you here that it can offer you up to 30.2 Megapixel High Sensor. It works together with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor in order to offer the best quality of images possible. Moreover, it offers even up to 18x optical zoom to you as well.

Well, since it is superzoom  digital camera we are talking about here, you can expect to get good screen from this camera here. For that, you need to know that this camera really offers large 3.0-inch LCD with a screen resolution of 922,000 dots. Because of that, you will be able to view objects easily from wide angle with it. Not to mention, there is built-in Wi-Fi which will allow you to transfer both images and videos to compatible mobile devices. All will be useful for your needs.

Best Digital Camera-Panasonic DMC-ZS60K Lumix

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Panasonic is great to consider as well. It offers up to 18 Megapixel Sensor which makes it possible for it to deliver high-resolution photos even with fewer image artifacts for you. What’s amazing coming from it is that it offers even as much as LEICA Optical Zoom Performance. Such performance is great for travel photography. Of course, there is no reason that it would be bad for everyday photography. Thus, this camera is worth for you to rely on.

Furthermore, this camera comes with touch-enabled LCD as well. Thus, you will be able to get wider viewing experience. This is important if you want to capture scenery or memorable moments. Of course, this camera is also the choice for those looking for camera that offers 4K Ultra HD. Among the offered features, there are LUMIX PHOTO and also Post Focus that should come in handy when capturing photos. This camera will help you capture with the best results.

Best Under 500-Fujifilm X70 Digital Camera

Fujifilm X70 Digital Camera (Silver)

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Fujifilm has been quite well-known when it comes to camera since a long time ago. If you find other brands offering digital camera, you can surely find it as well from Fujifilm. The Fujifilm digital camera here for example, is pretty much worth to take into account. It has up to 16.3 MP APS-C sized X-Trans II Sensor with EXR Processor II. Because of that, outstanding detail and sharpness can be produced. Both things are significant when it comes to photos and videos after all.

Of course, such good thing won’t work for camera that has lens that is not good enough to work with. For that, you don’t have to worry. This Fujifilm camera is equipped with newly developed 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) F2.8 wide-angle fixed lens. With the camera having such lens, it can cover everything right from snapshots to landscapes. This is the kind of camera that is good for everyday use. Capturing family moments will be great with just this camera.

Canon EOS Rebel T5 –Best Digital SLR Camera

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Along with Fujifilm, Canon has been gaining so much fame for a long time already. It gets so much trust from the people who like photography. Of course, Canon produces more than one digital camera that would be great for 2016. This one here is as nice as the others to consider. It offers up to 18 MP CMOS sensor.

Combined with DIGIC 4 Image Processor and EF-S 18-55mm IS II standard zoom lens, this camera expands the possibility to take pictures.

Indeed, it would be easy to take pictures when it is daylight. However, people also like to take ones when it is dark. Thus, you will need camera that can still give amazing results even in low light.

Fortunately, this is something that is offered by this camera too. It is because this camera offers broad range of light sensitivity right from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. Just so you know it is expendable even to ISO 12800. Even without the need of flash, you can still get detailed-looking results.

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera

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Nikon is another good brand worth to take into account as well. You can know by looking at this camera here. This one is sure to offer as much as 24.3 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor. With EXPEED Processor, it works nicely to produce outstandingly vivid pictures. However, just because it is a camera, it does not mean that it is meant to take pictures only. With this quick shutter speed camera too, you will be able to produce full HD videos. It is great to record any occasions.

Did you want to know how this camera looks like? Well, since it is digital camera, you must have guessed that it should appear pretty compact. This is true, of course. To tell you the truth, this camera is designed to have slim unibody. Due to its monocoque body design, this camera is actually pretty lightweight. Furthermore, you will still get LCD display from it too. This should help you with your photography activities.

Sony Alpha a6300 –Best Mirrorless Digital Camera

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Have you heard camera with the best Auto Focus system? If you don’t know about it, you should know here that it is this digital camera that has such thing in. Indeed, this camera has the capability to lock focus on a subject in even as little as 0.05 seconds. Even with that great ability, it is still capable of getting us up to 24.2 MP APS-C Exmor CMOS Sensor so that we can obtain the best quality of images possible. There is no doubt that it does offer great performance.

How about the body design then? Although the important ones would be the features, it is not a bad idea at all to concern yourself about it as well. If you do know Sony cameras, you might have been able to imagine how it would look like to you. Yes, it is pretty much compact in its design. With that, you can be sure it is lightweight as well. Moreover, this camera has weather-sealed body. So, you can be at ease since external factors would not come to harm it.

Best Canon PowerShot SX260 Digital Camera

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Entry-level or experienced photographers understand the importance of using a powerful digital camera, capable of capturing stunning photos. Most of the latest top rated point and shoot cameras reviews, underline the smooth functionality of Powershot SX260 from Canon. Why should you opt for this particular model? Well, it comes with 12.1 MP and also a precise 1/2.3 inch high sensitivity CMOS sensor, more than enough to take brilliant photos, irrespective of the lighting conditions. The camera incorporates a user-friendly 3 inch TFT color LCD which people can use at will. Furthermore it has 20 x optical zoom and can be used to record full 1080p HD videos.

Best Point and Shoot Camera in 2021

There are millions of professional photographers that want to take stunning photos whenever they go out for a trip with friends or family members. To this end, it’s important to be in possession of a professional point and shoot camera, designed to deliver a significant assistance during any photo activity. With a reliable camera, you will be able to improve any memory, shared with friends at a given moment, in a special location. How to find the best point and shoot camera? Well, this is an important question that needs to receive a swift and professional answer.

The segment of digital cameras is wide, offering many models. Are you ready to take brilliant photos no matter of your location?  If you are then this detailed guide is exactly what you need to consult. All you need to do is press the shutter button and the camera precisely and automatically adjusts the shutter aperture, speed, focus and light sensitivity.

What does that mean? Well, you will enjoy crystal clear pictures with the optimal color. Easy to use and handle, point and shoot cameras can occupy with ease your pocket. Furthermore this type of cameras is far less expensive than DSLR cameras, making them a great option for people always on the move.

Well, let’s take a shoot on it. Now there are cameras from 20 to 32 megapixels, designed to deliver high definition clarity during every picture taken. Another important thing about point and shoot cameras is sensor size.

The sensors located on point and shoot cameras are usually smaller then on DSLR cameras but they can make color gradations precise. With high quality photo performance, high quality point and shoot cameras will help you transform memories into live moments of joy. You can find a camera with 20x lens that can bring the subject closer but in high definition.

Photographic enthusiasm will be present in your everyday artistic desire, especially after you’ve found a professional point and shoot camera. Still, there are some cameras that come with large image sensor located somewhere in 1/1.7” range, created to enhance the photographic power.

Before you start looking for a camera with large sensors, it’s best to know that they come can’t deliver a long zoom. On the bright side, point and shoot cameras with large sensors perform ideal in low light conditions which may come in handy when you are out on vacations with friends and family members. Another important aspect that you need to consider is the lens focal length not just the zoom factor.

There are some cameras suited to tight spaces, where devices of 24 to 120 mm. It’s very important to have in your pocket a high quality compact point and shoot camera, with the right MP, lens focal and LCD display panel. Taking into account the data present in this buying guide, you will be able to identify the right point and shoot camera!

What is Point and Shoot Camera ?

What is point and shoot camera? A point and shoot camera is a small camera that is meant for simply capturing images on the spot. Once you turn on your point and shoot camera, you can instantly turn it on in just one to two seconds, and it will play everything. It is so wonderful to buy this if you are constantly looking for ways to take photos without having to worry about aperture and moving the lens around.

See How the Camera’s Features Are

The best thing to base your consideration on is none other than the features offered by the camera you will want to buy. It is its capability that we need after all. Without sufficient features, you won’t be able to catch the best moments and result with the best outcomes. Check out how much megapixel is offered, how strong the optical zoom is, and other things you will need from camera.

Learn Whom the Camera is best for

If you ask whom the camera would be best for, you need to take a look at its specifications carefully. As long as you understand the features as well as how they would function for you, it must be one of the best ones for you. Expensive cameras don’t always mean for photographer. Even people who simply like taking photos can use them as long as they understand the function.

Consider What You Need the Camera For

Did you know? When you are going to choose camera, you need to know what you need the camera for. If you are photographer for example, you will need the camera that offers the highest pixel of CMOS Sensor possible. Sometimes, you will even need camera with more advanced features. What’s important is to buy the camera you will need the most. Don’t waste money to buy the useless one!

There you go. We have reached the end of this article. What do you think about those 10 cameras? We do say that they are the best point and shoot camera under $300 dollars for the year 2017 and 2018 because they are worthy to be called so. Mostly, they have high pixel from the sensor. Often, they work together with DIGIC Image Processor in order to create HS SYSTEM.

All are meant to produce clear and vivid images to us. As for their look, they are practically compact since they are digital camera. Some might even look slimmer, thus becoming more lightweight and is easy to bring along everywhere.

I hope you liked out list of Best Point and Shoot Camera under 300 and able to make your decision which one is best for you. Happy clicking.

Best Digital SLRs Camera Under $500 in 2021

1. Nikon D3400 ($497 with 18-55mm lens)

Megapixels: 24.2
Sensor size: 366 sq. mm
Weight: 13.9 oz.
What we like: The whole package in this price range.
What we don’t: Improvements over the D3300 were minimal.
Lenses: 10 Great Nikon DX Lenses

In 2017, the D3400 is Nikon’s flagship entry-level DSLR and a great value at under $500 with a kit lens. With this camera you get impressive image and video quality for the price including a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor, Full HD 1080p video at a variety of speeds, and the ease of use that has helped make Nikon so popular. All in all, the D3400 is a no-brainer for those looking for an inexpensive DSLR that still gets the job done.

One consideration for buyers is that the D3400 is very similar to the older and slightly cheaper D3300 below. The most notable improvement on the newer model is Nikon’s SnapBridge technology for transferring images and videos via Bluetooth, and the D3400 also got a boost in battery life. With a $50 increase in cost over the D3300, you can’t go wrong with either model but we appreciate the connectivity options and extended battery life of the D3400.
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Best Budget digital camera under 500 in 2021

2. Nikon D3300 ($447 with 18-55mm kit lens)

Megapixels: 24.2
Sensor size: 357 sq. mm
Weight: 15.1 oz.
What we like: Better flash than the D3400 above.
What we don’t: Wireless requires adding a separate adapter.

It was a very close call between the D3300 and the D3400 above for the top spot on this list. First and foremost, these cameras are identical in terms of image and video quality and the $50 difference in price comes down to a handful of features. The D3300 lacks Bluetooth Connectivity (you can add a WU-1a wireless adapter for about $30 more) and has inferior battery life. The upside is that the flash is considerably better on the D3300, a nice advantage for those who frequently shoot indoors and in low light.

Moving on from nitpicking about features, the D3300 has everything most beginning DSLR users need: good optical quality, a user-friendly interface, and an improved kit lens that is sharper and lighter than past models. At this price, the D3300 offers better resolution than the sub-$500 Canon DSLRs below and will outperform just about any point-and-shoot.
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Best digital camera under 500 in 2021

3. Canon Rebel SL1 ($499 with 18-55mm lens)

Megapixels: 18
Sensor size: 332 sq. mm
Weight: 14.4 oz.
What we like: Small form factor.
What we don’t: We still prefer the D3400 above for a DSLR at this price point.

The Canon SL1 is the lightest DSLR in Canon’s lineup, and we were big fans when it was released a few years ago. Now it feels primed for an update, with an 18-megapixel image sensor (6.2 megapixels less than the Nikon D3400 and D3300) and relatively simple autofocus system that has been surpassed by newer Canon models like the T6i. The SL1 still is a solid entry-level camera, but we prefer the higher resolutions of the cameras above.

In 2017, the most direct competitor to the Rebel SL1 is the Rebel T6. Compared to the T6, the SL1 offers touchscreen functionality, faster shooting, and better low light performance. But the tipping point for us is the kit lens: we like the 18-55mm STM offered with the SL1 over the 18-55mm IS II offered with the T6. You can save $50 with the latter, but for our money we prefer the SL1.
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Best dslr camera under 500 in 2021

4. Canon Rebel T6 ($449 with 18-55mm lens)

Megapixels: 18
Sensor size: 332 sq. mm
Weight: 17.1 oz.
What we like: A nice option for still photographers.
What we don’t: Fewer megapixels than the Nikon D3400 and D3300.

Canon’s popular Rebel series is a favorite among photographers and videographers on a budget. Unfortunately, with $500 you can’t quite crack the higher-end “i” models: the Canon Rebel T6i is $749 with a kit lens and the T5i is $649. The Rebel T6 (no “i”) is a trimmed-down version with fewer megapixels, a simpler autofocus, and a fixed LCD that doesn’t tilt. But at only $449 with an 18-55mm lens, the T6 gets you a current digital SLR from one of the best in the business.

What do you sacrifice by going with the T6? For those who plan on shooting mostly still photography, not as much as you might think. Many of the features on the pricier T6i and T5i such as the tilting LCD and STM lenses are designed with video in mind, and therefore aren’t much of a loss for those capturing stills. But we don’t like the drop in megapixels down to 18, which we think makes the Nikon D3300 above a more attractive option at the $450 price point.
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Best digital camera under 300 in 2021

5. Canon Rebel T5 ($389 with 18-55mm lens)

Megapixels: 18
Sensor size: 332 sq. mm
Weight: 15.3 oz.
What we like: One of Canon’s cheapest DSLRs at less than $400.
What we don’t: Video quality could be better.

It’s pretty rare that you’ll find an interchangeable-lens camera for under $400, especially from a brand like Canon. The Rebel T5 isn’t loaded with features by any means—it’s at the bottom end of Canon’s Rebel DSLR lineup—but we love the bargain basement price. At around $400 with a kit lens, it’s the cheapest DSLR on this list.

Why is the Rebel T5 so inexpensive? First, the rear LCD screen doesn’t have touch functionality nor does it tilt or swivel. Second, the T5 has a slow burst rate at only 3 frames per second. Finally, the autofocus is fairly basic with only 1 cross-type focus point. But we love the price, which is comparable to some point-and-shoots that don’t offer nearly the same image quality. If you’re comparing the T5 to the newer T6 above, the latter adds Wi-Fi and NFC along with a higher resolution LCD screen.
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Best Mirrorless Cameras Under $500 in 2021

1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 ($499 with 14-42mm lens)

Megapixels: 16.1
Sensor size: 225 sq. mm
Weight: 13.8 oz.
What we like: Great image quality for the price.
What we don’t: Camera is small in the hand and can be tough to grip.

Olympus makes some of the top mirrorless cameras on the market (they are part of the Micro Four Thirds family), but most are closer to $1,000. Even this camera, the OM-D E-M10, had been around $700 for much of last year before going on sale. At its current price we absolutely love the OM-D E-M10: it’s small and light for travel yet offers the same image sensor as the much pricier Olympus E-M5 Mark II. New to the camera is 5-axis image stabilization and improved electronic viewfinder, among other features. All in all, you get a whole lot of camera here for $430, although we do expect the price to go back up. Until then, OM-D E-M10 is the top mirrorless camera under $500 and will run circles around the Olympus PEN E-PL7 below.
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2. Sony Alpha a5000 ($448 with 16-50mm lens)

Megapixels: 20.1
Sensor size: 357 sq. mm
Weight: 9.5 oz.
What we like: APS-C image sensor.
What we don’t: No electronic viewfinder.

The Alpha a5000 is Sony’s leading entry-level mirrorless camera and currently available for under $450 with a kit lens. Most importantly, the Sony a5000 has a large APS-C image sensor and 20.1 megapixels of resolution, but it does forego the bells and whistles of higher-end models like the pricier Sony a6000. Perhaps its biggest shortcoming is the lack of an electronic viewfinder (you’ll have to use the LCD screen around back to line up your shots). But this issue aside, the a5000 is a solid value for those who want quality photos at a reasonable price.
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3. Nikon 1 J5 ($497 with 10-30mm lens)

Megapixels: 20.8
Sensor size: 116 sq. mm
Weight: 9.4 oz.
What we like: Super fast shooting speed and improved ergonomics.
What we don’t: Smaller image sensor than other mirrorless cameras.

Nikon has not been aggressive with the sheer number of its mirrorless offerings, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the 1 J5. This compact camera lags behind in the size of its image sensor but makes up for it in features and functionality. With the 1 J5 you get extremely fast shooting at up to 20 frames per second, 20.8 megapixels of resolution, built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, and better ergonomics than past versions with an improved grip. In addition, the 1 J5 does not have an optical low pass filter like many of Nikon’s latest DSLRs, which results in better sharpness. If you can overlook the small image sensor (we should note that although it is smaller than the other mirrorless models on this list, it’s the same size as Sony’s popular RX100 series) the Nikon 1 J5 is a fun and very fast camera.
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1. Sony DSC-RX100 ($448)

Megapixels: 20.2
Sensor size: 116 sq. mm
Weight: 8.5 oz.
What we like: Still one of the top point-and-shoots on the market.
What we don’t: No electronic viewfinder.

Sony has released three versions of the RX100, all of which are terrific cameras that many enthusiasts and professionals use when they can’t carry larger set-ups. The new RX100 IV is selling for a whopping $948, but the original RX100 is less than $500 and can go head-to-head with any camera on this list. For the price you get a large sensor that produces high-quality 20.1-megapixel images, a fast Carl Zeiss lens, manual settings, and RAW capability, all packaged in a lightweight and durable body. The newest version has an electronic viewfinder and 4K video—the original X100 does not—but it’s a great camera nevertheless.
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Best Point and Shoot camera under 500 in 2021

2. Canon PowerShot G9 X ($429)

Megapixels: 20.2
Sensor size: 116 sq. mm
Weight: 7.4 oz.
What we like: Longer zoom range than the Sony RX100.
What we don’t: Smaller 1″ sensor.

Canon expanded its high-end point-and-shoot lineup at the end of 2015 with the release of G9 X and G5 X to compliment the existing G7 X. The G9 X is the simplest of the bunch in terms of features without an optical viewfinder or ultra-high resolution articulating LCD screen. You also get fewer manual controls on the camera itself. However, the G9 X boasts the same large 1” CMOS sensor as the other two models, has even more zoom at 28-300mm, and is extremely light at only 7.4 ounces. If you’re choosing between this camera and the Sony RX100 above, we prefer the larger sensor but the extended zoom range of the G9 X is valuable for uses like travel photography. The built-in Wi-Fi is a nice touch as well.
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3. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS ($329)

Megapixels: 20.3
Sensor size: 28 sq. mm
Weight: 9.5 oz.
What we like: A well-rounded camera for under $300.
What we don’t: Image sensor is smaller than advanced point-and-shoots.

If you’re willing to move down to a smaller sensor, the Canon SX720 HS is a popular superzoom and a great travel camera on a budget. Most impressive is its 24-960mm of reach, which far exceeds any of the more expensive point-and-shoots above. You also get Full 1080p HD video capability and built-in Wi-Fi, among other features. In most conditions, the SX720 HS can produce quality images and you’ll barely notice it’s in your pocket. However, for people who plan on making large prints, the resolution can be limiting and you may want to consider a point-and-shoot with a larger sensor or an interchangeable-lens camera.
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4. Olympus TG-4 Tough ($379)

Megapixels: 16
Sensor size: 28 sq. mm
Weight: 8.7 oz.
What we like: Waterproof, dustproof, and freezeproof.
What we don’t: Small image sensor.

Generally, we hesitate to recommend “tough” cameras. The bottom line is that a big chunk of the money goes to the waterproof housing and you end up with a small image sensor and meager components on the inside. Having said that, certain outdoor activities like surfing, rafting, skiing, and even a beach vacation can wreak havoc on your electronics. If you want a dedicated camera on hand but don’t want to think or worry about it, the Olympus TG-4 is the top rugged point-and-shoot on the market in 2017.

Why do we prefer the Olympus TG-4 over other waterproof models from brands like Nikon and Fujifilm? In addition to being waterproof, dustproof, and freezeproof, the TG-4 has a very respectable maximum aperture of f/2 for low light and underwater photos. We also like the 25-100mm zoom range, which goes wider than most other comparable cameras at 28mm. It’s true that $380 is a lot to spend for a camera with a small sensor and without big zoom, but for those who expect serious exposure to the elements, the Olympus TG-4 offers the highest levels of protection.
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5. Canon PowerShot SX530 HS ($279)

Sensor size: 28 sq. mm
Megapixels: 16
Weight: 15.6 oz.
What we like: Big-time zoom.
What we don’t: DSLR-like size yet with small image sensor.

If you’re looking for huge zoom at a low price point, check out the Canon SX530 HS. For less than $300 you get a massive 24-1200mm of reach along with image stabilization and Canon’s signature easy-to-use functionality. All in all, it’s a beast of a superzoom for travel photography and everyday use.

Why isn’t the SX530 HS higher on our list? Unlike the compact SX720 HS above, this camera is extremely bulky and feels much more like a DSLR than a point-and-shoot (it weighs a hefty 15.6 ounces). In addition, the SX530 HS has less resolution than the SX720 HS in terms of megapixels (16 vs. 20.3) and an inferior LCD screen. But you do get more zoom range, which is why many people choose a camera of this type in the first place.
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Best Digital Camera Comparison Table

Camera Price Type MP Sensor Burst Weight
Nikon D3400 $497 DSLR 24.2 366 sq. mm 5 fps 13.9 oz.
Nikon D3300 $447 DSLR 24.2 357 sq. mm 5 fps 15.1 oz.
Canon Rebel SL1 $499 DSLR 18 332 sq. mm 4 fps 14.4 oz.
Canon Rebel T6 $449 DSLR 18 332 sq. mm 3 fps 17.1 oz.
Canon Rebel T5 $389 DSLR 18 332 sq. mm 3 fps 15.3 oz.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 $399 Mirrorless 16.1 225 sq. mm 8 fps 13.8 oz.
Sony Alpha a5000 $428 Mirrorless 20.1 357 sq. mm 3.5 fps 9.5 oz.
Nikon 1 J5 $499 Mirrorless 20.8 116 sq. mm 20 fps 9.4 oz.
Sony DSC-RX100 $448 Compact 20.2 116 sq. mm 10 fps 8.5 oz.
Canon PowerShot G9 X $429 Compact 20.2 116 sq. mm 6 fps 7.4 oz.
Canon PowerShot SX720 HS $329 Compact 20.3 28 sq. mm 8 fps 9.5 oz.
Olympus TG-4 Tough $379 Compact 16 28 sq. mm 5 fps 8.7 oz.
Canon Power SX530 HS $279 Compact 16 28 sq. mm 10 fps 15.6 oz.

The good news for consumers is that you have all three choices when shopping for a camera in the sub-$500 price range:
Digital SLRs
Digital SLRs are the classic camera used by professional photographers and enthusiasts, although mirrorless cameras below are making inroads. Even in the sub-$500 price range, you can get an entry-level DSLR from Nikon or Canon including an 18-55mm kit lens. Prosumer and full-frame DSLRs are well out of reach from a cost perspective, but entry-level DSLRs are excellent for budding photographers.

Nikon D3300 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 | Randell Belk

Mirrorless Cameras
This relatively new breed of camera was built entirely for digital and boasts DSLR-like image sensors in a more compact form. You also get interchangeable lenses, offering greater flexibility than a point-and-shoot that comes with an attached lens. The sacrifices of mirrorless cameras are that the lens choices are still catching up to DSLRs, the experience feels more digital including the prevalence of electronic viewfinders, and the cost can supersede a comparable DSLR.
Point-and-shoots generally are cheaper than the cameras above—they come with an attached zoom lens and a range of features from 1080p video to Wi-Fi. They also have the smallest image sensors, which is why many professional photographers opt for a digital SLR or mirrorless camera. Despite the inferior image quality, you can get a ton of features for under $500 in a very easy-to-use package. Your DSLR or mirrorless camera choice will be relatively basic in terms of functionality, but not so with a point-and-shoot.


Video has become a highly sought-after feature, even at the entry level. All of the cameras on this list shoot Full HD 1080p, and unfortunately none shoot 4K (you’ll have to spend around $1,000 or more for that). Shooting speeds vary depending on the camera model, and quality generally correlates with price. All things considered, most cameras under $500 will shoot decent video but not nearly as good as an enthusiast or full-frame camera. The Canon Rebel series in particular is known for video, but only the T5 made this list (the T6i and T5i are better options for videographers but they are more expensive).
Burst rate
Those who shoot action scenes will want a high burst rate, which is the amount of times per second that the camera will fire. Entry-level DSLRs tend to have the slowest burst rates (in the range of 3 to 5 frames per second), while point-and-shoots and mirrorless cameras can be many times better, depending on the model. The Nikon 1 J5 is the fastest camera on this list at 20 frames per second, while the Sony RX100 is very respectable for a point-and-shoot at 10 frames per second.
Rear LCD
As the price of a camera rises, the rear LCD screen tends to get more advanced. Depending on the model, you may find a tilting or swiveling LCD and even touchscreen functionality. And the higher the resolution on the screen, the easier it will be to read and navigate. This is an area where manufactures tend to trim features to save money, but our top picks like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Nikon D3400 both have good, bright LCDs for the price. Point-and-shoots tend to have the smallest LCDs with the least amount of functionality, with the exceptions being at the high end of the spectrum.
For advanced photographers, the viewfinder is central to lining up a shot and making sure focus is correct. Many entry-level cameras, however, lack a viewfinder and these actions must be done via the rear LCD. We tend to appreciate this technology and it makes creating serious photos easier and more accurate. All of the digital SLRs on this list have optical viewfinders, and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 has an electronic viewfinder. Those who value the composition aspect of photography should take this feature into account.

Sensor Size and Megapixels

You’ll notice that we’ve included both sensor size and megapixel count in the specs for each camera as well as on our handy comparison table. Sensor size—the surface area used to collect light and other information for your digital photographs—is the more underrated of two. Megapixels, the amount of tiny dots on the sensor (mega=millions), get much more marketing attention but actually have less impact on image quality.

Sony RX100 | Tom Hart

We recommend taking both specs into consideration when making a camera buying decision. It’s a tough call—you can get an entry-level DSLR with a large APS-C image sensor for the same price as an enthusiast point-and-shoot with a much smaller sensor, but the experience varies significantly. The DSLR will produce superior images, particularly if you plan to enlarge or print them, but the point-and-shoot will be packed with features, lighter, and more fun to use. We place a higher priority on sensor size over megapixels, but your intended use for the camera should dictate the final decision.

Our Recommendations

With a $500 budget, we prefer either an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3400 or a high-end point-and-shoot like the Sony RX100.  The D3400 is a terrific DSLR for getting started and there are a number of Nikon DX-format lenses that can be added later at reasonable prices. Just a few years ago the RX100 was the top compact camera on the market and Sony has continued to churn out new versions (they currently on the RX100 IV, which costs a whopping $949). The biggest omission on the RX100 is the lack of an electronic viewfinder, but with an extra large sensor for a point-and-shoot and a superb lens, this camera is winner and a great value.

Mirrorless feels like the mostly iffy category here—the kit lenses are comparatively weaker than their Nikon or Canon counterparts and the prime and zoom options are more scattered. The Sony a5000 is a great little camera but the 16-50mm kit lens leaves something to be desired and there just aren’t many cheap Sony E-mount lens options. Samsung and Nikon offer even fewer lens choices. We still love mirrorless in general, but the field is markedly better in the $500 to $1,000 price range and up.

Accounting for the Cost of Lenses

When choosing from the top two categories above (DSLR or mirrorless), the camera often includes a kit lens that will be serviceable but not a stand out. The 18-55mm kit lenses from both Nikon and Canon are great for getting out of the door and shooting around town, but as your photography skills expand, you may want to add another prime or zoom lens or two (a good landscape or portrait lens, for example). This will send the total cost of your kit above $500 and counting, but if you are expanding your lens collection, that’s usually a good sign.

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