Best Camera Under $500

Best Camera Under $500

Are you disappointed with the quality of the photos you have been taking lately?

Perhaps it’s time to upgrade your camera by purchasing a newer model with better focus and resolution. If you are like most people you will assume that most really good cameras will run you over $1000. For the most part you are right but there are a few affordable exceptions. We will prove this to you by showing you how to find the best camera under 500 dollars.

Top 5 Best Camera Under $500 Comparison Chart

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Best Camera Under $500 Reviews

1. Nikon D3300 1532 18-55mm VR II Auto Focus – Takes Unbelievable High Definition Photos

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There are few companies that are more trusted when it comes to camera manufacturers than Nikon. Its excellent and affordable camera models like this one that have gained Nikon that type of reputation. This is a digital SLR camera that will give you photos that have great definition and color for a decent price.

Digital SLR cameras are great because they can be used in two different ways. Beginners will most likely want to use them in a point-and-shoot mode which takes great pictures effortlessly. More advanced users may want to use some of the more advanced settings on the camera.

This camera has too many really good features to mention them all. They start with its excellent 24 megapixel photo quality. There is a big 3” digital display screen built in to review your photos and videos too.

It can also be set to be used under a very wide variety of light conditions too.

The absolute best feature on this model camera is the autofocus. It will lock onto a moving target and stay locked on it until you have snapped your photo.

Great pictures are not the only thig you can take with this camera model either. It also has the capability to shoot high definition videos. So now when you are on a tour or on a holiday you only have to bring one camera instead of two.

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  • Auto focus lock on
  • 24 megapixel high definition
  • 3” LCD display
  • HD video capable


  • Small viewfinder
  • Videos are limited to 20 minutes

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2. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit – Send Your Favorite Photos to Loved Ones As Soon As You Take Them with Wi-Fi Connectivity

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Here is another big name when it comes to reputable camera manufacturers. Canon is known for making high quality cameras that last and this camera fits that mold perfectly. It is a very versatile digital SLR camera that you can own for less than $500.

There really is much to like about this camera. It all starts with how easy to use this model camera is. There are preprogrammed settings when once you select them all you have to do is press the button and the camera will do the rest. The picture when using these settings will really surprise you.

This camera can take pictures that have as high as 18 megapixel resolution. That means you can take extremely high quality photos with this model camera.

There is also a handy nine point auto focus system built into this camera’s picture taking ability. That is an especially nice benefit for novice photographers who still like to take beautiful pictures.

Once you are done taking photos you can send them right away to your family and friends too. This is because there convenient Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built right into the camera itself.

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  • Easy to use digital SLR camera
  • 18 megapixel photo quality
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • ISO 100 – 6400 speed capable


  • A lot to learn if you want to use all its functions
  • Requires downloading several apps for certain functions

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3. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 16.1 MP Digital Camera – Great 60X Optical Zoom Feature

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Panasonic may not be as big a name when it comes to camera manufacturing as the first two companies on our list but that will change if they keep making digital SLR camera models as good as this one. This is a really fun camera to operate for both novice and experienced camera users.

The Panasonic LUMIX has a lot to offer those that use it. It takes excellent quality photos with its more than adequate 16.1 megapixel resolution.

The 60X optical zoom feature will let you move in close on those far away targets too. Optical zoom lenses are better than digital zoom ones because they don’t distort the image quality as much.

You can also take very good quality videos with the Panasonic LUMIX camera too. It has HD quality video capability built into it also.

This camera is a very lightweight 2.1 pounds too. That means you can take shots for a while without arm fatigue setting in. It even comes with a good 1 year parts and labor warranty.

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  • 60X optical zoom
  • 16.1 megapixel quality photos
  • A Lightweight 2.1 pounds
  • HD quality video recording


  • Loses some focus when zooming
  • Motor noise seems a little loud to some users at times

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4. Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Digital Camera – Designed for Those That Don’t Like to Read Instruction Manuals

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We really like this model camera from Sony. It has as many if not more automatic features than any camera on our top review list. It is a camera that is more of a hybrid SLR camera. It mixes the best qualities of a point-and-shoot camera with some SLR camera functions.

Using this camera is all about freedom. It is lightweight and compact yet it still takes very high quality photos. The Sony DSC-RX100/B camera has many built-in automatic functions too. You don’t have to spend much time reading the owner’s manual in order to take incredible photos with it.

The signature feature on this handy Sony camera is its Carl Zeiss lens. Zeiss lenses are known to help produce crystal clear high quality pictures at any light level.

It also has an excellent video recording capability built into it. When shooting video with this camera it has very good image stabilization features and its video functions are easily controlled by you as you use it.

The 3 inch digital display is great for seeing your photos and videos right away too. That way you can delete any of these you don’t like to create more space in your memory for new photos and videos.

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  • Carl Zeiss lens technology
  • 20.2 megapixel image quality
  • 1080 HD video recording
  • 3” viewing screen


  • The flash pops out in a strange spot
  • No time lapse feature to speak of

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5. Canon SX530 HS 9779B001 PowerShot – A Top Model Point-and-Shoot Camera

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This camera takes excellent quality pictures and works especially well in low light conditions. It is a point-and-shoot camera that also has some features that are found on much more expensive digital SLR cameras. This makes this camera so easy to use.

There is a lot to like about this model camera. When you combine the technology of the high quality CMOS sensor and its generous 16 pixel resolution you get quality pictures time after time.

The 50X optical zoom is great for getting closer photos of faraway objects without losing a large amount of quality. Photo quality with this camera is also enhanced by its image stabilization, tracking and auto focusing features too.

There is a large variety of photo taking settings and editing choices on this camera too. That means you can have some fun taking photos and be creative with your finished pictures too.

Like the other canon model on our top review list it also has the capability to send photos and videos to your family and friends. This camera will easily connect to Wi-Fi or any Bluetooth enabled device. You can view your photos and videos before sending them out on this cameras good quality 3 inch display screen too.

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  • High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor
  • 16 megapixel resolution
  • 50X optical zoom
  • Large 3” display screen


  • Not able to connect to all Bluetooth enabled devices
  • Battery life could be improved

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The Different Types of Cameras

Film Cameras

These are kind of a dying breed of camera. They were the original high quality cameras that many people used for years. Nowadays they are mostly used by professional photographers because you can still do more with film cameras than you can with digital SLR cameras.

With that being said, the gap is closing rapidly in picture quality between the two and more and more professional photographers are having great success using digital SLR cameras.

With these cameras after you are done shooting a roll of film you have to either develop it yourself or take it someplace to be developed. They are also very complicated to operate.

Instant Imaging

These are cameras that develop their own pictures right after you take a shot. They are a fun type of camera to use because of this. Before the advent of digital camera technology they were the only type of camera where you could see your results right away.

Polaroid was the original inventor of this type of camera and now Fuji film has their own versions too.

The drawbacks to these types of camera are the film they use is expensive, the user has very little control over how a photo is taken and the image quality is not as goos as other types of cameras.

Mirrorless (compact system cameras)

These are one of the latest types of digital cameras but they are fairly new technology that has not quite caught on yet. They work very similar to digital SLR cameras but as the name implies they do not use a complex mirror imaging system like digital SLR cameras do.

One of the biggest advantages with these cameras is that you can use interchangeable lenses with them. The drawback with these types of cameras is these additional lenses will usually cost some significant money.

Point and shoot

These are the most basic version of digital cameras available. The user controls very little as far as the settings on them go. That is why they are called point and shoot cameras. They are very simple to use and you can find them priced well under $100 for some models.

One of the major drawbacks with them is the image quality is not nearly as good as those pictures taken with a digital SLR camera.

Digital SLR/Compact Digital SLR

These are by far the most popular types of cameras. As we have mentioned before they have modes where they act as point and shoot cameras and other settings that let the user have more control over their shots.

These come in all different price ranges too. The best cameras that you will find under $500 will most likely be digital SLR type cameras. This is because they are such a very versatile type camera. Best of all they can be used effectively by both novice and more experienced camera users alike.

If you would like to know how digital SLR cameras work in a little more detail, then you can refer to this informational YouTube video:

Best Camera Under 500 Dollars Buying Guide

Let’s face it. You are not going to get a camera like professionals use for under $500. On the other hand, most people don’t need an expensive type of camera to take very good photos. So what should you look for to make sure you are getting a very good camera that is still less than $500?

Here are some of the main considerations when shopping for a camera in the less than $500 price range:

Camera Resolution

You most certainly want a camera that takes good clear pictures. The resolution a camera has is what determines how clear the images it produces are. This resolution of the image in a digital camera is determined by the number of megapixels it has. The higher the number of megapixels the higher resolution images your camera can take.

Ease of use

When you purchase a new camera you don’t want to spend hours reading an owner’s manual and watching YouTube videos to learn how to use it. That is why you want to find a camera that is easy to use. Look for a camera that has settings that are self-explanatory and has many auto functions too.


There are many important parts on a camera but few are as important as the camera lens itself. When you are looking at a particular camera model see if you can find out who the lens is made by. Once you do this then do a little research on that particular lens to see how well it is made. This is important because the higher quality lenses are less susceptible to such things as glare and a halo effect.

ISO sensitivity

Light play such a key role whenever you are taking photos. A good camera can fool the lens into thinking there is more light in the room than there. A camera’s ISO rating is its range that it can sense light and adjust to it. The higher the ISO number that your camera can be set to the darker the setting you can take photos in. A camera that goes up to at least 6400 ISO is preferable.

Digital display

One of the best qualities of digital cameras is that you can see the finished image right away. That way you can decide if you want that image or video taking up your limited space om your cameras SD card or not. The best way to see these images is with a generous size display screen on your camera. Look for a camera that has a diagonal display screen that is at least 2 ½ inches.

Advanced settings

Once you get used to taking photos with your camera on its automatic settings it then may be fun to play around with some more advanced settings. That is why a camera that has these abilities is neat to have sometimes. So if you are the type of person that likes to be creative sometimes when you shoot photos, then look for a camera that will let you choose some of your own settings if you want.

Zoom capability

Having a camera that can get you closer to objects that are far away is a big bonus sometimes. Built-in zoom capability comes in very handy at sporting events and when travelling. Look for an optical zoom capability too because its produces a better quality picture than digital zoom capability does.

Video capability

These days most cameras will have some sort of video taking capability. This is true even of inexpensive point-and-shoot models. If you are interested in taking videos and photos then look for a good camera that can do both. Some cameras will even have extremely high quality HD video capability.

Battery/Battery life

Imagine being on vacation and viewing the most beautiful sunset in the world. Just as you go to get a photo of this amazing sunset your camera dies. This can and does happen all the time. That is why if you buy a camera with a longer battery life you stand less chance of having this happen to you. So be aware of the battery life of any camera that you are about to purchase.


As cameras get more and more sophisticated that also means that there is more that can go wrong with them too. Even a camera that costs less than $500 dollars is still not considered to be a disposable item. That is why you want your camera to come with the most comprehensive and longest warranty possible. Make sure you check out the warranty of any camera you are thinking about buying.

Final Verdict

There are few things in life that are better to have than a camera that you can really rely on. After all, who does not like a keepsake of their favorite moments in life? You don’t have to spend a fortune anymore to do this either. A camera like the Nikon D3300 VR II Auto Focus is more camera than most people will ever need. Best of all it can be yours for under $500. Check this camera and the others on our top review list out before you buy. That way you won’t miss out on the best camera under 500 dollars.

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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