Best Cameras Under $300 - 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

Looking to upgrade from your phone camera?

You too can take quality photos (and video) without breaking the bank, and create those lasting memories you are looking for.

With so many options of cameras to choose from, we’ve helped narrow down your search by developing this list of Best Cameras Under 300 to help you navigate your way and find a piece that works best for your photography needs. We’ve done the work for you and come up with 10 truly great cameras that you can afford and will produce the amazing photos you are looking for.

Best Cameras Under $300 (2017)

These 10 models have a diverse range of features and functionality to meet the demands and different levels of your photography skills. Each is unique in their own right, but we thought enough of them to add them to our top 10 list of Best Cameras Under 300.

Rank   

Model

Resolution   

Zoom   

Video Quality   

Rating

Cell content

1

Nikon Coolpix B500

16 MP​

40x​

1080 p​

2

Sony DSCW800

​20.1 MP

5x​

720 p​

3

Olympus TG-870

16 MP​

5x​

1080 p​

4

Canon PowerShot SX420

20 MP​

42x​

720 p​​

5

Nikon Coolpix L840

16 MP​

38x​

1080 p​

6

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70

16.1 MP​

60x​

1080 p​

7

Canon PowerShot SX530 HS

16 MP​

50x​

1080 p​

8

Samsung WB350F

16.3 MP​

21x​

1080 p​

9

Sony DSC-HX50V/B

20.4 MP​

30x​

1080 p​

10

Nikon Coolpix L32

20.1 MP​

5x​

720 p​​

Why Best Cameras Under 300?

While you can certainly find a camera above $300 that will give you more functionality and features, staying within the constraints of $300 provides a good starting point for anyone looking to take good quality photos without a lot of knowledge on photography.

Once you get above the $300 range, you are looking at more complex models that may be out of the skill level of the everyday photo taker. We wanted to keep it simple and easy to use for everyone and still offer enough features that even a more seasoned photographer would be satisfied with. Plus, with a Best Camera Under 300, you are at a price point that most people feel comfortable investing in a camera with all the features they are looking for to take great photos.

You will notice that a few models on the list are well under the 300 range we set. We still selected them because, at their price, they were not only budget friendly but offered great features that were still in line with the higher priced models in the same 300 range.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at these top 10 Best Cameras Under 300.

If you are looking for an easy to use camera with a good zoom range, the Nikon Coolpix B500 is definitely your best bet. It offers a 40x optical zoom that is coupled with a Dynamic Fine Zoom. There is very little this camera won’t be able to get up close and personal with. It offers 16 megapixels, so you are sure to get even the finest of detail in every shot with this affordable camera. Plus, it will keep your shots steady as can be with its Lens-Shift Vibration Reduction, giving you crisp, clear shots every time.

You can’t go wrong with the video capabilities of this device, as it offers full HD at 1080 p and the ability to connect via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC so you can share your shots with friends and family in an instant. It has a 7.4 fps shooting speed and an ISO of up to 6400, giving you all the versatility you are looking for in a camera with the high-quality zoom and picture imaging.

You will find that this camera is a bit of a beast in terms of size and weight. As one of the heaviest cameras on our list, it can be bulky to carry at 19.1 oz.

The 3-in. tilting LCD display is also a nice touch on a Best Camera Under 300, and the low light sensor allows you to take photos without being overly concerned about the flash. It is an easy to use camera that also incorporates an Easy Auto Mode for novices that optimizes the picture quality automatically. For the price point of the Nikon Coolpix B500, you’ll have an excellent camera that will get the job done every time. Overall you will be pleased with your investment in the Nikon Coolpix B500 if you are a beginner or more experienced photographer. You’ll be able to turn out great quality photos and have all the capabilities you are looking for in a camera at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Dynamic zoom
  • Large LCD display

Cons

  • Bulky and heavier than most models

While the Sony DSCW800 comes in easily under $300, it is still a good choice for the money. You will find that this camera has all you need for casual photography skills and will produce good quality photos with its 5x optical zoom and a 20.1-megapixel sensor.

Video is also available with this economical camera as it features 720 p HD recording. You’ll be able to produce videos with ease as this is an easy to use camera that has a few shooting modes that are simple to use for even the most challenged of photographers

 It has a low 720 p HD video recording which won’t produce the highest of quality videos as well as no instant sharing capabilities.

It really is designed as a fun camera to use with a low-price point that will allow you to take fun photos without having to over think the process. It is a simple point and click camera that offers some additional functionality such as a 26-mm wide angle lens and 2.7 in. LCD display.

Designed to fit in your pocket, it is perfect for on the go shooting and to have ready when you need it. Overall the Sony DSCW800 is a quality camera that comes in at a very affordable price. If you are looking to have some fun with your photos, this is the perfect model for you.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Good zoom and megapixel range
  • Quality camera for the price

Cons

  • Low video quality
  • Minimal features

If you are looking for a camera that will stand up to impact, the Olympus TG-870 is perfect for you. This camera can take a beating and keep on working. It is rated to 7 ft. for shock and is crush-poof to 220 lb. You’ll also be able to get this camera wet as it is waterproof to 50 ft. and it can withstand temperatures as low as 14 degrees F.

The features of this camera don’t disappoint either as it features a 5x optical zoom lens and can record full HD video at 1080 p. The lens is a 21-mm wide angle lens that has an 180-degree rotation, which allows for easy shooting and with features such as built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, you can point, click and share as well as track where you are instantly. Use the GPS to tag the location of your photos, and you’ll never forget where you were when you took them.

The only disappointment with this camera is its lower megapixel and zoom range. When shooting outdoors, you may want a higher-rated sensor that can grab detail better and zoom in finer.

This is the ideal camera for someone that is looking for a rugged camera to be outdoors with. You can drop it, get it wet and even step on it without successfully breaking its functionality. Overall the Olympus TG-870 is a desirable camera for someone that doesn’t want to worry about damage from things such as accidental drops. You’ll have a lot of fun with this camera as you can literally shoot anywhere at any time.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof and Crushproof
  • GPS built in

Cons

  • Lower megapixel sensor
  • Small zoom range

The major benefit of the Canon PowerShot SX420 is its ability to easily share your photos and videos others instantly. It comes equipped with Wi-Fi and NFC, which make it easy to get your media out tot eh masses in an affordable camera model.

You’ll also find it has good zooming capabilities for the price point at 42x and its wide angle lens at 24 mm will make sure you get everything in the photo. Its 20 megapixels offers good sensor quality for a Best Camera Under 300, and it is a solid point and shoot model. Its Canon DIGIC 4+ Image Processor also provides for clean and crisp photos with higher resolution than other cameras.

While priced right, this shoots lower quality video at 720 p which won’t give you that true HD quality you may be looking for.

With its Smart Auto feature, you’ll be able to easily use this camera as soon as it arrives. It automatically allows you to set the right camera setting for whatever you are shooting without hassle for that perfect shot every time. You’ll also enjoy the effects that can shoot in Fisheye, Toy Camera, and Monochrome modes for some added fun with your photos.

Overall the Canon PowerShot SX420 offers a good quality camera for the price, and it has a good range of features that will make this camera fun to use and shoot quality photos that you can share. Anyone looking for a camera that can provide good photos easily with some fun added features will do well with this model.

Pros

  • Easy to share media
  • Fun effects
  • Easy to use out of the gate

Cons

  • Low-quality video recording

If you are looking for a professional-grade camera without the high price tag, then the Nikon Coolpix L840 is the ideal choice for you. This camera has the look and feel of a professional photography camera and several features that make it very versatile. You’ll have quick handling along with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC technology that allows you to instantly share photos.

The tilting LCD screen gives good functionality, and with Vibration Reduction, blurry photos will be a thing of the past. At 16 megapixels, you have good photo quality, which is only aided by the 38x optical zoom, allowing you to take up close and personal photos at a moment’s notice.

While this piece offers great features and a professional feel to it, it may be too much of a camera for a novice, and it has a bulkier design that doesn’t make it easy to travel with.

It is designed to work in low light, so you will still get a good shot when conditions aren’t optimal. Video capability is full HD at 1080 p so you can record and post every event in your life. It also includes some really handy features like Target Finding AF that focuses on just what you want it to as well as Face Priority AF, Skin Softening, and Blink Warning, making it easy to use the camera without issue.

Overall the Nikon Coolpix L840 is a good camera for a professional that wants to pare down their camera equipment or a beginner that is looking to get into professional photography. It is a good transition camera that can go anywhere and shoot anything with relative ease.

Pros

  • Easy photo and video sharing features
  • Looks and feels like a professional camera
  • Full HD video capabilities

Cons

  • Harder to use
  • Bulky design

With a 60x zoom lens the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 is right on for the money. You’ll be able to get those close shots with ease with this camera and its 16.1 megapixel MOS sensor make this a good bargain. You’ll be able to really get a clean picture with this camera as the zoom lens expands 20 to 1200 mm.

It also shoots great high-quality video at 1080 p and has autofocus, making it a good choice if you are a video enthusiast. You can also record the sound of those videos with its Dolby Digital speakers and zoom microphone, making it possible to pick up the softest of sounds. It also has a convenient package size and it relatively easy to use.

While you can shoot HD quality video, there is no way to share it instantly, leaving social media users with regret when buying this camera based on the lag time to publish online.

Overall the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70 is a good mid-level camera that offers good video capabilities for someone that doesn’t mind waiting to download and share. The zoom on this camera will allow for tight shots and pick up fine detail that would be great for portrait shots or outdoor use.

Pros

  • Excellent zoom features
  • MOS sensor works well in low light
  • High sound quality

Cons

  • More features than you will need
  • No photo or video sharing capabilities

The Canon Powershot SX530 HS is a versatile camera that is easy to use and hang on to. It has an ergonomic grip, so it will feel comfortable in your hands throughout multiple shots. You’ll be able to get clear, up-close photos with its powerful 50x zoom feature and its advanced systems that include Intelligent IS and Zoom Framing Assist, allow you to capture your subject easily, so you get the perfect shot in one try.

Its video recording capabilities are quite advanced for its price point as it offers 1080 p at 30 frames per second for full HD quality. The 16.0 megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image Processor allow for superior video taking that can be shared instantly with its wireless technology that includes both Wi-Fi and NFC. Plus, it has a dedicated movie button that makes taking video super easy.

While this is a powerful camera, it is a bit lacking in the zoom category and comes as a refurbished model that many users may be turned off by.

You will also find this camera has automatic image stabilization for steady shooting and a 3 in. LCD display that makes viewing photos convenient. Overall the Canon Powershot SX530 HS is the perfect video recording camera with enhanced features that put it a leg above in the Best Cameras Under 300 category. The ability to share your photos and videos will delight users that want that instant engagement with their friends and family.

Pros

  • Excellent video quality
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Minimal zoom capabilities
  • Refurbished model

The Samsung WB350F camera is a nice portable camera that takes good quality photos from virtually any distance. It has 16.3 megapixels and an optical zoom that extends 21x, for that perfect shot. You’ll be able to get minute detail from every angle with its 23-mm lens and its LED display that measures 3 in. really enhances the viewing function of this camera.

The real standout feature of the Samsung WB350F camera is its sharing features that for a camera of this size, are really superior. With its Smart features, you’ll be able to upload to social media as well as email. It offers a direct link and a mobile link and provides an all Share feature for instant access.

If you are looking for more control over your camera and want to steer clear of some of the automatic features, it has you covered here too. It allows for manual operation of the aperture and the shutter, for full field management and control of the shutter speed. Choose Smart Mode for automatic control over the camera to take the best quality photos without having to think about what setting to use.

The combination of a micro SD card instead of a standard SD card makes it a bit of an inconvenience. You will also find that the sensor is small and will produce graininess in some instances.

Samsung also bills this camera’s ability to work as a monitor to watch your child with its remote accessibility to your phone or mobile device. Overall the Samsung WB350F is a good camera for those that want to stay connected and engaged with family and friends instantly through photos and video. The multiple sharing options make this an easy choice for anyone looking to maximize its capabilities. This is a fun camera for novices and professional photographers.

Pros

  • Maximum sharing capabilities
  • Extended zoom for distance shots
  • Remote capability through mobile devices

Cons

  • Needs micro SD card
  • Small internal sensor

With a small compact frame, the Sony DSC-HX50V/B is easy to take with you wherever you go. It has a lightweight design that produces good quality photos with a 30x zoom lens, making it possible to shot from far distances.

You’ll enjoy the GPS built right into this camera so you can really travel light and mark your photos at the exact location you took them. The features of this camera are designed to be easy to use so a novice won’t get frustrated with it and a professional will have a lot of fun with it.

It has an Optical SteadyShot feature to keep objects in focus even if your hands aren’t steady. This even works with the zoom feature on. It has a variety of other functions that allow you to adjust its photo taking capabilities to get just the right shot.

The megapixel quality could be higher for all the versatility this camera offers. You will also notice that you can’t determine battery life very easily, which can be a drawback.

Also, featured in this small little wonder are the ability to share images instantly. It comes with Wi-Fi built in so you can upload photos to your mobile device with ease. It also allows you to send the photos to your TV or PC backup. You can also take full HD quality video at 1080 p. Overall the Sony DSC-HX50V/B is a little dynamo of a camera with its compact and lightweight design that really makes it easy to take anywhere. This is the ideal camera for a traveler as it packs light and can share photos and videos instantly no matter where you are.

Pros

  • Compact design that is lightweight
  • GPS included
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of features and options to use

Cons

  • Low megapixels
  • Undeterminable battery life

The Nikon Coolpix L32 is a great camera for beginner photographers as you can simply point and click to take good photos. It does offer an impressive 20.1 megapixels, which for the price point of the camera is a huge boon. The zoom is 5x, which may be enough for someone just starting out in photography.

You can also record HD video at 720 p and take advantage of its range of smart portrait features. It has a dedicated Movie Record button to make video shooting easier, and the LCD display is a full 3 in.

While the price point of this camera is definitely affordable, it lacks in zoom function and video recording capabilities.

Designed as an easy-to-use camera, you’ll have no trouble operating its functions and be able to turn out great quality photos with ease. It includes a Vibration Reduction feature to steady your shots and some fun effects that you can apply. It also operates AA batteries, making operation even easier. Overall the Nikon Coolpix L32 is a solid camera for beginners to perfect their photography skills with or someone that struggles with technology. You’ll be able to take photos and videos with ease and won’t have to worry about confusing settings to get the right shot.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • High megapixel rating
  • Operates on AA batteries

Cons

  • Poor zoom functions
  • Low video quality

Best Cameras Under 300 – Buying Guide

Knowing what to look for in a camera is a battle as they seem to have a language all their own. Before you begin your search, you need to decide what your primary purpose of your camera is going to be. Maybe you want a convenient model that is easy to use and carry around or maybe you are looking to capture video and share it with your friends and family instantly. In either case, you need to understand the main features that make up a camera.

Take a look at these most common features in Best Cameras Under 300.

Weight and dimensions

This is important to note as if you plan to carry your camera with you wherever you go. You want one that is light and easy to hold on to. Looking at the specifications for weight and dimensions will give you a good idea of what it will be like to lug around the camera model you are eyeing up. You’ll be surprised at how many features you’ll find in a lightweight camera.

Video capabilities

If you plan to use your camera to take video, be sure to get the highest quality video recording that you can afford. Selecting 1080 p will give you true HD quality and make sure your videos are of the highest value for viewing. You will also want to take into account sound quality and look for a microphone that will record every detail of your videos.

Sharing features

This capability is becoming more common with cameras, allowing users the ability to instantly share their photos and videos. If you plan to post your photos and videos the moment you take them, look for Wi-Fi built into your camera as well as NFC technology that will give you access through your mobile device to share with social media as well as friends and family using an app from the manufacturer.

Autofocus

If you are a novice to picture taking, you will want to find a camera that has autofocus built in so you are able to frame and focus on your subjects more easily. Trying to manually focus a camera can be a challenge for beginners and most cameras come with this auto feature to help you take optimal photos without the hassle of focusing the lens properly.

Megapixels

The megapixels of your camera are important as this will give you higher resolution and picture quality. You are no doubt looking to take crisp and clear photos and the higher the megapixel rating, the better your photos will be. Try to be in at least the 16-megapixel range for your photo taking capabilities. Anything higher is better if you can get it.

Zoom

Depending on what you are shooting, the zoom can be a defining factor in if you choose a camera to purchase or not. The zoom will allow you to focus in on fine details and objects in the distance so you can really shoot the most delicate of shots. The higher the zoom rating on your camera, the closer you will be able to focus from a distance, allowing you to capture your subject from afar.

Shake resistance

Many manufacturers are incorporating some sort of shake feature into their camera. This allows you to have a steady hand and prevents those blurry shots that are so easy to take. Adding this feature to your camera is nice as you will get the perfect shot every time and never miss a moment with a reshot that has to happen.

Durability

If you are looking to shoot outdoors in all weather conditions, look for a more durable and rugged camera that is designed to face the elements. Cameras can be sensitive to weather extremes and the inevitable drop so you many want to look at the shock rating to see if it is compatible with your expectations for durability.

Waterproof

When you are looking to shoot in all conditions, you might want to opt for a waterproof camera that can get wet without restrictions or damage. This will help you get those rainy-day shots and not have to be so concerned that your lens is getting wet or the internal components of the camera will get ruined.

Easy to use

If you aren’t experienced with photography don’t select a camera that you are unable to use. Look for features that are easy to operate and that you can easily get used to with a little training. You want a camera that you are able to use without fumbling around or hassle. You want your picture taking to be fun above all and having a camera that you are unsure of how to operate can be a major drawback.

When you are selecting a Best Camera Under 300 for purchase, be sure to think about what your expectations are and buy accordingly. Keep in mind these features and buy within the parameters for the plans for the camera’s use.

Advanced Camera Features and Functions to Understand in Best Cameras Under 300

When it comes to Best Cameras Under 300, you will find some models have some pretty advanced features that you may or may not need. These features are typically designed to offer you more than their competitor to sway you towards their model, but they can be quite a good find in the model you are seeking.

Some advanced features to understand are:

Sharing

With the onset of social media, it is has become imperative that users are able to share what they have captured. Many of our top 10 Best Cameras Under 300 included this feature, and you may be wondering if you need it.

Think about your photo sharing experience now. Do you email photos or post on social media? You may want to consider a camera with the built-in capabilities to provide photo and video sharing to enhance this experience even more for you.

By incorporating an app on your phone or mobile device, you are able to instantly send photos that you can email, text, or post on social media instantly. Because these cameras have Wi-Fi built in, it makes sharing easy and quick.

You are best going with this feature if you even have an inkling that you might want to do this. It is better to have this feature than be without it as you will just regret it.

Effects

Many of the cameras on our list come with special effect features that allow you to capture photos in a fun and amusing way. While this is an innovative feature, it is a feature that gets used for a while and then kind of gets abandoned to the wayside after you have seen it a few times.

If it comes with the camera model you are seeking, great! If not, don’t go out of your way to find it. Remember your mission is to take quality photos. The effects feature is something you can take or leave.

LED Screens

The LED screen of your camera is vital as this is where you are going to view much of the action for your picture taking, video recording, and image viewing. Look for as large as a screen you can find and try to find features such a tilt and rotation. This makes taking selfies easier and will allow you to get up close and personal with the subject you are focusing on.

With a LED screen that tilts you can take photos head on as well as directly in front of you, and you will find it provides great versatility for no matter what you are shooting. This is a feature that you certainly want in a camera and the more functionality it provides, the better off you will be.

GPS

This is a new feature in cameras that is really useful if you are an outdoor photographer. You will be able to locate and position yourself accordingly to the GPS directions. This is also useful if you travel frequently as you will be able to tag your photos with your location, making for easier recollection of where you were the moment you captured your shot.

Having the GPS built right into your camera allows for easier maneuvering and is, of course, one less thing to bring with you when you travel. This is a nice option to have and may be a feature to actively look for in the camera model you are looking to purchase.

Final Word on Best Cameras Under 300

The options for cameras are endless and can be overwhelming at times. Take some time to think about the actual features that are important to you before you make your decision. This will ensure you get the right camera for your photography needs within your budget.

Our list will give you a head start on your camera search and help you identify the Best Cameras Under 300 to select from. Be sure to go big on the features that mean the most to you so you can take advantage of their offerings and take photos (and video) that you are truly proud of. These cameras are some of the best out there in this price ranged targeted toward both the everyday user and the occasional photographer no matter the skill level. Have a camera model that you think should be on our list of Best Cameras Under 300? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

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