The Best Cameras Under $500

Best cameras under $500

The question I get asked most often by my non-photographer friends is, “What are the best cameras under $500?” They don’t know an f-stop from an ISO and think more mega pixels equals more mega! They just want the best bang for their buck and some nice looking pictures at the end of it.

This list includes 18 of ‘The Best Cameras under $500’, has been updated for 2017, and is meant for the average non-camera enthusiast who has little to no photography knowledge. I’ve tried to write it in a way that’s easy to understand, and will hopefully serve as a useful guide to the cameras I would recommend to my friends.

For those of you who already know a lot about cameras and photography, please bear with me – I’ve dumbed down my recommendations a lot in the hope that the information is easy to digest for everyone.

Also, remember that we’re dealing with the best digital camera under $500 here, so the points below are relevant in this price category only.

What are the Best Cameras Under $500 in 2017?

If it’s your first camera and you don’t intend to go pro, I advise limiting your budget to $500 and sticking to the list below. There are so many cameras on the market today that it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you search elsewhere.

As a side note, when you have your first camera, you’ll no doubt want a great camera bag too, so be sure to check out these 2 posts: the best camera bags and the best camera bags for women. Also, if you’re looking for somewhere to put your photos online somewhere, here’s a simple guide on how to make a photo blog.

If you’d like to read in depth reviews on each cameras, click the links to be taken to Amazon. You’ll get the most rounded recommendations by reading the impartial and honest views of actual owners. Amazon also offers free postage (where available) and the best after sales service (returns policy) I’ve come across. If you change your mind, just send back for a refund ;-)

So without further ado, what are the best cameras under $500 in 2017?

The Best DSLR Under $500

DSLR stands for ‘Digital Single Lens Reflex’… what does that mean? Who cares! DSLRs are the chunky looking things you see the pros using, and if you use one, you might look important too!!

Advantages of DSLR Cameras

Image Quality

DSLRs give the best image quality in this price category. Not only this, but the image quality can actually improve depending on the lens you attach to the camera.

You’ll be able to take great quality pictures with the zoom lens that comes with the camera, but if you decide to invest in other lenses further down the line, the image quality can get even better.

Flexibility

You can change lenses on a DSLR. This means you can get closer to an object without moving your feet (using a zoom lens); fit more into your picture (with a wide-angle lens); blur more of the background while keeping your subject sharp (by using a lens with a lower ‘f’ number); and other cool and creative things. Buying a DSLR really opens up the world of photography.

Speed

DSLRs are fast to focus, (meaning your camera will ‘lock in’ on the subject quickly), and offer fast ‘shutter speeds’. Having a fast shutter speed will help you freeze a fast moving subject (think kids’ sports days!)

Recommended DSLRs under $500

1. Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm zoom lens included)

Is the Nikon D3300 the best camera under $500Nikon D3300 Specifications

Type: dSLR
Megapixels: 24.2
Sensor Size: APS-C 366 sq. mm
Weight: 1.11 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Nikon D3300 Review

There’s often some confusion when choosing the best DSLR under $500 between the Nikon D3200 and Nikon D3300. Nikon liked to keep selling older models even after it releases newer ones, and this means that the D3200 can be found at incredible bargain prices (see below).

That said, for an extra 150 odd bucks, you are getting a better camera. The changes are small but significant, including a sensor capable of producing sharper images (with no ‘anti-aliasing filter‘); a shorter and more compact 18-55mm kit lens; faster continuous shooting and higher max ISO (thanks to Expeed 4 processing); longer battery life, and a few other benefits.

The sensor on the Nikon D3300 is one of the best in its class, able to produce both vivid and sharp still images as well as detailed, smooth 1080/60p HD video with the new option of Slow-motiuon footage. Extended battery life makes the Nikon D3300 an excellent travel camera too.

We especially liked the Easy Panorama mode which allows you to pan across the scene, resulting in a high-res panoramic image. As with the D3200, the in-camera guidance is superb, with step-by-step help when you need it most – it’s like having a camera expert by your side when taking photos!

It’s hard to go wrong around the $500 mark if you want a small, lightweight dSLR with great image quality and enough features to take your photography hobby to the next level. The Nikon D3300 is an affordable, excellent camera that deserves to be on this list of the best cameras under $500… even if it is slightly over $500!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE NIKON D3300 AT AMAZON

Nikon D3300 Sample Photo | Copyright Adrian Wright

2. Nikon D3200 (with 18-55mm zoom lens)

Nikon D3200 review

Nikon D3200 Specifications

Type: dSLR
Megapixels: 24.2
Sensor Size: APS-C 366 sq. mm
Weight: 1.11 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Nikon D3200 Review

Without wanting to confuse you, I’ve also chosen to include the Nikon D3200 in this list of the best cameras under $500. You can read why I did this below…

With a whopping 24.2 megapixel resolution sensor packed into a small and light body, the Nikon D3200 is a great value DSLR that is the perfect entry into photography as a hobby. Paired with a good prime lens (e.g. the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX), this combination can create some stunning images.

The Nikon D3200 offers good, detailed images in both Raw and JPEG modes, allowing you the versatility to post process your files to make them look how you want.

It also should be mentioned that the Nikon D3200 is one of the easiest to use dSLR cameras we’ve come across, with menu guides that assist you through various shooting scenarios. This level of assistance in the camera is perfect for amateur photographers of any level.

As an added bonus, the Nikon D3200 also features 1080p full HD video recording capability. A dedicated recording button allows for point-and-shoot video, and manual controls are available for the more advanced shooters out there.

Since the release of the D3300, the Nikon D3200has hit rock bottom prices. You can currently get it on sale at Amazon for only $376.70 – an absolute bargain for a camera of this calibre. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this is the best camera under $400!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE NIKON D3200 AT AMAZON

Nikon 3200 Sample Photo - one of the best DSLR cameras under 500
Nikon 3200 Sample Photo – Copyright Juan Todea

3. Canon Rebel SL1 (aka 100D) (with 18-55mm zoom lens)

Canon SL1 best camera under 500Canon Rebel SL1 Specifications

Type: dSLR
Megapixels: 18
Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Weight: 0.9 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon Rebel SL1 Review

Offering similar image quality to the more expensive (and slightly more bulky) other Canon Rebel dSLRs, the Canon Rebel SL1 (also known as the Canon 100D) is a great value for money camera and actually the smallest dSLR in Canon’s lineup.

You sacrifice a few things such as slower autofocus, less frames per second and the flip-out screen, but on the plus side, the Canon Rebel SL1 offers excellent image quality in a lightweight package that’s perfect for travelling/those who want a functional everyday walk-around camera.

The Canon Rebel SL1 offers an intuitive and fun touch screen interface, allowing you to quickly get the settings you need for the perfect photo. The LCD screen is bright, sharp and responsive, reproducing vivid colours accurately and with ease.

For such a small camera, the Canon SL1 offers impressive high ISO shots, even above 6400 (which is often the limit for dSLRs of this price). Combined with the intuitive night modes, higher ISOs will allow you to get sharp photos even in low light without having to resort to flash.

The Canon Rebel SL1 can shoot up to 4 frames per second for up to an impressive 7 consecutive RAW files or 28 full-resolution JPEGs. Shooting at speeds of up to 1/4000 second, you’ll be able to capture even the fastest of scenes with ease.

Priced at only $499, the miniature Canon Rebel SL1truly deserves to be in this list of the best cameras under $500, and as long as you don’t have enormous hands, I’d recommend you add it to your short list!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON REBEL SL1 AT AMAZON

Canon SL1 sample
Canon SL1 Sample Photo – Copyright Bill Badzo

4. Canon Rebel T3i (aka Canon EOS 600D) (with 18-55mm zoom lens)

Best cameras under $500

Canon Rebel T3i Specifications

Type: dSLR
Megapixels: 18
Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Weight: 1.26 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon Rebel T3i Review

This is a very similar camera to the Nikon D3200. Whilst it boasts less megapixels (18), this is more than enough for most situations, the Canon T3i also features a flip out screen and full HD video recording capability all crammed into a small and lightweight body.

Flip out screens on dSLRs are few and far between, but you will be thankful for one when you start shooting stills, and even more so for video work. The ability to get more creative with your angles, and even take candid pictures when the subject is unaware will quickly improve your photography.

The Canon Rebel T3i features a sophisticated, 63-zone Dual-layer sensor designed to work seamlessly with the 9-point AF system. By taking into account the colour and luminosity surrounding the chosen AF points, this system delivers an impressive level of accuracy for better results even in difficult lighting situations.

The Canon Rebel T3i can shoot up to 3.7 frames per second for up to 6 consecutive RAW files or approximately 34 full-resolution JPEGs. What this means in practice is that you’ll be sure to capture the decisive moments of your son’s first football match!

Both the Canon and the Nikon dSLRs in this list of the best cameras under $500 offer impressive high ISO performance (the ability to get a clear shot in the dark – you’ll have to learn about this one!), and excellent image quality both indoors and out.

Not only does the Canon T3i get an incredible 5 star rating on Amazon, it is also currently the most popular dSLR on Flickr! However, it should be said that the Canon T3i doesn’t really deserve to be in this list of the best camera under $500, since its price is around the $799 mark.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON REBEL T3i AT AMAZON

Canon 600D Sample Photo - one of the best DSLRs under 500
Canon 600D Sample Photo – Copyright Waheed Akhtar

Recommendations on Buying a dSLR under $500

Nikon vs Canon is the age old dispute. Take it from me though, they’re essentially the same so just choose the one you like the look of! If you think you may buy lenses in the future, perhaps look at the prices of ones in each range (Nikon & Canon), to give you an idea of what to expect. This may also help your initial purchase decision.

When you’ve played with the lens that comes with the camera for a while, buy the incredibly well priced Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens (or the Canon 50mm f/1.8 if you choose the Canon). One of these bargain lenses paired with the above cameras will give incredible image quality which can be even better than other cameras costing twice the price.

There are lots of reasons that using these ‘fixed’ (ie non-zoomable) lenses will give you a better looking image, but the only one you need to worry about is the low ‘f’ number (f/1.8). This will mean you can take photos without flash in the dark, and also more of the background will be blurred, making your subject ‘pop’ out the image. You may need to do a bit of reading to work out how to take advantage of this though.

The Best Mirrorless Cameras under $500

These are a relatively new breed of camera which are quickly gaining popularity in both amateur and professional photography. You don’t need to worry about what the mirror is there to do – what’s important is that by removing it, you can have near-DSLR quality images in a much smaller camera.

You can read more about the best mirrorless cameras in all price ranges here.

Advantages of Mirrorless Cameras

Size/Weight

This is the main reason many pros are now switching their bulky DSLRs for Mirrorless alternatives. Mirrorless cameras aren’t usually slim enough to be able to slip into your jeans’ pocket, but they are small and light. Think 3 or 4 times the thickness of an iPhone and roughly the same weight.

Noise

By this I mean, mirrorless cameras are silent. There’s no click/clack that you have with a DSLR. Whether this is a factor for you or not is personal, but without wanting to sound creepy, I like being able to take photos without my subject knowing!

Image Quality

Whilst not quite on par with a DSLR, the gap between the image quality of a Mirrorless camera and a DSLR is becoming much smaller. If you’re shooting during the daytime, most people would never be able to tell the difference in image quality. Having said that, if you want to shoot at night (with no flash), DSLRs will usually be better.

Flexibility

Like the DSLR, the mirrorless camera has access to a myriad of lens options. This ties in with the size/weight benefit too – DSLR lenses are often very heavy (though not the ones I recommended above), whereas Mirrorless camera lenses are not.

Recommended Mirrorless Cameras under $500

5. Sony Alpha a6000 (with 16-50mm Power Zoom lens)

sony-alpha-a6000

Sony Alpha a6000 Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 24mp
Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
Weight: 0.76 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Sony Alpha a6000 Review

The phrase ‘world’s fastest auto-focus’ seems to be thrown around a lot in the camera industry, but usually it’s not mentioned in a list of cameras under $500! The Sony a6000 uses a combination of a 79-point focal plane phase detection AF sensor, 179 AF tracking points and 11 frames per second to ensure that when you hold down that shutter button, you’ll capture what you want.

Aside from blazing-fast autofocus, the focus on the Sony a6000 is also impressive, using contrast-detection and something called Spatial Object Detection to achieve autofocus speeds of 0.06 seconds – definitely among the fastest performance of any camera. The fast auto-focus is one of the reasons I recommend this camera in this post on photographing children.

My two favourite features of the Sony a6000 are to do with how you view the image. A 1.4m dot OLED electronic viewfinder delivers 100% frame coverage and am impressively fast refresh rate. This means that you can preview exactly how your image will look through the viewfinder, before you press the shutter button.

My other favourite feature of the Sony a6000 is its 3″ tiltable LCD screen which allows you to get creative with your angles. If I had the choice, I’d always go for a camera with a tiltable LCD screen as it’s so good for getting those low down, or high up shots. My only gripe is that the screen only tilts to 45 degrees down (it tilts the full 90 degrees upwards), but I guess it’s rare that you’d want to take a selfie of yourself from directly above!

As with most Sony cameras at this level, NFC and Wifi comes as standard, allowing you to control your camera with your tablet or phone. More importantly, you can transfer your photos to your device and whizz it off via email or social media without having to download first to a computer.

If you’re planning to take up photography a a hobby or are simply interested in using a camera outside of the Auto setting, the Sony a6000 gives you full dSLR-like controls. Two dials on the top and a rear-mounted control wheel allow quick selection of shooting modes and manual camera settings.

If you’re one who likes to set up cameras exactly how you want, you’ll appreciate the whopping 7 customizeable buttons which can be assigned to any of the 474 functions! Just don’t forget what you set them to ;-)

Another great feature of the Sony a6000 is the new Eye AF control which can prioritise a single pupil when a subject is partially truned away from the camera. When used in conjunction with the impressive face detection, your mind can be off getting your subject in focus and onto getting creative with your light and composition!

Low light performance of the Sony a6000 is also impressive, with a range of 100-25600. Obviously you’ll get some noise when really pushing up the ISO, but thanks to a built-in pop-up flash, you won’t miss any of the action at night.

Video on the Sony a6000 records in full HD 1920 x 1080, and one impressive feature is when viewing your slide shows directly from the camera to a compatible 4K television, the Sony a6000 converts your images for optimized 4k image size playback! You’ll need an optional HDMI cable, but trust me – viewing your photos in this way is truly spectacular and beats reviewing them on a computer.

All in all, it’s easy to see why the Sony a6000 has so many positive customer reviews and is consistently mentioned as the best mirrorless camera under $500. Snap one up if you can still get your hands on one!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY A6000 AT AMAZON

Sony a6000 sample image
Sony a6000 Sample Photo – Copyright Jechstra

6. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II (with 14-42mm lens)

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 16.3
Sensor Size: 4/3 (17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Weight: 0.87 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Review

I’ve been a bit cheeky including the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II in this best mirrorless camera under $500 list since the price is for the body only. However, I couldn’t resist, since the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is actually a camera I’ve used used heavily in the past and have grown to love (see sample image I took below).

If your budget is strictly $500 or less, the previous version of this camera is available a little more cheaply, but I’d strongly recommend investing a little extra for the Mark II.

Scoring an impressive Silver award on DP Review, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is positioned as an entry-level offering in the OM-D lineup, but in fact it’s just as capable as some of its more expensive siblings. The impressive imaging capabilities of the E-M5 Mark II from my review here can be found in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, leading some of the best quality images on a micro four thirds camera of this price.

Thanks to the combination of the 16mp Live MOS sensor and TruePic VII image processor, the Raw files produced by the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II offer a good amount of latitude for those wanting to experiment in Lightroom. This means you can recover shadows and highlights, bringing more dynamic range to your image.

When purchasing a camera, you should think about the lenses offered by the manufacturer. Thankfully, the 17 Olympus M-Zuiko lenses which can be attached to the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II are great quality, allowing you to have fun with a range of fast primes, telephoto zooms and even macros. You can also attach a number of versatile external flashes (with wireless remote control) to extend your hobby even further.

The styling of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is really second to none, with a mixture of rugged plastic and good-looking metal, giving it a classic-but-cool look that is loved by many.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II deserves a mention too, providing a live view of exposure, white balance and other useful information in the 1.44 million pixel screen. The 120fps refresh rate and adaptive brightness technology of the screen automatically adjusts brightness to the optimum setting for a more natural display.

If you prefer to shoot with the flip out LCD screen like I do, you’ll be amazed out how fast you can focus and shoot just by tapping the screen. This is by far the easiest and fastest method to take a photo on any camera I’ve ever used!

If you want the fastest AF mirrorless camera under $500, this it it. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II offers 8 frames per second, a 81-point AF grid and super high-speed AF technology to help make sure that you won’t miss the shot, no matter how quickly your subject is moving.

This makes the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II perfect for those with small children or pets that light to run quicker than your smart phone can keep up!

If you’re willing to spend a little more on a camera that takes a similar quality of image, but has more features and weather proofing, read my in depth review of the Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark II.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE OLYMPUS OM-D E-M10 MARK II AT AMAZON

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Sample Photo | Copyright Mark Condon

7. Olympus PEN E-PL6 (with 14-42mm lens)

Olympus PEN E-PL6 with 14-42mm LensOlympus PEN E-PL6 Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 16.1
Sensor Size: 4/3 (17.3mm x 13.0mm)
Weight: 0.72 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Olympus PEN E-PL6 Review

I’m blown away that a camera of this calibre is available for this price. At the time of writing, the Olympus PEN E-PL6 is the cheapest micro four thirds camera on the market, and with better image quality (especially in low light) than a lot of its competition.

There are some excellent lenses available for micro four third cameras such as the Olympus PEN E-PL6, and the 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor is optimized to maximise the performance of them in any shooting condition.

Being able to shoot at the equivalent of ISO 100 and with shutter speed up to 1/4000 second with mean that you’ll be able to shoot at maximum aperture even in bright daylight, lending to soft, creamy background separation,

The TruePic VI Image Processor which is designed specifically for the Olympus PEN cameras, features Real Color Technology for improved colour reproduction and gradation. The faster processor also allows for a shorter recovery time between shots, meaning you’ll miss less of the action.

The Olympus PEN E-PL6 also features a flip touch screen that rotates 170 degrees, allowing you to take effortless selfies of you and the kids! My favourite feature is the ability to focus quickly just by touch, meaning you can focus on an off-centre subject far quicker than using a joypad, as is common on dSLRs.

Another favourite feature on the Olympus PEN E-PL6 is 3 axis image stabilisation which will help you bid farewell to blurry images. When you use this for the first time in low light, you’ll be blown away at being able to hand hold shutter speeds of 1/2 second or more. Using the built in level gauge can also help you keep a steady hand.

Read the reviews of the Olympus PEN E-PL6 on Amazon and you’ll see the same comment over and over again – this is a great value camera, packed with features and image quality that’s normally only reserved for cameras twice the price. Get it before it sells out ;-)

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE OLYMPUS PEN E-PL6AT AMAZON

OLYMPUS PEN E-PL6
Olympus PEN E-PL6 Sample Photo – Copyright Ciddi iyi1i

8. Sony NEX-3N (with 16-50mm zoom lens included)

Sony Nex 3NSony NEX-3N Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 16.1
Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Weight: 0.59 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Sony NEX-3N Review

The sensor in the Sony NEX-3N is the same size as you’d find in most entry level DSLR cameras. What this means is that the image quality is pretty much the same as the DSLRs above, but in a much smaller and lighter body.

Thanks to the large 16.1 megapixel APS-C sensor size and something called Sony Exmor APS HD CMOS technology, the Sony NEX-3N achieves gorgeous, high resolution photos even in low light.

A new zoom switch on the body of the Sony NEX-3N allows for effortless one-handed operation and smooth zooming even when shooting selfies, bringing the convenience of a compact camera to the realm of interchangeable-lens models.

Speaking of selfies, the Sony NEX-3N’s flip up LCD screen makes shooting self-portraits a snap. Include other people, experiment with interesting angles or shoot against famous landmarks.

Another amazing feature is Auto Object Framing, which fills the frame with your subject. Now it’s easy to create beautifully framed images whether shooting people, close-ups or action. All you need to do is photograph your subject and Auto Object Framing saves a trimmed image (in addition to the original) that’s more professionally composed!

In addition to this, the Sony NEX-3N features full HD video recording, a built in flash and a shock resistant body (claiming to be able to survive drops from 5ft!) There are lots of lenses you can choose for the Sony too, should you want to expand your creative opportunities.

The Sony NEX-3N is available in black, white and silver, and with a price of only $438.59 at Amazon, it earns its place in this roundup of the best cameras under $500.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY NEX-3N AT AMAZON

Sony NEX-3N - is this one of the best mirrorless cameras under 500?
Sony NEX-3N Sample Photo – Copyright Takashi Kitajima

9. Sony NEX-5TL (with 16-50mm zoom lens)

SONY NEX 5TLSony NEX-5TL Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 16.1
Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
Weight: 0.61 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Sony NEX-5TL Review

The Sony NEX-5T features the same sensor format that Sony builds into its full-sized DSLRs. This means that there’s almost 3 times the area of the typical point-and-shoot image sensor, making the difference between “snapshots” and “photographs,” delivering a combination of high resolution, high sensitivity and gorgeous, blurred backgrounds.

The advanced Fast Hybrid AF on the Sony NEX-5T combines two technologies for outstanding performance: Phase detection auto focus for quick response, ideal when tracking fast-moving subjects. Then there’s Contrast-detection auto focus for added precision. This means far fewer missed shots whether capturing stills or HD video.

As well as incredible image quality, a tilting screen, built in flash and downright sexy looks, the Sony NEX-5TL throws in NFC and Wifi technology too. This means you can quickly transfer your photos to your phone or tablet, as well as control the camera remotely!

Built-in wi-fi combined with the flip-up touchscreen is great for group photos, or for when you want to hide the camera somewhere for some sneaky shots – make of that what you will! You can also quickly and easily transfer photos you’ve shot to your mobile device, for emailing or Instagramming.

The Sony NEX-5T offers plenty of download apps , making the creation of time-lapse photos, motion shots and cinematic photos simple and fun. You can even post your photos direct to Facebook from the camera!

With ISO sensitivity up to 25600, you’ll be able to take decent low light photos using the new Exmor sensor that features the same adaptive noise reduction technology found in Sony’s high end, full frame DSLRs.

Oh yes, and it’s available in black, white and silver :-)

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE SONY NEX-5TL AT AMAZON

Sony NEX-5T Sample Photo - Copyright Julien Chauvin
Sony NEX-5T Sample Photo – Copyright Julien Chauvin

10. Fujifilm X-A1 (with 16-50mm zoom lens included)

Fuji XA1Fuji X-A1 Specifications

Type: Mirrorless Camera
Megapixels: 16.3
Sensor Size: APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm)
Weight: 0.73 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Fuji X-A1 Review

Another damn fine looking camera which is an excellent performer – Sony and Fuji are killing it in the Mirrorless division. Incredible image quality and high detail set it up there with the best entry level DSLRs on the market, at an amazing sub $350 price!!

I just can’t believe this quality of camera is available so affordably – the Fuji X-A1 more than deserves its place in the best cameras under $500 list – you can even snag some nice camera accessories with the money you’d save from 500 bucks.

As with the Sony there’s no viewfinder on the Fuji X-A1, but with an LCD this gorgeous, no one’s complaining! With the ability to tilt the monitor up or down, you can hold the camera overhead for an interesting perspective or to to shoot over a crowd, or low down to capture a worm’s eye view from the ground up.

The large APS-C sensor in the Fuji X-A1 allows you to capture impressive images with the sort-after ‘bokey’ background look. Depending on your choice of lens, you’ll be able to control the amount and quality of the bokeh, giving your images a professional quality, raising them way above smart phone snapshots.

The high sensitivity ISO performance of the APS-C CMOS sensor and EXR PROCESSOR II let you capture low-light scenes with crisp clarity, free from excessive noise. You can shoot without a tripod or flash and without fear of camera shake-ruined results.

My other favourite feature of the Fuji X-A1 is the built in wifi button, letting you send photos to your smartphone or tablet with one press – no more delving into menus to find the correct setting, like most other cameras.

Along with a 0.5 second start up time, advanced SR Auto for effortless auto-mode shooting, super intelligent flash and advanced filters, the Fuji X-A1 is an impressive camera at an even more impressive price – currently only $320 at Amazon.

Everyone always talks about the amazing ‘Fuji colours’ – with the Fuji X-A1, you’ll be able to find out what’s so special about them for an affordable price. Available in black or blue.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE FUJI X-A1 AT AMAZON

Fujifilm X-A1 - one of the best mirrorless cameras under 500
Fujifilm X-A1 Sample Photo – Copyright Kirill Karpenko

Recommendations on Buying a Mirrorless Camera under $500

You can’t go past an article on the best cameras under $500 without talking about mirrorless cameras. Mirrorless cameras are just so versatile, and offer a great combination of image quality and small size.

Additional lenses can be expensive (especially Fuji ones). Just because your mirrorless camera can accept other lenses, I would hold off for at least a year and shoot as much as possible with the included lens. Then you can find any limitations (if any) of that lens and decide whether you’d like to invest in a different one.

Also, I’m a big believer in not buying a bag for your camera. With a camera this size, wear it around your neck or throw it in a coat pocket. If you need to take it out of a bag each time to shoot it, taking photos will quickly become a chore.

The Best Point & Shoot Cameras Under $500

These are also rather confusingly called ‘compact cameras’. Point and Shoots are your most basic camera, but that doesn’t mean they suck! Stick to one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 recommended ones below and you’ll have great looking pictures and a camera with some neat features that you can slip into your pocket.

Advantages of Point and Shoot Cameras

Size/Weight

They’re smaller and lighter than other cameras. This can be a huge consideration when you’re travelling, or when you want to carry a camera in your bag every day. A few grams can make a big difference, and can be the deciding factor to taking it with you or leaving it at home.

Unflexibility

All point and shoot cameras come with a fixed lens (ie you can’t swap the lens for another one). How can this be an advantage you may ask. Well, it keeps things simple, stupid! Less things to worry about means hassle-free photography. It also means that the lens has been optimised for use with the camera, lending to the best image quality possible.

Noise

Point and Shoot cameras are usually completely silent.

Waterproof

To date, there are no decent waterproof DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras at this price point. However, there are some excellent waterproof Point and Shoot cameras, which opens the world to underwater photography, not to mention taking the nerves away from poolside shots of your kids.

Recommended Point & Shoot Cameras under $500

Some photographers believe that the compact camera (or ‘point and shoot’) market is dead in 2017, largely due to the great images anyone can get from their smart phones. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true – point and shoot cameras are still alive and kicking!

Whilst your fancy new iPhone might be able to apply a fake bokeh (out of focus area) to your image and take a great snap when the conditions are good, after dark, it’s another story.

The compact cameras below not only have better daylight image quality than any of the smart phones out there, but they also rule the roost when the light begins to fall too.

If your budget can’t extend to $500, check out these compact cameras under $200 instead.

11. Sony DSC-RX100

Sony DSC-RX100

Sony DSC-RX100 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 20.9
Sensor Size: 1 inch (13.2mm x 8.8mm)
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Sony DSC-RX100 Review

It’s hard to go past Sony in the point and shoot market, and now the excellent Sony DSC-RX100 has dropped further in price in 2017, it squeezes into the best cameras under $500 list!

Camera review website DP Review gave the Sony DSC-RX100 a Silver award, calling it one of the most capable compact cameras on the market today, combining the image quality benefits of a mid-sized sensor with the proportions of a conventional compact camera.

The Sony DSC-RX100 offers excellent image quality and solid ISO performance from the killer-combination of ultra-bright Carl Zeissf/1.8 lens with the large, 1 inch sensor. This results in razor-sharp images and pro-level blurry backgrounds, more often associated with cameras 3x the price.

I’m a big fan of the control ring on the Sony DSC-RX100, which offers fast and easy access to the various aperture settings. I find this much quicker than using small dials or buttons, and wish more point and shoot cameras would adopt this functionality.

You can save pictures on the Sony DSC-RX100 as light-weight JPEG files and high-quality RAW files at the same time. This feature (again, usually only on higher end cameras) allows you the flexibility of straight-out-of-camera speediness of JPEGS as well as maximal image quality of RAWs, without having to choose between file formats each time you shoot.

The HD video mode on the Sony DSC-RX100 is also class-leading, allowing you to produce amazingly clear and smooth Full HD 1080/60p movies.

Other key features on the Sony DSC-RX100 include Face Detection, Multi-aspect ratio recording, 3.6x optical zoom, 10 frames per second (very impressive!), Sweep Panorama mode and various other creative picture effects that should keep you entertained.

It also should be mentioned how attractive the camera design is, as well as the fact that the Sony DSC-RX100 conveniently slips into your pocket – something that can’t be said for the more bulky compacts in this list of the best cameras under $500. All in all, highly recommended, and the 600+ positive reviews on Amazon back this up.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON POWERSHOT G16 AT AMAZON

Sony RX100 Sample Photo
Sony RX100 Sample Photo – Copyright Manley Audio

12. Canon PowerShot G16

Canon G16 - Best Cameras under $500Canon PowerShot G16 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size: 1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Weight: 1.45 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon PowerShot G16 Review

Make no mistake – this is an awesome camera which has quickly developed a cult following with both amateurs and pros. With its fast auto-focus, burst shooting speeds and stellar image quality, the Canon G16 is a firm favourite as a ‘second camera’ for many a professional photographer.

The f/1.8 lens makes the Canon PowerShot G16 equally suited to night photography, as well as being able to achieve that coveted ‘blurred background with a sharp subject’ look that most compacts fail to achieve.

Another great feature is the built in Wi-Fi not only allows you to control the camera remotely, but also gives you more options for sharing your photos with friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Flickr via the Canon Image Gateway.

If you’re like me, you hate having to get photos off the camera into the computer to upload or email them – with the Canon PowerShot G16, these extra steps are redundant and you can concentrate on shooting.

With the Canon HS System, there’s excellent tracking performance even in low light, and gorgeous still image quality even at high ISO all the way up to ISO 12800. For a relatively small sensor, the Canon PowerShot G16 can still produce beautiful low-light shots with minimal noise and maximum detail in highlight and shadow areas.

The Canon HS System on the Canon PowerShot G16 also lets you use higher shutter speeds to capture clearer images with reduced noise and blur in a variety of situations for incredible photos and videos.

Whilst I’m not a fan of zooms on my dSLR camera, I find them essential on compact cameras such as the Canon PowerShot G16. The 5 x (28140mm) zoom combined with a bright and fast f/1.8 – f/2.8 aperture lens allows you to capture a range of focal lengths and looks to your shot. 24-140mm gives wide-angle to super-zoom flexibility, making the robust Canon PowerShot G16 a perfect camera for travel.

If I were going to buy a compact, I think I’d buy this one. It’s just the perfect size, looks good, is rugged, and takes awesome photos. What more could you want from a compact camera?

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON POWERSHOT G16 AT AMAZON

Canon PowerShot G16 one of the best compact cameras under 500
Canon PowerShot G16 Sample Photo – Copyright Sharil Niza

13. Panasonic Lumix LX7

Panasonic Lumix LX7Panasonic Lumix LX7 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 10.1
Sensor Size: 1/1.7 inch (7.6mm x 5.7mm)
Weight: 9.4 ounces
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Panasonic Lumix LX7 Review

Another great looking compact camera, the Panasonic Lumix LX7 is an affordable and excellent camera which I was so impressed with that I recently bought it for a friend’s wedding present! The excellent f/1.4 lens (unusual for a camera at this price) means you’ll be able to take photos at night without needing the flash, as well as being able to achieve a dreamy out of focus look behind your subject.

f/1.8 is an aperture in line with the best available SLR lenses, and allows enough light entering the camera to use higher shutter speeds and capture sharp images with beautiful gradations even in low light settings. This means you don’t have to resort to ugly flash!

The 24mm focal length of the Leica DC Vario-Summilux lens (yes, a lens developed by Leica on a camera under $500!!) is a joy to use, providing a wide angle of view and beautifully rendered files straight out of the Panasonic Lumix LX7. The lens zooms from 24-90mm (3.8x optical zoom), meaning versatile focal lengths for day-to-day shooting and travel photography.

The 11 frames per second burst mode is also incredible on a camera of this size, and will help you freeze motion of pretty much anything! As a comparison, the fastest DSLR available today can shoot 11 frames per second, but costs over $6,000… and that doesn’t even include a lens!

You’ll notice I don’t talk much about the other features of the Panasonic Lumix LX7. That’s because it really is this camera’s incredible lens/sensor combination that’s most impressive, and as a camera under $500, it’s hard to beat. Available in black and white.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON POWERSHOT G16 AT AMAZON

Panasonic Lumix LX7 - one of the best point and shoot cameras under 500
Panasonic Lumix LX7 Sample Photo – Copyright Alfred Ong

14. Fujifilm X20

Fuji X20

Fujifilm X20 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12
Sensor Size: 2/3-inch CMOS sensor
Weight: 0.78 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Fujifilm X20 Review

Including the Fujifilm X20 on this list of the best cameras under $500 was a no brainer. The excellent photo quality and much sought-after Fuji colours straight-out-of-camera make the Fujifilm X20 one of the most popular compact cameras in 2017.

Recent Fujifilm cameras are renowned for their stellar image quality and a certain look to the colours which is unlike any other camera on the market today.

Another awesome feature of recent Fuji cameras such as the Fujifilm X20 is the advanced optical viewfinder. Providing 85% coverage of your scene, the unique optical viewfinder displays shooting information right where you need it.

The Fujifilm X20 offers a wide selection of manual controls thanks to the sturdy twin control dials, making it an excellent camera for hobbyists who are considering taking photography more seriously. The customisable Function button also provides a degree of flexibility in setting up the Fujifilm X20‘s controls in a way that suits you.

In typical Fujifilm style, enough automatic features have been left in the Fujifilm X20 to please the point-and-shoot crowd too. This means that if you simply want a small, affordable camera that produces great images with minimum fuss, the Fujifilm X20 is it.

In my opinion, this is the best looking camera of the bunch – gotta love that retro styling! Fast autofocus, an innovative part optical/part digital viewfinder, clever pop-up flash and a 28-112mm zoom lens (wide angle to closeup) make this camera one of my personal favourites. If you can get hold of the Fujifilm X20 forless than $350 like it is at present on Amazon, grab it while you can – you won’t regret it.

The Fujifilm X20is available in classic rangefinder silver and black, and more recently for 2016 in stealthy jet black.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE FUJIFILM X20 AT AMAZON

Fujifilm X20 - one of the best cameras under 500
Fujifilm X20 Sample Photo – Copyright Elke Vogelsang

15. Canon PowerShot S120

Canon PowerShot S120Canon PowerShot S120 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size: 1/1.7-inch CMOS
Weight: 1 pound
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon PowerShot S120 Review

Thanks to a recent price drop for 2017, the Canon Powershot S120 has been included in this list of best cameras under $500. In fact, you’ll get quite a bit of change from your $500 budget if you invest in this excellent compact camera from Canon.

When the big camera brands invest all their years of research into a compact camera, you can expect some stellar image quality, and the Canon Powershot S120 doesn’t disappoint.

The 12.1 megapixel 1/1.7″ high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 6 image processor form the Canon HS System, which helps improve image quality of dimly-lit shots by reducing noise and enhancing the overall clarity.

The unique processor in the Canon Powershot S120 offers a range of speed-related assets, as well as an impressive High Speed AF system for high sharpness in a variety of shooting conditions.

The built-in 5x optical zoom lens provides an equivalent focal length range of 24-120mm, covering wide-angle to telephoto length perspectives, making it another excellent choice for an everyday, or travel camera.

Super fast operation (this is important when you spot a photo opportunity and want to go from ‘camera off’ to ‘photo taken’ in as little time as possible!), 1080p video, excellent image quality, Wifi, tilting LCD screen and a 24-120mm zoom all, all packed into a truly pocketable unit!

My favourite feature on the Canon Powershot S120 the ability to transfer images directly from the camera to your iOS or Android device via the free Canon Wifi software. Your Instagram pics have never looked so good!

With a range of manual controls that will keep enthusiast photographers happy, the Canon Powershot S120 has legions of fans – click the button below to read the hundreds of 5 star reviews of this impressive camera on Amazon.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE CANON POWERSHOT S120 AT AMAZON

Canon PowerShot S120 Sample Photo - Copyright Eugenio
Canon PowerShot S120 Sample Photo – Copyright Eugenio

18. Olympus Tough TG-4 (waterproof)

Olympus Tough TG4

Olympus Tough TG-4 Specifications

Type: Compact Waterproof Camera
Megapixels: 16
Sensor Size: 1/2.3 inch
Weight: 8.6 ounces
Average Customer Rating: 4 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Olympus Tough TG-4 Review

Waterproof/Shockproof cameras used to be terrible. I know because I owned one – the first version of this camera actually. However, when I tried out the Olympus Tough TG-4 on holiday recently, I was blown away on how much it had improved.

Thankfully Olympus chooses to update this camera every couple of years and brings with it large improvements. This 2016 iteration of the Olympus Tough TG-4, whilst not perfect, is still the best waterproof compact camera on the market.

Having said that, whilst the image quality of the Olympus Tough TG-4 is decent, it isn’t quite on par with the other (non-waterproof) cameras recommended here. However, if you want a camera to use underwater up to a depth of 15 metres, this Olympus will still produce better results (at a more affordable price) than a point and shoot in a waterproof case.

I love the addition of built-in GPS, meaning that the Olympus Tough TG-4 can not only embed your location into your photos, but also shows you the current air pressure, altitude, and direction, all viewable without having to power on the camera.

If you’re a user of Adobe Lightroom, the GPS functionality of the Olympus Tough TG-4 allows you to take advantage of the Map feature, letting you see exactly where your photos were taken. I find this a lot of fun, and helps me quickly catalogue my images based on where they were taken.

Lightroom map with Phantom 4

The Olympus Tough TG-4 adds support for Raw images to please enthusiast photographers, allowing much more dynamic range and white balance flexibility in post production… should that interest you.

If you want to get the very best out of the camera’s 16MP CMOS sensor, then Raw is definitely the way to go. That said, the Olympus Tough TG-4 is probably more appealing to holiday-goers who simply want a bomb-proof camera to use with the kids on the beach that produces decent quality images.

One other thing that should be mentioned – the Olympus Tough TG-4 is also available in red!

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST PRICE ON THE OLYMPUS TOUGH TG-4 AT AMAZON

Olympus Tough TG4 sample image
Olympus Tough TG4 Sample Photo | Copyright Bill Under

Recommendations on Buying a Point & Shoot Camera under $500

Point and Shoot cameras have advanced a lot in recent years, bringing excellent image quality and good looks to very accessible prices. I’m a big believer that the smaller and simpler your camera, the more likely you are to use it. Also, if the camera looks good, you’re more likely to want to pick it up in the first place!

Also, trust me – your mobile phone may have 41 mega pixels, but it’s still no match for one of these Point and Shoot cameras. When you go on holiday, leave your phone in your room and take a camera with you instead.

How to Choose the Best Camera under $500

If you’re still umming and erring about which one of the best cameras under $500 to go for, answer these final questions:

Q. Do you intend to make photography a hobby?

A. YES! – get a DSLR or Mirrorless (with interchangeable lenses)

Q. Have you recently had a baby and want to take some nice photos?

A. YES! – get a Mirrorless or Point and Shoot. (I’ve lost count of the number of friends who’ve bought a DSLR as soon as their baby has popped out… never to use it again! Kids are tiring enough already – you don’t want something else bulky to carry to the park with you!)

Q. Do you intend to take photos only on holiday?

A. YES! – get a Mirrorless or Point and Shoot. Again, size/weight.

Q. Do you intend to print nice big photos?

A. YES! – trick question! Any of these cameras will handle big prints well.

Q. Do you want photos that look better than your friends’ pics on Facebook?

A. YES! – controversial, but get a DSLR. a DSLR won’t make you a better photogapher, but it well help you achieve that ‘blurred background/sharp subject’ look that usually indicates an expensive camera at least! Or opt for a camera with a lens with a low ‘f’ number, as explained above.

Q. Do you want to shoot underwater?

A. YES! – get this.

Easy! Now go out and take some pictures ;-)

Leave your recommendations for other cameras under $500 in the comments, and if you enjoyed this post, remember to support Shotkit by signing up to the newsletter here and Sharing on your social networks!

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.

78 Comments

  • Great post. Very informative. I think you’re right about the huskiness of DSLR cameras. I really want a DSLR but I just can’t see myself taking it to dinner and whipping it out. Another thing is even when I’m out on vacation in gonna have to use a tripod to get a picture with me in it. I just can’t see myself asking a stranger to take the pic. So that leaves mirror less or point and shoot…

    • Yeah size is a big concern for sure! The quality of the pics from mirrorless and point and shoots has come along so much recently that I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the camera recommended here. Thanks for the comment!

  • hi mark, i don’t think nikon D3200 has flip out screen…you dumbed it down too far =)
    nice article btw, very helpful!

  • Nice post and very helpful. I’m buying a DSLR and the nikon d3200 seems to be the one, do you have any suggestions for night timelapses? is it the t3i better?
    I live in a region wich has one of the clearest skies in the country (Chile) with stuning landscapes.

    • Hi Felipe. For a night timelapse, any of these cameras with this functionality combined with a sturdy tripod and perhaps a remote shutter release would be perfect. I look forward to seeing your pictures!

  • What about the E-M10? I have an entry level DSLR and was looking for something smaller for street photography, without breaking the bank.

      • Yeah, just trying to cut cost down. The E-M5 m2 would be my first choice but it’s a lot more than the 10, where I am anyway.

  • hey mark, nice post of you, i like to buy a dslr camera because i want to capture the moment at my house and especially my mom, i’m thinking d3200 or d3300 as my option, but i’m considering more about sony, like sony alpha a3500, imho because i think that sony got better sensor than the others, because evey smartphone now use sony camera, what do you think and suggest? thanks mate!

    • Hi Bramulya! All those cameras you mentioned are great. I’d be tempted to go for the D3300 personally though, just because I’m a Nikon shooter! Good luck :-)

  • I have the Canon S100 and I really like it. It has some things I would change, but as far as not carrying around my Canon pro gear, it does the trick! The only thing is that you need extra batteries and it’s only fast at 24mm. It shoots raw and video is pretty decent.

  • Hi Mark! I’m looking for a nice camera to give as a gift.. I’m leaning towards the point and shoots. Would it be worth it to spend an extra $100-$150 to get a Leica C or D-LUX 6 on sale?

    • Hey Ashley! If you can find a good price on one of those cameras, they would make a really nice gift! I’d love to receive something with the word Leica on it ;-)

  • Hi Mark, thanks for your post. It’s really helpful. I want to buy a mirrorless camera for traveling. What do you think about Samsung NX300? I like their retro style and tilting LCD. Or do you have any other recommendation?

  • hello. thanks for your post. I want to buy a camera under 500$ but I want to take film with camera. please tell me best choice .

    • For film cameras Leila, I’d really recommend you go to your local second hand camera store and have a play around with whatever they have. It’s hard to recommend a film camera since it boils down a lot to user preference and what is available at the time. Good luck!

  • Pingback: Quora
  • Hi Mark- any advice on which one of these are best for low-light shots? and the best for action shots? more specifically shooing concerts / equestrian show jumping. Would love to know!

    • That’s a tough question KB but I’d say go for either the Nikon or the Canon dSLR. Both will handle higher ISOs better than the other cameras which have smaller sensors. Then you’d need to invest in a fast lens (a good affordable option is a 50mm f/1.8) to help you with low light shots. As for the action element, whilst neither of these dSLRs have blazing fast frame rates, they’re both more than adequate for most things, and the continuous auto focus should be better than a mirrorless camera too. I hope that helps!

  • Dear Mark, Awesome review, really helpful. But I have a problem, my budget is exactly $400. I need a camera for portraits, landscapes, holidays but not for videos. I want the camera to have really awesome quality pictures and more megapixels (like 24). So I am Really confused between Nikon D3200 and D3300. Please suggest me the best or any other DSLR That you think can fulfil my requirements more effeciently. :)

    • Hi Mak. Thanks for the comment. I’d recommend either of those two Nikons – they’re both excellent entry level dSLRs. Just remember that your budget will have to extend to a lens too – I’d recommend a Nikon 50mm 1.8 as an affordable starter prime lens. Good luck!

  • What would you recommended for a fitness channel? I will be vlogging, filming workouts and taking fitness model type pictures. Help!

  • I already own a Nikon 3100 I am considering buying a sony hx400 I like its zoom capability and its just under 500. Whats your take

      • You should not overlook the fact that the Sony superzoom has only the sensor size of a basic point-and-shoot. But its fixed Carl Zeiss lens is hard to beat.

  • 12 months ago I ditched super heavy full frame gear and switched to 1 body and 1 lens…..FujiXE2 and Samyang 12mm……….best move ever!

  • What are your thoughts on the Panasonic G7. I’m interested in the 4k video. I’ll be needing a camera for family use and a bit of amateur film-making. Thanks.

  • I must thank you profusely for this. My Canon SX50 suddenly, and hugely disappointingly, developed the Black Screen of Death after only 2 1/2 years, stuck shutter, requiring me to purchase yet another camera when I wasn’t expecting to. Your upbeat, thorough, and enthusiastic writing calmed my freaked-out-ness and your perfect amount of “dumbing down” was, well, perfect for me. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your help. To let you know too, as time and the internet does, some of these are hard to find and prices have changed but obviously it’s impossible to keep up. I ended up purchasing the Fuji X-A1 based on your recommendations and I look forward to years of happy snapping. I will definitely be sharing your post on my blog as well at some point soon. Thank you!!

    • Hi Becky! Wow, I’m so glad the post helped you! The Fuji X-A1 is a great camera so I’m confident it’ll serve you well for a long time. Good luck with your photography :-) Cheers, Mark

  • Hi Mark,

    I was considering getting my first DSLR as I want to get into photography, but decided they are just too big and bulky for my use case. I’m moving from the UK to China – so probably lots of street/travel photography.

    Good video would be really nice, but its probably not a priority.

    I’m considering:

    – Fujifilm X-T10
    – Canon GX7

    But the higher quality fixed lens options are quite appealing for a budget tight traveler such as myself:

    – The Panasonic LX100 is probably my first choice (although apparently a new model is coming out soon)
    – Sony RX100 (mark i, ii, or iii)

    Budget is a bit lower than this article (£200- £400), but I’m likely to buy a second hand ebay bargain.

    Which model would you recommend? Many Thanks!

    • Hey Cal. You’ve short-listed some great cameras there. I’ve owned the X-T10, and used all the others you mention too, and can say first hand that they’re all capable of producing a great image. I think that if you’re looking for street/travel camera, the main factor should be size. The cameras with interchangeable lenses offer great flexibility, but size-wise, you can’t beat a fixed lens. Maybe wait for the new model Panasonic to be released, then if you don’t need the new functions (I doubt they’ll change the sensor), buy the current model on sale. Good luck!

  • Hi Mark,
    I read your article, and it’s really great, and very helpful.
    I can’t decide what camera to buy… I travel a lot, so I need it mostly for traveling, holydays, and indoor photos. I had Superzoom Panasonic Lumix FZ45, but I wasn’t really satisfied with that camera.
    Now, after reading this article, I think maybe Mirrorless or Point and Shoot. At first, I wanted DSLR, but after some reading, I don’t think that is a best choice for me.
    What would be your recomendation for camera from 200$- 400$? Many Thanks!

    • Hey Ashley! It’s a bit hard to recommend here, but I’ll be putting together another post like this for cameras in that price range soon! Stay tuned :-)

  • Hi Mark,
    I’m looking for a camera that will take high quality photos for personal and professional use but on a budget. I don’t want to spend more than $400, but I don’t want to sacrifice quality so I would consider spending more.
    I know NOTHING about cameras, but I have used ” fancy” ones before and it wasn’t super hard, but I might have been doing it wrong haha

    I want to be able to take photos of action (fitness) shots and indoor shots in places with not the best lighting. I would be traveling with it so size is a factor. I will be using these for web banners, Facebook, etc. being able to upload them quickly is a huge plus.

    Please help!!! What do you recommend

    • It’s hard to recommend something Krista since there are so many variables, but I’d recommend saving up an extra $100 and choosing any of the ones in this post based on size and how they feel in your hand. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Mark,

    First of all, great website and very useful information, including for novices such as myself. Quick question though, I’m assuming the dollar amounts in which you write are US$ right? I just had a look for the Sony DSC-RX100 and its RRP in AUD is $649.

  • Hi great post. I owned the Olympus Tough TG-4 for a while but, as you mentioned, found the image quality poor. There were also problems of focus with any debris in the water.

    Thanks.

    • Thanks for the feedback, John. I think that making a camera of this price waterproof does have certain drawbacks to what the lens can achieve.

  • Hi Mark,
    Great and informative website! I am in the market for a new point-shoot camera. I have been using Sony cameras over the years, and the last one was DSC-H70. I am trying to decide between DSC-RX100 and DSC-HX90. Which are your thoughts and the pros and cons between those two?
    Thanks, Lucy

    • Hey Lucy! Thanks for the kind words. Both those cameras are decent! It’s a bit hard to give you a full answer in a comment, but feel free to email me ;-)

  • What about samsung nx500? ? Its reall great camera (photo quality&4k recording&small size&good iso&finally price is so good as well. …so….??

  • Hi, is Ricoh GR II worth the money or is it just the hype? I want a camera which gives excellent sharp images in BW

  • Hey great article. This helped out a lot. Which of these would you recommend if im mostly just recording? I was thinking the D3300. Would like a second opinion if possible. Thanks in advnce.

  • Hey
    “Canon Rebel T3i” is best from my POV. Very good article though
    thank you

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *