Best Camera under $500

Camera hunting with a limited budget doesn’t have to make us feel constrained with the number of choices or the quality of the products. In this article, we’ll guide you find the best camera under $500 for different occasions or camera types.

We’ll explain the camera features and specifications in an easy to understand language. Finally, we hope that this article will help you make an informed decision on your next camera.

Best Camera under $500

Camera
Type
Image Resolution
Video Resolution
Lens Zoom
Image Stabilization
 
Nokon COOLPIX A900Point and Shoot20MP4k @ 30fps35xLens Shift Vibration Reduction (VR)Check Prices
Nikon D3500DSLR24.2MPFull HD @ 60fpsDepends on the interchangeable lensNone in the camera body, but in the lensCheck Prices
Canon EOS M100Mirrorless24.2MPFull HD @ 60fpsDepends on the interchangeable lensNone in the camera body, but in the lensCheck Prices
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80Superzoom18.1MP4k @ 30fps60xOptical image stabilizationCheck Prices
GoPro HERO 7 BlackAction12MP4k @ 60fpsNAHypersmooth image stabilizationCheck Prices
Insta360 ONE X360° Action18MPmax 5k @ 30fpsNABuilt in 6-axis gyroscopic stabilizationCheck Prices


Overall Best – Mirrorless Camera under 500$ – Canon EOS M100

If you’ve ever wondered what a lovechild of a DSLR and a Point and Shoot digital camera would look like, then that’d be a mirrorless camera. Mirrorless cameras have many of the same benefits of a DSLR but without a mirror and a prism inside. Consequently, these cameras look like on diet when put next to a DSLR. Unlike a DSLR, the viewfinder in a mirrorless camera is electronic.

Canon EOS M100 camera has a 24.2 Megapixel sensor. The dual pixel APS-C CMOS sensor has phase-detection technology for fast, smooth, and precise autofocus for both still pictures and videos. It has up to 49 Autofocus points.

Canon EOS M100 Best Mirrorless Camera under $500
Canon EOS M100 Mirrorless Camera

Shutter speed ranges from 1/4,000 of a second to 30 seconds. For continuous shooting, you can take up to 4 shots per second. With Autofocus enabled, it can take around six shots per second.

This camera has the powerful DIGIC 7 image processor which is also found in Canon’s DSLR line of cameras. Canon DSLR users are familiar with the DIGIC 7 Image engine for its fast speed and excellent quality image rendering.

Specifications

Specification
Value
TypeMirrorless
Image Resolution24.2 Megapixel
Video ResolutionFull HD @ 60fps
Lens zoomDepends on an interchangeable lens
Interchangeable lensYes
Image StabilizationNone in the camera body, in the lens
ISO100 - 25,600
Continuous burst rate fps4 or 6.1 with AF Lock
ViewfinderElectronic
Image Monitor3" tilt touch LCD
Built-in FlashYes
WaterproofNo
Built-in GPSNo
Bluetooth/NFC/WirelessBluetooth, NFC, Wifi
Weight10.7 oz
Dimension4.3 x 2.6 x 1.4 in.
Warranty1 year

The minimum ISO on this camera is 100 while the max ISO goes all the way to 25600. The DIGIC 7 image processor helps with the noise reduction while capturing images in low light condition using the higher ISO. The manual pop-up flash is satisfactory. Sadly, there is no hot shoe mount for an external flash.

Video recording in full HD is at 60 frames per second. Although 4k is not available, it does an excellent job with 1080p videos. There’s a three inch 180 degrees flip LCD screen to help with low angle viewing while taking shots. Selfie lovers will like the Self Portrait Mode in this camera. The touchscreen monitor is useful in reviewing the captured photos and videos as well as adjusting camera menu settings.

Connectivity and Storage Media

M100 has built-in Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi. You can save, view, and print your files from the camera wirelessly. With a paired smartphone, you can use your phone as a remote to control the camera.

One of the main concerns that mirrorless camera buyers have is the available interchangeable lens options. With M100, you have a range of EF-M lenses. Additionally, you can use a lens mount adapter for more lens choices.

This camera can accept SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card for photo/video storage. For wired connectivity, it has a USB port and a mini-HDMI port. The USB port cannot be used to charge the battery, however. Instead, you’ll have to use the included wall charger.

The battery, when fully charged, is good for 295 shots, or 410 shots when the Eco Mode is enabled. For video, the battery life is about 80 minutes in full HD.

You get the color options of either black or silver white body. Since this is a mirrorless camera accepting interchangeable lenses, you’ve to be careful while changing the lenses. Because there is no mirror blocking the image sensor from the outside world, any dust in the air is prone to enter the camera body and on to the image sensor.

Canon EOS M100 Sample Images
Canon EOS M100 Sample Images, Credit Photographyblog

The picture quality is comparable to some of the more expensive DSLRs from Canon. With the affordable price tag and many features to boast about, Canon EOS M100 is our pick for the overall best camera under $500.

Pros:

  • 24.2 Megapixel sensor
  • A decent entry level mirrorless with nice features
  • Compact and slim body
  • Good selection of compatible lenses
  • Tilting LCD monitor is nice for selfies
  • Touchscreen LCD is more intuitive for adjusting settings under menus
  • Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi features are handy
  • Time-lapse video mode is a nice feature
Cons:

  • No 4k video
  • Touchscreen LCD display can get smudgy
  • No external flash mount on the camera body
  • No dedicated audio input port for an external mic

Best Point and Shoot Camera under 500$ – Nikon Coolpix A900

Point and Shoot cameras used to be your everyday camera before smartphones with their higher resolution camera became ubiquitous. Still, for those who want a dedicated camera to take with them on their vacation or special occasions, this is a go-to device. These cameras offer reliability, features, wider zooming, and the ease of use without spending big bucks on a premium smartphone.

Nikon Coolpix A900 Point shoot camera
Nikon Coolpix A900

With a 20-megapixel 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor and 35x optical zoom, Nikon Coolpix A900 is not your ordinary point-and-shoot camera. It has a Nikkor lens with Lens Shift 5-Axis Hybrid Vibration Reduction (VR) technology for image stabilization. This feature gives you a smooth video with up to the max resolution of 4k (3840×2160) at 30 frames per second. Furthermore, it has the Wind Noise Reduction feature to reduce the wind noise during windy outdoor video recording.

A900’s ISO range is from 80 to 1600. In certain modes like Manual, Auto, Scene, and Portrait, the max ISO is 3200. The popup flash on the body is handy for indoor shots. The minimum shutter speed is 1/2000 second, and it can take up to seven shots per second at the full resolution.

Subject Tracking feature is fantastic while capturing a moving object without the out of focus problem. Additionally, it has the face tracking feature to maintain the focus on a human face.

Specifications

Specification
Value
TypePoint and Shoot
Image Resolution20 Megapixel
Video Resolution4k @ 30fps
Lens zoom35x
Interchangeable lensNA
Image StabilizationLens Shift Vibration Reduction (VR)
ISO80-1600, 3200
Continuous burst rate fps7
ViewfinderElectronic
Image Monitor3" tilting LCD
Built-in FlashYes
WaterproofNo
Built-in GPSNo
Bluetooth/NFC/Wirelessyes
Weight10.2 oz
Dimension4.5 x 2.7 x 1.6 in.
Warranty1 year

The build quality is satisfactory and doesn’t feel much different from some of the compact cameras from other manufacturers like Panasonic or Canon. It is not a tough camera, and you’ve to be careful near water since this is not a water-resistant camera.

Nikon Coolpix A900 Sample Photographs
Nikon Coolpix A900 Sample Images, Credit Photographyblog

The camera has a tilting 3-inch LCD screen which can be used to review photos and videos and to adjust the camera menu settings. It is, however, not a touchscreen. Which means, adjusting the settings has to be done with the camera buttons.

Connectivity and Storage Media

CoolPix A900 has built-in Bluetooth, NFC, and Wifi features for wireless connectivity. You can pair it with your smartphone and transfer photos and videos, or print your photos with a compatible photo printer. Furthermore, you can control your camera remotely with a paired phone.

When it comes to the media storage, CoolPix A900 accepts SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card. For wired connectivity, it has a USB port and a micro-HDMI port. You can use the USB port to charge the battery. A fully charged battery lasts for approximately 270 shots and 50 minutes of full HD video.

Pros:

  • Good resolution camera
  • Long 35x optical zoom lens for a compact camera
  • 4k video recording with stereo sound
  • LCD screen can be tilted
  • Subject Tracking feature to maintain focus on a moving object
  • Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi features are handy
Cons:

  • Not true 4k fps and video limited to 29 minutes
  • The LCD screen is not touchscreen
  • Does not have a mic jack input for an external mic

Best Superzoom Camera under 500$ – Panasonic Lumix FZ80

If you’re looking for a budget but decent superzoom camera, Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is the answer. The LUMIX DC VARIO lens boasts the optical zoom to 60 times in this camera. Additionally, this lens is optically stabilized. If you’re taking a video in the max zoom, you may want to consider a tripod to avoid any shaky video.

Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Best Superzoom Camera under $500
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Superzoom Camera

The camera has a 1/2.3 inch 18.1 Megapixel MOS image sensor. You can take a 4k video at 30 fps or a full HD video at 60 fps. However, the video recording in 4k is limited to 15 minutes or about 4GB size.

Specifications

Specification
Value
TypeSuper Zoom
Image Resolution18.1 Megapixel
Video Resolution4k @ 30fps
Lens zoom60x
Interchangeable lensNA
Image StabilizationOptical Image Stabilization
ISO80-3200
Continuous burst rate fps10
ViewfinderElectronic
Image Monitor3" fixed touch LCD
Built-in FlashYes
WaterproofNo
Built-in GPSNo
Bluetooth/NFC/WirelessWifi
Weight1.36 lb
Dimension5.1 x 3.7 x 4.7 in.
Warranty1 year

The maximum shutter speed is 1/2000 of a second and the minimum shutter speed is 4 seconds. Likewise, you can take up to 10 shots per second at the full resolution.

The minimum ISO is 80, and it goes all the way to 3200. It has a popup flash on the body as well as a hot-shoe mount for an external flash. Furthermore, this camera has an electronic viewfinder and has a 3-inch fixed LCD screen for reviewing your photos.

Connectivity and Storage Media

Lumix FZ80 can accept SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card. For wired connectivity, it has a micro USB port and a micro-HDMI port. However, the USB port cannot be used to charge the battery. You’ll have to use the included wall charger.

You can connect this camera to your wifi network. With a smartphone in the same network with the Panasonic Image App installed; you can remotely control this camera with the phone. You can use the app to take photos, share your pics to your social networks, adjust zooming in or out, and even use your camera as a surveillance device.

Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Sample Images
Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Sample Images, Credit Photographyblog

Overall, it’s a decent superzoom camera at a great price. The photos come out excellent even at the highest optical zoom.

Pros:

  • An affordable yet a nice superzoom camera with 60x zoom lens
  • 3” touchscreen LCD is convenient for adjusting the setting under the menus
  • 4k video recording
  • Built-in wifi is a nice feature with the Panasonic Image app
Cons:

  • Not true 4k fps
  • Video in high resolution is limited in recording length
  • Bluetooth would have been convenient to transfer files on the go
  • Display monitor is fixed

Best DSLR Camera under 500$ – Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 is our pick for the best entry-level DSLR camera under $500 in the market because of its value for the money. This camera has a smaller footprint, which makes it handy for someone with the least experience with DSLRs. It boasts 24.2 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and can record full HD videos in 60 fps. You can take up to 5 frames per second in a continuous burst at full resolution.

Nikon D3500 DSLR Best DLSR under $500
Nikon D3500 DSLR

This camera has EXPEED 4 Image-processing engine to give you those eye-catching photographs. Furthermore, it has a software feature called Image Dust Off for removing dust from RAW digital images.

The minimum ISO is 100, and the max ISO goes all the way to 25,600. With the high ISO and the popup flash, this camera is good for taking photographs in a low light condition. For a more powerful flash, there is a hot-shoe mount on the camera body.

The included lens at sub $500 kit is an 18-55mm. This lens is suitable for normal photography. Additionally, Nikon has a line of Nikkor lenses.

Specifications

Specification
Value
TypeDSLR
Image Resolution24.2 Megapixel
Video ResolutionFull HD @ 60fps
Lens zoomDepends on an interchangeable lens
Interchangeable lensYes
Image StabilizationNone in the camera body, in the lens
ISO100 - 25,600
Continuous burst rate fps5
ViewfinderOptical
Image Monitor3" fixed LCD
Built-in FlashYes
WaterproofNo
Built-in GPSNo
Bluetooth/NFC/WirelessBluetooth, NFC, Wifi
Weight12.9 oz
Dimension4.9 x 3.9 x 2.8 in.
Warranty1 year

Since this is a Single Lens Reflex camera, it has an optical viewfinder which shows the exact image being captured by the camera. It has a three-inch monitor to review your photos and videos. However, it is not a touchscreen and cannot be tilted.

The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 of a second. For a long exposure shot, the min shutter speed is 30 second.

D3500 has a single-point Autofocus as well as an 11-points dynamic Autofocus. One of the useful features about this camera is the Subject Tracking under Live View which is very handy for capturing a moving object without the out of focus problem. It has the face tracking feature for maintaining focus on a human face.

Connectivity and Storage Media

This camera is equipped with built-in Bluetooth, NFC, and Wifi features for wireless connectivity. You can pair it with your smartphone and transfer photos and videos or print your photos with a compatible photo printer. Likewise, you can control your camera remotely with a paired phone. This feature is handy while taking a group picture and nobody wants to volunteer to be the camera person.

It accepts SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card for photo/video storage. For wired connectivity, it has a micro USB port and a mini-HDMI port. The USB port cannot be used to charge the battery. You’ll have to use the included wall charger. The battery, when fully charged, is good for 1,550 shots.

Nikon D3500 Sample Images
Nikon D3500 Sample Images, Credit Photographyblog

It’s a DSLR, so you can play with the manual settings in the camera to suit your photography needs. Overall, it’s a decent entry level DSLR.

Pros:

  • A nice entry level DSLR with good lens options
  • 24.2 MP image resolution
  • Good line of Nikkor lenses and accessories to go with it
  • Subject Tracking feature to maintain focus on a moving object
  • Bluetooth, NFC, and wifi features are handy
  • Battery life is excellent
Cons:

  • No 4k video
  • The LCD screen is not touchscreen and cannot be tilted
  • Does not have a mic jack input for an external mic
  • Build quality feels rather cheap for a DSLR

Best Action Camera under 500$ – GoPro Hero 7 Black

We wish there were more competition in the Action camera market. Especially when considering the features, ease of use, and the quality of videos offered by the GoPro Hero series. When we compare the price and the value of action cameras like Sony FDR-X3000, Yi 4K+, and SJCAM SJ7 Star, Hero 7 Black comes out as a clear winner.

GoPro Hero 7 Black Best Action Camera under $500
GoPro Hero 7 Black Action Camera

GoPro Hero 7 Black has a 12 Megapixel image sensor, and the Superphoto HDR setting does an excellent job with color balance and noise reduction. You can capture 4k video at 60 fps. The video quality is impressive with the introduction of HyperSmooth Video technology for image stabilization, like during a bumpy mountain bike ride.

The time-lapse video is surprisingly smooth and stabilized even when the GoPro is not stationary. Makes you wonder about the intelligent features in its little body. On the other hand, the slow-motion video looks equally smooth and stabilized even at 8x Slo-Mo speed.

Specifications

Specification
Value
TypeAction Camera
Image Resolution12 Megapixel
Video Resolution4k @ 60fps
Lens zoomNo optical zooming, Touch zoom is not effective
Interchangeable lensNA
Image StabilizationHypersmooth image stabilization
ISO100 - 3200
Continuous burst rate fpsNA
ViewfinderNA
Image Monitor2" fixed touchscreen
Built-in FlashNo
WaterproofUp to 33ft
Built-in GPSYes
Bluetooth/NFC/WirelessBluetooth, Wifi
Weight4.2 oz
Dimension1.8 x 2.4 x 1.3 in.
Warranty1 year

Hero 7 Black is waterproof for up to 33 feet underwater without using any external casing. Some of its competitors like Sony’s FDR-X3000 is nowhere near when it comes to the ruggedness and how much abuse this little camera can take.

The handsfree Voice control feature is very convenient while you are engaged in an activity and the GoPro is mounted on a helmet or a handlebar, for example. Voice command is a regular feature on a smartphone or a home assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo. This is a nice feature to have in an action camera. Above all, there are 16 different voice commands available, and they cover common tasks you can do with a camera. For example, you can say “GoPro, take a photo” for taking a still shot.

Connectivity and Storage Media

If you’re an action sports streamer, you can use your Bluetooth paired smartphone to broadcast your live video feed from the GoPro Hero 7 Black. Any photo or video can be Geo location tagged with the built-in GPS. GoPro has the Quik software application. This software can add overlay information like Distance, Altitude, GPS path, speed, elevation gain, G-Force, as well as Date & Time on your video.

Hero 7 Black accepts SD, SDHC, or SDXC memory card. For wired connectivity, a micro-HDMI port can play your GoPro videos on a TV. A USB port next to the micro-HDMI port charges the camera.

Samples Videos

Pros:

  • Good image stabilization and delivers smooth video
  • True 4k video capture
  • Waterproof up to 33feet and rugged build
  • Handsfree control
  • Live streaming via a paired smartphone
  • Time lapse and slow-motion videos come out pretty decent
  • Bluetooth and wifi features are handy
Cons:

  • The rectangular form factor of a GoPro is something that may not appeal to all action camera enthusiasts

Best 360° Action Camera under 500$ – Insta360 ONE X

Insta360 ONE X has many features to like, and one of the best is the smooth high quality 360° video. It has a dual 200° ultra-wide fisheye lenses with the large F2.0 aperture size. The lenses are configured back to back. The image stitching from the two lenses is flawless. Furthermore, it uses 1/2.3 inches 18 Megapixel Sony CMOS image sensors.

Insta360 One X Best 360° Action Camera under $500
Insta360 One X 360° Action Camera

For a relatively small sized camera, it can capture 5.7k video at 30fps, 4k at 50fps, and 3k at 100fps. With the High Dynamic Range (HDR) turned on, shots captured are more vibrant and luminous. The video quality is excellent for action sports, thanks to the image stabilization. It uses a 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization for its lenses.

This camera has 8x slow-mo speed as well as a stabilized time-lapse video capture. With the TimeShift feature, a video can have a combination of slow-mo segments and time-lapse segments. This feature is handy when you want to speed up a non-essential scene but highlight an important scene in the same video. Likewise, with the Target Tracking feature, video focus is automatically maintained on a moving object.

Specifications

Specification
Value
Type360° Action Camera
Image Resolution18 Megapixel
Video Resolution5.7k @30fps, 4k @ 50fps, 3k @ 100fps
Lens zoomNA
Interchangeable lensNA
Image StabilizationBuilt-in 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization
ISO100 - 3200
Continuous burst rate fpsNA
ViewfinderNA
Image Monitor0.94" diameter fixed LCD
Built-in FlashNo
WaterproofNo
Built-in GPSYes
Bluetooth/NFC/WirelessBluetooth, Wifi
Weight4.05 oz
Dimension4.53 x 1.89 x 1.10 in.
Warranty1 year

If you’re someone who likes to shoot a video of yourself but hates the sight of a selfie stick, then this camera is for you. With the Insta360 One X app, a selfie stick is edited out without any blind spot or distortion by the app. The final video is similar to a low flying drone shoot. Additionally, post editing part is simplified so you can have a professional quality video without using any filters or advanced editing techniques.

You can pair this camera with a smartphone via Bluetooth or connect to a wifi hotspot. With an Android phone or an iPhone, you can view the camera output on your phone screen. Additionally, you can adjust different settings without touching the camera.

Connectivity and Storage Media

There is no built-in GPS on this unit. You have to buy a GPS Smart Remote from the manufacturer. We hope that Insta360 will include GPS feature in the next iteration of this camera.

Insta360 ONE X can accept a micro-SD memory card; 128GB being the max storage capacity. There is a micro-USB port to charge the battery and for live streaming. The battery is good for about 60 minutes while shooting a 5.7k video. It has a removable battery. With a spare battery, it is super convenient when you’re on vacation and do not want to lose any moment.

Samples Videos

This camera is not waterproof. You can get a waterproof case from Insta360 which is good for about 100 feet under water. Is it just us or do we all feel that “action camera” and “waterproof” should go together?

Pros:

  • Small sized, lightweight camera. About the size of a dumbphone
  • High resolution video as high as 5k
  • 18 MP still photos
  • Good image stabilization and delivers smooth video
  • TimeShift feature is handy
  • Live streaming via a paired smartphone on Facebook or YouTube
  • Removable battery is convenient
  • Available accessories make this camera more versatile
Cons:

  • Not waterproof body
  • No built-in GPS
  • No micro HDMI port

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