A great camera can be your best friend on vacations, family get-togethers, wedding photo shoots, and everything in between. Today, most people have access to a camera through their smartphones. But the truth is, there are much more powerful cameras out there.
Real cameras, have powerful zooms, image stabilization, HD video settings, and offer built-in Wi-Fi and other features. If you’re looking to upgrade your photography skills, investing in a compact, digital camera under $300 can be a great way to step up your photo game without breaking the bank.
There are countless camera options on the market to choose from. But if you’re new to photography, it can be a little overwhelming sorting through the different brands, makes, and models. Not to mention, photography equipment can add up quickly. And if you’re not careful, you could end up spending a huge amount of money on a camera that may not be worth the price tag.
To help you get the most bang for your buck, we’ve narrowed them down the top 10 best digital cameras under $300.
- Comparison Table For Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras Under $300
- 1. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4k 60X Zoom
- 2. Canon PowerShot SX530
- 3. Canon PowerShot SX620
- 4. GoPro HERO5 Black
- 5. Panasonic Lumix ZS50
- 6. Fujifilm FinePix XP140
- 7. Canon EOS Rebel GII 35mm
- 8. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220
- 9. Nikon COOLPIX B500
- 10. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360
- What to Look for When Shopping for a Camera Under $300
Comparison Table For Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras Under $300
|Name||Price||Resolution (MP)||Weight (lbs)||Video|
|Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4k 60X Zoom|
|Canon PowerShot SX530|
(Best For Beginners)
|Canon PowerShot SX620|
(Best For Travel)
|GoPro HERO5 Black|
(Best For Outdoor Video)
|Panasonic Lumix ZS50||12.1||0.54||HD|
|Fujifilm FinePix XP140|
(Best Waterproof Camera)
|Canon EOS Rebel GII 35mm||N/A||1.3||N/A|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX220||18.2||0.27||HD|
|Nikon COOLPIX B500|
(Best Nikon Under $300)
|Canon PowerShot ELPH 360||20.2||0.33||HD|
Editor’s Choice – The Best All-round Digital Camera Under $300
Panasonic is one of the underdogs of the photography world. But it’s also a veteran. For nearly two decades the Lumix line has offered high quality digital SLRs and point and shoot cameras.
Professionals often rank the Lumix FZ80 as a top pick for the best camera under $300. And it’s easy to see why. This camera features an impressive 20-1220mm lens built-in image stabilization, 18.1 megapixels, and 4k video capabilities, among other features.
The wide zoom range makes this the perfect multipurpose camera. From taking selfies or portraits of your friends, to distant objects like wildlife or even the moon, the powerful zoom can perform beautifully in a number of situations.
The 4k video capability is another great selling point. In fact, this camera is a top contender for the best vlogging camera under $300. While many competitors in this price range can only offer HD video recording up to 1080, this camera goes the extra mile with beautiful and crisp 4k video.
Overall, the Pansonic Lumix FZ80 ranks at the top of our list due to its versatility, image quality, and impressive zoom.
The best camera for beginners under $300, easy to use with access to more advanced features
Canon is one of the giants of photography. The brand is known for their top of the line products, used by professional photographers around the world. One of their highest-rated budget cameras is the Canon Powershot SX530, it is surely the best Canon camera under $300.
This product has so many positive reviews, and we can see why. For the price, this camera is able to capture beautiful images, and deliver professional-looking photographs. Some of its top selling features include a powerful 50x opical zoom, wireless connectivity, 16MP resolution, and a highly-sensitive CMOS sensor.
Many consider the PowerShot SX530 a “bridge” camera between a point-and-shoot and a DSLR. This can be great for those who want to improve their photography skills and get the feel for a DSLR-like frame, without diving in completely and spending a ton of money.
This camera offer advanced performance for its price range. The auto focus is able to lock onto objects even when they are moving at high speeds. This is great for nature photography, sports photography, and other action shots. Further, the CMOS sensor is able to produce brilliant image quality with reduced noise or graininess. This is an important feature for low-lighting conditions.
The Canon PowerShot SX530 allows users to experiment with some of the more advanced features of a DSLR without losing user-friendliness.
The best point-and-shoot camera for under $300, ultra-portable and surprising power
If you don’t care about the DSLR-look, another great option from Canon is the PowerShot SX620. At first glance, this camera appears to be a regular point and shoot, however, this little guy packs a lot of power with every click of its shutter.
Some of the top selling features for the Powershot SX620 are its 20.2 megapixel resolution, 25x optical zoom (25-625mm), built-in WiFi, and lightweight frame. This camera is extremely portable, which can be great for taking it on-the-go during your travels. The camera itself weighs right around 1 lb and the small frame is a big convenience.
In addition to the built-in Wi-Fi, another cool feature about this camera is the built-in NFC technology. This technology allows the camera to detect nearby smartphones or tablets for easy photo download and transfers.
If you’re on the hunt for the best point and shoot camera under $300, the Canon PowerShot SX620 could be the perfect match.
The best video camera under $300 for outdoor adventures and vlogging
These popular little cameras are highly durable, waterproof, and extremely portable. Intended to capture action shots, this camera can be mounted on a bicycle, helmet, car dash, selfie stick, and virtually anywhere to get the best angles.
The GoPro Hero5 is a very affordable digital camera that allows you to capture stunning 4k videos and 12MG photos. Used primarily for videos, many sports and travel videographers consider the GoPro HERO5 the best vlogging camera under $300. The fish-eye lens gives you an ultra-wide angle to capture all the action. The camera is so small that it can easily fit in the palm of your hand or in your pocket.
The main selling feature of this camera is its durability. You can take it swimming, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding, skydiving, and every extreme sport in between. It’s also great for everyday videos, and gives you a unique first-person perspective.
Another great point-and-shoot camera under $300, ultra-light and portable with DSLR qualities
Another great option from Panasonic, is the Lumix ZS50. This point and shoot digital camera offers a 30x optical zoom (60x digital zoom), enhanced low-light sensitivity, high speed video, and time-lapse recording.
Unlike the Lumix FZ80 mentioned earlier, this camera looks and feels more like a point and shoot camera than a DSLR. However, the build of this camera does still feature a few DSLR-like qualities. The eye viewfinder eliminates glare and ensure proper framing. It also features a DSLR-like control ring for smooth manual focusing of the lens.
The smaller body frame makes this camera highly portable and convenient to travel with. In fact, its ultra-lightweight design amounts to a whopping 0.5lbs. Another thing that makes this camera easy to travel with, is the retractable lens. When the camera is turned off, the lens retracts into the body, making it easy to store in a bag or pocket.
Overall, the image quality on this camera is highly rated, it’s easy to travel with, and it offers a powerful zoom. All of these reasons are what make it one of our picks for the best digital camera under $300,
Best waterproof digital camera under $300, it even floats!
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is another great option for the active photographer. This camera stands out from the rest in both its appearance and functionality. The rugged exterior makes this camera extremely durable and great for capturing any type of adventure. From extreme sports, to extreme weather, this camera can endure it all.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is shockproof (up to 1.8 meters), waterproof (up to 25 meters), and even freeze-proof (up to -10 degrees Celsius). Similar to the GoPro, this camera is more geared towards videos than photos. The camera is limited to 16mp and a 5x optical zoom, however, it is able to capture stunning 4k videos at 15p.
This camera also features a CMOS sensor that is able to capture excellent image quality and the built-in stabilization helps minimize blur. For the adventure seekers, the Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is a truly unique gadget that can help capture all of your outdoor activities.
Best DSLR-like camera under $300, best for experienced photographers on a budget
The Canon EOS Rebel GII is the closest you can get to a DSLR without diving right in. This advanced point and shoot comes with an interchangeable EF 35-80mm kit lens. The interchangeable lens is a huge bonus, because it offers room for growth. As you become more comfortable with your photography skills, you could switch out the kit lens for a more powerful zoom or prime lens.
The Rebel GII series is a popular option for photography students and advancing hobbyists. This fully-automated camera includes 11 exposure modes, a built-in flash with red-eye removal capabilities, a 35-80mm zoom, and a fast shutter speed.
This camera is eye-catching, ergonomic, and a great beginner camera for those who hope to transition into a DSLR in the future.
Best budget digital camera under $300
Entering the photo ring is the current featherweight champion—the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX22. Weighing in at just 3.07oz, this ultra-light camera offers ultimate portability while packing in some impressive features. Offering an 18.2 megapixel resolution, a SMOS sensor, and HD video recording, the Sony Cyber-shot earned its spot as a contender for the best point and shoot camera under $300.
While this camera doesn’t offer tons of zoom, it is able to capture really beautiful images within close range. Sony is known for their ultra sharp lenses and life-like color quality. The Sony G lens included in the camera is no exception. The CMOS sensor allows this camera to capture beautiful images, even in low-lighting conditions.
For those who want a super user-friendly, lightweight, and high quality option, the Sony Cyber-Shot could be the perfect solution.
The best Nikon camera under $300, a powerful camera with impressive zoom capability
If you’re looking for a powerful, budget-friendly zoom, the Nikon COOLPIX B500 is here to perform. Offering a 40x optical zoom lens with a range of 22.5-900mm, this is a great multipurpose camera for all photo situations. Nikon is another highly trusted brand in photography, creating top of the line DSLRs used by famous photographers around the world.
The COOLPIX line, is a great entry-level option for photography students, hobbyists, or anyone on a budget. Some of the selling features include, a built in flash, 16mp resolution, a large BSI CMOS sensor, 40x optical zoom (80x digital zoom), HD video recording, Wi-Fi connectivity, and more.
This camera features as DSLR-like frame, which is ergonomic and great for those who want to continue growing their photography skills. The LCD screen can be tilted upwards, allowing you to get low-level macro shots with ease.
Overall, this is a high quality, brand name point and shoot camera, that looks and feels like a DSLR for a fraction of the cost.
The most affordable point-and-shoot camera on our list, still a great camera
Last, but certainly not least, we couldn’t end this list without including one more Canon camera—the PowerShot ELPH 360. This nifty point and shoot camera is one of the most affordable on our list, coming in at under $200. It’s interface is extremely simple, and user-friendly, perfect for beginner photographers. But don’t let the affordable price tag fool you, this little camera boasts an impressive 20.2 megapixel resolution. It also has a 3-inch LCD screen, 12x optical zoom, built-in image stabilization, built-in WiFi and NFC capabilities, and more.
The zoom on this camera isn’t super powerful, but the image quality is very sharp, especially in natural lighting. This camera is great for taking portraits of people, pets, wildlife, nature, and landscapes.
While this camera doesn’t offer some of the bells and whistles of its competitors, it’s a powerful, sleek, and affordable option for those looking for a great quality point and shoot.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Camera Under $300
One of the most important parts of the camera is the lens. Some point and shoot cameras will come with a fixed lens that cannot be removed from the body. These are usually very easy to operate and they will allow you to zoom within a specific range.
Other cameras will feature something called interchangeable lenses. This means that you can switch out the lenses of the camera for more flexibility. With this type of camera, you can experiment with different focal lengths, prime lenses, zoom lenses, and more.
When choosing a camera, consider its zoom power. Multi-purpose cameras can offer a huge zoom range, even up to 24-1200mm. Some cameras will even offer superzoom capabilities, which is great for photographing very distant things like the moon or ships on a horizon. Lenses that have great zoom power will usually be heavier and larger.
One thing to keep in mind, is that when it comes to budge lenses, the more you zoom, the lower the image-quality will be. While the lens will be able to capture distant objects, the image resolution may be poor and the photograph may turn our blurry or grainy. What you’ll need to do is find a camera that has the right balance of zoom power, weight, and image quality you’re looking for.
Image quality relies heavily on the size of a camera’s sensor. Professional cameras like DSLRs have very large sensors that are able to let in a lot of light and capture a lot of information about their subject.
The larger the sensor, the higher quality the photos will be. In the $300 price range, sensor size will be limited—however, you can still get a much better image quality with a good digital camera than you can with your phone. If you are mostly looking to take photos for social media and to share online, the sensor size of cameras in the $300 price range will be more than sufficient. However, if you are planning to work professionally, you may want to consider investing in a DSLR.
Megapixels represent, in layman terms, the number of dots in an image. For example, a 16 MP camera creates images with 16 million dots. While megapixels are not the only factor that affect image quality, they are one of the components to consider.
Last but not least, you will want to consider the weight, size, and shape of the camera. Compact digital cameras are great for taking with you on-the-go. The smaller the body size, the easier it will be to carry your camera on vacation and put it to use. On the other hand, some prefer cameras with DSLR-like body frames. These are often comfortable in the hand and they have the same professional look as higher end cameras. Ultimately, it is up to your personal preference and what feels comfortable to you.
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