The Highest Rated Point And Shoot Camera For Less Than $500 in 2018
If you’re on the market for a great but affordable digital camera, you can’t go wrong with any of the models featured in our review of the best point-and-shoot cameras under 500 dollars. Alternatively, if looking to film video, you may wish to look into budget video cameras under 500. When most people are thinking about purchasing an intermediate digital camera, the first thing that comes to mind is a mid-level DSLR model. But for many people, these powerhouses are too bulky and complicated for everyday use. Fortunately, there is a great selection of impressive point-and-shoot cameras presently available that offer exceptional performance, compact design, and easy-to-use features.
Table of Contents
- What Is The Greatest Point And Shoot Camera Below 500 Dollars?
- Buyers Guide Questions
- What is the Point-and-Shoot Camera?
- What Camera Should I Buy for Beginner Photography?
- Point-and-Shoot Camera vs DSLR
- What is NFC on a Digital Camera?
- What are the Benefits of Using a Wi-Fi Camera?
- Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
What Is The Greatest Point And Shoot Camera Below 500 Dollars?
When you start thinking about all of the options out there, finding the right point-and-shoot camera can be pretty confusing. Between all the great brands and models available, let alone features like video (click for premium 4K video cameras), viewfinders, and zoom lenses, it can be tough to weed through all of the options and find the camera that’s right for you. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you. We took a look at the top point-and-shoot cameras that are available for under $500, and based on factors like performance, reviews, features, and design, we’ve come up with our list of the top ten cameras under $500 that are perfect for any photo enthusiast.
Buyers Guide Questions
What is the Point-and-Shoot Camera?
A point-and-shoot camera is an all-in-one style of digital camera commonly used for still and video photography. Versatile and compact, these cameras are known for easy operation which allows them to be used practically anywhere.Most of these cameras, also known as compact cameras, are designed with a fixed lens and offer a number of automatic exposure settings which allow the user to simply aim the device and take a picture.
This makes these cameras perfect for anyone who is new to photography or who simply wants an easy-to-use option that doesn’t involve all of the fine-tuning that many DSLR or mirrorless cameras require. Due to their compact size and light weight, these cameras are also perfect for people who frequently travel and want to take high-quality pictures without being weighed down by bulkier, more expensive photo equipment.
Despite their simple operation and pocket-sized design, many point-and-shoots now offer some more advanced features, bridging the gap between them and their more expensive DSLR counterparts. Most of the more premium models out there today offer larger image sensors that are capable of capturing high-resolution images and videos that can rival the image quality offered by DSLR cameras. And thanks to these larger sensors, these cameras can also handle low-light situations remarkably well.
Other premium features include superzoom cameras that offer up to 80x optical or dynamic zoom and increased image stabilization which allows these higher end models to produce smoother, distortion-free imaging. And while most of these cameras used to force the user to guess what they were shooting, newer models now offer high-resolution LCD screens and even electronic viewfinders. And with the rugged design many of these models now offer, users can enjoy reliability and versatility that smartphone cameras simply can’t provide.
And while these compact digital cameras have been commonly known as “beginner” models, many professionals have embraced them as backups or even replacements to their bulkier, more complicated equipment. That’s because newer models are offering image quality that is much closer to interchangeable lens DSLR while also including the ability to manually adjust exposure settings like aperture and shutter speed.
Compact and versatile, these easy-to-use models are capable of delivering exceptional results in a variety of circumstances, making them a great tool for anyone looking for a lightweight, user friendly camera that can capture amazing photos and videos.
What Camera Should I Buy for Beginner Photography?
When you’re just started out with photography, the best camera to buy is one that is simple to use, affordable, offers some solid features, produces high-quality images, and provides room for growth. This is why some models are better suited for beginners than others. There are several cameras out there that are perfect for beginners because they tick off all of these requirements, allowing a novice photographer to learn the basics of photography.
Compact digital models are ideal because they offer a simplistic design, are very versatile, and deliver high performance. One of the best options out there is the Nikon COOLPIX A900 Digital Camera. This Nikon model is lightweight and compact but, thanks to its DSLR-size 20 Megapixel CMOS sensor, is capable of capturing high-resolution images even in low-light conditions. Besides offering terrific image quality. The A900 also features an impressive lens and one of the best zoom features in its class, capable of 35x optical zoom and 70x dynamic zoom.
This feature is incredibly useful for budding photographers looking to capture distant subjects without requiring them to purchase a bulkier, and more expensive, DSLR model as well as a high-priced zoom lens. Besides the other great features that this model offers such as Wi-Fi connectivity, 4K video recording, an impressive image stabilization system, and a tilt-type LCD screen, what makes it such a great choice for a beginner is Nikon’s PSAM mode dial.
This feature is perfect for a beginner since it allows you to explore photography with the device’s automatic shooting modes but, as your experience grows, begin experimenting with manual settings much like you could with a professional DSLR model.This dial allows you to manually adjust exposure settings like aperture and shutter speed in order to get the perfect shot and helps you build a stronger foundation of photography basics.
And best of all, at under $400, the A900 is one of the most affordable, all-around cameras that you can buy. This means that beginners can begin taking fantastic high-resolution photos and videos without making too much of a financial investment.
If you are looking for a beginner camera for travelling and hiking please click here instead.
Point-and-Shoot Camera vs DSLR
When you’re on the market for a new camera, you might be trying to decide if a point and shoot or DSLR model is right for you. Both styles have their pros and cons. And while DSLRs have cemented their place as the go-to option for professionals, their compact digital rivals have begun to evolve. Most now offer features like GPS, Wi-Fi, zoom, electronic viewfinders or touchscreens, and larger image sensors for improved photo quality. If you’re caught in the middle, trying to decide which model is right for you, the best way to decide is to look at each style’s advantages and disadvantages.
These models offer users several advantages that make them the perfect, versatile device for a variety of new and experienced photographers. The main benefits are the device’s size, price, weight, simplicity, and depth of field.The main thing that users appreciate about these compact cameras is their small size. These models are compact and lightweight. Most can slip into your pocket easily and since most weigh less than 1 lb and don’t require any additional gear, equipment, or lenses, you don’t have to worry about being weighed down with a heavy camera bag.
While some of the more advanced DSLR-style models with super zoom features are slightly bulkier, almost any of these small digital models are going to be significantly lighter than their DSLR counterpart. This makes them perfect for anyone who is shooting on the go. Thanks to their simple, efficient design and automatic features, these models don’t require a lot of hassle. All of these models come with fixed lenses.
This means that you’ll never have to worry about changing lenses even when using the zoom feature or shooting in low-light conditions. With a large depth of field, these cameras usually can’t separate an image’s foreground and background. This means that everything in the shot is brought into focus for an image that is very sharp in its entirety. While some people might not be a fan of this style of photography, some models now offer improved focus ability as well as post-shot features that allow you to achieve the blurred background that DSLRs are famous for.
The final benefit of these cameras, and a very important one, is price. Almost any of these camera models are going to be cheaper to purchase than a DSLR. And since they don’t require any additional gear or equipment, maintaining and operating them in the long run is cheaper as well. As great as these advantages are, there are also some drawbacks to consider before purchasing one of these cameras. The main weaknesses for these compact devices are image quality, adaptability, limited manual control, and poor night shooting.
Compact digital cameras have evolved greatly over the past few years and many come with impressively large sensors. This means that they are capable of great results with high-resolution and terrific detail. But despite that, DSLRs are still going to offer improved image quality over these models. And since these cameras are fixed lens models and don’t allow for much customization as far as upgrades, you’re not going to be able to boost their performance and range like you could with a DSLR camera.
This means that, while incredibly versatile, if you’re looking for a device that is adaptable, then these models probably aren’t right for you. Another drawback is the lack of manual control. Compared to DSLRs, these models offer much less user control over the picture-taking process. DSLRs are designed to allow for total exposure control in any situation and while some newer point-and-shoots offer some degree of manual adjustment such as aperture or shutter speed, they are still much more limited.
This makes them better suited for people who are content to use the automatic mode or who are simply looking for a little manual control flexibility. The final disadvantage of these models is their night-shooting capability. Many newer models offer larger image sensors that are able to capture more light than previous builds, giving them an improved high ISO range. But when the light gets too dark, these devices will tend to generate more image noise and graininess compared to DSLR models with comparable ISO ranges.
DSLR cameras have long been known as the camera of choice for professional photographers. While some pros have switched to mirrorless or even high-end compact digital models, advantages like better image quality, light sensitivity, speed, and control, as well as the ability to use a variety of different lenses are important factors that play into the popularity of DSLRs. In general, these models have larger image sensors than their compact rivals. And the full-frame sensors that are offered in many of these models are truly impressive.
These sensors allow you to capture sharper images with less noise and a better overall image quality. Because of the reduced noise produced by a DSLR, they are also significantly better at low-light performance. While some compact digital models can produce solid results in low-light situations, an image captured with a DSLR will always be clearer and less grainy.DSLRs are designed to capture action and movement.
In order to achieve this, they are built to quickly focus on a subject and deliver high continuous frames per second. With faster shutter speed and focusing ability, these models allow you to respond more quickly to fast-paced shooting situations. DSLRs also place more control in the photographer’s hands. These devices aren’t simple to operate, especially if you want them to operate at their maximum potential.
But once you master how to change your camera’s settings, these models offer impressive customization, allowing them to handle a wide-variety of shooting conditions. The final advantage of these models is that they allow you to use a number of different lenses that can be mounted onto the camera. You can select wide-angle, telephoto, portrait, and other lenses depending on your needs. This isn’t to say that DSLR models are right for everyone.
Despite an improved image quality and more control flexibility, they also have several drawbacks compared to compact point-and-shoots. These drawbacks have to do with price, weight, noise, and complexity. DSLRs are much more expensive than their compact digital rivals. Even investing in an entry-level model is going to set you back anywhere from $700 to $1,000. Plus, these cameras aren’t one-stop investments.
You’ll also be buying expensive lenses, external mics and flashes, and a host of other accessories that will quickly drive up the model’s operating cost. These models are also significantly bulkier and heavier than their compact rivals. They’re heavy and when operating your device during long shoots, handling them can become cumbersome. Plus, even when you’re not using your camera, lugging a camera bag with your device plus all of its accessories can put some serious strain on your back and shoulders.
DSLR cameras are also normally louder than compact digital cameras. These models are designed for high-speed performance but each time the shutter opens and closes, it makes a significant amount of noise. This makes them less than ideal for quiet settings unless you are using a newer model that offers a “Quiet” mode.
The final drawback to these models has to do with their complexity of use. If you’re new to photography, you’re going to spend a significant amount of time learning what the different settings, buttons, and dials on your device actual do. This presents a steep learning curve for some newcomers who are looking for a simple way to capture high-quality images.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable, compact model that is capable of impressive performance and offers enough features to keep you busy without overwhelming you, purchasing a point-and-shoot camera is a great idea. But if you’re someone who is willing to invest a significant amount of money, as well as learning time, to achieve professional-quality photos and videos, then a heavier DSLR model might be right for you.
What is NFC on a Digital Camera?
Several of the best point-and-shoots that made it onto our list offer NFC connectivity. But if you’re just upgrading from a smartphone camera or are finally replacing an outdated camera, you might not know exactly what NFC is. NFC stands for Near Field Communications. It’s a relatively new feature that’s already in use in other industries like payment cards, transportation goods, and debit and credit cards and has recently been adopted in modern digital cameras.
NFC allows electronic devices to recognize each other’s presence when they’re near each other. So an NFC-enabled tablet or smartphone will sense that your camera is nearby and wirelessly connect to it. This connection allows your tablet, smartphone, and camera to communicate with each other automatically. To operate this feature, your camera’s NFC sensor must be turned on and a compatible camera control app needs to be running on your NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet.
Once the devices are close enough to each other to communicate, they’ll recognize one another and automatically negotiate a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. Once connected, the phone app allows you to see a live view of whatever your camera is seeing, change camera settings, and remotely shoot and share images and videos.
While this process could be done manually, the benefit of NFC allows you to make quick, easy connections between your devices, saving you time and energy. It also allows you to quickly send any image taken by your compact digital device to your smartphone or tablet for quick storage or sharing on social media.
What are the Benefits of Using a Wi-Fi Camera?
As Wi-Fi is becoming more readily available in digital cameras, you might be wondering if you really need this feature or if it’s something you can live without. The best way to decide for yourself is to briefly discuss the benefits that using Wi-Fi model offers. The major benefit of Wi-Fi Cameras is that these models allow you to upload files to your smartphone, tablet, cloud, or various apps and social media platforms. You can take a bunch of pictures or videos and instantly share them online or store them in your cloud storage system.
This makes your life easier in two ways. First, you don’t have to worry about plugging your camera into your laptop to upload your images anymore. This means that you can share entire albums with one simple step. Second, you have quick access to all of your stored images, saving you the headache of having to scroll through each image individually on your camera. And since we’re talking about storage, it’s important to note that saving valuable storage space on your camera is also a key benefit.
Nothing’s worse than getting ready to take that perfect shot and realizing that your camera’s SD card is full. But with a Wi-Fi, you can set your device to delete photos once they upload. This means that you’ll never worry about your camera running out of memory space again.These models are also great for anyone who loves to take travel photos.
All you need to do is find a location with free Wi-Fi such as your hotel, a restaurant, or a local coffee shop and you can instantly share images of your trip with friends and loved ones at home as well as post videos on various social media outlets. So if you’re interested in not only saving storage space on your camera but also allowing your device to seamlessly upload anything you shoot to your phone, cloud, friends, family, or even your hundreds of social media followers, a Wi-Fi camera is one of the best investments you can make.
The Nikon COOLPIX A900 made our list of the best models under $500 and is our choice for the top pick on the market today. This pocket-sized point-and-shoot is incredibly compact, making it the perfect choice for anyone looking for a portable alternative to a bulky DSLR. More importantly, it comes loaded with features and delivers the high-performance and quality that we’ve come to expect from Nikon. The A900 is built with a large 20MP CMOS image sensor that is great for capturing light, allowing it to deliver impressive image quality in any lighting condition.
And you never have to worry about being too far away from the action thanks to its best-in-class 35x optical and 70x dynamic zoom capability. Plus, the A900 is one of the most affordable models to offer beautiful 4K video recording capabilities, allowing you to record detailed, high-resolution videos at up to 30 fps.
And while the A900 is easy enough for a beginner to use, it also features a PSAM mode dial which allows a more experienced photographer to manually adjust some exposure settings like aperture and shutter speed, allowing for a DSLR-like experience. And with Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity built into this device, you can easily store your images, send them to your smartphone or tablet, or share them on various social media sites. And at less than $400, the Nikon A900 is one of the best deals of the market in 2018.
Nikon was featured a lot during our list of the top 10 models under $500 and their COOLPIX B700 is also our recommendation for the best premium point-and-shoot camera on the market today. At around $450, this model is one of the more expensive options on our list, but this is one of the best all-around cameras in its class. Capable of delivering exceptional image quality and impressive features, this is one of the best models for under $500.
The B700 has a large 20MP CMOS image sensor for fast, high-resolution performance, even in dim lighting. And with a fixed Nikkor Super ED 60x Optical Zoom Lens, it offers amazing zoom performance with improved camera and image stabilization. Plus, for video buffs, this model is capable of recording in near cinema-quality, with 4K and Full HD recording.
The B700 was designed with a high-resolution LCD monitor that is great for framing your shots (click here for the study), as well as built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for seamless connection to your smartphone, tablet, cloud, and social media accounts. With manual exposure adjustments enabled by the B700’s PSAM mode dial, as well as fantastic automatic settings, this model is great for photographers of any skill level.
One of the best deals on the market in 2018, the Nikon B500 is available for about $250, which is why it didn’t only make our list of the top 10 models under $500, but it’s also our pick for best value today. This lightweight model offers impressive performance, a terrific zoom, and more than enough features to make it perfect for anyone looking for an affordable, high-quality point-and-shoot camera. The B500 has a 16MP CMOS image sensor that is capable of capturing high-resolution images and videos.
While not the best low-light performer on the market, this sensor is large enough to operate well in dim lighting. And with an impressive zoom range of 40x optical zoom and 80x dynamic zoom, as well as an efficient lens-shift vibration system, it delivers high-quality, detailed images from any distance. Plus with Full HD recording at 1080p, the B500 takes sharp, vivid videos.
This compact model has a high-resolution LCD viewfinder and Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity so you can easily upload your images and video to your phone, tablet, storage cloud, app, or social media accounts. And with an impressive Auto Mode, this camera quickly adjusts to your shooting condition, allowing you to effortlessly take the perfect shot. With some great features, a simplistic design, and excellent image and video quality, the B500 is one of the best cameras on the market for anyone interested in upgrading from their smartphone camera. And at only $250, it’s one of the best deals around.
For anyone interested in delving further into the different aspects of point-and-shoot photography – we have found this study here.