Best Point and Shoot Camera under $500
You don’t need a complicated, expensive DSLR cameras to take the best pics of family and friends, you need the best camera under $500 on our list of the top ones to get the job done quickly, efficiently and with brilliant clarity. These point and press cameras have come a long way in the last few years and you can get best quality pictures without having to know the ins and outs of cameras in order to achieve it. All you do is point it and press a button, simple and easy. For YouTube Cameras read the review.
Table of Contents
- Best Point and Shoot Camera under 500
- Nikon COOLPIX A900 Digital Camera
- Nikon COOLPIX B700 Digital Camera
- Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera (Black)
- Panasonic DC-ZS70K Lumix 4K Digital Camera
- Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera
- Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital Camera
- Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit
- Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Digital Camera
- Nikon 1 J5 Mirrorless Digital Camera
- Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera
- Buyers Guide Questions
- Top Pick
- Premium Choice
- Great Value
Best Point and Shoot Camera under 500
We review these great simple point and press types, looking at their technical specifications such durability, fps shooting ability, low light shooting, lens types, and what type of CMOS sensor they offer. We review the Point-and-Shoot types ability to zoom both optical and dynamic, how you monitor and take your pics with viewfinder or LCD screen. We also look at their ability to record video and picture-taking stills. Quality is important, so stabilization of images, editing ability, and if they film in 4K or 1080p is also considered. Price is always a consideration so we look at those that are available for under $500.
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Buyers Guide Questions
You have been taking photos for years using your smartphone or tablet but now you are ready to move onto using a proper standalone camera, but you do not know what camera to choose. There are many cameras out there and sometimes all the jargon such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more can be very overwhelming. The decision on which will be most suitable for you will depend entirely on your needs and requirements. There are two basic options when making the decision of which one is applicable to your needs. DSLR cameras or Point-and-Shoot.
Another consideration when making this decision will be what your budget for the camera. If you are looking for options that are at prices under $500 then you need to look at the point-and-shoot variety to get the best quality cameras. Your DSLR cameras come in at a higher price tag and often require additional components such as lenses, flashes, and even external mics to get the best video recordings. If you are a person who loves to take pics of your family vacation, a night out with friends or record that live concert you are attending then these types of cameras are best for you.
It is convenient, lightweight, compact and easy to operate cameras. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of camera operation to use these cameras and they are very easy to maintain. The added benefit of these great little cameras is the LCD screen you can use to either monitor your video footage as you film or frame your best photograph without having to use a viewfinder to do so. A lot of these LCD screens on cameras are also flip out, allowing you to take the best pics at almost any angle.
Not only do these cameras offer automatic operation they also offer some of the best zoom capabilities with some giving you up to an amazing 160x dynamic zoom such as the Nikon COOLPIX B700 Digital Camera. While these great little digital cameras may not have the large sensors that the DSLR cameras do they still give the best quality images in both 1080p full HD and 4K quality images. They also offer 4K video recording ability with built-in sound and even stereo sound. These types of cameras are also best if you are into your extreme sports as they are extremely lightweight and compact as has been said.
Some like the Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera is capable of operating in almost any environment, so taking it with you when snorkeling, skiing or even skydiving is not an issue. So how do you decide which of the cameras is best? Well, that is a loaded question and we have addressed the major differences between the two types of cameras at a later stage in this buyers guide. The bottom line is simply what you are going to be using your camera for is what will determine which one is most suitable for you.
What is the Point-and-Shoot Camera?
These types of cameras are a very compact, lightweight and small. It is designed with very simple operations and automatic settings for focus, aperture, shutter speeds and other complications that are prevalent in your more advanced DSLR cameras on the market. These types of cameras make the best travel cameras and are the best types for beginners or people who just want to be able to take pictures on their family vacations.
Some have built-in flashes for when taking pictures in darker environments and all have a zoom capability from 30x optical zoom to 160x dynamic zoom. They provide focus-free operation or autofocus. There are some of these types of cameras that allow users to control their settings manually using PSAM mode for when you are ready to start adjusting your own settings, best for more complicated photography where conditions are adverse.
However, in general, this product will do all the work for you. Another wonderful aspect of these compact cameras is their connectivity. Most will have built-in WiFi and NFC along with Bluetooth capabilities. You can snap your to heart’s content and then instantly upload your pics to social media sites, or use the available apps transfer them to your smartphone to be edited before uploading – best for the budding instagrammer.
What Camera Should I buy for Beginner Photography?
When you are looking into getting your photography career off the ground, but don’t want to be concerned with things like f-stops, ISO settings, shutter speeds and aperture then you need to look at getting the best one on the market. So what you need to look at is a camera that allows you to develop your feel for photography, the ability to frame your picture the best way and get the right compositions. Quality is a great concern obviously, but with these types of cameras, you get great quality and clarity with a lot of them offering 4K photography.
The compact digital camera is the one of choice here. There are some great Point-and-Shoot cameras for under $500 so you also do not have to spend a fortune on a complicated DSLR camera to get started. These types of cameras are great for traveling with, they are light and compact, and most will even slip into your pocket. This makes them very attractive, even to professionals, who will usually carry one of these around for the “just in case” moments.
These types of cameras have developed a lot over the last few years and offer features that allow you to get the kind of quality pictures that you would get using a DSLR camera but without the hassle. If you’re finding you’re DSLR camera to be hard to work with, you can make life easier with a Shoulder Rig for your DSLR. They are automatic, with AF and more, your camera will assess the situation and set itself to give you the best quality shot depending on the circumstances. They also offer great zoom, both optical and dynamic, so you can capture both near and far images easily.
Some of these types of focus and press cameras even offer a PSAM mode, so when you get comfortable with your camera and are ready to move on to a more advanced level, you can manually adjust your settings, learning as you go until you are ready to move on to the more complicated and expensive DSLR cameras.
If you’re looking for a camera to begin your new Vlogging Channel, head over to our detailed review on this.
Point-and-Shoot camera vs DSLR?
Looking to buy your first digital camera and are not sure if you should go for a Point-and-Shoot camera or a DSLR. Well, both have their strengths and weaknesses and it will depend on what you want to use your camera for, as well as how much knowledge you have, or want to have about cameras and their various settings.
A lot of professionals own both one of these types of cameras as well as a DSLR camera, the reason for this is that both are quite valuable for the professional, the DSLR for its quality photos and the Point-and-Shoot for its compactness and convenience. The main and most basic differences at first glance between these two types of cameras are convenience and price.
Of course image quality, adaptability, how the camera functions best, and what features they offer along with its size and weight as well as maintenance and portability of your camera will all play a part in your decision. First it is important to understand what DSLR and Point-and-Shoot cameras refer to. A DSLR cameras is a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera.
It combines the optics of a SLR camera with digital imaging sensor instead of photographic film. A Point-and-Shoot camera is simply put a compact, lightweight camera designed with simple automatic operation with focus free lenses, built in flashes and automatic zooms. Below we take a look at both of these great cameras and their major differences to try and help you decide which type of camera would best suit your needs.
Quality of image
The compact type cameras will generally produce photo quality that is of a lower standard than the DSLR ones due to their size. This is not due to the number of megapixels, as these types often have more than your DSLR at 10 or so but it is due to the fact that your standard DSLR camera has a larger image sensor which allows you to capture your images at a higher ISO.
What you see is what you get in a basic digital camera. They are not very adaptable at all. Some of the higher end ones do offer lens adapters. They do not offer the ability to add an external mic, nor to add a flash for night photography. You will not be able to upgrade your camera after a few years, you will have to replace it with a newer model. Most of these types of cameras offer anything from 3x optical zoom to 160x dynamic zoom and everything in between. They are not, however, suitable to all shooting conditions, especially in darker environments. If you are looking for a versatile camera that can reach above limits, you may want to look at 360 degree cameras, perfect for achieving wide-angle panoramic shots.
DSLR, on the other hand, are highly adaptable. You can not only change lenses, you also have a variety of filters, flashes, and mics that you can choose from as additional accessories to enhance the ability of your camera. The DSLR can be used effectively no matter if it is nighttime or in bright sunlight and you can set the controls to give you the same quality of the shot, depending on your settings and type of lens or flash being used. You can upgrade your DSLR with new lenses and updated accessories and they are a lot longer lasting that your average compact camera.
The DSLR is designed for professional photographers, or at least for amateurs who know how to control their own camera settings. Some of the best DSLR cameras do come with auto modes, however, they are generally designed to be operated manually. The compact cameras are meant to be automatic in their nature.
They are simple to use and you do not have to understand how to control any camera setting to be able to use them. As the name suggests, all you have to do is aim the camera at your subject and capture your best shot. Some of the models do have the option of PSAM which allows you to control your own settings, this is not the norm and you will have to find the menu to be able to do this which is not readily available as is on the DSLR cameras.
Size and Weight
This is where the compact types take the prize hands down. They are small, compact and best to take with you on your vacation, to your graduation or even to a party. They are often small enough to fit into your pocket and incredibly lightweight. These are the type of cameras that the amateur prefers as well as the professional who needs something with them all the time, often professional photographers will have this type of camera with them as they are so easy to carry around and are best to use in a pinch.
Your DSLR camera, on the other hand, is both large and heavy. They are not easy to take everywhere with you and when you are looking at adding a few extra lenses, a mic and an external flash to the mix, you are going to have to pack that extra bag to carry around with you. This is the main reason that photographers have both of these fantastic cameras in their kit. The compact version for convenience and DSLR for a higher quality image and the ability to capture your best images in any situation and still get that perfect shot, this is made even easier with the use of a great quality DSLR Stabilizer.
Viewfinder or LCD screen
The best compact type cameras offer the luxury of an LCD screen, and often one that will tilt to various angles allowing you to get the best pictures at odd angles. Not only that but you can monitor your video footage as it is being recorded on the LCD screen as well as frame your shot perfectly, in the best way possible. The LCD screen also enables you to take the best selfies as well as group photos and be able to ensure that all of you are in the frame when the shot is taken. A wonderful asset to these types and one of its defining features.
Some Point-and-Shoot cameras such as the Nikon COOLPIX B700 Digital Cameras will give you the option of both viewfinder and LCD screen, however, this is not the norm in these types of cameras. DSLRs on the other hand only offer you the optical viewfinder in order to frame your shot in the best way possible. They do often have an LCD screen for you to check your photo afterward to ensure that it comes out as you want, and some now offer “live view” LCD in order for you to frame your shot but they cannot compete with the best Point-and-Shoot.
This is another area that the Point-and-Shoot cameras beat the DSLR. The compact aim and press cameras are easy to maintain, simply ensure that your lens cap is in place and that you keep your cameras in a secure place and clean and you are good to go. The DSLR, on the other hand, requires a lot of maintenance both for the body and lenses as well as accessories. You need to ensure that your camera body is cleaned regularly including the small areas where you will attach your flash, mic, and lenses to keep it at its best.
You need to keep the threading’s clean and dust free and ensure that the lenses themselves are cleaned and maintained. All in all, keeping your DSLR clean and ready to work best can take time and effort. These are some of the major differences between the two cameras, besides of course price. Although DSLR cameras have come down significantly in price, they cannot compete with the more compact cameras. You can get these types for under $500.
Aim and press cameras are advancing in technology and most will offer you either full HD or the best 4K quality images without having to know the ins and outs of how they operate, and how to maximize your settings, or having to spend a fortune on buying not only the body but all of the best accessories. For the novice photographer or somebody who is looking for convenience in a camera and who just wants to take those snapshots of the family vacation or a night out with friends, the compact digital will come out best.
You can get digital cameras under $100 and some of the best Point-and-Shoot cameras for under $500 such as those on our list that we have reviewed for you. If however, you are a professional photographer who values the quality of image above all else, the DSLR is for you. Or you can purchase both which is what a lot of professional photographers do, the Point-and-Shoot for convenience and the DSLR for the perfect shot.
What is NFC on a Digital Camera?
NFC or Near Field Communication is a wireless link between your camera and your smartphone or computer, very much like the tap-and-go services you get with Apple Pay and the like. NFC will detect and enable any technology in its close proximity and communicate with it without any internet connection requirement. It is fast and efficient and will operate automatically. How does Near Field Communication or NFC work you ask?
Well, it is incredibly simple actually. NFC was derived from RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. It will automatically operate as part of a wireless connection when activated by any other chip in its immediate vicinity. When activated it transfers data between your camera and your smartphone or computer, the two devices, however, need to be in close proximity for the NFC to work best.
You do not need a code or any other device in order to it to connect. It requires very little power to operate and is perfect for those people who work in the field and need to be able to edit their photos on their phones but have no WiFi or intermittent WiFi in order to transfer them to their computer or phone to be able to use their photo editing apps.
What Benefits of Using a WiFi Camera?
Most if not all of your digital cameras these days come with built-in WiFi. There are many benefits of having this capability, however, there are pitfalls too, the main one being the security of your camera and images. If it has WiFi it can be hacked and therefore you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent that from happening to you. Having WiFi available to you on your camera will allow you to transfer your pictures instantly from your camera to your computer, smartphone or even upload to social media sites.
It also offers you the option of backing up your images to a cloud-based service. These are all qualities that you will enjoy especially if you are the journalist in the field and need to submit to your editor but are not near any form of computer (click here for Webcam review). Another great option available to you with a WiFi enabled camera is that you can live stream video from it and use it as a surveillance camera. Just place it in the desired area such, switch on the camera and press record.
You can connect the camera via WiFi to your computer in your home and watch the video stream without being near your camera. The main problem with WiFi enabled cameras is hacking. You are at risk form attackers not only gaining access to your photographs but also any other network devices that may be connected to your cameras such as your computer or smartphone.
To protect your WiFi network you need to ensure that your password on your WiFi is very secure, and if possible that your router is protected by WPA2 encryption. Never use the default password on your camera and ensure that the password you choose is not your name, telephone number or some other obvious passwords, or you may find yourself a victim of cybercrime.
Photos are our memories and having a camera that is lightweight, compact and easy to take with you no matter where you go is a great asset. You are a little overwhelmed by the complexities of the DSLR cameras and also you do not want to have to spend a fortune on a camera. Yes, you could use your cell phone but then again, it does not give the best close-ups, nor can it take distance photos with any clarity. With these cameras being so affordable, easy to use, and highly portable, can you really afford not to invest in one of the best Point-and-Shoot cameras for under $500 on our list?
Not surprisingly it is a Nikon that gets the nod as our best choice of camera for under $500. The Nikon COOLPIX A900 Digital Camera offers you everything you need to capture the moment with the best precision and clarity. Offering a 20mp 1/2.3” BSI CMOS Sensor and a Nikkor f3/4-6.9 ED lens which has a 35x optical zoom and 70x dynamic zoom you will be able to get that best shot no matter how near or far away it is.
Ensure you do not have any shake when recording your 4K UHD video at 30fps with the 5-Axis Hybrid Vibration Reduction. The backside illuminated image sensor will ensure you capture crystal clear images no matter what the lighting environment. Frame your image in the best way by using the 3″ LCD screen which will tilt to almost any angle, or monitor your video recording in real-time. A little more advanced and want to be able to set your own aperture and shutter speed? No problem with the Nikon as it offers you a PSAM mode dial.
Be creative and add some multimedia effects using the Creative Mode, or film a movie at high speed with the Super-lapse getting the best exposure using the Multiple Exposure Lighten function. Connect seamlessly using the built-in WiFi, NFC or Bluetooth Low Energy and always be able to edit and share your photos to your favorite sites.
Our premium choice for one under $500, for obvious reasons, is the Nikon COOLPIX B700 Digital Camera which is not only small and compact but is feature packed with an astonishing 160x dynamic zoom to let you get close up to far away subjects with ease. Offering a 20.2mp ½.3” BSI CMOS Sensor and a Nikkor Super ED 60x Optical zoom lens with both an electronic viewfinder and a 3” vari-angle LCD monitor you can frame your image with the best precision and then capture them with clarity and high-quality 4K resolution.
As versatile as a DSLR camera in some way when using the camera in PSAM mode, you can set your own aperture, shutter speeds and more. Use the vibration reduction technology to steady your shot and ensure no “hand shake” when recording your 4K video with stereo sound at it’s best. Film up to 5fps with the high-speed sequence and get the best quality images even in the lowest of lighting environments.
The face-priority AF is the best way to keep your friends and family in focus and you can save your still images as you record video or even during playback. The autofocus will operate to keep your focus set when your subject moves. Connect seamlessly using your built-in WiFi, NFC as well as Bluetooth and use the Snapbridge app to transfer your images instantly to your smartphone for uploading to any social media sites.
If you are looking for a point-and-shoot that is more Premium, for over $500, there are some fantastic options in the market – you can see them here.
When you are taking your first tender steps into the photography scene, you do not want to spend a lot of money on a complex difficult to operate camera, you need something that will assist you to take quality photos at a lower price and video to get you started on your way, and give you the confidence to proceed. The Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera is a focus and press that will do all of that for you and more and for under $500 – it’s definitely the best in terms of value. This is a small and compact camera that offers a 16mp ½.3″ BSI CMOS Sensor, 40x optical and 80x Dynamic zoom.
The 3″ LCD screen which will tilt to almost any angle will allow you to easily monitor your video or frame your photo. You can capture images at up to 7.4fps for still photos and record your video in 1080p full HD at 30fps. No matter your shooting environment you camera has you covered with 18 scene modes and easy auto mode, the camera will do all the work for you to ensure that no matter what lighting environment you find yourself shooting in you will get the best exposure.
The 16mp low-light sensor with lens-shift vibration reduction will give you the best shake free, clear crisp images. The 4-axis Hybrid Vibration Reduction ensures that your video will be stable and you can shoot fast motion scenes using the Superlapse Movie feature. Stay connected always with the built-in WiFi, Bluetooth (BLE) and NFC and use the Snapbridge app to instantly transfer pics from your camera to your smartphone.