13 Cameras Under $500 For Any Purpose

By Tati Taylor 15 days ago, Cameras & Lenses

Looking for a camera under 500 dollars with good characteristics and nice image quality?

top 3 cameras under 500

I’ve tested 13 mirrorless and DSLR cameras under $500 from different brands to help you choose a good and budget-friendly camera.

Most people are sure that a good camera has a very high price. Actually, it is not so. You can purchase cheap cameras under 500 bucks that show high-quality results.

Top 13 Cameras Under $500 List

  1. Nikon D3500 - The best camera under 500 dollars
  2. Panasonic Lumix FZ300 - Universal camera under 500
  3. Nikon COOLPIX B500 - Comes with great zooming options
  4. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 - The best cheap HDR camera
  5. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 - Pocket camera for traveling
  6. Insta360 ONE R - Waterproof design
  7. Canon EOS 4000D (Rebel T100) - Good for amateur photographers
  8. Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 - Stylish film camera with automated features
  9. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens - Can be used as a webcam
  10. GoPro HERO7 - Great for underwater shooting
  11. GoPro HERO10 - GoPro with the highest productivity
  12. Olympus Tough TG-6 - Extremely durable camera
  13. DJI Osmo Action - Best camera for blogging

Thanks to the rapid development of digital technologies, you can easily find budget cameras for photography enthusiasts that are fitted with pro-level features. Well-established camera brands often sell outdated models at affordable prices, which allows you to purchase a decent DSLR camera without going broke.

1. Nikon D3500 – Our Choice

The best camera under 500 dollars
nikon d3500 camera under 500
  • ✚ Top image quality
  • ✚ Compact design
  • ✚ Rapid autofocus speed
  • ✚ Automatic photo transfer via Bluetooth
  • ✚ A close position to the subject allows control of depth of field
  • No touch support in fixed LCD
  • The absence of mic input
Rating

Are you seeking the best DSLR camera under 500 dollars? Then pay attention to the Nikon D3500. This compact camera combines top-quality results and fantastic characteristics. Everyone can easily use it for taking wonderful shots in good and low light.

This model has a large DX-format matrix with a resolution of 24.2 million pixels, which makes it a perfect camera for portraits. Also, photographers can use it to shoot and record videos in Full HD format with high details even in low light. This, as well as the capabilities of NIKKOR lenses, allows you to create beautiful portraits with a blurred background.

photo by nikon d3500

Photo by Nikon D3500

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ300

Universal camera under 500 dollars
panasonic lumix fz300 camera under 500
  • ✚ Great grip
  • ✚ Amazing zoom range
  • ✚ Touchscreen LCD
  • ✚ 4K video format
  • ✚ Wi-Fi module
  • Rather small sensor
  • Restricted angles due to a fixed lens
Rating

Shooters will be impressed with how Panasonic handles autofocus, taking bright and sharp pictures. It is the best point and shoot camera under 500 dollars with a 2.8 aperture across all areas of the spectrum for shooting indoors. The fixed Leica lens is great. Moreover, the Lumix FZ300 has a weather-resistant body that is awesome for travel photography.

An integrated Wi-Fi module allows you to control the gadget remotely with your mobile phone. It is certainly a good camera for Instagram that is fairly convenient while also providing top-rank images. The Panasonic Lumix FZ300 is a stylish device with quick response and excellent results. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best variants for those whose photos are published on Instagram.

photo by panasonic lumix fz300

3. Nikon COOLPIX B500

Comes with great zooming options
nikon coolpix b500 camera under 500
  • ✚ Fantastic photo quality
  • ✚ Long battery life
  • ✚ Huge zoom
  • The absence of a viewfinder
  • AA batteries
Rating

The Nikon COOLPIX B500 may be called the best camera that costs a bit more than 300 dollars without exaggeration. Photographers who appreciate a compact design and don’t want to carry heavy photo gear should pay attention to this Nikon photography camera. It has a 40x optical zoom lens and 80x dynamic zoom along with a three-inch tilting LCD that will help you find new, interesting angles. Due to this fact, it is a great camera for product photography, since it allows taking photos with a great level of detail.

Moreover, this camera features such necessary options as NFC technology, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which will help transfer photos to a PC or your smartphone. Since it’s quite easy to handle, it is often used as a camera for kids.

photo by nikon coolpix b500

4. Panasonic Lumix FZ80

The best cheap HDR camera
panasonic lumix fz80 camera under 500
  • ✚ Great zoom range
  • ✚ Great wireless performance
  • ✚ Simple and logical controls
  • ✚ Hot shoe and a microphone windshield
  • Doesn’t have an eye sensor on EVF
  • Rather heavy
Rating

The Panasonic Lumix DMC is a very popular camera choice in this price range. It has a 60x optical zoom lens, 1 cm minimum focusing distance, and HDR shooting mode. Due to its features, it is one of the best dynamic range cameras under 500 dollars among the ones I reviewed above.

Although the 9 fps continuous shooting mode enables you to take only three shots, you may switch to slower modes to shoot for longer. The sensor is comparatively small, offering an average picture quality, but this drawback may be ignored because it is an ideal compact camera with a satisfying zoom for such money.

photo by panasonic lumix fz80

5. Panasonic Lumix ZS100

Pocket camera for traveling
panasonic lumix zs100 camera under 500
  • ✚ 10x optical zoom lens
  • ✚ Portable and lightweight
  • ✚ High-resolution images
  • ✚ 4K photos
  • Limited adjustability
Rating

If you are looking for a portable camera under $500 for your trips, take a closer look at the Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 that comes with many advanced features. Due to its compact size, it’s easy to carry around. The key selling point of this camera is its 10x optical zoom lens that allows you to take clear photos even from a long distance.

The Leica DC Elmarit is a lens with motorized zoom and a 25–250mm equivalent focal length. It has a variable aperture of f/2.8-f/5.9. When using maximum aperture, you can take photos with blurry highlights, sharp details, and saturated colors. Besides, this Panasonic camera allows you to record 4K videos.

photo by panasonic lumix zs100

6. Insta360 ONE R

Waterproof design
insta360 one r camera under 500
  • ✚ Top-level stabilization
  • ✚ Up to 5.7K footage
  • ✚ Convenient modular design
  • ✚ Native app
  • The touchscreen is too small
  • The battery lasts for about an hour with heavy use
Rating

This handy modular camera consists of a well-designed body, a convenient control module, and a battery. You can adjust the settings of the Insta360 One R to capture different types of content.

The basic configuration is fitted with a 12MP wide-angle camera. It supports 4K/60p video recording. Besides, you can capture 2.7K footage at 100fps, which makes this camera perfect for shooting slow-motion content. Thanks to the waterproof body, you can use this camera at the depth of up to 5 meters. You can also use the Insta360 in Aerial Mod. It allows you to use it with a drone for capturing aerial footage.

photo by insta360 one r

Photo by Insta360 ONE R

7. Canon EOS 4000D (Rebel T100)

Good for amateur photographers
canon eos 4000d rebel t100 camera under 500
  • ✚ Good portraits features
  • ✚ Optical viewfinder
  • ✚ Full HD resolution
  • ✚ Lens included
  • Restricted burst buffer
  • Basic autofocus
Rating

Canon EOS 4000D (Rebel T100) is an accessible best camera under $500, which comes with extremely comprehensive navigation, making it a great option for beginner photographers. This camera is quite easy to set up due to automatic photography modes, and its functions are quite advanced with 18MP resolution to call this gear a good Canon camera for portraits.

It includes a set of Canon accessories with a lens, so you can use even more features from the body functionality. Due to the embedded Wi-Fi unit, you may sync the Canon EOS 4000D with a tablet or smartphone for remote control. Lastly, Wi-Fi provides you with unbounded opportunities for sharing your materials on the web.

photo by canon powershot g7 x markll

8. Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Stylish film camera with automated features
fujifilm instax mini40 camera under 500
  • ✚ Eye-catching retro design
  • ✚ Easy to handle
  • ✚ Cheap film packs
  • ✚ Fully automated features
  • No flash override
  • The plastic body is not durable enough
Rating

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is a cheap digital camera under 200 dollars that stands out among other models on the list thanks to its unique retro design and a set of automated options. You don’t need to have any prior experience to use this camera. It has only two buttons that allow you to turn it on and control the camera shutter.

This camera for an amateur photographer will automatically select the right exposure and shutter speed ranging from 1/2 to 1/250 seconds. The Mini 40 is fitted with a lens with an aperture of f/12.7 and has a focal length equivalent to 60mm, which makes it a perfect option for portraits and general use.

In addition, this Fujifilm camera also has a one-touch selfie option that allows it to focus at the length of 30-50 cm when you are holding it in your hand. The lens comes with a tiny mirror element that makes it easier for you to fit everything in the frame.

photo by fujifilm instax mini40

9. Canon EOS Rebel T7

Can be used as a webcam
canon eos rebel t7 camera under 500
  • ✚ Good image quality
  • ✚ Wi-Fi/NFC modules
  • ✚ Quick autofocus
  • ✚ RAW support
  • Short battery life
  • Unmovable screen
Rating

Due to its 24.0 megapixel CMOS image sensor and an optical viewfinder with approx 95% viewing coverage, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 belongs to my list of the best full frame cameras under 500 bucks. It records high-quality videos and photographs even in dark environments. Moreover, you may instantly share your images on the web through the integrated Wi-Fi and NFC modules.

It has the Scene Intelligent Auto mode, adjusting the gadget to your particular requirements. Thanks to these features, the Canon EOS Rebel T7 demonstrates great results and is targeted at the contemporary demands of beginning photographers. In addition, you can use this camera as a webcam thanks to the EOS software for Windows and macOS.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

The main advantage that distinguishes this lens from the others I’ve reviewed here is its convenience. It is 24 mm long and freely fits into a pocket. Moreover, it offers a nice sharpness in the center.

photo by canon eos rebel t7

10. GoPro HERO7

Great for underwater shooting
gopro hero7 camera under 500
  • ✚ 4K video format
  • ✚ TimeWarp videos
  • ✚ Live streaming
  • ✚ Great video stabilization
  • ✚ Water-resistant body
  • Runs hot when recording 4K video
  • Short battery life
Rating

The GoPro HERO7 is a perfect camera under $500 for underwater video recording. It allows you to record top-rank underwater videos as well as take great travel pictures. Due to the hyper-smooth video stabilizer, this is the best video camera for avid travelers, demonstrating clear and smooth results.

It can record 8x slow-motion and TimeWarp videos. Moreover, live streaming is one of the main advantages that YouTube bloggers love the most. In other words, having the GoPro HERO7 you may instantly share your extreme experiences with your followers. I should also note that great durability distinguishes this device from other cameras.

Its water-resistant body guarantees effective work at a depth up to 33 feet (10 meters). A touchscreen and voice control are two more features that are really helpful for intrepid explorers, making it the best waterproof camera under 500 dollars. Finally, due to its intuitive menu, the camera is really user-friendly.

photo by gopro hero7

Photo by GoPro HERO7

11. GoPro HERO10

GoPro with the higher productivity
gopro hero10 camera under 500
  • ✚ Fast UI
  • ✚ Easy to use
  • ✚ High frame rates
  • ✚ Hydrophobic lens coating
  • ✚ Top-quality photos and videos
  • Less compact than earlier models
  • Incompatible with older batteries
Rating

At the first look, you might think that the GoPro HERO10 is pretty similar to the earlier version of this camera, however, it comes with several important upgrades that make it even more convenient to use. It also supports higher output quality. The camera is fitted with a new G2 processor and a read touchscreen. It has a higher FPS rate and comes with impressive image stabilization capabilities, which makes it similar to other popular action cameras.

The key advantage of this camera is that it allows you to record 5.3K 60p footage thanks to the support of the new video stabilization technology GoPro HyperSmooth 4.0. With it, you can take 23MP photos. Besides, it fares much better than other GoPro cameras when you need to take photos in poor light conditions. You can also use a range of GoPro accessories to make it even more convenient to use.

photo by gopro hero10

Photo by GoPro HERO10

12. Olympus Tough TG-6

Extremely durable camera
olympus tough tg6 camera under 500
  • ✚ 4K video recording
  • ✚ Impressive optical zoom
  • ✚ Durable body
  • ✚ Waterproof
  • Only 15m waterproofing
Rating

If you are looking for a reliable and durable camera under $500 for shooting underwater and in other extreme conditions, take a closer look at the Olympus Tough TG-6. This rigged camera for sports has a massive handle, which allows for better fixation. It has a fixed focal length, while its optics is perfectly protected from possible damage.

This camera allows you to shoot 4K videos at 30fps. If you compare it to the earlier model, you will see that this 4K video camera has an LCD and a 25–100 optical zoom that allows you to practice micro photography even underwater. Besides, you can shoot videos in Full HD at 120 fps to create a slow-motion effect.

Recommended camera lens:

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 ASPH

This is a perfect choice both for beginners and professionals that allows you to focus on plenty of scenes. Choose this lens for shooting landscapes, studio portraits or any other type of photography.

photo by olympus tough tg-6

13. DJI Osmo Action

Best camera for blogging
djl osmo action camera under 500
  • ✚ Perfect video stabilization
  • ✚ Waterproofing up to 11m
  • ✚ Advanced specs
  • ✚ Portable
  • Basic burst features
Rating

The Osmo Action is fitted with dual screens, which allows you to start shooting in one click. Thanks to the bright frontal screen, you can take stunning photos in any conditions. The rear screen is touch-sensitive and extremely clear. The camera is waterproof up to 11m, which makes it a perfect choice for bloggers. With it, you can shoot great YouTube clips and other videos.

If you compare this camera with its DSLR counterparts, you will see that it supports high image quality and close-to-life colors. Besides, you can use it with almost any GoPro mount, which makes it more convenient to use in different shooting conditions.

photo by djl osmo action

Photo by DJI Osmo Action

13 Best Cameras Under $500

IMAGE NAME FEATURES
nikon d3500 camera under 500
Nikon D3500
OUR CHOICE
  • 24MP
  • Full HD 1080p
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
panasonic lumix fz300 camera under 500
Panasonic Lumix FZ300
UNIVERSAL
  • 12 MP
  • 4K
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
nikon coolpix b500 camera under 500
Nikon COOLPIX B500
GOOD ZOOM
  • 16 MP
  • Full HD 1080p
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
panasonic lumix fz80 camera under 500
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
HDR
  • 18.1 MP
  • 4K QFHD
  • MOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
panasonic lumix fz100 camera under 500
Panasonic LUMIX FZ100
FOR TRAVELLING
  • 20 MP
  • 4K Photo
  • MOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
canon eos m100 camera under 500
Canon EOS M100
REASONABLE
  • 24.2 MP
  • 6000 x 4000p
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
canon eos 4000d rebel t100 camera under 500
Canon EOS 4000D (Rebel T100)
FOR AMATEURS
  • 18MP
  • 1080p
  • APS-C Sensor
CHECK PRICE
fujifilm instax mini 40 camera under 500
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40
AUTOMATIC
  • 20.9 MP
  • 1080p
  • 1-Inch Sensor
CHECK PRICE
canon eos rebel t7 camera under 500
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
WEBCAM USE
  • 24.1 MP
  • 1080p
  • CMOS (APS-C) sensor
CHECK PRICE
gopro hero7 camera under 500
GoPro HERO7
WATERPROOF
  • 12 MP
  • 4K video
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
gopro hero10 camera under 500
GoPro HERO10
HIGH QUALITY
  • 23 MP
  • 1080p
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
olympus tough tg6 camera under 500
Olympus Tough TG-6
DURABLE BODY
  • 12 MP
  • 2160p, 2K DCI 1080p
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE
dji osmo action camera under 500
DJI Osmo Action
FOR BLOGGING
  • 12 MP
  • 4K video
  • CMOS sensor
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Camera Under $500?

With a budget of $500, you may get a mirrorless beginner camera, the best entry-level DSLR, or the latest compact camera. In general, the choice primarily depends on your demands and goals. Therefore, I have prepared a list of the key features to consider when buying the best camera under 500 bucks.

Megapixels. The sensor can record a certain amount of information and the number of pixels directly influences this amount. This means that the more megapixels your camera has, the better your images are.

Frames per second. This particular feature is the number of shots per second. Shooters who are engaged in taking pictures of moving objects are mainly interested in high frame rates. In other words, you will have a better chance of catching the desired moment if your gadget can take more frames per second.

Camera modes. As a rule, many point-and-shoot cameras offer auto modes for various environments. It saves the photographer’s time and helps them to use the background effectively.

ISO. If you shoot moving objects and do not use a tripod, the ISO parameter is very important for you. It measures the light your sensor can catch. So, when picking the best camera under 500 dollars, mind the ISO range. The higher ISO your camera has, the better the shutter speed is.

Video. To my mind, there is no need to purchase an expensive video camera since it is still unclear whether you will use it at some point.

Viewfinder. The viewfinder builds a frame as well as handles the sharpness and focus. Shutter speed, light sensitivity, and exposure compensation are also displayed. I suppose that a viewfinder is definitely among the advantages that are offered by these cameras.

Additional functions. Moreover, the best camera under 500 dollars should feature additional functions. For instance, you may experience the benefits of Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, use different effects and filters, and enjoy convenient touchscreens.

One of the best features is an improved LSD panel, which helps to more clearly control the camera settings and see what is happening in the frame. Other cameras have a lightweight body for ease of use.

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