Photo by Imansyah Muhamad Putera on Unsplash
Today we’re looking at the best cameras under $500. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, you can find what you’re looking for at an affordable price, and we’re here to help.
Purchasing a camera does not need to be an expensive fiasco! You can easily pick up an extremely high-quality camera for under $500. Not only that, but you can get pretty much any camera you want! The newest models from the best manufacturers are usually going to be above $500, but if you’re willing to own last year’s model at a dramatic discount, you have nothing to worry about.
This is because cameras are like cars. The moment a camera is not brand new anymore, it loses a dramatic amount of its value. But this is where you come in to get an amazing deal. The best cameras under $500 are still amazing pieces of equipment, even if they are one or two years old. You’re still going to get 4K video, amazing image stabilization, clear photographs with vibrant colors, and some of the best features in the business.
Plus, $500 is a fair chunk of change! You can get a fabulous digital camera, a professional DSLR with interchangeable lenses, or even a high-tech mirrorless camera. Plus, all your favorite brands offer impressive cameras in this price range!
1. Canon PowerShot SX740 Digital Camera
First on the list is the Canon PowerShot SX740. This is a fantastic digital camera that comes in black or silver and offers 40x optical zoom with enhanced image stabilization and zoom framing assist. It’s also extremely new on the market, with 4K video capabilities and a 20.3MP CMOS sensor for taking vivid and colorful photographs. It does great continuous shooting, and the large LCD screen flips up to make it easier for taking selfies and dramatic photos.
In all honesty, this is probably the most powerful PowerShot that Canon has ever created in this price range. It’s dramatically under $500 and yet it has all the features of a $1000 camera. You get beautiful colors, phenomenal detail, a huge zoom range, and an extremely slim design. The biggest bonus here is that you can easily slip the camera in and out of your pocket. Plus, with integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology, you can automatically transfer your photos and videos to your desktop, printer, or other mobile devices.
- Fantastic 40x Optical Zoom + Image Stabilization
- 4K Video + 4K Time-Lapse
- Pocket-Sized & Lightweight
- Pop-Up Screen for Selfies
- Integrated Bluetooth & Wi-Fi
- Autofocus is Lacking
- Audio is Not Perfect
2. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera
The Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera is a fan favorite. This is such a popular and affordable camera that it’s almost always sold out, especially during the holiday season. While there are definitely newer digital cameras available, such as the Sony a6500, the a6000 is still remarkable. It has a 24MP sensor, a huge ISO range of 100-25600, and it uses hybrid autofocusing with 179-point phase detection. That means that even if you’re trying to capture stunning pictures of birds in flight, you can always track them with the remarkably reliable autofocus.
But there are other things that make the Sony a6000 such a promising piece of technology. Sony really put all they know about what makes photographers happy into one small unit. It’s half the size and weight of a DSLR, it has some of the fastest autofocusing and continuous shooting ever, and the pictures it takes are unmatched. Whether you’re taking photographs at night, in the blazing sunlight, or on the side of a mountain in a snowstorm, all your pictures are going to be gorgeous.
- Very Impressive 24MP Sensor
- Huge ISO Range for Outdoor Photography
- 3” LCD Full-Tilting Screen
- Outstanding 11FPS Continuous Shooting
- Intuitive Controls
- No 4K Video
- Battery Drains Quickly
3. GoPro HERO9 Action Camera
The GoPro Hero9 is by far the best action camera on the market. This is one of the most affordable cameras for travelers, vloggers, adventure enthusiasts, hikers, and anyone else who loves the great outdoors. If you’re one of those people who gets the newest GoPro every year, you’ll be happy to know that there are huge improvements with the Hero9 over the previous Hero8. Yes, it comes at a steeper price point, but you also get better battery life, a new front screen, horizontal leveling and image stabilization, and an impressive boost to 5K UHD video! No other camera for under $500 is going to offer 5K video. It’s simply unheard of!
Plus, the software has been dramatically improved. This is the best camera for vlogging, hands down! And if you think that the GoPro series is just a gimmick for people who want to film themselves driving their bicycle, think again! The new and improved 20MP sensor makes for amazing photographs of sporting events, wildlife, and everyday situations. The camera’s rugged, it takes phenomenal pictures, and the easy recharging means that you’ll never find yourself with a dead battery. This is a huge leap forward in action cameras and a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time outside.
- Extreme 5K UHD Video
- Best for Live Streaming & Webcam
- Waterproof & Rugged
- Superb Creative Video Features
- 20MP w/ Front Display & Touchscreen
- Accessories Sold Separately
- Increased Price from Hero8
4. Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera
The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a monstrous DSLR camera that will propel you into the future of photography. For under $500, you get a plethora of amazing features, from a massive 24.1MP sensor to an optical viewfinder with an outstanding 95% viewing coverage. This is one of the best DSLR cameras if you want amazing quality without the complexity of too many settings. You can easily connect to your smartphone via wireless technology, the camera provides lightning-fast autofocusing, and the operation has been simplified to make amateur photographers feel comfortable.
But where the Rebel T7 really shines is with its image quality. With the impressive performance of the DIGIC 4+ image processor, you get reduced image noise, fantastic operation in low-light situations, and breathtaking videos in a wide range of recording sizes. The camera also offers a wide ISO range for those who are into astrophotography!
- Powerful 24.1MP Sensor
- Impressive DIGIC 4+ Image Processor
- Integrated Wi-Fi for Connectivity
- Wide ISO Range for Astrophotography
- Easy Operation for Amateurs
- Not Great for Selfies
- No 4K Video
5. Nikon D3500 DSLR Camera
Last on the list for today is the most expensive camera we’ve talked about, but it’s worth every penny. It has an image sensor 15x larger than what you find in a typical smartphone. This means that your images are going to be crisp, full of detail, and extremely colorful. It’s also a great camera for uploading photos automatically to your smartphone. If you’re an amateur photographer looking to learn more, this is a fantastic entry-level DSLR with enough useful features to get you used to professional photography.
Perhaps the best thing about the D3500 is that it takes beautiful photographs. Or maybe the best thing is that it’s as easy to use as any point-and-shoot digital camera. The D3500 is lightweight, durable, and great for people who do a lot of traveling. In fact, it’s very well-balanced, from intuitive controls to a comfortable and ergonomic grip.
- Ideal Point & Shoot for Beginners
- 15x Larger Image Sensor
- Comfortable for Traveling
- Unique Nikon Color Profiles
- Striking Photographs
- Slightly Expensive
- No Microphone Port
If you’ve read through our list of the best cameras under $500 and are still unsure which one to buy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Considering you have such a large budget for a camera, you have more choices than usual. For example, $500 can easily get you an advanced compact camera, an artistic mirrorless camera, or an amateur DSLR. It’s all going to depend on what you want to use the camera for.
Take the compact camera for instance. $500 gets you a quality camera that you can fit in your pocket. If you’re looking for a small and portable camera to take with you on vacation or to take selfies around the house, a standard digital camera is going to be perfect.
If you’re looking for something a little more serious, you might want to think about a mirrorless model. For $500, you can get a mirrorless camera with 4K video, amazing artistic features like image editing and different video modes, and you can pick just about any recent model. These are the best cameras for portrait photography, for real estate agents looking to sell houses, and for those who want a little more power than what you find in a digital camera.
Finally, anyone looking to begin their journey to professional photography should invest in a DSLR camera. These cameras can cost thousands of dollars, so for under $500, you will find yourself with an entry-level unit, which is actually perfect. You can learn how to use different lenses and the different features that are critical to know for any professional photographer – and you don’t have to spend a fortune!
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