Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
Today we’re looking for the best point and shoot camera under $500. While to some people this may seem like a huge price tag, the truth is that $500 is actually pretty affordable in the world of photography. In fact, if you were to exceed $500 with a point and shoot camera, you’re getting into the serious equipment used by professionals.
Why purchase a point and shoot camera? Because they’re easy! An awesome digital camera without any confusing features is ideal for amateur photographers or hobbyists. These cameras allow you to point at your target and snap a photo without thinking. You don’t need to worry about lenses or sensors or tripods. Just pick up the camera and take some awesome photographs!
Point and shoot cameras are the best to bring with you while traveling, especially because they are really small. Some point and shoot cameras can be used underwater, some of them have great weatherproofing, and most of them are pretty durable. There are a lot of quality action cameras that are suitable for beginners or pros, designed specifically for use in the real world when carrying around a heavy DSLR is unreasonable.
The cameras we’ll look at today are the best of the best. These are point and shoot cameras that you can pretty much fit in your pocket. Each model is built with performance and comfort in mind, and each model comes with the most advanced features you can hope for from a modern camera.
1. Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 4K Digital Camera
The Lumix ZS100 4K Digital Camera is one of the best affordable options from Panasonic. As a point and shoot, it utilizes a large MOS sensor to deliver 20.1 megapixels. That means all your images are going to be ridiculously clear, vividly colorful, and exceptionally bright. The camera also uses an optical image stabilizer to keep all your videos and photos clear, while the electronic viewfinder and the LCD work in high resolution to give you an intuitive view of the world around you. The LCD is touchscreen, and this can help while capturing 4K videos and taking photos of fast-moving targets. The autofocusing is incredibly quick, and it works well with the increased image stability. Plus, there is an advanced image processing system that improves the ZS100 more than the previous models from Panasonic.
But what makes this camera so ideal for an affordable point and shoot is that it’s small and compact. You probably can’t fit it in your back pocket, but you can easily tuck it into a jacket pocket and pull it out at a moment’s notice.
- Fantastic Sensor
- Touchscreen Controls
- Superior Build Quality
- Great Autofocus System
- 4K Video Capability
- Viewfinder is Small
- Handgrip Not Great
2. Canon PowerShot G9 Mark II Digital Camera
The Canon PowerShot G9 Mark II is one of the slimmest cameras available right now. This fantastic piece of equipment is ridiculously stylish. If you want a camera that looks good and fits in your pocket, this is the way to go. It comes in black or silver, and you can purchase it with a 64-gigabyte memory card. It uses a powerful CMOS sensor to deliver 20.1 megapixels, it has a robust image sensor, and it has a small touchscreen panel.
The most ideal feature of this camera is definitely its portability. If you’re an active person who wants to take photos all the time without carrying a heavy camera, definitely check out the PowerShot Mark II. You can do time-lapse movies, you can choose different picture styles with one of the eight presets, and you can take excellent portraits. The continuous shooting is ideal, the ISO range works well enough to take spectacular photos at night, and you honestly can’t beat the extremely affordable price. It’s also enabled with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to make image sharing an absolute breeze.
- Small & Compact
- Simplistic User Controls
- Great Connectivity Features
- Superb Color & Detail
- Textured Grip
- No 4K
- Limited Zoom
3. Sony RX100 20.2MP Digital Camera
One of the most affordable Sony cameras ever, the RX100 is a highly advanced point and shoot camera that takes amazing images while being small and lightweight. As you would expect from Sony, the camera is packed full of technology. It has an incredibly bright lens that gives you some of the best bokeh effects out of any digital camera. It also uses a CMOS sensor with 20.2 megapixels so that you can capture more light and get better photos with more enhanced details.
The camera works great in low-light situations, you can capture your images as JPEG files or as RAW files, and you have full creative control. You can shoot HD video and can take breathtaking photos. But best of all is that the RX100 is guaranteed to satisfy any amateur photographer while still being a fun travel camera for professionals.
- Unique Picture Effects
- Stylish & Compact
- Can Shoot in Raw format
- Ideal ISO Settings
- Solid Camera + Great Feel
- No Touchscreen
- Long-Distance Focusing Not Good
4. Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
The Olympus Tough TG-6 is the ultimate travel and adventure camera. Yes, it’s over halfway to $500, but it is remarkable in terms of quality and versatility. This is not your average digital camera. This thing is waterproof up to 50 feet, it’s dustproof, shockproof, crushproof, and freezeproof. Honestly, this camera could probably be run over by a stampede of elephants and still take amazing photographs. It can take stunning 4K videos, it comes in either red or black to suit your style, and it has a maximum 8x zoom. There are also several different shooting modes, including five underwater settings that include an underwater microscope and three white balance modes to use while under the waves.
Anyone who goes to hardcore places and needs a great point and shoot camera that is durable, basically indestructible, and takes beautiful pictures – you deserve the TG-6. Olympus really outdid themselves when they designed this camera, and you won’t be disappointed. It does have a pretty low megapixel count at only 12MP, but the camera makes up for it in versatility and ruggedness. This is the ultimate affordable camera for adventure lovers, hikers, travelers, and people who like hanging out on the beach and taking photographs. The camera even has a special beach mode just for you!
- Waterproof @ 50 Feet
- High Resolution
- Underwater Shooting Modes w/ Underwater Microscope
- 4K Movie Ability
- Rugged & Durable
- Slightly Expensive
- Small Image Sensor
5. Panasonic LUMIX LX10 4K Digital Camera
Our last camera on the list is another fantastic model from Panasonic. The Lumix LX10 4K Digital Camera boasts 20.1 megapixels, it has a massive image sensor with 3x zoom, and it uses an optical image stabilizer so that you have brighter photos with more color and fewer image artifacts. This camera comes in at just under $500 and is by far the most technologically advanced camera on the list. It uses a tilting selfie display for those who want to take photos of themselves with their friends, and it’s all thanks to the touch-enabled LCD screen. It tilts upward 180 degrees!
Some other great features with this camera include 4K video capture, internal focus stacking so that you can record photos at 30 frames per second. You also get a lens-mounted control ring for exposure similar to that of a DSLR camera. This unit is small enough that you can slide it into your back pocket, making it ideal for exploring cities, and you can easily charge it with a USB while the Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to tinker with your photos on your mobile device. The LX10 may be more expensive than the others, but it has some of the most amazing features!
- Tilting Selfie Display
- 4K Video
- Great Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Best Everyday Camera
- Fits in Back Pocket
- Some Aberration Found
- Case Advised for Better Grip
There has been a lot of debate recently on whether it’s worth it to buy a point and shoot camera. With all the latest advancements in smartphone technology, it’s true that phones are beginning to catch up in terms of megapixels. Some people are starting to say that point and shoot cameras are obsolete and not worth the money.
But let’s stop to think about it for a moment. Dedicated cameras, especially point and shoot cameras like the ones we discussed today, boost your skills as a photographer and encourage you to actually use the camera to take photos. Plus, you don’t look like a dork holding your cell phone above your head with everyone else in the crowd.
The quality is also better. No matter how advanced smartphones become, camera companies will keep advancing their cameras. With any point and shoot piece of equipment, you get a sleek design and a large image sensor. They will never be able to fit a huge image sensor into a smartphone. It just can’t happen! Smartphones are too small. Where picture quality is concerned, the tiny sensor inside your smartphone can never compare to the professional sensor inside a point and shoot camera. There’s a reason that cameras have remained the same size pretty much forever.
In conclusion, point and shoot cameras are still far superior to smartphones and they always will be. Also, smartphones are not famous for being super durable. Cameras are! You can use these types of cameras in far more situations with far better results – and you can leave your smartphone at home!
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