It’s No doubt, the point and shoot cameras are the devices that mostly cater to the “Beginner Lot” of users who make their way to the photography world. However, point and shoot sometimes fall short of features and image quality. From very entry-level devices to higher-end P&S cameras, choose a gadget that should enterprise a perfect blend of performance and money value.
For this purpose, I have aligned 5 best point and shoot camera under 500 dollars. Technically, the $500 mark is an absolute price limit for the beginners to intermediate camera fanatics to get a stabilized camera for their purpose.
Some of these best $500 cameras have an all-round scope of performance while some cater to some limited variety of performance to fulfill a particular objective. So let’s quickly jump at a list of products;
- 1 Best Point and Shoot Camera under $500
- 1.1 1. Panasonic Lumix FZ300: Best Point and Shoot Camera under 500
- 1.2 2. Panasonic ZS100/TZ100: Best Point and shoot under 500
- 1.3 3. Nikon COOLPIX W-300: Best Point and Shoot Waterproof Camera
- 1.4 4. Sony DSC-HX99: Best Compact Camera under 500
- 1.5 5. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II: Best Small Point and Shoot Camera
- 2 The Bottom Line – My Best Camera Recommendations:
- 3 What to check while buying the best point and shoot camera under $500
- 4 FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 TOP RATED Best Selling Point and Shoot Camera under $500 in 2020
Best Point and Shoot Camera under $500
1. Panasonic Lumix FZ300: Best Point and Shoot Camera under 500
Panasonic made the FZ series a long zoom camera category, featuring many photographs plus the videography buds. But for this camera, this came right after Lumix FZ200 and introduced much-improved ergonomics, a much curvier and groovier DSLR-like yet bit heavier body that is now splash-proof and even dustproof.
Not only this, but there is also a 2x EVF magnification than the previous model, utterly overhauled LCD tilt mechanism, and 4K mode.
For 4K abilities, you get the standard 30FPS along with 60FPS FHD too. There is also a 4K photo mode that helps you extract the better frames from your video shots. The FZ300 carries the same DFD autofocus technology, but few tweaks have also made their way in this model.
The camera is speediest enough to lock targets; however, some areas still need improvements. The continuous AF mode is a bit inconsistent and lags slightly sometimes. But as an updated camera, the FZ300 autofocus system furnishes a 240FPS refresh rate that is an almost double figure of what you saw previously.
Additionally, the image quality has gone through a whole new approach with 5-axis optical image stabilization. But then, there is a downside, this 0.I.S doesn’t work in 4K mode or at a higher frame rate. Though with such lack, this digital camera under 500 bucks produces many accurate and bold colors.
Well, the FZ300 awesomely produces a max 12FPS burst rate that cuts down to around 6 frames per second with continuous autofocus.
Things haven’t changed very much on the lens and resolution side, with the same 12MP resolution featuring 24x of a superzoom. Yet, this good camera under 500 dollars gives you much clarity in traveling and vlogging type of usage.
This updated gadget now comes with splash and dust resistant abilities. Besides, you get a bigger grip just because this camera has gained some weight, in fact, and exactly 3.6 ounces, so you can handle it more firmly.
On the viewfinder part, significant changes will catch your attention if you really know about the previous variant. In comparison to 0.46x magnification, Panasonic has made the most sensible move by powering it up with 0.70x magnification, 1.44M dots resolution, and 100% coverage. Also, you get a whole new touch-screen panel to LCD, which is a bonus here. Along with this, Panasonic has replaced the less-popular 2.5MM external microphone jack with a universal 3.5MM port.
Why should one buy this?
Undoubtedly, this SLR-bridge camera looks much professional and produces crispier execution. With longer zoom, the addition of 4K, comprehensive improvements in EVF, Rear Display, and AF, this is ideally the best point and shoot camera with the raw format.
2. Panasonic ZS100/TZ100: Best Point and shoot under 500
The ZS100 Lumix model is the very first entry by Panasonic in the 1-inch type sensor point and shoot category. With this ability, ZS100 gets much harder competition on its shoulder. The very famous Sony Compact RX100 I-IV RX10 I/II, Canon G7 XI/II, and Panasonic FZ1000 take a dig on this best $500 camera.
As this camera is an updated version of ZS70, 80, this comes with a versatile big Sensor resolution of 20MP, decent ISO performance, new design, much faster AF system, and 4K abilities.
At the design part, the body is compact but a bit heavier than a very similar big brother FZ1000. The body finish is not textured rather glossy, which is a good and bad point for every different situation. But then, the body material is all metal, and there are also much stiffer and robust dialers that have easy reachability to your thumbs.
And most importantly, this camera has gained some MM of extra mass compared to ZS60, which has a much bigger zoom lens. So, in your travel diaries, you can also mention this pocket-friendly compact and budget camera.
Besides, the 49-point Auto-Focus is also fueled up with the Touch-AF feature that is a much handy tool while you use EVF. This feature is much smoother and responsive to touch and navigate the AF where you steer it with your thumb.
Moreover, there is a continuous shooting mode able to shoot 10FPS with already focused frames and make a cut of about 50% (5FPS) on full-res or continuous AF.
On the video part, the addition of 4K was very much due in this camera. So, Panasonic decided to give it a 30FPS 4K mode and 120FPS FHD mode. The 4K video mode also has a Live Cropping Feature to adjust the zoom and crop area to bring in the most important subjects into your frame.
Extending the 4K abilities, you also enjoy 4K photo mode with a post-focus feature. The same functionality you experienced in FZ1000 II, which I reviewed in the best point and shoot cameras. Along with this, Panasonic gives 5-axis Hybrid O.I.S to remove blurry effects from your production work.
Panasonic has also made one more significant addition in the shape of ISO performance. Even in 4K mode, the impressive low-light performance brings this compact body gadget in the line of GOOD Low-light performers. The primary reason behind this is a larger 1”-type sensor and the native ISO range that varies from 100-12,800 and extends to 80-25600.
Though you can get premium results at 3200 ISO, nevertheless, it can vary from scenarios to scenarios.
The only downside of this camera is the fixed touch-screen 3” LCD and smaller 0.20 inch EVF. Apart from this, the battery performance also seems quite standard, giving 300 shots approximately through LCD and drops down to 240 shots through EVF.
Why should one buy this?
An ideal blend of zoom, size, autofocus, low light performance, and a price tag under 500 dollars, this is a much pocket-friendly travel camera for beginners and intermediate guys. Also, the post focus and live tracking are those handy features that can reduce your sweat-shed during post grading work.
3. Nikon COOLPIX W-300: Best Point and Shoot Waterproof Camera
After the AW130, Nikon fans were waiting for a dedicated underwater camera that can be a good companion in their adventure and sports catalogs. Then we saw a COOLPIX variant in a shape of W-300 that came in line with Olympus TG-5 camera and Canon D30.
This budget underwater camera comes with a real waterproof body (30m, 100ft) that is also dustproof and equally robust against shock from 2.4M height. This camera can easily sustain in freezing weather like -10 degrees of temperature. The good news is, its shockproof abilities have seen an increase of 1Ft.
On the specification checklist, the camera features a 16MP CMOS 1/2.3 inch sensor that can do 5x optical zoom. And do note, the native ISO ranges from 125-1600 and expands to 3200 and 6400, but then, the image distorts with a much greenish effect.
Nikon W-300 is rich in shooting modes that include iconic Easy Panorama Mode, smart portrait, scene auto selector, and around 18+ more options. You can adopt these modes according to your scenery type.
Other than that, there is an action button to smoothly choose between video, photo, or gallery preview mode. And to the remaining option, you get a tool button that brings compass, altitude, and water depth information.
Additionally, image and video performance are much decent and smooth to use. The auto mode of still photography is the finest in many situations. And for video mode, there is no dedicated video mode button, you just go with a RED video button, and it starts shooting the videos.
Related Article: Best Point and Shoot Camera under $400 – Complete Buying Guide
And coming to video, Nikon has brought video upgrades with 4K mode standard 30FPS ability and 60 FPS at FHD. As this camera holds a NIKKOR lens, so you also experience NIKKOR VR stabilizing your live video shots. This seems a minor addition yet; it really puts great stabilizing effects to your video clips.
Furthermore, Nikon has used a 49-point contrast-detection AF system having the ability to shoot full-resolution continuous frames at the rate of 7FPS that was previously 5FPS in AW-130.
Unfortunately, Nikon has placed an EN-EL12 lithium-ion battery pack that only produces 280 shots that are way less than 370 of AW130. Moreover, there is no EVF, and you have to rely on a 921K dot 3” non-touch LCD.
Why should one buy this?
This is a much affordable package with decent autofocus, image, and video performance. The easy usability and non-complex controls with useful dedicated buttons allow you to not to miss the shots and capture the scenery much instantly.
4. Sony DSC-HX99: Best Compact Camera under 500
If you know SONY, you might know this manufacturer MOSTLY has not such bulky and gigantic gadgets in its lineup. Factually, the device sense of SONY is to make compact devices with better and bigger zoom fitted in these.
To this point, two devices HX95 and HX99 came into existence claiming the most compact point and shoot cameras with high zoom capabilities. And Yes! When we arrive at a 500 bucks budget, the HX99, specifically, is one of the best compact cameras under 500 with high zoom power.
This gadget is up against Canon SX740, Nikon A9000, and Panasonic ZS90, and excitingly, this little fella is the most light-weighted and compact toy among all these.
With the addition of 4K mode, new touch panel, some slight changes in optical zoom and battery, higher buffer count, these are notable changes it gets from its successor model. Other than these, there are FEW or tiny aesthetics changes you can experience in this machine.
However, momentarily, what you can enjoy the most is the much-praised count of buffers. As the SONY is the big player of the AF system, you get the conventional fastest contrast-detect AF system supported by the new BIONZ X chipset. For this reason, Eye-tracking and face detection feature make up to its Ingredient list.
With this AF, you can lock 10FPS with already targeted subjects, and this count typically faces a 50% cut on full-resolution continuous AF mode. But then, as I mentioned, there is a bonus for you in buffer count, this camera can click 155 Fine JPEGs in a focus-locked burst.
On the performance side, the 4K is the standard 30FPS mode, but for smoother slow-motion HD videos, SONY has raised FHD FPS numbers to 120.
The color accuracy, sharpness, and overall picture quality have never been a problem for SONY. The bright results, perfect pixel saturation, and bold image colors are its foremost characteristics, yet you zoom 100%, and there might be some noise to judge.
Moreover, the low-light performance is quite decent, with native 80-3200 ISO that is expandable to 12,800 at the cost of quality loss.
HX99 has brought the same 180-degree 3” LCD yet with the update of a touch panel. The flip-up screen has the touch abilities to help you navigate through menus. Also, this camera has a small popup EVF that is not much impressive considering 0.50x magnification and 638k dots resolution.
Why should one buy this?
That’s clear from its overall look that HX99 is the most pocket-friendly camera with a longer zoom. Nevertheless, the super-responsive AF system with an eye-tracking feature, Flip-up touch screen, and longer zoom are some perks you can enjoy in your vlogging, travel, and casual family gathering purposes.
5. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II: Best Small Point and Shoot Camera
SO here is another compact camera that is another good choice to pick when you finally want to step up from your smartphone. G9 X II came right after its parent model due to some performance issues and image quality problems.
Canon rightly sensed it out. This camera debuted with significant changes in its image stabilization and overall quality, processing power, higher burst and buffer rate, improved usability, and other performance-related matters.
Following these changes, battery backup also became able to grab Canon’s attention, and this gadget came with minor tweaks in battery juice.
In the Autofocus part, the manufacturer ALMOST created trouble for newbies by naming autofocus modes differently. Like, the AF-S has been named as One-shot while AF-C has been renamed with SERVO.
However, on the AF performance part, the improvements are real and significant. The 31-point AF system gives you face-detect and tracking in the case of moving subjects. Though the camera isn’t a Sports Action camera, it still keeps the faces locked when the subject moves, comes closer to, or goes far from the frame.
As this camera is a 1-inch point and shoots compact camera, the image results are much better due to better management of 3 stops ND-Filter. The image results have better bold colors with magnificent pixel saturation and way less noise than its bigger brother.
A new DIGIC 7 processor plays an essential role in this camera to achieve this.
On the video performance part, you only see 1080P at 60FPS. Well, the performance seems pretty nice and smooth, considering the compact camera niche. The default movie mode is 30FPS, and you have to go with 60 FPS to enjoy the highest quality from this good small camera.
Anyways, G9 X II also enjoys an upgrade in the battery section. The slightly improved battery isn’t that impressive, but take this upgrade as a blessing, and you can take up to 235 shots in one charge. However, there is an extendable count of 80 shots if you select ECO mode for longer up-time.
Moreover, things are verily simple and straightforward in the display section. The 3” touch LCD is fixed and hasn’t been partnered up with EVF.
Why should one buy this?
Yes! There are some features lacking here, but a 1-inch sensor, speediest AF, and most important good image quality would make this camera the right decision to upgrade from your smartphone. Additionally, the competitive price is why you can shortlist this gadget while searching for the best point and shoot camera under 500.
The Bottom Line – My Best Camera Recommendations:
Finding an all-rounder good compact camera isn’t an easy task as it looks to be. Well, with this list of products, every camera has its own unique performance characteristics. However, which camera has fascinated me the most? I am making two camera recommendations that I assume these best point and shoot cameras under 500 will give you an all-around performance in most situations.
I am picking Panasonic Lumix FZ300 as a clear winner due to its much professional approach and charismatic styling. The splash and dustproof ability, much faster AF, fully articulated screen, and highest burst count make this camera to become useful in almost every type of photo and videography.
On the runner-up, you can find another Lumix boy, Panasonic ZS100/TZ100. The camera competes well with its 1”-type sensor, impressive low-light performance, versatile 4K abilities, and very well built quality. The only thing that put him behind the FZ300 is the non-articulated or tilt screen that would cause difficulties to shoot vlogs or selfies.
Other than these, every camera is good at a particular department. You can check those too, and tune your consideration accordingly.
What to check while buying the best point and shoot camera under $500
Well, I know, due to the 500 limit budget, your concerns for fewer features are apparent. But then, what standards do you have to follow in search of your best digital cameras under 500? I am placing out a buying guide that will lead you much closer to your winning product. Let Jumps to these;
Keep a check on Sensor:
Budget or entry-level cameras mean smaller light. But then, there are two types of entries you’ll find in this budget limit. The 1” type sensor is preferable as it is a relatively big thing than a standard 1/2.3 type. The 1/2.3 cameras are standard here and can produce smartphone alike results.
Megapixels are not the Whole World thing:
For the beginners who judge camera capability in terms of MPs, it’s a wrong equation to map. MPs don’t solely describe camera performance yet a bigger lens, advanced processor, and such other factors do. But if you still admire the Mega-Pixel thing more, 12MP is a minimum call here.
Video Mode Needs your attention:
As you are dealing with starter devices, it’s good to have FHD video capabilities. Above this move, we see 4K video mode, which would be a lovely addition if you get in your get-to-go camera. Besides, if you love decorating videos with slow-motion effects, steer your search to FHD 120FPS.
Battery Timing will save your day:
Smaller cameras, obviously shorter battery juice. You can keep extra batteries in your bag, but it’s another separate topic to discuss. However, Pick a camera that can go with you at least 250 shots with the display. Below this line might be a jumble for you.
These were some of the important aspects you should watch out while wandering in a 500 compact camera category. Apart from these, AF, ISO, and display are some sections that need your attention.
FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions
Is a point and shoot better than the iPhone?
It depends on which camera you are bringing in to compete with the iPhone. On the whole, a smartphone has many limitations in comparison to a good point and shoot camera. You may get better results in some situations, but a good point and shoot give you much versatile control over your photography skills.
Is it worth getting the point and shoot camera?
Yes, in many scenarios. I always say a good camera is built for a specific and dedicated purpose, so it gives you THAT controls and flexibilities even a high-end smartphone doesn’t offer.
Why does my phone take better pictures than my camera?
It is not necessarily about a camera race. Your technique, settings, and mode of use also matter sometimes to produce the edging results.
Do people still buy a point and shoot cameras?
Yes, people still prefer the best point and shoot cameras to buy. A random example is that Sony has produced around 7 variants of the RX100 model in the course of 6-7 years. There is a demand for P&S cameras persists in the market that’s why SONY and other camera giants introduce model variants and upgrades from time to time to better facilitate customers.
What is the best image quality to shoot in?
I can ultimately vouch for RAW, yet many budget cameras don’t offer this, so you only have to rely on JPEGs.
TOP RATED Best Selling Point and Shoot Camera under $500 in 2020