Best Cheap Cameras for 2018: The 9 Best Digital Cameras Under $500

What is the best camera under $500? Here's a list of the best cheap digital cameras for 2018.


Looking for the best compact camera under $500? 

To answer your questions, refer to this top 9 list of the best cheap cameras for 2018, where we break down the best digital cameras under $500 (and under $200).


I’ve created this guide in order to help first-timers and anyone working with a budget to find an inexpensive camera under $500 that will allow them to capture their life moments without breaking the bank.

In addition to that, I attached video reviews of each of the camera mentioned here to further enhance your knowledge of each product.

Whatever your budget is, this guide should help you choose the best personal camera for your needs at an affordable price.

Here’s an overview of what to expect in this post (click on the link to jump to the section you want to read).

Best Digital Cameras Under $500 for 2018


 

I decided to offer you a few interesting cameras and divided them into two categories by price point.

The first segment examines the most affordable price range: the best digital cameras under $200.

And before we start to review specific cameras, let’s look at their capabilities in general.


The Compact Cameras Under $200:
Set Realistic Expectations


Let me be honest with you here – do not expect too much from cameras of this price range.

Cameras under $200 are often point-and-shoot cameras, that is, they have a minimum of manual settings and “creative” modes.

Typically, they do not have very fast lenses or long zooms.

The sensor is small, and, as a rule is a CCD one (but we were able to pick up models with CMOS sensors!).

Full HD shooting with these cameras is even more a rarity. And here, too, we found cameras that can provide good video quality.

However, the quality of the picture and the camera’s capabilities of even the cheapest camera from this price range surpass the majority of smartphones of this same price range.

And thanks to the availability of Wi-Fi and NFC in some camera models, transferring pictures to a smartphone, and wireless printing, have become very simple and quick.

Let’s start with the first camera in the $200 price range – Nikon COOLPIX W100.


Nikon COOLPIX W100

Nikon Coolpix W100 is one of the best cheap cameras for 2018 that costs under $200


Key Features:

  • Type: Compact digital camera
  • Weight: 177 g
  • Sensor: 1/3.1-in. type CMOS
  • Lens: NIKKOR lens with 3x optical zoom
  • Autofocus: Contrast-detect AF
  • ISO sensitivity: ISO 125 to 1600
  • Durability: Waterproof, Shockproof

Nikon Coolpix W100 is one of the best Nikon compact cameras.

It can be recommended as a family camera and children will especially like it.

The design of the control system resembles a pocket game console. The buttons on the Nikon Coolpix W100 are large and comfortable.

This camera has children’s and adult menu.

The children’s menu allows your kids to take pictures in a game form, with animated characters on the screen, and they can put colorful stamps on already-taken shots.

There are different colors available of the body of this camera. The most original is with a bright drawing of marine subjects on a white background.

Best cheap cameras for 2018: Here are the best compact cameras under $500 that you can buy

For little photographers additional accessories are available – designer backpacks and a floating camera strap.

In addition to an interesting bright design, the body of this camera is shockproof and waterproof.

Nikon Coolpix W100 can withstand a drop from a height of up to 1.8 meters and dive to a depth of 10 meters. It’s also capable to handle a cold weather of up to -10 °C, while retaining all its technical capabilities.

An important thing to mention here.

When you turn on the camera, on the screen you will see “waterproofing precautions” greeting. Basically, it will guide you through that water doesn’t get into the camera when you’re using it underwater or in bad weather conditions.

One of the best cheap digital cameras for 2018: best compact cameras under $200 that you can use for family vacations as well

The battery compartment requires a two-step unlocking process so that you don’t accidentally open it underwater, or when anything else that may get inside your battery compartment.

The image quality of the Nikon Coolpix W100 is quite decent for its price category.

It is equipped with a 3x NIKKOR zoom lens with the option of electronic magnification up to 6x, and a CMOS sensor with a resolution of 13.2 million pixels.

In other words, this is quite enough to adequately capture the vacation or any other important event in your life.

Shooting in Full HD format with stereo sound is a definite plus of this camera!



This camera has an HDMI output, which means you can view your captures images and videos on the big screen.

However, Nikon’s SnapBridge App provides a better opportunity. With this application, available for Android and iOS devices, your camera automatically syncs with various mobile devices.

Wi-Fi connection allows you to view pictures and manage the camera in real time.

And thanks to Bluetooth, pictures can automatically get transferred to your smartphone as they are taken, consuming a small amount of battery power.

The process of setting your smartphone with your camera is simple and is only done once as the camera automatically detects a previously connected device on all subsequent occasions.

Very convenient!

Final Thoughts: Nikon Coolpix W100 As A Cheap Camera Under $200 Ideal for Family Vacations


The cost of Nikon Coolpix W100 is less than $200 and it is worth reminding you again that the camera for this money cannot shoot the same footage as the camera for $3,000.

This product was not created for ideal shots or high-quality video, instead the gadget implies that you will shoot the video in those conditions where other cameras give up.

We swim underwater, we parachute, we ski, and “vacation” in the mountains and all this remains in digital form thanks to Nikon Coolpix W100.

For those who love adrenaline and extreme travel, this camera is gorgeous.

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SONY CYBER-SHOT DSC-W830


Key Features:

  • Type: Compact zoom digital camera
  • Weight: 122g
  • Sensor: 1/2.3″ Super HAD CCD Sensor
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar
  • Autofocus: Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 80 to 3200

The main advantage of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 is its compactness.

It is slightly more than a credit card with a thickness of 22.5 mm and a weight of 120 g together with a battery.

A metallic, rigid body with graceful bends makes the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 an attractive detail of your image.

8x optical zoom lens ZEISS and 20.1-megapixel sensor, manufactured using CCD technology, are responsible for the image quality.

The zoom level with a focal length of 25-200 mm allows you to deal with any shooting task. You can shoot both landscapes on narrow streets, and other things on a larger scale.

Best compact cameras under $500, this Sony is just awesome! Also a great camera for vloggers.

In addition, the advantage of this model is the built-in optical image stabilizer Optical SteadyShot.

It allows you to take sharp pictures in low light conditions, which is especially important for the models of this price range.

With Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 you can shoot in auto mode. You press the button – and the camera does everything for you.

However, there is no need to give absolutely everything to the camera. You can edit the pictures directly on the camera screen using the Beauty Effects function.



In addition, this camera has the function of automatic face and smile recognition, Face Detection and Smile Shutter respectively, so it’s easy to get beautiful portraits.

For panoramic shooting, a special button is provided on the rear panel of the camera, and for shooting video in HD resolution.

Final Thoughts: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 – A Wonderful Camera for a $200 Price Tag


Generally talking, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W830 is very suitable for everyday use as it easy and light, and for fast “cowboy” shooting: took out and took a shot!

📸 Sony DSC-W830 camera for a fast 'cowboy' shooting: take it out and take a shot!Click To Tweet

At the same time, the quality of images will far exceed the quality of photos from a “typical” mobile phone in the same price range.

Recommended as a gift to children or to non-picky amateur photographers as the camera:

  • is very convenient,
  • has a pretty good quality
  • and suits for basic photography needs.

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CANON POWERSHOT SX610 HS

Canon X610 HS is also in the list of the top rated cheap cameras under $500

Key Features:

  • Type: Compact camera
  • Weight: 191 g
  • Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS
  • Lens: Canon Zoom 18x
  • Autofocus: Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 80-3200

You have an excellent opportunity to diversify your Instagram, blog or any other social network page with beautiful pictures made by Canon PowerShot SX610 HS.

It has a 18x optical zoom lens with equivalent focal lengths of 25-450 mm. The wide-angle position of the lens allows you to shoot breathtaking landscapes and group portraits alike.

The ZoomPlus function enhances the zoom capability by twice as much, without serious loss in image quality.

Also, Canon PowerShot SX610 HS has an optical image stabilizer, which promises less blurry images made in low-light conditions.

This is important for a lens with a large zoom level.

And thanks to a modern CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 million pixels, high-quality images can be captured in the evening time and indoors.

best-cheap-cameras-2018-cameras-under-500Canon PowerShot SX610 HS is compact enough and weighs approximately 191 grams. At the same time, this Canon camera is able to record video in full high-quality (1920 x 1080 with a frequency up to 30 frames/s).

This camera both fully auto and program mode of operation. In addition to automatic and program modes, the camera menu has a hybrid auto mode and a creative auto mode.

In the hybrid mode, photography produces small video clips, which are then automatically pasted into one large video clip.

And at the end of the day, in addition to photos, you can see an interesting video digest of your adventures.

 



In the creative auto mode, after pressing the shutter, the camera automatically selects and applies special creative filters to the finished image.

Both of these modes will appeal to creative photographers, who like creating extraordinary photos and videos.

The shots that you took can later be viewed on a smartphone or a tablet, which then can be downloaded online or stored in the internal memory of the device using Wi-Fi and NFC.

And if you install the Canon Camera Connect application on your gadget, you can also remotely control the camera.

Final Thoughts: Canon SX610 HS is A Kind of Swiss Knife in the World of Cheap Cameras


Canon PowerShot SX610 HS has a lot of great features to share despite it being around $200.

I will say more – this Canon camera is a kind of Swiss knife in the world of cameras for a price not more expensive than a cheap smartphone.

Canon SX610 HS is a kind of Swiss knife in the world of cameras for the price of a cheap smartphone.Click To Tweet

This camera is definitely worth considering as your next compact camera for 2018.

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The Best Compact Cameras Under $500 for 2018


Up to this point we were discussing the best cameras that are selling for under or approximately $200 on Amazon.

Now, I will talk about a few great cameras that are more than $200 but less than $500.

In this segment, in addition to compact cameras, we will also see some DSLR and mirrorless digital cameras.

Therefore, you can choose a camera not only for casual photography, but also for creative work in art photography.

Many of the following models are capable of making high-quality video too.

So, here they are – the best cheap digital cameras under $500.

Choose the one that suits you best!


Canon EOS Rebel T5

Best sir compact camera under $500, cheap and great for beginners (2018)


Key Features:

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 480 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • Lens: Canon Zoom Lens EF/EF-S
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-6400

Canon EOS Rebel T5, (which goes by the name of Canon EOS 1200D in other parts of the world), is one of the most affordable SLR cameras.

Not only is it affordable, but personally I think it’s one of the best Canon cameras too.

It certainly is not a new thing on the market, but if you have already outgrown your point-and-shoot camera and want something more than blurry pictures in the “auto” mode, then you definitely should pay attention to it.

Rebel T5 is the continuation of the most budgetary branch of Canon SLR cameras. It must be noted, however, that “budgetary” doesn’t mean bad camera or low-quality images.

In fact, this camera has everything you need to make good-quality images.

It takes photos with a resolution of 18 megapixels.



The most important thing that you need to know about your camera matrix is that you have an excellent sensor, the same as on more expensive models, like 700D, which means that the quality pictures will be as equally great.

Since the sensor is identical to the previous model, there are no kinks with noises at high ISO. It produces a completely clean picture on ISO 6400, just like 700D.

In Canon Rebel T5, 9 points for auto-focus are available, which is more than enough for all occasions.

And for beginners, a few areas of auto-focus – on the contrary, is an advantage. It’s easier to figure out what you’ve focused on and if necessary, you can switch faster.

The Live View works just fine, focuses very accurately, even in poor lighting, albeit slowly enough.

Best DSLR cameras under $500 for 2018 - Rebel T5 is the one you're looking for!

Canon EOS Rebel T5 Is A Great Digital Camera for Beginners – Small, Simple and Under $500!


Canon EOS Rebel T5 is a good SLR camera option for amateur photographers.

It costs less than $500, it is small and simple, which is the most important for beginners.

Pictures taken with this camera will not differ much from pictures taken on more expensive camera models, so if you do not care about a display with lower resolution, then you can safely take this camera for yourself.

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CANON EOS M10

best-cheap-cameras-2018-cameras-under-500

Key Features:

  • Type: Compact mirrorless interchangeable lens camera
  • Weight: 301 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • Lens: Canon EF-M
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)

Canon EOS M10 belongs to the category of mirrorless entry-level cameras.

The manufacturer promises a combination of high-quality images and practical compact design.

The ladies will definitely appreciate its compactness.

Overall, from first sight it becomes obvious that the camera is not designed for professional photography.

Its plastic body and almost no buttons or mode dials on it. It looks like the manufacturer was counting on the fact that the target audience will be shooting mainly in the numerous auto scene modes.

This is good for a beginner, but unattractive for advanced photographers.

best-cheap-cameras-under-500

A touch screen is provided if you want to manually configure the Canon EOS M10.

The display with a diagonal of three inches has more than one million subpixels, so it looks large enough and shows good sharpness, which is convenient for preliminary evaluation of the frame.

In addition, the inclined screen makes it possible to take a selfie.

The burst speed is 4.6 frames per second thanks to which you can record full HD video, with the ability to overlay various creative effects.

This camera has Wi-Fi, which means that storing and moving pictures and videos from the camera to cloud services, including Canon Irista, has become very easy.

The dynamic NFC function, which is missing from the flagship Canon EOS M3, makes it simple.

With just one tap you can connect to your smartphone and instantly move the pictures there. In addition, thanks to the Canon Camera Connect application, you can take advantage of wireless remote shooting with a fully manual control.

Below you will find a quick video review from a Scottish vlogger “CameronWilliamBoyd”.



Note: As William himself noticed, he made a couple of mistakes:

  • the ISO ranges from 100 (NOT from 400) for photo,
  • and you also cannot charge this camera whilst the battery is still in.

You do, however, get a battery charger with the camera.

Overall, Canon EOS M10 is a camera which should provide decent image quality and which is on the same level as the SLR camera.

Final Thoughts: Canon EOS M10 – High Quality Advanced Compact Camera Under $500


It is compact, light, and it has a high resolution touch screen that offers full control over the camera and in some way compensates for the lack of a viewfinder.

I would say it is an excellent camera both for beginners and for enthusiast photographers on a low budget.

It is also suitable for travelers and vloggers who want to have a high-quality advanced compact camera.

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CANON POWERSHOT SX720 HS

best-cheap-cameras-under-500


Key Features:

  • Type: Compact camera
  • Weight: 270 g
  • Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS
  • Lens: Zoom Lens 40x
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-3200

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS sets a new record: for the first time a compact camera with a 40x zoom.

The optics of the new model cover focal lengths from 24 to 960 mm in film equivalent, and, therefore, is able to capture the most distant objects.

Until this time, those who wanted a camera with a zoom more than 30x, had to acquire much larger bridge-cameras.

This camera is quite compact and super convenient – it has 270 g of weight and a size of about a pack of playing cards, therefore will be able to fit in pockets of any pants.

SX720 Canon compact camera is one of the best cameras under $500 to buy in 2018. However, it's not suitable for vloggers

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS camera showed itself well in terms of speed.

Of course, with the maximum zoom autofocus doesn’t always work instantly, but still almost always fast. This being said, the camera can be called suitable for snapshots.

Great work was done on continuous shooting: the truth is still because of the speed of shooting – just over six frames per second, the camera lags behind its competitors.

However, whoever agrees to accept some of the minor disadvantages, will have acquired a rather thoroughly completed compact camera.

Now, so that you can make up your mind, as usual, I am attaching a video review below. This is an excellent 3.5-minute review by Kevin Breeze:

Final Thoughts on Canon SX720 HS – If You’re Not a Vlogger, It’s Might Be Worth Getting


Canon PowerShot SX720 HS can get you perfect shots that you can later impress your friends with.

The quality of the images that this camera can take is amazing.

Even though this camera is not new on the market, the camera is still worth getting.

However, if you are a vlogger then because this camera does not have a flip-up display, I’d suggest you get a newer SX version, or a Canon G7 X.

Besides the flip-up screen there are not too many other compromises with the newer Canon products, yet you can get this camera cheaper.

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NIKON COOLPIX A900

best-cheap-cameras-under-500


Key Features:

  • Type: Compact camera
  • Weight: 289 g
  • Sensor Type: BSI-CMOS
  • Lens: Nikkor 35x wide optical zoom
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, 80-3200
  • LCD: Tilting

Nikon Coolpix A900 is a compact camera with a large zoom and the ability to record video in 4K format.

A900 model looks like a typical point-and-shoot camera and it uses a very modest 1/2.3″ sensor. However, it can be quite large if compared with mass video cameras of a similar price.

With the modest sensor in the compact body, it was possible to accommodate a 35x optical zoom.

Among the features – having control using a smartphone via Bluetooth and recording a 4K-video.

Best cheap digital cameras under $500 to buy in 2018 - Nikon A900 mini review

The Nikon A900 features a three-inch tilting screen with a resolution of 920 thousand pixels, which can be rotated 180 degrees to take a selfie.

Generally talking, this camera is quite standard. Exposure can reach a value of 8 to 1/4000 seconds.

The ISO sensitivity expands to 3200, which is not very impressive compared to full-frame cameras, but it is quite enough in ordinary life photography.

It is equipped with wireless functions, through which you can remotely control the camera using a smartphone or tablet, as well as download pictures and immediately send them to the Internet using the built-in features of the proprietary SnapBridge program.

Below I attached a great video review by YouTube vlogger “FriendFilmsTheWorld” that will most likely make up your mind about this camera:

Final Thoughts: Nikon Coolpix A900 With A 4k-Video For Less Than $500


Thanks to the 35x optical zoom, the compact Nikon Coolpix A900 offers much more features than any smartphone camera – perhaps it is its main advantage.

The Nikon A900 camera is very easy to use, with full manual control for those who need advanced capabilities.

Although there are not so many compact cameras these days (mainly because of smartphones), the A900 is still worth the try.

It’s bad that shooting in RAW format is not available, and the screen is not touch-sensitive, but it’s still an excellent camera for beginner photographers and travelers.

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Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870

best-cameras-under-500


Key Features:

  • Type: Ultracompact camera
  • Weight: 221 g
  • Sensor: BSI-CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 125-6400 (expands to 12800)
  • LCD: Tilting
  • Durability: Dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof, crushproof

The TG-870 continues the tradition of the Olympus Tough cameras being a high-performance durable camera designed for use in extreme conditions. 

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870 can be immersed in water to a depth of up to 15 meters, withstand a squash of up to 100 kg of force and fall from a height of two meters. Also it is freezeproof to -10 ° C.

If you look at different cameras of all brands, you will not that they all represent a kind of compromise between image quality and compactness, most often with limitations here or there.

This being said, it’s worth noting that if you are looking for a compact camera with excellent image quality and extensive photo processing capabilities – then the TG-870 and similar point-and-shoot cameras are not for you.

Nevertheless, this camera is ideal for shooting under such extreme conditions in which other devices simply would never survive.

best-cameras-under-500

This camera uses BSI-CMOS sensor. The lens has a 5x zoom range, with a wide angle of 21-105mm, which is the widest among compact cameras of this class.

The manufacturer explains that this zoom “makes it easy to capture the whole scene, especially with group selfies”. The aperture of the lens is F/3.5-5.7.

Among other technical features, the Olympus Tough TG-870 has a tilting 180 degree upward screen with a resolution of 921,000 points, a programmable front panel button, 13 Art Filters processing filters, high-speed video recording, time-lapse shooting.

You will also enjoy the presence of built-in GPS and Wi-Fi, which makes taking selfies, for example, a lot easier.

Below I am attaching a video-review done by Kevin Breeze:

Olympus TG-870: A Camera that Can Withstand Extreme Shooting Conditions


Generally speaking, the smartphone camera could definitely work for everyday use.

BUT you can’t dive with them 15 meters under the water just for the sake of taking a selfie, and even more you shouldn’t drop your smartphone when climbing a mountain. 

And that’s why there is still a demand for compact cameras that can withstand extreme shooting in difficult conditions, like the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870.

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Nikon D3300

best-cheap-cameras-2018-cameras-under-500


Quick Specs:

  • Type: Compact SLR
  • Weight: 430 g
  • Sensor: CMOS
  • ISO sensitivity: Auto, ISO 100-12800, 25600 (with boost)
  • Also great for beginners

Nikon D3300 is a great camera not only because it’s under the $500 price tag but also for beginner photographers.

Compared to its predecessor, this camera has a much more powerful processor, slightly modified the viewfinder, and an increased rate of continuous shooting.

There is support for recording Full HD video in 50p-60p mode which is a kind of breakthrough for a segment of budget-funded mirror-type cameras.

The flagship of amateur cameras series, Nikon D3300 has an exceptionally good body structure, as well as a lightweight design, the weight of which is 430 grams with batteries included.

Note that this camera has ​Guide Mode​ (see image above), which provides great set of tips in a very practical way.

You learn as you go.



Many amateur photographers notice the almost full adaptation of the camera to the hands of non-professionals, especially in terms of getting beautiful photographs “out of nothing”.

This effect is achieved due to good color rendition and numerous shooting modes.

There is noise at low ISO values as well as little memory buffer but keep in mind that you still get quality images, especially given the low price that you pay for it.

Nikon D3300 is yet another interesting model from Nikon, which will certainly will suit someone who is not yet sure about their skills in photography.​

best-cheap-cameras-2018-cameras-under-500

Nikon D3300  Is In My Top-10 List of Digital Cameras Under $500 for Beginners


This camera is good both for beginners and for those who don’t want to spend too much money on expensive cameras. 

It is able to create surprisingly beautiful pictures, and the excellent characteristics of the device helped it to occupy an honorable place in my top-10 list of the best digital cameras under $500 (for beginners).

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Best Digital Cameras Under $500 That Are Worth Buying in 2018


So, we explored the best cheap cameras on the market to help ensure that you’re able to make an informed choice.

So which camera to choose?

I can advise the following.

If you do not plan to invest in the purchase of more advanced gear later, it’s suggested that you check out the compact cameras.

However, if in the future you see yourself as a professional photographer, you should take a closer look at compact SLRs presented in this collection.

Today, even under $500 it is quite possible to buy a decent camera!


Over To You


What is the best cheap camera in YOUR opinion?

Have you made your choice?

Now, if you still have doubts, questions or comments about “Best Cheap Cameras For 2018: The 9 Best Compact Cameras Under $500”, let me know in the comment section below!

Best Cheap Cameras for 2018: The 9 Best Digital Cameras Under $500
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