10 Best Camera under $500 (Worth Buying This Year?)

Choosing a camera is not always an easy task. There are so many options and it can be difficult to figure out which one will fit your needs the best. In this article, we will talk about some of the best cameras currently on the market for under $500.

Our Top-Pick

olympus om-d e-m10 mark ii

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

  • Compact, but comfortable to use.
  • Large, sharp EVF.
  • Tilting touch-screen display.
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting.
  • Built-in flash.

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Buyers Guide – Best Camera under $500

1. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II is compact but comfortable to use a camera with an articulating, touch display. 

It offers superb EVF resolution, professional look, and handling as well as excellent low light performance on par with the much larger pro DSLRs thanks to its powerful 5-axis body stabilization system that maximizes sharpness in every frame. 

The fast 8.6 frames per second continuous shooting speed coupled with the accurate tracking of 225 focus points allows you to create stunning sequences and shoot moving subjects like never before!

More of your every day than a high-end model worthy of Hollywood’s finest productions: this lightweight little gem features all the basics like flash sync up to 1/320s (compare that to most other cameras at about a quarter of that), battery life is pretty good for a mirrorless camera, and weather sealing. 

The only thing it’s lacking is more robust in-camera features like WiFi connectivity or touchscreen control – if you’re looking to get serious with your photography this might not be the right choice.


  • Compact, but comfortable to use.
  • Large, sharp EVF.
  • Tilting touch-screen display.
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting.
  • Built-in flash.


  • Accurate tracking requires a slower burst rate. 
  • Wacky power switch.

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2. Nikon D3400

The Nikon D3400 is an excellent camera for both beginners and pros alike. 

It has a 24MP sensor with high ISO performance, giving you clear shots in any environment.

Speed is key on the D3400, making 5.1 FPS continuous shooting possible. A user-friendly layout makes it easy to get going, and the wide-ratio 3inch LCD display provides sharp detail that’s easy to see, perfect for closeups or into hard-to-reach places! 

The only drawback: There isn’t a microphone input (but there are other ways around it). 

Buying your new camera with lenses? No problem! This model comes with an 18mm – 55mm lens so you can capture images from afar without sacrificing quality.


  • Great image quality for its class.
  • Excellent high ISO performance for APS-C.
  • Pleasing default JPEG processing.
  • Excellent print quality.
  • Relatively fast single-shot AF speeds.


  • No dedicated ISO button.
  • No 4K video.

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3. Panasonic Lumix FZ82

The Panasonic Lumix FZ82 is a small, powerful, and versatile camera that’s as comfortable exploring your backyard as it is in the face of wildlife. 

With a 60x zoom range paired with blazing fast autofocus speeds and 10fps Raw capture capabilities, you’ll be ready to freeze any shot- no matter how unpredictable! 

Zoom into the tiniest web of life at high resolution or follow swirling snowflakes through crisp blue air before they flutter away on an icy breeze. 

Everything about this compact powerhouse has been designed for creative freedom and brilliant performance: from its 30 fps 4K Photo mode to its eye-catching touchscreen LCD so there’s plenty to explore from every angle. 

Photography never felt like playing again; it feels like creating.


  • Huge 60x zoom range.
  • Fast autofocus.
  • 10fps Raw capture.
  • 30fps 4K Photo capture.
  • Touch LCD.


  • No EVF eye sensor.
  • Fixed rear LCD.

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4. Canon Rebel SL2/200D

The Rebel SL2/200D is compact and loaded with features. 

It has a knack for athletic subjects, once again setting it apart from its contemporaries and cementing this model as the go-to option if you’re looking for an affordable yet powerful camera to cover every kind of shooting situation.

A quality built-in flash settings guide makes navigating this camera both easy and fun, giving novices plenty of guidance on how to improve their skill set before needing external 3rd party software. 

This beauty can also be charged via any USB port allowing anywhere charging. 

The Canon Digital Rebel SL2/200D blends refined design with updated capabilities so newcomers coming from DSLRs half its price can get started right away–making memories last just that much longer.


  • The most compact DSLR is currently on the market.
  • JPEGs have pleasing, saturated colors.
  • Lots of detail was captured in Raw.
  • Excellent Dual Pixel AF system.
  • Reliable subject tracking in live view & movie mode.
  • A fully articulating LCD has good touch features.


  • Unsophisticated sharpening in JPEGs.
  • The dynamic range is not best-in-class.

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5. Canon Power Shot G9 X Mark II

The Canon Power Shot G9 X Mark II is a compact DSLR that packs a punch, both in the photo and video quality. 

It has an outstanding autofocus system, so beginner photographers can feel confident working with it as their first camera. 

However, skilled pros will enjoy all the extra features the camera offers like the Dual Pixel AF system which ensures everything you shoot looks great while also adding smooth bokeh to your portrait shots! 

The touch screen LCD makes navigating this beautiful model simple for everyone and helps make sure novice users get just what they want out of their images. 

You’ll love how detailed your raw files are after shooting thanks to exquisite Canon optics, and even more if you have access to Lightroom Mobile and its new AI capabilities!


  • The most compact DSLR is currently on the market.
  • JPEGs have pleasing, saturated colors.
  • Lots of detail was captured in Raw.
  • Excellent Dual Pixel AF system.
  • Reliable subject tracking in live view & movie mode.


  • Unsophisticated sharpening in JPEGs.
  • The dynamic range is not best-in-class.

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6. Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300 is perfect for the budding photographer with an eye for detail. 

With a higher viewfinder magnification than its predecessor, vibrant colors, and excellent dynamic range (in RAW), this camera will allow you to create memories worth living in. 

Images are adjustable after the fact with in-camera CA correction and optional distortion correction. No need to send your hard work off to be fixed by someone else! 

The Nikon D5300 also features fast download speeds that make transferring image files easy as pie ‍‍‍without damaging pixels or dpi levels. 

In addition, it also has a feature that automatically corrects common errors such as red-eye on instant capture from live view, perfectly clicking your shots before you’ve even had a chance to preview them.


  • Higher viewfinder magnification than the predecessor.
  • Vibrant colors.
  • Excellent dynamic range (in RAW).
  • In-camera CA correction and optional distortion correction.
  • Fast download speeds.


  • Macro performance from 18-140mm kit lens is not great.
  • Auto and Incandescent white balance settings are too warm in tungsten lighting.

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7. Canon EOS Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D)

With the EOS Rebel T6, Canon is making sharing your photos easier than ever before. 

It has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC to connect the camera with smart devices and social networks. 

The sensor may not be as high quality as other models but these technical limitations are offset by its lightweight body that will make for easy travel trips, and it’s also a great entry model into photography because of the layout of its simple controls. 

Its 18MP sensor is average but can provide satisfying results when in low-light situations, so if you enjoy taking pictures at concerts or art shows, the Rebel T6 may be worth checking out!


  • Simple control layout.
  • Lightweight camera body.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for quick photo sharing.
  • Very nice JPEGs.
  • Good battery life.


  • 18MP sensor is far from class-leading.
  • Limited high ISO range.

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8. Sony A5100

The Sony A5100 is the most affordable of all the full-frame mirrorless cameras. 

It’s also lightweight, Wi-Fi and NFC enabled, super fast and impressive AF to be quicker in capturing life’s moments to staggering high ISO performance so those nighttime shots are clear—even when it’s dark outside. 

The newly updated sensor assures superb quality images with natural, accurate colors thanks to Extra Fine 24MP resolution, while 3D & face detection works flawlessly for perfect selfie pics (of you or your friends!). 

Has no viewfinder but has a tilting screen that flips down to refresh your mind during lunch breaks from work.


  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight.
  • WI-FI and NFC.
  • Super-fast and impressive AF.
  • Great high ISO performance.


  • No viewfinder.
  • difficult to see in bright light and doesn’t flip down.

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9. Nikon D5200

The Nikon D5200 is a camera designed for photographers who are serious about their filmmaking but not necessarily committed to DSLRs. 

It’s loaded with features and has an excellent photo and video quality while being easy to use on even your first outing.

Featuring a tiltable LCD screen and compact size, it’s shaped like an SLR but without the need for bulk or weight. 

However, in typical Nikon fashion, you’re going to pay dearly for such convenience – particularly when getting accessories that should have been included with this bargain price point camera kit. 

The slow and noisy kit lens will be replaced no doubt by one of Nikon’s new series of professional-grade DX lenses, which are available at both online retailers and local retail stores.


  • Great image quality with low noise.
  • 5fps continuous shooting.
  • 39-point with 9 cross-type AF systems.
  • Partial manual video exposure.
  • Clean 1080p HDMI video out.


  • Reduced battery life.
  • Lacks viewfinder eye sensor.

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10. Nikon D3500

The Nikon D3500 is a great option for beginners and those looking to step up from point-and-shoot cameras. 

Namely, it’s built with quality optics in order to deliver clean sharp images of your landscape or family pictures. 

It has an APS-C sensor so you can shoot great portraits without the heaviness and bulk that comes with full-frame sensors! 


Plus, this camera gives you everything you need to produce high-quality prints right out of the box; just edit them using its modest list of features like Creative Effects and Peaking MODE. 

And thanks to a speedy start-up time (0.2 seconds), burst speed (5 fps), decent single-shot AF performance, speedy cycle times, good JPEG buffer size (+100 frames), and high-resolution, touchscreen LCD display (for image previews), you’ll be able to take photos of that precious moment with ease.


  • 24MP image sensor.
  • Includes lens.
  • Solid autofocus and high ISO performance.
  • 5.1fps continuous shooting.
  • Guide Mode for beginners.


  • Fixed, non-touch LCD.
  • Pentamirror viewfinder.

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FAQs Over the Internet

What is the best mirrorless camera under $500?

One of the best options is the Sony A6000 Mirrorless Camera. The camera has a 24.3 MP Exmor APS-sensor capturing gorgeous images whether you’re shooting still life or shooting a video to share with friends and family on YouTube. It features an advanced Fast Hybrid Autofocus system, meaning you don’t have to worry about missed opportunities from delayed focus lock-on. It also features Wi-Fi for enjoying instant phone and computer-based image sharing, as well as remote camera control over Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile app for iOS/Android tablets and smartphones. And it boasts enhanced time-lapse with Sweep Panorama Mode and Interval Shooting; adjustable ISO up to 6400; multiple exposure settings; 8% center-weighted metering; and more.

What camera has the best image quality?

The best camera would be the Nikon D500, Canon Rebel T7i, or Sony Alpha A6300.

Picking a camera isn’t easy since cameras have vastly different characteristics and purposes. One of the most important factors is what type of pictures you’re planning to take. Some people want to shoot action shots while others prefer more artistic photos with a lot of colors. The reality is that any camera will take beautiful images as long as they are used correctly, so it’s always better to think about what type of picture you are trying to capture before making your purchase decision.

Which compact camera has the best sensor?

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV has a 1-inch sensor with a sensitivity of up to ISO12800.

The RX100 IV features uncompressed HDMI high definition video output and also supports 4K shooting. Further for those who like using manual settings, it is one of the smallest cameras to have a built-in RAW processor on its image processor–Sony’s famed “Bionz X”. One unique feature is that when you shoot an action sequence with constant movements such as sports or wildlife, it automatically takes multiple shots without the viewer needing to do so by hand–perfect for surfing users!


You might be surprised to know that you can get a great camera for less than 500 dollars. With the best camera under $500, you’ll have a quality device in your hands without breaking the bank. 

We recommend checking out these 10 cameras and see which one suits your needs.

 If there is still some hesitation about whether or not this is worth it, take into consideration all of the amazing photos and videos you’ll have at hand with any of these 10 models!

So, Comment below, What are your thoughts on our list? Which camera do you think should come first place as “best”? Why? And as always thanks a lot for reading!

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