Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera
What type of camera to choose for less than $300?
If you are budget constrained to around $300 and looking for a camera, we have some recommendations for you for the best camera under 300.
There are many types of cameras on the market, so let’s go over all the different types first. At the lowest end are disposable cameras such as polaroid cameras. Their advantage is that they can develop a film on the spot.
Next, you have point-and-shoot cameras, which are like disposables but can be reloaded.
Point and shoots usually have some kind of focus-free lens, some kind of lever to cock the shutter or advanced the film, and may or may not have a light meter or flash.
Most of the basic models have fixed apertures which makes it hard to control the exposure when flash is used.
Then you have more advanced points and shoots, which some people just call compact cameras.
These cameras usually have automatic focus, light meters, zoom lenses, manual controls for the exposure system, auto-advancing and rewinding of film, and variable apertures.
Depending on the model and price, you will get larger apertures, sharper lenses, or even special features like the auto removal of the red-eye effect. The best compact cameras can zoom up to 30 times and are able to fit in your pocket.
You can get most models under 300. Next, you have bridge cameras, which are basically hybrid cameras somewhere between an SLR (single-lens reflex camera) and a point-and-shoot.
These bridge cameras are typically the size of the smaller DSLR camera and most are digital.
With some luck, you may be able to find a quality bridge camera for under 300. Finally, you have DSLR cameras, which are the digital versions of the old SLR cameras with film.
These are considered the best type of cameras on the market currently and often command prices of at least $400. For more information on the best camera under 300, we have put together a buyer’s guide below.
What are the Best Camera Under 300 – Reviews
1. Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera
If you are looking for the best camera under 300 and need superzoom, the Nikon Coolpix B500 is the way to go. This is a point-and-shoot with a superzoom lens attached.
This camera is perfect for amateurs who want to take a decently portable camera with them and set it to auto and shoot without having to worry about tampering with settings.
With a one-inch sensor and a crazy 40x optical zoom, you can zoom in like a telescope or rifle scope and still have a decent-quality image.
At the max zoom setting, the camera still maintains its clarity and quality, which is just crazy how technology has taken us these days.
The zoom is equivalent to a 900mm telephoto lens, with is just crazy to have on a small point-and-shoot. The Nikon Coolpix B500 also comes with some cool features.
First and foremost, it has an LCD lens that can be tilted, so if you are pointing the camera do or up, you can still view your shoot without having to duck. It has pretty much every setting you can possibly imagine on the menu as well as some of the most useful ones on the physical dial.
In terms of handling, there is a nice grip on the side that you can hold onto that will allow you to stabilize the camera without too much shaking.
One thing to note is that the Nikon Coolpix B500 uses four AA batteries, which some people may love and some may find annoying.
In terms of battery life, you get may 300 photos and sometimes view the photos before they die out. In terms of the video mode, it shoots 1080 P @ 30 FPS.
2. Canon PowerShot SX710 HS
If you are looking for the best camera under 300 and want something that can fit into your pockets and has great performance, the Canon PowerShot SX710 is the right one for you.
We will admit, there are clearly better cameras you can get out there with more optical zoom and higher megapixels, but in terms of price and compactness, you can’t really get much better.
For a camera that fits in your pocket, you get a 20.3 MP camera with 30x optical zoom with a whopping focal range of 25 – 750mm.
We tested this camera out in all types of lighting conditions and it produces excellent shoots in every situation.
The 30x optical zoom is quite powerful and really lets you hone in on things far away without losing too much quality. Sure at 30x zoom, you do lose some quality, but we found that you can usually get a good shot in.
The 20 MP camera comes with a high sensitivity CMOS sensor with DIGIC 6 image processor, which is fancy jargon for this camera shoots at all zoom ranges with good amounts of detail and contrast. The Canon PowerShot SX710 can also shoot videos at 1080P and has wifi capabilities.
All in all, this point and shoot have good zoom capabilities, good quality shots, nice and easy settings, good battery life, and is extremely portable.
3. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50S
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50S is the best camera under 300 if you are looking for a very small compact travel zoom camera.
This camera has a 12-megapixel, 1-2.3 inch image sensor, which is more than enough resolution to take high-quality photos in auto mode.
Don’t be fooled by the lower-than-market resolution as megapixels often don’t tell the full story of the quality of an image.
The ZS50S does very well for sharpness for wide shoots however we are a bit disappointed at the 30x zoom, as the images tend to show up a bit softer at full zoom. Nevertheless, most people don’t take pictures at max zoom anyways, so for normal zoom ranges, we fully approve of this camera’s capabilities.
What we really like about the ZS is its size, which is quite small and cute and definitely fits into your pockets at around 3 x 5 inches.
And with this size, you still have a lot of features packed in such as HD video recording, raw format image recording, and even manual focus. Overall, if you are traveling and on the go and looking for a quick shot that is clearly better than your current phone camera, go with the Panasonic Lumix ZS50S.
Best Camera Under 300 Buyer’s Guide
Finding a good quality camera under $300 is actually quite hard. Well, it depends on what you mean by quality.
If you are a professional photographer, you probably won’t be satisfied with any camera under 300.
If you are an amateur to an intermediate photographer, then there are a wide variety of options available to you for under $300.
We will focus more on compact cameras, point-and-shoots, and perhaps some bridge cameras, as DSLR cameras are simply beyond the budget of most people looking to buy a camera on a budget.
Compact cameras and point-and-shoot are suitable for people who want to take some quality shoot for his or her own memory.
They cannot produce professional-grade landscaping or nature images taken at great distances without some sort of photoshop editing.
The good thing about cameras under $300 is that they are usually portable and can fit in your pocket.
They usually have limited optical zoom and have decent quality as long as you don’t zoom into the picture. Here are some more things to think about when considering a camera under $300.
Everybody loves talking about megapixels and it is often the selling point of digital cameras.
Unfortunately, it is more often than not a marketing tactic and companies are racing each other to produce higher-megapixel cameras.
Most uninformed consumers think that higher megapixels automatically translate to better image quality. While there is some truth to this, we think the quality of the megapixels is more important than how many you have.
The limiting factor with megapixels is the quality and size of the sensor. Above a certain megapixel threshold, the quality actually drops as the camera tries to cram a whole bunch of megapixels on a small sensor.
So we say get a camera with high megapixels, but don’t let this be the determining factor.
For cameras under $300, image stabilization is quite important as you will likely be holding it with one or two hands without a stand.
This becomes particularly important in low-light settings when it is paramount to capture things when the camera isn’t shaking.
Some cameras have fake image stabilization do be sure to look out for this trap. These cameras simply increase the ISO settings until you have a proper shutter speed. This often leads to more noise, loss of details, and worse quality.
So while the image won’t come out with motion, it will be worse in quality. You don’t want this. You want a digital camera with true image stabilization technology.
Zoom is another important feature to consider in a digital camera. First of all, you have two types of zoom: digital and optical zoom.
Try not to focus on digital zoom as it tends to degrade image quality and focus more on optical zoom.
But even more important than the actual optical zoom number is the focal ranges covered. This is basically the range between the widest point of the lens and the longest point.
So a 10-100mm lens has a 10x zoom because you can go from 10mm to 100mm, or tenfold. This focal range would be better than 1-10mm, which is still 10x zoom but with a much smaller focal range covered.