The Best Point and Shoot Cameras Under $500


Your smartphone is good, but these are better

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

Most people use their smartphones as their main cameras, and who can blame them? They are lightweight, easy to use, and always in your pocket. But, if you are ready to get serious about your photography, you might want a more serious camera. Here are five you should consider.

1. Panasonic LUMIX LX10K

Panasonic’s Lumix LX10K is an excellent option for those who are looking for more quality in their digital photography. It has a 1-inch, 20MP CMOS sensor that is comparable to the sensors found in consumer-level DSLRs.

It has a 24–72 mm f1.7–2.8 zoom lens that has optical image stabilization. That means sharp photos and 4K videos. The rear LCD screen is 3-inches in diameter and flips up 180 degrees to help you frame selfies.

It’s compact, lightweight and has Wi-Fi connectivity. The 4K Post-Focus mode even lets you adjust your focus point after you have taken your shot.

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Source: Panasonic

2. Panasonic LUMIX ZS100K

If you need a little more range, try the Lumix ZS100K. It has a 10x zoom lens that stretches from 25 to 250 mm. It also comes with optical image stabilization to keep those long shots sharp and in focus.

The ZS100K has the same 1-inch, 20MP sensor as the LX10K, so it captures plenty of light. You can be sure of quality with 4K photos and videos, and you’ll never miss a shot with the 50 frames per second burst mode.

The 49 autofocus points are fast and track subjects well, while the face detection mode ensures that your friends and family and in focus and not your background.

When you take all this into account, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best point and shoot cameras you can buy for less than $500.

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Source: Panasonic

3. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

This one is a bit of a cheat. The G7 X Mk II doesn’t retail for less than $500, but if you go to Amazon’s new and used sellers, you can often find a “Like New” model for under $500. That makes it a great deal.

Again, it boasts a 1-inch, 20MP CMOS sensor. It has a 4.2x zoom lens that starts at 24 mm and racks all the way out to 100 mm. This is a fast lens too because it has an aperture of f1.8–2.8.

The customizable control ring around the lens can be used to control aperture, ISO speed, manual focus, and more. As you might expect, it has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the DiGiC 7 processor makes this camera fast and easy to use.

Overall, this is a great “step-up” camera if you are looking to take the next step in your photography. It’s easy enough for beginners to use, but it comes packed with advanced features that prosumer photographers can take advantage of.

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Source: Canon

4. Olympus Tough TG-6

Are you looking for a tough family camera that everyone can use? Perhaps you are into extreme sports and need something that can keep pace with your adrenaline. If so, the Olympus Tough TG-6 might be for you.

Olympus claims the TG-6 is waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, crushproof and freezeproof. That’s quite a claim, but this camera is also great at taking photographs you will be proud of.

The TG-6 has a 12MP sensor, a 4x optical zoom (25–100 mm), and image stabilization. It can record 4K video and 1080p at up to 120fps. Not only that, but it can be used underwater, and even has a microscope shooting mode. And, if you want even more flexibility, there are a raft of bolt-on accessories that you can buy to extend its use.

Overall, it is one of the most interesting point and shoot cameras you can buy today, and it’s a lot of fun to shoot with.

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Source: Olympus

5. Sony ZV-1F

Depending on your needs, I may have saved the best for last. The Sony ZV-1F is new for 2022, and it offers a lot of bang for the buck. It’s not entirely on par with Sony’s legendary RX100 series, but it fits a popular niche for YouTubers and video enthusiasts.

The Sony ZV-1F has an ultra-wide 20 mm, f2.0, prime lens. 20 mm is wider than you will find in many compact cameras, but it’s perfect for selfie-style images and video recordings.

It also has a large, 1-inch sensor that is optimized for low-light capture and blurred backgrounds. And I’m not talking about fake smartphone background blur here. The ZV-1F has true optical bokeh that can be triggered by pressing a button on the back of the camera.

Source: Sony

The Sony ZV-1F captures 4K video and 20MP images. This is on par with what you might expect, but the ZV-1F has another trick up its sleeve. It supports vertical video. You can use it to shoot your next viral TikTok, send it to your phone, and then share it online.

The ZV-1F has intelligent autofocus features, including face priority and eye detection. It also automatically tracks objects that you hold up to the lens. It has a multi-directional microphone and even a removable wind screen (that fluffy hairball in the image above) to cut down on wind noise while recording video outside.

This camera is not for everyone, but if you are an aspiring vlogger, a content creator, or you like to shoot video for YouTube, the Sony ZV-1F is one of the best digital cameras for less than $500.

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Disclaimer: This article contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

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