Best Cameras Under 500 (Review) In 2020

The best cameras under 500 listed below have been selected by Demystifying Digital because of their easy setup, autofocus quality, and use of the best manufacturers.

For beginning photographers, the most important criterion when buying the first camera is not advanced technical equipment, but the price-quality ratio. In the current economic realities, not everyone is ready to give more than $ 500 for a camera without a lens.

However, which inexpensive camera to choose?

When choosing the best camera under 500 dollars you need to consider the features.

For example, does it have learning functions? What is design like? Does the camera shoot video in 4K?

Photographing is becoming more popular these days. But to understand whether this activity is suitable for you or not, you should not start with expensive cameras.

Want to buy the best product? For each camera, we will discuss all the relevant features that will make it easy to make the best decision.

The Best Camera Under 500

Therefore, you might find it hard to choose only the best camera under 500 from the crowded market, and this is where we come into play. Demystifying Digital has reviewed the top 2 best cameras under 500 dollars on the market today and has given you a buyer’s guide to help you out. Here they are:

1. Canon Rebel SL2 Best Camera Under 500

This camera has an attractive price and small dimensions claim to be the truly best camera under 500 for beginner photographers.

Inside the case is an APS-C image sensor with a resolution of 24.2 megapixels. Familiar numbers? A similar sensor is now used in many Canon cameras.

From the camera, under 500 dollars you can expect modest technical specifications, but for a beginner amateur, the camera looks more than powerful. Shooting speed – 5 frames per second, wireless interfaces Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, autofocus technology Dual Pixel CMOS AF. All this we have already seen in the cameras of a higher class.

Since the Canon EOS SL2 is aimed at fans, the novelty is equipped with an updated graphical interface. Dark gray tones that have already become classics have changed to a light background and colored icons that suggest what effect to expect when changing the shutter speed or aperture.

As for the controls, we are faced with a classic SLR camera. The shooting mode selector dial is mounted on the top panel. To his right is the trigger to turn on the camera and switch to video mode. Next to the shutter button are the ISO and display settings buttons, and a control wheel is located between them.

On the rear panel, in addition to the navigated and several control keys, there is a 3-inch touch-sensitive LCD equipped with a swivel design.

Over the past couple of years, the camera has turned from a plain black box into a creative tool and a fashion accessory at the same time. Therefore, it is not surprising that manufacturers began to pay more attention to the appearance of their cameras.

This mod is not bypassed and Canon EOS SL2. There are three color options for the hobbyist to choose from black, silver, and white.

Beginning photographers have long been fond of image filters for their ease of use and the spectacular picture that can be obtained without much effort.

There is a special mode for shooting using filters, 10 different effects are available for your choice. They are already familiar to us from previous tests of Canon cameras.

But you cannot go far on filters alone. Truly spectacular creative techniques require skill from the photographer. For example, zooming the lens at slow shutter speed. Such a photograph will be interesting to look without a filter, but it will not work from the first take.

If we talk about dynamic subjects, then the speed of serial shooting plays a big role. The higher it is, the less chance there is to miss a phase of movement and it is easier to catch a moment. The speed of shooting is 5 frames per second, and it is quite enough even for shooting a dynamic sport. Some ten years ago, only semi-professional cameras were shot at that speed.

Another important component of any camera is the speed and accuracy of autofocus. When shooting through the viewfinder, you have 9 phase-detection AF points at your disposal. They are concentrated in the central part of the frame, and if the subject is closer to the edge, he risks simply not getting into their area of ​​work.

Like any modern camera, the Canon EOS SL2 can record video. The recording quality for the entry-level camera is more than decent. You can shoot in 1080p or 720p at 50 frames per second. Someone may start complaining about the lack of 4K, but how many people have switched from Full-HD to televisions and monitors with support for such a high resolution? In short, for the camera under 500 dollars this is enough.

The presence of wireless interfaces is another strength of the new product. The camera has everything you need: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is NFC, which is designed to quickly connect the camera to other devices: smartphones, tablets or printers. In this case, the devices need only be brought to each other to automatically establish a connection, however, Wi-Fi will already be used to transfer photos or control the camera.

2. Nikon D3400 Camera Under 500

Nikon D3400 – representative of the most affordable series of SLRs from Nikon. These cameras are popular with beginners and photographers who are looking for the best camera under 500.

This is not a professional tool, the handling of which needs to belong and hard to learn. The camera is designed to be as easy to learn as possible for everyone.

The Guide mode deserves special attention. This is a real photo school in your camera. In this mode, you select the plot to be shot, and the camera tells you what settings to use, what tricks to apply. Of course, the recommendations are simple, basic. But this is exactly what a novice photographer lacks.

How to blur the background? How to make everything sharp? How to shoot a fast-moving subject? But how to blur the movement? The Guide mode will teach you this and much more. It looks like a photo quest with interesting tasks.

This is the mode that we recommend to try for everyone in whose life the Nikon D3400 will be the first SLR camera.

The device has an advanced system of help and tips. In addition to the Guide mode, which is entirely devoted to teaching photography, in any mode, the help function is also available, called by the “?” Button. If the corresponding icon on the camera screen starts flashing, the camera has something to tell you.

Click the question button and read the message. Surely it will help improve shooting results. Help will help you understand all the settings. Moving through the menu, we can request a description of any item by clicking on the button with a question mark.

The camera offers a fairly wide functionality for editing and even converting pictures in RAW format. To try the processing capabilities and correct the basic defects in the pictures, they will be quite enough. A beginner can even apply “decorations” to his work (for example, “Miniature Effect”).

I would like to pay special attention to the auto-ISO function. She has long taken root with professionals and works here so correctly that you can always rely on her. Especially in manual mode: we can adjust the exposure pair – shutter speed and aperture – as we need, and the automation adjusts the photosensitivity.

The camera provides a burst speed of 5 frames per second. This is enough to solve most reporting problems.

Focusing on modern Nikon lenses is fast and correct. Autofocus operation during serial shooting does not cause any complaints. But serial shooting is complicated by the fact that the device has a very small buffer.

Another feature of the Nikon D3400 from other best cameras under 500 is its rich wireless capabilities. All are organized in SnapBridge.

What does SnapBridge do? First of all – the most simple and fast transfer of images from the camera directly to your device. Once you connect the camera to a smartphone or tablet, you no longer have to return to the settings. The phone and the camera will communicate with each other and transmit the necessary information. Smartphone – pictures, and the camera – data from GPS sensors and the exact time.

3. Nikon D3500 Camera Under 500

Features of the Nikon D3500 are similar to those of its predecessor – the Nikon D3400. Some of the common features include a 24-megapixel matrix, 11-point phase autofocus, Full HD video 60 frames/s and wireless technology SnapBridge. Using the latter, you can connect the camera and smartphone (or tablet), and use the energy-saving Bluetooth protocol to transfer photos to the mobile device on the fly.

The case of the device is made from high-quality plastic, but moisture protection has not been revealed. The Nikon D3500 camera is available only in black, and feels solid to say the least. The cores of a digital camera is its image sensor, where this new product uses a 24-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor. The lack of a low-pass filter on the matrix provides higher image sharpness, and the sensitivity range is from 100 to 25600 ISO.

Another critical component of a digital camera is the processor, which is responsible for the speed of the camera and photo processing, and the task of eliminating digital noisem and the Nikon D3500 scores high with a EXPEED 4 processor. This best camera under 500 allows you to record pictures not only in JPEG format, but also RAW. JPEG photos are easy to open on any device, and can be sent by mail or published on the Internet, but the raw RAW format does require subsequent conversion and processing.

A wide dynamic range will help you capture photograph scenes such as a sunset landscape without loss of detail in light or dark parts of the frame. Wide dynamic range is a common feature among Nikon devices. In most cases, with the exposure settings correctly set up, all the details will remain clear in your pictures. The Nikon D3500 allows you to take pictures at up to 5 frames per second. This speed is enough to shoot most of the dynamic scenes especially great for sports photography. 

Due to the small memory buffer, before shooting speed drops, it is possible to make about 10 frames in RAW format. And if shooting is in JPEG, the series can be almost endless, where the main thing is the presence of a fast memory card.

4. Canon Rebel T6 Camera Under 500

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 and Canon EOS Rebel T6s are almost identical cameras that use the same internal components, but they are “sharpened” for a slightly different target audience. T6s have some cosmetic differences, and are  come in with slightly more advanced features such as manual exposure, digital zoom and others. But from a photography point of view and video quality, we preferred the canon rebel t6, which we will consider today.

Canon as expected announced the entry-level reflex camera EOS 1300D (Rebel T6), which replaces the EOS 1200D. From the previous model, the novelty inherited the APS-C sensor (22.3 × 14.9 mm) with 18 million effective pixels and a 9-point auto focus system. At the same time, a more efficient Digic 4+ image processor was used instead of the previous Digic 4 chip.

The camera also received an improved display, but its size remains the same (3 inches diagonally), and the resolution increased from 460 thousand to 920 thousand pixels. In addition, a Wi-Fi wireless adapter with support for 802.11b/g/n standards and an NFC short-range wireless high-frequency communication module have been added

The camera allows you to take photos with a maximum resolution of 5184 × 3456 pixels. Video recording can be performed with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels (30p, 24p) or 1280 × 720 pixels (60p). Sequential shooting speed – 3 frames per second. To store files, use the SD/SDHC/SDXC card.

The best camera under 500 is endowed with an optical viewfinder with 95 percent frame coverage. The shutter speed range is 1/4000–30 s, photosensitivity is ISO 100–6400, and is expandable to ISO 12800. It supports the Canon EF/EF-S lenses, and its dimensions are 129 × 101 × 78 mm, 485 grams weight, and the battery charge is enough for a maximum of 500 shots.

5. Sony A5100 Camera Under 500

The Sony a5100 was announced at the end of summer 2014, and appeared for the first time on Fotokina in September. In fact, it took an intermediate position between the budget A5000 and the more advanced A6000, but the NEX series is a thing of the past. Getting back to the question – “What is the best camera under $600?” it is safe to say that the Sony A5100 is suitable for answering the question, and here are a few reasons why this particular model fits the bill. 

The A5100 is equipped with a 24.3-megapixel Exmor AOS-C format CMOS sensor with built-in phase-detection autofocus sensors, which is the same as in the previously presented older a6000 model. Despite the rather high pixel density – 6000 x 4000, the matrix is ​​not very noisy. The ISO range is adjustable between ISO 100 to ISO 25600, but for shooting video however, the sensitivity is limited to ISO 12800, and up to ISO 3200 quality image quality can be considered acceptable.

At ISO 6400, the noise level is already quite high, with a slight loss of detail (when using the built-in noise reduction). Photos taken at ISO 12800 and ISO 25600 are not suitable for use, because the detail takes a big hot in terms of quality. The Bionz X processor is installed in the best camera under 500, and thanks to it, there are no problems with the speed of the camera – neither with focusing speed, or shooting speed. So, the A5100 allows you to shoot at a speed of 6 frames/second at maximum resolution (RAW + JPEG).

For the amateur segment, this is more than a decent result. The buffer is quite capacious and sags only after 22 RAW + JPEG or 50 JPEG, after which the speed drops sharply to about 1 frame per second and about half a minute releases the buffer, transferring it to the card.

By the way, the camera does not show the loading process in any way, and you can identify it only by trying to look at the footage (in the process of freeing the buffer, you can only take pictures, you can’t see anything). Supported formats are AVCHD, MP4 and the latest XAVC S, which are developed by Sony primarily for the popularization of 4K (note that the a5100 does not support 4K recording, but only Full HD with a bit rate of 25 frames/sec and a stream of 50mb/s).

The “chip” of the camera has the ability to record video in Full HD and HD resolutions at the same time, which can prove handy if you need to immediately put the footage on the network, but at the same time leave high-quality video for further editing. During shooting, you can change the shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity.

6. Olympus E-M10 II Camera Under 500

The camera is equipped with the same 16-megapixel CMOS sensor as the previous model, where 16 megapixels on a 4: 3 sensor means much more than even 20 megapixels on “smartphones”. In addition, 16 megapixels is more than enough for digital photo albums on internet resources and even for polygraphic reproduction on a paper banner measuring 30 × 40 cms with a line width of 200 lines per inch, which is commonly used in the industry. Therefore, the desire of “More megapixels in this case are not very appropriate and justified.

The best camera under 500 has the latest TruePic VIII image processor, which offers faster performance and lower power consumption, which is undoubtedly an important feature of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. By the way, the top model Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is equipped with the same processor.

This feature gives the camera the opportunity to increase the rate of fire (from 8 to 8.6 frames/s) and master 4k video shooting at 30 frames/s with progressive scanning. Like its predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is equipped with an intracameral mechanical image stabilization system that compensates for displacements along five axes using reciprocal sensor shifts.

The cinematic capabilities of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III fully comply with today’s requirements of video bloggers, and cameras under 500 allow you to shoot 4k video at 30, 25 or 24 frames/s. When shooting, two image stabilization systems are used – five-axis mechanical and software.

The standard video mode means recording in Full HD 1080p. To activate UHD 4k video, select the appropriate mode in the video menu. In addition to these two options, it is possible to record video in (High Speed) as well as create the resulting video file in the form of cuts from different scenes, “glued” together (Clips mode).

7. Canon G7X II Camera Under 500

The camera has only a few new things starting with a slow shutter speed that can now be set for more than 60 seconds, tracking autofocus while shooting Full HD video at a frequency of 50p, the burst speed has increased from six to eight frames per second, but now the series has become not more infinite, but limited to 32 frames. Also in the best camera under 500, there is a 3-inch screen with high sharpness, which you can turn forward to create a selfie.

Evaluating the image quality of the Canon G7X II and comparing the pictures taken by the new and old models, we can say that both cameras show almost identical results. Well, that’s not bad considering that the new camera also guarantees very good image quality. The camera has a 20-megapixel 1-inch matrix for it.

With a minimum photosensitivity of ISO 125, for example, a relatively large sensor produces 1,698 pairs of lines per frame height. We also like the fact that the high level of sharpness does not get lower with an increase in ISO to 1,600 even when shooting in low light conditions.

However, at a 100 percent scale, the noise becomes noticeable, starting with ISO 800. The level of detail the developers did manage to improve a bit. Particularly attractive is the image quality due to the presence of a fast aperture with optical stabilization of 4.2-fold zoom. F1.8 at 24 mm, F2.8 at 100 mm (in film equivalent) allow you to use a short exposure time, and capture an excellent image of the main object with a blurry background.

True, in the corners of the image, the sharpness decreases by 30%, but this drawback was noticed in the first camera of the G7 X series as well. Parallels are also visible when comparing the configuration of the two cameras. The basis of the configuration is a tiltable flash with a range of seven meters, aperture ring with assignable functions, P-S-A-M modes, shooting options HDR, and also Wi-Fi and NFC for wireless data transmission and remote control.

Someone may not like the closely spaced buttons, among which a joystick is squeezed in for navigation in the well-known Canon menu option. For people with big hands, cameras under 500, weighing just over 300 grams may seem uncomfortable. The battery life is enough for 310 shots and 110 minutes of video.

8. Canon M100 Camera Under 500

In the line of mirrorless cameras from Canon, the next update – the Canon EOS M100 – is a compact and affordable model. It is designed for amateur shooting in automatic mode, but it also has all the usual manual settings. This premium shooter is intended for amateurs and novice photographers who are looking for a lightweight, compact and inexpensive camera for every day use to capture beautiful, lively, vital shots. It will also be useful for professionals who need a camera “on the go” for everyday shooting.

The new camera replaces the Canon EOS M10. What changed? First of all, it received a modern image sensor with 24.2 million effective pixels. This promises improved detail and image quality in low light conditions. The new sensor is assisted by the DIGIC 7 processor, which provides higher performance of the device and the quality of photos and videos.

The Best camera under 500 is equipped with Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, so focusing promises to be fast and accurate in both photo and video shooting. But when recording video – it’s also smooth. Among the improved features is serial shooting at a speed of 6.1 frames per second (against 4.6 frames per second from its predecessor). The camera allows you to capture the right moment, even if the subject is in motion.

An important advantage of the Canon EOS M100 is the availability of wide wireless capabilities, which will be described in more detail below. The display is touch, and it’s convenient, where you can focus in the right place on the frame with one touch of the screen, just like on smartphones. However, the touch screen in the case of the EOS M100 is not just an additional “trick”, but an important feature. After all, there are not so many physical controls – buttons and disks on the case, and most of the functions are configured through the touch screen.

9. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 Camera Under 500

Panasonic announced the new super-zoom Lumix DMC-FZ80. This is an updated version of the FZ70. It has the same 60x, 20-1200mm f / 2.8-5.9 lens. At the same time, the image sensor and processor are updated. The resolution is 18MP. The updated camera core made it possible to add the ability to record 4K/30p video for up to 15 minutes.

The new integrated 18.1-megapixel high-sensitivity MOS sensor and the advanced Venus Engine image processing engine allow for a high response speed, and provide excellent image quality even at high ISOs. For greater processing speed and mobility, the Lumix FZ82 uses high-speed and high-precision autofocus with Depth From Defocus technology for obtaining depth from defocusing. It is this technology that reduces the focus time of the image.

During operation, the distance to the subject is calculated and two images with different sharpness levels are evaluated at high speed up to 240 frames/sec. As a result, the Lumix DC-FZ82 achieves autofocus in about 0.09 sec. As the focal length increases, the advantage of this technology increases.

This best camera under 500 is superbly capable of shooting 4k video at a resolution of 3840 × 2160 pixels at 30p. Powerful 60x optical zoom and POWER O.I.S. optical stabilization system (Optical Image Stabilizer) in conjunction with the “Active Mode” perfectly suppresses image blur. This feature is available for both photo and video shooting.

The application of 4K technology in the specification allows the photographer to capture pictures in 4K PHOTO mode in the new Panasonic DC-FZ82. 4K PHOTO mode allows you to shoot fast and dynamic scenes at a speed of 30 frames per second. In the future, you can make a selection of the best frames in 4K resolution.

In addition, it is possible to save absolutely all the footage in high resolution. But there is a limitation, which is that you can shoot and save a maximum of 150 frames in five seconds of continuous shooting.

10. Panasonic Lumix G7 Camera Under 500

The Panasonic G7 is one of the company’s most successful cameras, and if you look at the mirrorless camera segment in general, especially the micro-4/3 ”system, it occupies a strong position there, thanks to the excellent price/quality ratio. That is why it is logical that the company released it in the continuation of the Panasonic G80 series, and provided all the most necessary features.

In terms of photography, the camera received a significant update, where even despite the matrix from its predecessor – the processor gave a slightly better picture of noise (the sensitivity did not increase, and only the system algorithms was updated), but only the stabilizer was provided.

The magnesium front panel and the new shutter, which even sounds different played a significant role in the sharpness of the picture at slow shutter speeds, and as a result, the camera shakes less. The company’s systemic weakness however is the inability to shoot in more than 12 bits of RAW. However, this can most likely be attributed to engineers already, and the appearance of a 14-bit matrix reading can be expected in the near future in other cameras under 500, with the advent of next-generation matrices.

The best camera under 500 traditionally has good phone control using a proprietary application, where it allows you to manage all the functions available in the camera in a convenient format. Yes, for familiar people like me, I want something new already, but if you remember that many competing models have much more modest functionality, and the control is not so hyped, it turns out not so bad.

It is logical to assume that the camera will not cost as much as the younger model, and despite the fact that the technical base details remain the same, the premium features for Panasonic cameras have simply been added to the new product. And given its price compared to competitors, this is all the more relevant, since it largely wins due to the complex of functions embedded in it.


Cameras Under 500

I hope we helped you choose the best camera under 500.

Your opinion is very important to us. To make us even better, please answer the question: are wireless capabilities important to you when choosing a camera? Or is it important for you that the cameras are easy to use?

You can leave an answer below. We will also be interested in any of your feedback and suggestions.

DemystifyingDigital Team

High-quality content can only be written by experts in the field. The DemystifyingDigital team consists of just such people. Our specializations range from cameras to smartwatches. We are constantly following the latest developments in technology. Each of us has a desire to grow our knowledge in order to provide only the best information to our readers. The world of gadgets is wide, and to cover the many types of technology we are constantly recruiting professionals to join our team. Thus, we increase our expertise and make our work even better.

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