If you thought that the best camera under $500 would be a poor-quality piece of plastic junk, then think again! The best camera is not always the most expensive, and many of the major manufacturers have made a point of filling out the best entry-level ends of their offerings with lots of high-quality devices that offer a sophisticated imaging experience. This is especially true given all the best cheap camera deals we’re seeing at the moment.

How is this possible? Well, there are two main reasons: first that cameras are generally becoming more and more advanced as the years go by and new models are released. This is the kind of rising tide that lifts all boats, because features that once you’d only see on probably the most advanced and best DSLR cameras or greatest mirrorless camera models are now an expected standard even on the basic entry-level cameras. Features like Wi-Fi, Full HD video, a complicated autofocus system and more: it’s all regular these days!

The other factor is that some (not all) manufacturers are pretty good about keeping their older models on the market, so you can pick up an absolute bargain if you don’t mind picking up a camera that isn’t the absolute freshest in the marketplace. Sony is particularly good for this, with its sophisticated a6000 series of mirrorless digital cameras and RX100 compacts all boasting back catalogues that are still widely available, and at a friendly price.

Best Digital Cameras in 2020 For Under $500:

1. Sony a6000

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP...
  • Advanced 24.2MP back Illuminated 35 millimeter full frame image sensor
  • ISO 100 25600 (expandable to 51200). Lens compatibility: Sony E mount lenses
  • Hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • Up to 11 FPS continuous shooting. Battery Life (Still Images): Up to 360 shots. Metering type:1200-zone evaluative...

Check Out: Best Sony Alpha a6000 lenses

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera is a versatile and advanced mirrorless camera featuring a 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor to produce high-resolution still images and Full HD movies with marked low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. Beyond notable imaging traits, the image processor also lends itself to continuous shooting up to 11 fps and an intelligent Fast Hybrid AF system that uses both phase- and contrast-detection methods to quickly and accurately acquire focus.

For live view monitoring, image playback, and menu navigation, both a large rear monitor and detailed electronic viewfinder are available. The 3.0″ 921k-dot XtraFine LCD screen features a tilting design to facilitate easier use from both high and low angles and also incorporates WhiteMagic technology for easier viewing in bright conditions. The 0.39″ 1,440k-dot Tru-Finder

2. Nikon D3500

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Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G...
  • A DSLR that's as easy to use as a point and shoot camera
  • Compact, comfortable design that's great for travel and special events
  • Image sensor that's 15x larger than those used in typical smartphones for sharper, clearer pictures
  • Works with Nikon’s snap bridge app for sharing photos with a compatible smartphone or tablet

Check Out: Best Nikon D3500 Lenses

The Nikon D3500 is the company’s entry-level DSLR camera. It’s essentially the same as its predecessor, the D3400, except that it now uses the same body as the D5600. It continues to have a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor, EXPEED 4 image processor, Full HD video capture and an easy-to-use interface. The camera has an ISO range of 100-25600, an 11-point autofocus system and can shoot continuously at 5 fps. The camera’s Guide Mode makes it easy to learn how to shoot in various situations. While it doesn’t have Wi-Fi, the D3400 has Bluetooth connectivity for transferring images from the camera to a smartphone, albeit slowly.

3. Sony RX100

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Sony RX100 20.2 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera...
  • Approximately 20.1 megapixels , Exmor CMOS Sensor, 28-100mm equivalent F/18-49 lens, ISO 125-6400 Expandable ISO 80,...
  • Operating temperature:Approx. 0°C to 40°C (32F° to 104F°).1080p video, Steady-Shot image stabilization,Rear control...
  • Burst Mode (shots)-Approx10 fps,(VGA) Moving Image Size -640x480 30fps Approx3Mbps. Flash range:ISO Auto: approximately...
  • Bright F18 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with 36x zoom, Full HD 1080/60p video with manual control and dual record,...

The Sony Cyber-shot RX100 is one of the most exciting compacts to appear for some time. Until now the Canon PowerShot S and Panasonic LX series has been the compacts of choice for enthusiast photographers looking for the elusive balance of quality and control in a pocketable format. But for all of their sophistication, the PowerShot S and Lumix LX collection use a 1/1.7in sensor – only marginally larger than the 1/2.3in sensor found in most consumer compacts.

The genius of the Sony RX100 is that it manages to squeeze a comparatively large 1in sensor into a compact form that you really can slip into your shirt or jeans pocket. Its small size doesn’t mean the RX100 is lacking in features either. With great quality 1080p50/60 HD video, built-in stereo mics, face tracking AF, 10fps continuous full resolution shooting, RAW support and a 3 inch extra-bright high resolution LCD display it’s a very capable compact. Add in Sony’s array of specialised stacking modes for enhanced tonal range and improved low light performance, sweep panorama, focus peaking and a wide range of picture effects and the RX100 is the equal of anything its size.

4. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II Compact Digital...
  • 1.0 Inch, 20.1 Megapixel High sensitivity CMOS sensor
  • Digic 7 image processor. Compatible with iOS versions 8.4,9.3 and 10.2 and Android smartphone and tablet versions...
  • Ultra slim, lightweight and pocket size camera
  • Features: Touch screen panel (capacitive type)

The PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a pocketable camera that packs a 1″-type sensor and 28-84mm equivalent F2.0-4.9 lens. On the surface, it offers good build quality, a broad feature set, an intuitive touch-based interface and excellent connectivity. However, its lens is very soft, which greatly affects image quality, and battery life is poor.

5. Canon M50

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Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Vlogging Camera Kit with...
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF for fast, accurate autofocus that helps you get the photo you want right as the moment happens
  • 241 Megapixel APS C CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 8 Image Processor delivers incredible color, clear details, and stunning...
  • Vari angle touchscreen LCD has a flexible tilt range ideal for high angle and low angle shooting, and reviewing your...
  • Built in high resolution electronic viewfinder features approximately 2,360,000 dots to see high amounts of detail when...

Check Out: Best Canon M50 Lenses

As a stills camera, The Canon EOS M50 is a solid choice for photographers who want something more advanced than an entry-level digital camera, without going overboard. Its image quality, improved AF system and wireless connectivity are all impressive, and the new C-Raw format is really a nice bonus. If 4K video is what you’re after, the M50 is not the camera for you due to its high crop factor, rolling shutter and mediocre AF performance.

6. Nikon D3400

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Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G...
  • Snap Bridge Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 24.2mp dx format CMOS sensor
  • Expeed 4 image processor
  • No optical low pass filter. Bluetooth specification version 4.1. Wi-Fi functionality eye fi compatible

Check Out: Best Lenses for Nikon D3400

A sleek and now connected DSLR for all, The Nikon D3400 is designed to produce better image quality than your smartphone, yet work seamlessly with your mobile devices for sharing your memories.

Utilizing a DX-format 24.2MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor, this camera provides a native sensitivity range from ISO 100-25600 to suit working in a variety of lighting conditions, and the sensor and processor combination also provides a 5 fps continuous shooting rate as well as Full HD 1080p video recording at 60 fps. The sensor’s design also omits an optical low-pass filter in order to achieve greater sharpness and resolution from both photos and videos.

Beyond image creation, The Nikon D3400 also features SnapBridge, which utilizes Bluetooth connectivity, for wireless sharing of images to your mobile device, including automatic sharing of 2MP images between the camera and your mobile device. The lightweight camera body incorporates a 3.0″ 921k-dot LCD screen for live view monitoring and image review and, catering to first-time DSLR owners, the Nikon D3400 also features a helpful Guide Mode to aid in achieving specific photographic looks or techniques, such as how to produce a shallow depth of field imagery in a helpful, step-by-step manner. Ten different Special Effects are also available in-camera to creatively refine the look of both stills and movies.

7. Panasonic Lumix FZ80

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Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1...
  • Point and Shoot Long Zoom Camera: 18.1 megapixel MOS sensor plus 60X zooms DC Vario lens (20 1220 millimeter and Power...
  • High Resolution View Finder & LCD Display: High resolution 1,170K dot view finder and rear touch enabled 3 inch LCD...
  • 4K video Capture: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160) with three unique 4K ultra HD video pause and save 4K photo...
  • Low Light Performance: Low light capture lets you enjoy photography during your nightlife again with impressive results;...

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 / FZ82 is a bridge super-zoom with a 60x optical range. It updates the Lumix FZ70 / FZ72, retaining the older model’s 20-1200mm lens, but with a new 18 Megapixel sensor, an upgraded 3 inch 1040k dot fixed touch screen, and a more detailed 0.2in 1.7 Million dot EVF. Also new are 4K video and 4K Photo modes, excellent Wifi for wireless shooting and image transfer, faster continuous shooting, improved AF with Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus technology and USB charging. It’s got just about everything you could wish for in a bridge camera at this price bar an articulated screen, so comes highly recommended.

8. Fujifilm X-T10

Fujifilm X-T10 Silver Mirrorless Digital Camera...
  • 16MP X-Trans CMOS II Sensor W/ EXR Processor II
  • New Auto Focus System - Single, Zone, Wide x AF-S, AF-C - 3D Tracking (Wide x AF-C) - Phase Detection + Contrast
  • 2.36M dot OLED Electronic VF - World’s shortest display lag time 0.005sec. - 0.62x Finder Magnification
  • New “X-T” Design - Compact Magnesium Body - Well balanced handing and grip - 3 Dials on Top and 2 Command Dials -...

Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T10

The Fujifilm X-T10 is a mirrorless camera that comes under the range of $800. It is often characterized by retro styling and a sleek design. The camera is equipped with many new technologies like e-viewfinder, multi-focusing modes and unique sensor designs.

Fujifilm X-T10 camera features a 16.3 megapixels camera that captures some of the most extraordinary photographs. The processor and the sensor work together to provide some extended and advanced image taking capabilities. The video recording of the camera is relatively limited to Full HD 1080p videos at about 60 frames per second but the ISO range goes up to 51200. This extended range makes it easier for the user to capture in high and low light situations. A variety of shooting modes are available and the LCD monitor also marks the reviews for the images taken. The Built-In Wi-Fi and Bluetooth is also complementary in every $1000 dollar and this camera features both. So wireless sharing to other phones and tablets is now easy which makes this camera a good choice in the hands of a mid to high budgeted customer.

9. Canon PowerShot Elph 180 / IXUS 185

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Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera (Silver) +...
  • The sleek Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is a slim, beautiful digital camera that takes stunning photographs and records...
  • The PowerShot ELPH 180 camera's DIGIC 4+ Image Processor features accelerated processing speed to create fast,...
  • Get a close snapshot of the action with 8x magnification, while the 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor helps produce vibrant and...
  • Smart AUTO intelligently chooses an appropriate setting according to the subject and environment

The PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera from Canon is a convenient point-and-shoot featuring a 20.0MP 1/2.3″ CCD sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor. Together, the sensor and processor offer notable image quality for stills shooting as well as HD 720p video recording at 25 fps. Complementing the imaging capabilities, an 8x optical zoom lens covers wide-angle to telephoto perspectives to suit capturing in a variety of locations. This lens is also benefitted by Digital IS, which helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting. Additionally, the camera’s sleek design is complemented by a 2.7″ 230k-dot LCD for picture playback and live view monitoring, and a host of shooting features are available to intelligently select exposure settings, creatively adjust the look of imagery, or to simply learn more about how to use all of the shooting controls of the ELPH 180.

10. Sony WX350

Sony DSCWX350 18 MP Digital Camera (Black)
  • 20x Optical/40x Clear Image Zoom G Lens
  • Keep your subject in focus with Lock-On AF
  • Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi w/ NFC3
  • Motion Shot Video traces subject movement

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 features an 18.2 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and the company’s latest Bionz X processor, and puts it into a slim body with a 20X, 25-500mm equivalent F3.5-6.5 lens. The WX350 shoots up to ten shots at 10 fps, records 1080/60p video, and has a ‘Motion Shot feature’ for capturing things like golf swings. It also has Wi-Fi with NFC.

11. Panasonic Lumix LX10

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Panasonic LUMIX LX10 4K Digital Camera, 20.1...
  • POINT-AND-SHOOT CAMERA: Large, 1-inch 20.1-megapixel MOS sensor plus 3X zoom LEICA DC VARIO-SU millimeter ILUX lens...
  • TILTING SELFIE DISPLAY: Rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display (1040K dots) tilts upward 180 degree for easy selfie...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO and 4K Post Focus with...
  • LENS-MOUNTED CONTROL RING: Manual lens-mounted control ring brings DSLR-like exposure control to a compact...

The DMC-Lx10 is n updated version of Panasonic’s LX line of enthusiast compacts. It maintains the small body, bright lens ethos that has made the range so popular but now includes a 20MP 1″-type sensor. A decent number of control points and touchscreen mean plenty of direct control, despite the small size. A 24-72mm equivalent F1.4-2.8 lens makes it a very capable pocket camera. A 1″-type sensor, excellent autofocus and solid 4K video make the LX10/LX15 Panasonic’s most capable pocket camera yet. The ergonomics aren’t all we were hoping but a good degree of customization and a responsive touchscreen make it quick and easy to use.

12. Panasonic DMC-ZS60

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Panasonic Lumix 4K Digital Camera with 30X LEICA...
  • 30x (24-720 millimeter) Leica DC lens optical zoom performance is ideally suited for travel and everyday photography
  • 18 Megapixel sensor delivers high-resolution photos with fewer image artifacts
  • 4K Ultra HD video recording Plus exclusive Lumix 4K PHOTO and 4K post focus photo capture features
  • Eye-level electronic viewfinder (EVF) and touch-enabled LCD for a wider viewing experience

The Lumix DMC-ZS60 (TZ80 outside of North America) is a compact travel zoom with a 30X, 24-720mm equivalent lens. It sports an 18MP MOS sensor, the company’s latest Venus Engine processor, speedy Depth-from-Defocus autofocus technology and 4K/UHD video recording. Photos can be composed on a 3″ touchscreen display or a 0.2″, 1.16M-dot electronic viewfinder. Support for Wi-Fi is also included.

13. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

Canon PowerShot SX740 Digital Camera w/40x Optical...
  • 40x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer and zoom framing assist
  • 4K video and 4K time-lapse movie
  • 20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor
  • High-speed continuous shooting

The Canon PowerShot SX70 HS is a super-zoom camera with DSLR-styling, 20 Megapixel resolution and a 65x optical zoom range equivalent to 21-1365mm. Successor to the four-year-old SX60 HS, the new SX70 HS inherits the zoom range, side-hinged touch-screen and much the same body as its predecessor (albeit losing the hot-shoe which is frustrating if you want to mount an external flash or microphone), but upgrades the 1 /2.3in type sensor from 16 to 20 Megapixels, couples it with the latest DIGIC 8 processor to gain 10fps shooting and cropped 4k video, and upgrades the viewfinder size and resolution. In terms of the lens variety, the SX70 HS lens may now be out-gunned by the 125x zoom on the Nikon P1000, but 65x still covers virtually any situation and crucially Canon’s pitching it at almost half the price which, with the updates, makes it a very tempting option. I can’t award it more than four stars, because the increase in sensor resolution is accompanied by a reduction in low light performance at high ISOs. That aside, it’s still the best small sensor / big range super-zoom out there at this price point and comes Highly recommended.

14. Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200

PANASONIC LUMIX ZS200 15X Leica DC Lens with...
  • [Larger 1 Inch Sensor] 20.1 Megapixels large sensor for brighter and more colorful photos (12800 Max ISO).
  • [LEICA DC 15x Lens] Leading class optical zoom performance with a bright F3.3 ? 6.4 aperture for soft defocus background...
  • [Creative Control] Scene modes, filter modes, adds creativity while traditional aperture and shutter priority modes...
  • [4K Features] 4K Video 30p, 4K PHOTO, and 4K Live Crop turn 4K frame capture into photography. Focusing Area - Normal:...

Panasonic’s ZS200/TZ200 is a 20MP 1″-sensor compact that updates the existing ZS100 and its 25-250mm equiv. zoom with a 24-360mm equiv. F3.3-6.4 lens that’s both slightly wider and much longer (though a bit slower). Like its predecessor the ZS200 offers a 3″ touchscreen, accompanied by an upgraded 2.3 million-dot EVF with 0.53x magnification.

Contrast-detect autofocus is aided by Panasonic’s very good Depth from Defocus technology, and up to 10 fps burst shooting is available with AF-S (6 fps in AF-C). Rounding out a travel-friendly feature set are 4K video, Wi-Fi with Bluetooth, 5-axis image stabilization and a new L.Monochrome Photo Style for a black-and-white film look.

15. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II

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Canon PowerShot Digital Camera [G7 X Mark II] with...
  • The advanced video capabilities of the PowerShot G7 X Mark II camera can capture moments in the quality they deserve
  • Features a large 1.0 inch, 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor that helps capture high quality images and videos with a wide...
  • An aperture value of f/1.8 at the wide angle and f/2.8 when fully zoomed to a factor of 4.2x (24 100 millimeter), this...
  • High resolution, 3.0 inches LCD monitor that tilts up 180 degrees and down 45 degrees is ideal for self portraits and...

Blending notable imaging qualities with refined handling, The PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera from Canon is a compact point-and-shoot characterized by its large feature-set.

Utilizing a 20.1MP 1″ CMOS sensor and DIGIC 7 image processor, this camera offers a maximum ISO 12800 in Program mode and achieves smooth image quality with reduced noise when working in low-light conditions. Additionally, it is also capable of recording stills at up to 8 fps as well as Full HD 1080p60 video. Complementing the sensor and processor combination is a versatile 4.2x zoom lens, which provides a 24-100mm equivalent focal length range, covering wide-angle to short-telephoto perspectives. A fast f/1.8-f/2.8 maximum aperture maintains consistent performance throughout the zoom range and also benefits working in difficult lighting conditions. The lens design is surrounded by a familiar control ring that offers intuitive control over settings, and a large 3.0″ 1.04m-dot tilting touchscreen LCD provides a natural means for composing imagery from a variety of shooting angles. Additionally, the G7 X Mark II also features built-in Wi-Fi with NFC for wireless sharing of imagery to smartphones or tablets, as well as remote camera control from linked mobile devices.

16. Nikon D3200

Check Out: Best Lenses for Nikon D3200

The Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm is a professional imaging machine in the truest sense. It captures stunning high-resolution JPEG and RAW still photos and HD 1080p video via its 24.2MP DX-format CMOS sensor. Enjoy superior colour and sharpness, make gorgeous adjustments and perform creative cropping without any loss in sharpness. The camera’s EXPEED III image processor makes optimal use of the 24.2MP sensor, producing fine tonal gradations and exceptional colour fidelity. The large 3.0″ (7.6cm) 921K-dot LCD allows bright, clear framing, playback, menu navigation and Guide Mode settings.

While the Nikon D3200 is a pro-level camera, it’s certainly more than accessible by those who are not professionals. In-camera guidance shows you, step-by-step, the way to change camera settings, and provides sample photos for easy comprehension.

With an optional wireless mobile adapter, you have the ability to automatically send superb images to your smartphone–or even use the phone to remotely control the camera for still shooting. The easy-to-use app makes it all possible.

17. Sony a68

Sony a68 Translucent Mirror DSLR Camera (Body...
  • Wide area 79-point Phase Detection “4D Focus” AF system, 24.2MP APS-C sensor for astonishing image quality with fine...
  • SteadyShot INSIDE In-body image stabilization for every A-mount lens, Full HD XAVC S movie recording 30p/24p up to...
  • Large 2.7” tillable, 460K dot LCD screen, Up to ISO 25,600 for clean low light images with low noise, Top display,...

Check Out: Best Sony a68 Lenses

Sony A68 is an entry-level DSLR camera which combines both appeal and performance. It contains the features which are found in some of the bigger yet expensive cameras. The compact camera size counts for its wide use.

Sony A68 CMOS sensor is rated at 24 megapixels. The continuous shooting rate exists at 8 frames per second. The whole system of the camera is speedy and accurate because it utilizes a 79 phase-detect Auto Focus. The camera has been noted widely for its video recording at multiple frame rates depending upon the situation. Sony A68 translucent mirror technology is the exceptional feature of the camera because it allows the mirror to reflect the light on to the image and the auto-focus sensor to provide a precise performance.

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