Purchasing a new digital camera can be quite a tough task if you’re not familiar with the latest and the most advanced features. The best camera doesn’t have to be very expensive. If you are looking for the best digital camera under 300 There are a variety of options with advanced features. Thanks to the advanced camera technology introduced in recent years, there are a lot of choices for those shopping on a budget.
Just because a camera model was launched some years ago, doesn’t mean it is out of the running. A lot of times, a decent older camera can offer somewhat similar specifications and features as a new entry-level model. The image quality can be on par with advanced technology.
This guide is for those on a limited budget looking for the best digital camera under 300. In this guide, we will highlight some important factors to consider when purchasing a digital camera and then move on to product reviews of cameras under 300.
Important Factors To Keep In Mind When Buying The Best Digital Camera Under $300
Nowadays there is a plethora of great cameras that can fit any need or budget. From user-friendly portable cameras that you can toss into your backpack to fancy and highly-advanced professional DSLRs that deliver good quality pictures. However, with such a wide range of options, it is easy to get confused. Don’t worry, we are here to help you out!
Our tips on what to consider when buying a digital camera will help you navigate the various options and find a suitable camera for you that falls within your budget. Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for the best digital camera under 300.
1. Picture Quality
Isn’t picture quality the first thing that comes to your mind when looking for a new camera? If you want the best picture quality for your money, look at the image sensor. The sensor is usually the most costly part of the camera body, and the bigger the sensor, the more expensive the camera. You get two different types of sensors; CCD and CMOS.
The CMOS is most commonly found in budget cameras as it is less expensive to manufacture. However, it is also more prone to image noise and offers low light sensitivity. In budget cameras, sensors usually range from 16 to 20 megapixels.
As with most tech devices, it is crucial to consider how you will be using your new camera. Your purpose of buying the camera is important, for example; will you be using it for taking photos at family gatherings? or are you planning to take the camera rafting with you? If you are into a more active lifestyle, make sure you buy a camera that can endure water, jerks, dust, and extreme weather conditions.
Zoom is one of the most used features on a camera. There are two kinds of zoom; optical zoom or digital zoom. The former measures the actual increase in the lens’s focal length (it is the distance between the center of the lens and the image sensor). The latter, on the other hand, just adjusts the image in the camera itself, cropping the photo. Optical zoom cameras that fall under the $300 price category range from 5x to 42X.
A lot of people who do not use cameras for professional purposes tend to prefer small and lightweight gear. Aim at purchasing a model that you can toss inside a bag and take with you anywhere. This camera will come in handy when you’re feeling lazy and don’t want to go through the trouble of carrying heavy gear.
A compact camera will give you the feeling of just carrying a smartphone. If you are looking for the best digital camera under 300 for regular use, then always choose one you can carry around. You can get a camera that is 16-megapixels or above camera for less than $300.
Megapixels are not a concern anymore. With today’s advanced technology, even compact point-and-shoot cameras offer enough megapixels to print 200x200cm. Gone are the days when megapixels were the most important aspect to consider when purchasing a camera. Even some smartphones today have enough resolution for big prints.
6. Image Stabilization And 4k Video
Image stabilization is a feature that reduces the blur caused due to slight movements of the camera while clicking a picture. It is an important thing to consider as it is responsible for a clear, stable picture. Making videos too has become very important nowadays and being able to record a video in a 4K is definitely a big advantage. If you are planning on making videos with your new camera, make sure it has this feature.
7. Set A Budget
A digital camera is a big investment as it is going to last you years, so you need to choose wisely. Setting a budget before buying not only makes it easy for you to narrow down your options but also ensures you don’t spend more than what you can afford.
When you’re about to buy any big-ticket item like a laptop, smartphone, car, etc. you look through plenty of options, but what you don’t want is to spend your time looking at models you can’t afford. An expensive professional DSLR can definitely offer you a variety of functions and more megapixels than a digital camera under $300, but the former can also be heavy on your pocket if you don’t choose carefully.
If you just want to dabble in photography occasionally, when you go on a vacation or for family functions and birthday parties, then a professional DSLR is of no use to you. If you are starting out in the world of digital photography, you need not spend a lot of money on a high-end camera.
It is better to opt for a cheaper, powerful, easy to handle digital camera that is compact enough to fit inside your coat’s pocket or handbag when you are travelling. With the help of a portable and lightweight camera you can learn the basics and begin exploring your passion for photography.
8. Prime Lens Vs. Zoom Lens
Getting into technicalities can be tough if you’re not familiar with the jargon. When it comes to digital camera lenses you need to know that there are two types of lenses; prime and zoom. A prime lens is also known as a fixed lens as it is a lens with a fixed focal length.
It means that if you want to make a picture look larger, you need to come close to the subject. Similarly, if you need to fit in a lot of objects into your frame, you need to step back.
Prime lenses are usually cheaper and lighter than zoom lenses. They provide good quality pictures but the fixed focal length can be a problem if you don’t have a lot of space to move around. Zoom lens, on the other hand, is a lens with a variable focal length. By slightly adjusting the zoom ring, you can zoom in to a subject or zoom out.
Zoom lenses are considered better than prime lenses because they result in clear, high-quality images while letting you experiment with different looks. For example; you can either take photos of the whole scenery or capture each detail of your subject. These lenses are expensive, bulkier, and more noticeable.
9. Get A Camera With Magnified Photo Previews
Digital cameras offer the ability to preview pictures that you’ve just clicked. This is a great advantage over other types of cameras. You can see what your images look like, try again to cover any fault, and fix them before you develop or get them printed. Magnified photo previews can help you identify the sharpness of a digital image.
The only limitation is that even if your camera features the largest LCD preview screens, you wouldn’t be able to observe all the details in a picture. It is not important to have pin-sharp pictures if they are for personal use, but professionals who are into photography for commercial reasons may need to make sure their photos are of the highest quality.
If this sounds like what you need, then get a digital camera that offers magnified preview mode. If you are looking for the best digital camera under 300, then chances of getting a magnified preview mode are low as this mode are mostly offered in professional DSLRs. Digital cameras with this mode may feature a button or dial next to a magnifying glass, denoting a zoom-in capability.
10. Does The Camera Feature A Built-in Microphone?
The microphone is probably the most overlooked feature of a digital camera. A digital camera with a microphone can offer a lot of benefits. You may want to consider buying a digital camera with a microphone because it offers either a voice memo or movie mode or both.
Voice memo or voice annotation- some digital cameras allow you to describe your pictures either right before or after the shoot, enabling you to illustrate the situation, environment, weather, etc. This can be very useful while organizing your pictures especially if you take thousands of them on tours.
Movie mode with sound- some digital cameras under $300 allow you to make videos as they have AVI or QT format. So, you can shoot small videos or waterfalls, wildlife, birds, fireworks, and more. These short videos may not be as impressive as professional movies that you see in the cinema, but they are decent. If you are looking for the best digital camera under 300 for personal use, then this video quality will suffice.
11. Do Not Expect A Camera To Necessarily Come With A Memory Card
Looking to buy a digital camera under $300? Be prepared to also purchase some memory cards. The requirement of a memory card is actually determined by personal use, i.e. the number of pictures you click using your camera. If you’re looking to buy a new camera, then you’re definitely planning to click lots of pictures, so you’ll certainly need a memory card at some point.
If you buy a digital camera without a package deal, do not expect it to come with sufficient memory storage to handle your photography needs. These days, most models, if they offer any memory card at all, are only packaged with a 16 or 32 GB memory card.
A 16 GB memory card is enough for a couple of dozen photos, but if you are going to take high-quality pictures all in RAW format, they may occupy your memory space very quickly as they tend to be huge files. Get ready to spend some money on at least one extra memory card.
12. What Features Do You Need For Night Photography?
Are you planning on purchasing the best digital camera under 300 for night photography? Perhaps for capturing cityscapes or fireworks displays? If yes, here are a few important things to consider. Note that only the most expensive cameras will have some of these features, so balance your expectations with your budget:
- Some digital cameras feature a special night scene mode; even some of the most affordable models have this mode as it helps with taking photos in low lighting conditions.
- Higher ISO settings let you take properly exposed images at the cost of overall image quality. Do you know how to adjust the ISO settings to 200, 300, or higher without causing your images to become grainy?
- Does your camera come with a shutter speed of a full second, 3 seconds, or longer? You may need to consider this so enough light can reach your camera even in low lighting conditions. But to make this work you would need a tripod or other stabilizing device.
- Most digital cameras that cost under $300 come with built-in image stabilization mode or vibration reduction features as those who buy such cameras won’t be investing in tripods or other stabilizing accessories. These features compensate for the “camera shake” effect when you try to keep your camera still during lengthy exposures.
13. Don’t Get Caught Up In Megapixels
When you think of the best digital cameras under $300, the number of megapixels is usually the first thing that crosses your mind. But, what if we tell you that they are not everything when it comes to purchasing a digital camera? It is very easy when you are looking for a digital camera to get stuck in the megapixel race. Most often it’s amateur salesmen who try to sell expensive cameras claiming that the higher the number of megapixels, the better the picture quality.
Surely if a digital camera offers more megapixels, it is supposed to take better and sharper pictures than other cameras, right? Below we have listed two reasons why this is not always true: More megapixels do not always mean clearer images. The quality of the megapixels is as important as the number. For example; most image sensor pixels can only determine a specific area’s redness, blueness, or greenness, but not all three. This is the reason why you sometimes get a mosaic effect. This is also why you usually need to adjust the warmth of a photo because not enough redness was captured.
New technologies have now emerged like the Foveon X3 triple later sensor array where each pixel can spot redness, blueness, etc. This results in sharper, warmer, and better pictures.
You should also consider other features in a digital camera apart from the megapixel count such as how quickly can you set the shutter speed? This can help you do a night or sports photography. Does the camera feature a manual white-balance control? It can help you take photos in homes, offices, party halls, etc. Does it offer pre-programmed modes to help in low lighting situations?
14. Does Flash Come With A Digital Camera?
Almost all types of digital cameras available today on the market come with a built-in flash. However, cameras that cost below $300 often don’t feature a powerful flash. However, it is not worth worrying about if you are not into professional or commercial photography.
Built-in flash, even in high-end DSLRs, is not as powerful as external flash, which you might consider purchasing if you are a professional photographer who mostly shoots indoors or in low-light conditions. External flashes are also much more convenient than the built-in ones. This is something you should keep in mind when buying a digital camera.
15. How Much Optical Zoom Is Required?
Do you need a camera with 6x optical zoom or is 2x or 3x sufficient? This tip is especially useful for users of compact and intermediate digital cameras that cost under $300. DSLR users can buy lenses with different zooming capabilities, as highlighted earlier while distinguishing between prime and zoom lens.
With a variety of options available, one question you may think about is how much optical zoom do you require for the types of pictures you want to click? If you want to purchase the best digital camera under 300 with a greater optical zoom distance, it will cost you a lot more than the one offering only a 2x or 3x zoom.
You need to arrive at a decision based on your budget and purpose of use. While there are no hard and fast rules, you should have the following tip in mind. Understand that even if you don’t really need a big zoom for the majority of your work, there will be times when it may be useful.
16. More Megapixels Means Greater Cropping Ability
We have talked about why you shouldn’t solely rely on megapixels. Let’s discuss the benefits of having more megapixels. Cameras that offer a higher number of megapixels allow you to crop more. A digital camera that has more than 5 megapixels does offer some benefits over cameras with fewer megapixels, including the ability to crop pictures.
Not every picture will turn out great. Someone or something may get in the way of a monument or a landmark. At times, no matter how well you set your frame, random elements will need to be removed before printing.
17. More Control May Cost You More
Cameras that come with a manual mode might be costly. While digital cameras under $300 are great for beginners and amateur photographers, you may have to pay a little more if you want to get full control. By “full control”, we mean the ability to set both your aperture and shutter speed at the same time along with the ability to adjust ISO.
Low-priced digital cameras may only allow you to set the shutter speed or aperture separately, not both at the same time. In most cases, these two modes should work well, but in very low-lighting conditions you may need the ability to override your camera’s calculations.
18. Consider A Waterproof Camera
Some digital cameras are made to withstand water. In case you think you would need to click photos out in the rain, snow, or extreme weather, lens shade, and rain or snow covers may assist, but if you can afford it, you may want to invest in a waterproof camera. If you like participating in adventure sports or if you often visit beaches and the like, then a waterproof camera is the ideal choice.
A lot of camera manufacturers make waterproof cameras (sometimes known as underwater cameras). These devices can withstand being submerged in 100 feet or more without getting damaged. We have listed a few of the best waterproof cameras in our review section, so if you’re interested in getting one, make sure you check them out.
If you are not interested in buying a waterproof camera, you can get a waterproof case that provides you extra protection to your current investment.
Now that you’ve gained a lot of information on what features to look for when buying a camera on a budget, it’s time to check out some amazing options available online. We have listed some of the best digital cameras under 300 manufactured by renowned brands like Kodak, Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Fujifilm.
Top 12 Best Digital Camera Under $300 2021
1. Panasonic Lumix DC-FZ80
The first one on our list of best cameras under 300 is the Panasonic Lumix DC0FZ80. It zooms to a maximum of 60 times the original frame, thereby allowing you to capture all the small details. It offers a 0mm wide-angle feature that is specifically beneficial while photographing incredible landscapes. If you’re into landscape photography, this is definitely a good option for you.
For making videos, this model offers 4K video capture technology. Al videos are captured in HD quality, and the result is undoubtedly remarkable. It performs well in areas with low lighting, which means that you may get good pictures even at night. It features an amazing image stabilization interface.
Post focus is another incredible technological advancement seen in this device. The system allows for you to select the point focus even after a picture has been taken. This compact camera is a decent choice if you’re looking to buy the best digital camera under 300.
The second one on our list is the Canon PowerShot SX530. Canon is an extremely popular Japanese brand that holds a monopoly in the market. The PowerShot range offers some of the best digital cameras under 300 and this list also contains other models belonging to this range. The SX530 is a high-quality DSLR and offers a 24.1 MP APS-C CMOS sensor as well as a DIGIC 4 image processor.
With an ISO capability of 100-6400 and 3-fps shooting, you can take amazing pictures and record high-quality videos. One additional feature is that it has the ability to automatically choose the best mode for photography depending on lighting conditions. This is known as “Scene Intelligent Auto Mode” and is rarely found in cameras under $300.
It features a nine-point AF with center cross-type point. The video quality is decent at 1080/30p in full HD mode. Its screen monitor is LCD and spans 3” with a 920k-dot build. Additional features include; built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, that make a picture and video sharing very easy. All you need to do is connect the camera to your laptop or PC to begin transferring data.
3. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS
This is another contender for the best digital camera under 300 from the Canon PowerShot range. It offers many great features and is a high-quality camera you should definitely consider if you’re on a budget. It comes with ISO 3200 with 5.9 fps shooting plus employs a helpful zoom framing assistant to help you get the perfect picture.
It comes with a built-in image stabilization feature that helps eliminate blurry shots and achieve a refined final photo. Image stabilization works on video mode too, allowing you to get a less blurry video. The SX720 is a 20.3 MP camera that can zoom up to 40 times the original size to let you capture small details.
Its video capturing ability is extremely good at 1080p and the viewfinder is an LCD with more than 2” display size. The device flaunts built-in NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity to allow for convenient data sharing to laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Gone are the days when photos could only be transferred via cable. With this model, everything is wireless and hassle-free.
4. Canon PowerShot SX420
Canon PowerShot is one of the most well-reputed cameras ranges launched by the brand. This particular model is a powerful digital camera under $300 that offers a variety of amazing features. This camera comes with an optical zoom capacity up to 42x. The 1.2.3” CDD image sensor and a DIGIC 4 image processor make sure you are able to get incredible high-quality clicks.
The video quality it offers is also excellent as it can record videos in HD mode with a resolution of 720p at 25 fps. This model is designed with an advanced image stabilization system that reduces the effect of hand movement when recording to make sure you don’t get shaky pictures or videos.
Are you quite active on social media and love sharing your clicks with your friends? This device has built-in Wi-Fi making it very convenient to share pictures. You don’t need a data cable anymore, just sync to a smartphone or tablet, and all images and videos can be quickly transferred. This makes the camera very handy and convenient..
5. Canon PowerShot SX620 HS
This is the last one from the Canon PowerShot range mentioned on our list of best digital cameras under 300. The PowerShot SX620 is a model worth betting on as it comes with a 12-month warranty period from Canon and is sure to last many years if taken proper care of. It comes with a 20.2 MP camera with a ½ .3” CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 image sensor.
It features a wide 3-inch LCD with a 922k-dot monitor as well as an electronic viewfinder, so you can clearly see the pictures you’ve clicked. This camera shoots videos at 1080p at 30 fps. Its image stabilization makes sure you don’t get any blurry images.
The total weight of the camera is just 3 pounds, which is average for a compact digital camera. So you can pop it inside your bag and take it anywhere with you. It comes with a few additional accessories like a kit that contains an adapter, an additional battery, and a cleaning kit.
6. Fujifilm FinePix S4800
Fujifilm is another leading Japanese multinational imaging and photography company headquartered in Tokyo. It manufactures some of the most incredible cameras in the world. Its products sell quite well in the global market. The FinePix S4800 is a high-quality digital camera that comes with a 3-inch wide TFT color LCD monitor.
It flaunts an amazing range of 16 million effective pixels and a 2.3 inch CCD image sensor with a primary color filter. The lens offers 30 times optical zoom capacity and a 7.2 times digital zoom. The focal length it offers is f/4.33 mm to 129 mm.
It features an impressive 1280x720p resolution for video making with 30fps. A couple of shooting modes are offered and they can be changed to suit the lighting conditions and environment.
7. Nikon Coolpix B500
Nikon is another brilliant Japanese company that has been producing cameras for decades. Cameras from this brand can be trusted and are well known for their quality standards. Nikon COOLPIX B500 offers a 16MP camera resolution with a ½.3” BSI CMOS sensor. It also comes with a NIKKOR f/3/0-6/5 ED lens that comes with a zoom capacity of up to 40 times the original image size via an optical zoom lens.
It can go up to 80 times with dynamic zoom. Transferring data to and from this camera is very easy owing to its Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options. You don’t need data cables or wires any more to share pictures and videos on your phone or PC.
This model has a 1080p resolution at 30 fps for high-quality video recording, which is exceptionally good for cameras under $300. All videos get recorded in HD and yield amazing results.
8. Fujifilm FinePix XP130
This is another contender for the best digital camera under 300 by Fujifilm. The FinePix XP130 is a digital camera that is both waterproof and freezeproof up to 65 feet and 14 degrees respectively. It is also shockproof and dustproof to nearly 6 feet.
It offers a 16.4 megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor, ideal for dark settings, which means that you can get amazing pictures even at night. It features Fujinon 5x wide-angle optical zoom that allows you to click high-quality images and make 1080p HD videos up to 60 fps. It comes with built-in Bluetooth sharing, so you can transfer your pictures instantly without a cable.
One of its best features is its built-in remote camera option, allowing you to take photos with your smartphone through the Fujifilm camera remote application. The camera weighs only one pound, which is extremely light for a digital camera.
9. Nikon Coolpix W100
For those who like a hassle-free camera that can be tossed in the beach, pool, or lake (be it intentionally or accidentally) look or further than the Nikon COOLPIX W100. It is an affordable model that features the most basic weather-proofing specs, so you can take this with you on any kind of vacation.
It is waterproof up to 33 feet, freezeproof down to 14 degrees, and shockproof up to 6 feet. It has got a 3x wide-angle NIKKOR glass zoom lens with a middling 13 MP CMOS image sensor. The model offers 1080p resolution for full HD video recording and a smart interface with large buttons for underwater photography.
It is an easy-to-use camera that can be used for clicking great pictures even in extreme weather conditions. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a basic waterproof camera under $300. If you can afford to spend a couple more dollars, then you should check out the Olympus TG-4.
10. Sony DSCW800
The Sony W800 point-and-shoot camera is compact, classy, sleek, and user-friendly. It is ideal for photographers who want better quality images and some versatility if they plan to travel frequently or stay on-the-go quite often, but are not looking for the complexity of a professional DSLR.
This camera can be used for clicking pictures as well as making videos (720p HD). It offers easy playback features, comes with 5x optical zoom, a wide-angle lens, incredible flash, and good quality CCD image sensor.
One of its additional features is its “picture effect” technology that offers you a variety of modes to choose from, such as the nifty sweep panorama mode to capture the entire scene in front of you. If you are looking for the best digital camera under 300 that takes better images than your smartphone but is easy to use and portable enough to easily carry around, this model is a suitable option for you.
11. Olympus TG-870
Olympus is another renowned camera manufacturing brand that has been around for years now. The Olympus TG-870 is a versatile piece and is made for adventure. The rugged features make it a solid camera to take with you on your vacations. Moreover, it is waterproof up to 50 feet, features built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.
It is shockproof, free proof, and crushproof up to 220 pounds. The camera also offers a variety of picture modes and scene modes so that it can take accustomed pictures in different kinds of environments. Whether you are on the mountains or on the beach looking at the perfect sunset, this camera will deliver amazing shots.
It is small enough to fit inside your jacket’s pocket and durable enough to withstand the elements. If you like going on adventurous tours and are looking to buy a sturdy camera to take along with you, then look no further than this model. It costs a bit more than our targeted price range, but it won’t disappoint you.
12. Kodak PIXPRO AZ421
The last model on our list of best digital cameras under 300 is the Kodak PIXPRO AZ42116. This digital camera can be used to click sharp close-ups, amazing movies, or splendid panoramas. The versatility it offers along with various amazing features makes it a great option in this price range. It is a bit difficult to get from retail stores, but it is available online on certain sites.
It comes with 42x zoom capabilities and a 24mm wide-angle lens. This allows the user to take clear images even if they are far from the object. Pictures can be viewed instantly after they are taken on a wide LCD screen. This camera also features multiple setting options, all of which are user-friendly to navigate.
It can automatically detect faces, links, smiles, and more and comes with picture-enhancing features like red-eye removal, skin softening, and eye brightening. It is both affordable and effective, making it a great buy for anyone looking for a powerful and performance-driven camera. If you prefer having some side features that don’t usually come with other popular camera models, this is the camera for you.
Investing in a good digital camera is important if you want to click post-worthy photos. All the cameras discussed in the review guide are high-quality products and worth your money. Most of the products come with additional memory cards, so you don’t need to worry about the number of videos and pictures that can be stored in them.
These cameras are great for people on a budget, like students and those who do not pursue photography professionally. A few of them are also suitable for videographers as they offer an image stability mode that reduces noise while recording without a tripod.
If you’re not satisfied with any of the models listed above, you can surely explore more on your own, but keep in mind all of the important factors listed earlier. All in all, choose a camera that fits your personal needs. Best of luck!