Best Point & Shoot Cameras Under $300
In an earlier post, we had looked at the best point & shoot cameras under $200. Now, we increased the budget to 300 dollars and selected the best compact cameras under $300 for you.
1. Canon PowerShot Sx710 HS
The Canon PowerShot Sx710 HS was announced nearly two years ago. But it remains a formidable choice under $300. This baby is powered by a 20.3 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 6 image processor. Together they form the Canon HS system. Canon’s HS system produces better imagery even in low light conditions; something that the Sx710 HS is equipped with.
The fixed zooming lens has a focal length coverage of 25-750mm (35mm format equivalent). This is the beauty of small compact cameras. They have very versatile built-in lenses. For one thing, these lenses mostly, have a phenomenal focal range in a relatively small compact frame. Plus, the same lens can be used for the purpose of shooting macro photography. The Sx710 HS’s lens has a maximum aperture of f/3.2 (wide) to f/6.9 (tele).
At the back of the camera is a 3” 922k-dot LCD monitor. The lack of a viewfinder, optical or otherwise, means this is what you will be using for the purpose of composing images; and for reviewing them. The Sx710 HS shoots full HD videos at up to 60p and high-resolution stills in JPEG format of the size 5184 x 3888 pixels. A built-in mic records stereo sound.
It has both NFC and Wi-Fi built-in and also has Intelligent (Optical) Image Stabilization. Continuous shooting speed of the camera is six fps.
ISO sensitivity of the sensor can be selected between 80 and 3200. The built-in flash has a range of 0.5 – 3.5 m in wide mode and 1.4 – 2 m in tele mode. The single SD card slot supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards. You can read all the reviews, specs and see the current price of the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS on Amazon here.
2. Canon PowerShot SX420 IS
The Canon PowerShot SX420 IS fits the profile of a classic compact superzoom camera perfectly. It has a semi-DSLR style body, with a grip that is quite pronounced compared to most other compact cameras that are listed here.
The SX420 IS is built around a 20 megapixel 1/2.3″ CCD sensor capable of producing large fine JPEGs of the size 5152 x 3864 pixels. Image processing is handled by Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processing.
The lens of the SX420 IS is what is probably is its greatest USP. It has a focal length coverage of 24-1008mm (in 35mm focal length parlance). The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3.5 (wide) and f/6.6 (tele). It comes with optical image stabilization as well.
The SX420 IS is capable of shooting 720p HD videos at 25 fps. There is a built-in mic, but the sound quality that is recorded is mono. ISO sensitivity of the sensor is 100 to 1600. It can be set to Auto, when the camera selects an ISO number automatically depending on the shooting settings and ambient light or you can manually select it.
The 3” rear LCD screen has a resolution of 230,000 pixels and gives 100% frame coverage. There is no optical or electronic viewfinder, and that means this is the only photo composing as well as image reviewing window.
Built-in Wi-Fi ensures images and videos can be transferred to a laptop or external network storage over a wireless connection. The camera has a single SD card storage, and it accepts SDHC, SD, and SDXC cards.
3. Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870
What if your compact camera doubles up as an all-weather durable camera, something that you can carry with you practically everywhere? Introducing the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870.
Although action cameras are no longer a cliché with GoPro dominating the segment, an affordable all-weather camera, something that lives up to its promise without the need for extra accessories has remained an elusive dream.
The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-870 changes all that. At under $300 the Tough TG-870 is a fantastic all weather camera.
The TG-870 was launched in January 2016. Built around an effective 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor and powered by TruePic VII Image Processor, the Tough TG-870 is capable of producing JPEG images of the size 4608 x 3456 pixels. It is also capable of recording full HD videos at 60 fps.
The camera is powered by Olympus’ iHS technology. This technology enables the camera to produce better results even in low light with an improved ISO sensitivity of 6400. BSI sensor architecture ensures a better light gathering design than traditional sensor architectures.
The lens of the Tough TG-870 has a focal length coverage of 21-105mm (35mm format equivalent).The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3.5 (wide) to f/5.7 (tele).
The Tough TG-870 has a respectable burst rate seven fps at full resolution for up to a maximum of 7 frames. But the feature that sets the Tough TG-870 apart from the rest of the lot is its weatherproofing. The camera is waterproof up to a depth of 50’, will survive a fall from a height of 7’ can work in temperatures of 14 ˚ F and sustain pressures of up to 220 lbf.
The back of the camera is dominated by a 3” LCD screen which can tilt up to 180 ˚ (ideal if you ever wanted to make a selfie during rain and those sort of things) and has a resolution of 920k dots.
Connectivity features include built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. Built-in Wi-Fi ensures that you can transfer images and videos to a network drive or your laptop via available wireless networks. Built-in GPS is for those who love to tag their photos with locational data. These can be read using popular map applications for accurate labeling when uploading to social media websites.
4. Canon PowerShot SX620 HS
Another compact superzoom camera on this list. The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS is designed around a 20.2 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 4+ image processing engine. Together these two form what Canon tags as the HS system. The ISO sensitivity of the sensor is 80-3200. The 20.2megapixel sensor can produce JPEG images of the size 5184 x 3888 pixels.
The built-in lens of the SX620 HS gives a 35mm format compatible focal length range of 25-625mm. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3.2 (wide) and f/6.6 (tele). Optical image stabilization is also provided. This is extremely necessary when shooting hand-held.
The Canon SX620 HS is a capable video shooter. It can capture full HD videos at 30 fps. A maximum continuous clip length of 29 mins and 59 secs can be recorded. The built-in mic of the SX620 HS is, however, mono. Continuous shooting speed is also respectable. It can shoot at a continuous speed of 7.1 fps at full resolution, but not for too many frames.
A tiny built-in flash has also been provided. In reality, this flash is more for using as a fill light when shooting in bright conditions and for using in less than perfect light for a good hand-held exposure. The range of the flash is 0.5 – 4 m when in wide mode and 1 – 2 m when in telephoto mode.
For the lack of an optical or electronic viewfinder superzoom camera and for that matter all compact cameras have to reply on an LCD screen to compose images. The SX620 HS has a 3” LCD screen with a resolution of 922,000 pixels. It gives 100% frame coverage.
Wi-Fi capability is built into the camera. Wi-Fi is convenient when you need to transfer images and videos to your laptop over a wireless network. The single memory card slot accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards.
Top 3 Best Compact Cameras under 300 Dollar
- 360 Degree Spherical Panorama images and Spherical Videos up to 25 minutes
- Live view function on mobile device
- Transfer videos directly to your mobile device without the need of a computer
- Full HD Video at 30fps
- 360 Degree Spherical Video Supported by YouTube
- 16MP 1/2.3" BSI CMOS Sensor
- NIKKOR f/3.0-6.5mm ED Lens
- 22.5-900mm (35mm Equivalent)
- 40x Optical Zoom Lens, 80x Dynamic Zoom
- 3" 921k-Dot Tilting LCD
- LUMIX 30X Travel Zoom Camera with Eye Viewfinder
- Enhanced low-light sensitivity for improved sharpness even without a flash
- Built-in eye viewfinder eliminates outdoor glare on sunny days
- Focal Length (28 - 840mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording / Level Shot function Off)
- Focal Length (30 - 900mm in 35mm equiv. in 16:9 video recording / Level Shot function On)
5. Canon PowerShot SX530 HS
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS is powered by a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor. Together these two form what is known as the Canon HS system. ISO sensitivity of the sensor is 100-3200. The sensor produces images of the size 4608 x 3456 pixels, which is smaller than some of the other cameras that we have listed on this review.
Just like all of the other compact superzoom cameras that we have read about here, the SX530 HS also has a superzoom lens that covers a focal length range of 24-1200mm (in 35mm format). This phenomenal focal length range ensures that the camera can capture images from an extreme wide angle all the way to super-telephoto domain.
It is imperative that long telephoto lenses have image stabilization. The SX530 HS comes with optical image stabilization for this purpose. This is useful each time you zoom in while shooting hand-held.
Continuous shooting speed of the SX530 HS is a respectable ten fps. It means you are likely never going to miss a moment when shooting with this baby. Video capabilities are decent as well. The SX530 HS shoots full HD videos at 30 fps. A built-in stereo mic capture sound when you are making the videos.
The back of the camera is dominated by a 3” LCD screen that has a 461k-dot resolution. The absence of an electronic (or optical) viewfinder means that the screen is the only way to make your images. The screen gives 100% frame coverage.
The built-in flash on the SX530 HS has a coverage of 0.5 – 5.5 m in wide mode and 1.3 – 3 m in the telephoto mode. The camera accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards.
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity has also been provided in the camera. This assists the easy transfer of images and videos once you are ready to download them.
6. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H400
Powered by Sony’s 20.1 megapixels, 1/2.3″ Super HAD CCD sensor, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 is a compact bridge camera with a super zoom focal length reach. Image processing of the camera is powered by Sony’s acclaimed BIONZ R image processing engine.
The 20.1-megapixel sensor is capable of producing images of the size 5152 x 3864 pixels. But what stands out about the camera is its lens. The Carl-Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens covers a focal length of 24.5 – 1550mm (in 35mm format equivalent). That is a gigantic focal length coverage for a camera of this size. The maximum aperture on the lens is f/3.4 (in wide mode) and f/6.5 (in tele mode).
It’s not enough these days that a compact camera shoots simply good stills. It is imperative that the camera also captures great video clips. The DSC-H400 is a good enough camera for shooting videos. I say good enough and not great. The DSC-H400 captures only 720p videos. The frame rate is three fps. Up to a maximum of 29 mins can be recorded at each go.
There is only mono audio recording. I am sure you would think we have seen better. Of course, we have. The DSC-H400 is just a good enough video shooter. This Sony's real forte is still capturing and the superzoom lens.
Image stabilization is a must-have for long lenses. You simply cannot have a viable superzoom lens without some image stabilization embedded into it. The DSC-H400 thankfully has it and it works when you are fully zoomed in. Though the performance is not near anything, you would expect if you were to shoot with a proper DSLR lens.
To be fair with the DSC-H400, it has something that most compact cameras don’t – a viewfinder. Of course, it is an electronic viewfinder, and there is a bit of a lag time. Those who prefer a viewfinder to an LCD screen this would be good news.
Speaking of LCD screens, the rear LCD screen of the DSC-H400 is 3” diagonally and has a resolution of 460,000 pixels.
ISO sensitivity of the DSC-H400 is 80-3200. Low light image performance is decent. Burst rate or continuous shooting speed on the camera, however, is a joke. You can shoot at a speed of 0.71 fps. You can shoot for up to 100 frames, though.
There is a built-in flash on the camera. It has a coverage of 1.31’ – 28.87’ in the wide mode and 11.48’ – 15.09’ in the telephoto mode.
Storage options are large. The DSC-H400 accepts all types of SD cards along with property Sony Memory Stick PRO Duo and Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo.
7. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX350
Built around an 18.2 megapixel 1/2.3″ EXMOR R CMOS sensor the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 is a compact superzoom camera. Image processing is handled by Sony’s BIONZ image processing engine. The sensor is capable of churning out 4896 x 3672 pixel JPEG images. The image processor can handle a continuous shooting speed of 10 fps at full resolution for about ten frames.
The lens is capable of giving a focal length range of 25-500mm (35mm format equivalent). The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3.5 – 6.5 (wide – tele).
There is no built-in viewfinder on the camera. The rear LCD screen is the only window you can compose your images and of course review them. The 3” LCD screen is almost a standard across this format, and the DSC-WX350 is no different. The resolution on the screen in 460,000 dots.
ISO sensitivity of the sensor is 80-12800. That should be enough for even low light situations except for those pitch dark situations. There is a built-in flash though to handle those situations. The built-in flash has an effective range of 0.66 – 14.11’ (wide) and 6.56 – 7.87’ (telephoto mode).
The video mode on the DSC-WX350 is better than some of the other cameras we have discussed on this list. It shoots full HD videos at 60 fps. A faster frame rate allows you to slow down the action recorded when playing back in normal 25 or even 24 fps. A maximum of 29 mins can be recorded in one go. The camera has a built-in stereo mic that captures decent quality sound.
Sony’s cameras are capable of accommodating some different types of storage options. The DSC-WX350 supports for different types. This includes a proprietary Memory Stick Duo, a Memory Stick Pro Duo, a Memory Stick PRO HG-Duo as well as the standard SD cards.
The camera also includes built-in Wi-Fi for transferring images and videos if you can connect it to an available wireless network.
8. Nikon Coolpix B500
The Nikon Coolpix B500 series was introduced in February of 2016.
The Coolpix B500 is a bridge superzoom camera with a lens that gives a 35mm format equivalent focal length coverage of 22.5 – 900mm. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/3 (wide) and f/6.5 (tele mode). The lens comes with image stabilization which is critical for telephoto lenses like this. Image stabilization is hybrid and works 4-ways.
The camera has a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI (Backside Illuminated) CMOS sensor. BSI sensors are capable of capturing a higher amount of light compared to conventional sensors in low light situations.
Traditional sensors have their wiring on the top of the chip which tends to result in a scattering of light, much of which is lost resulting in noise. Pushing the wiring at the back of the camera results in better light gathering, especially in low light situations.
There are no electronic viewfinders on the camera. The rear LCD screen, thus, is what you need to use to compose. The screen tilts giving you some semblance of freedom to produce images without having to hold the camera at your eye level at all times. The resolution of the screen is 921k-dots. That makes it one of the better rear LCD screens on this list.
Normal ISO range of the sensor is 125-1600. In most cases that should be enough, unless you plan to shoot in pitch black conditions, in which case you need the built-in flash to compensate. On extended mode, ISO ranges up to 6400.
Continuous shooting speed of the camera is seven fps, but that results in only about seven full resolution frames before the buffer overruns. Full HD video is the new standard in compact cameras. The Coolpix B500 captures full HD videos (1920 x 1080p) at up to 30 fps. If you need a still higher frame rate, you could opt to shoot in 1080i and get double the frame rate. The built-in mic records stereo sound.
Small cameras tend to have a good usable built-in flash. The range of the flash is 1.64’ – 22.64’ (wide) and 11.48’ (in tele mode). The camera supports all type of SD cards.
Comparison: Best Compact Cameras Under $300
| Canon PowerShot
| 30x Zoom
|20.3 MP|| 0.59
| Canon PowerShot
| 42x Zoom
|20 MP|| 0.71
| Olympus TG-870
|21mm||16 MP|| 0.49
| Canon PowerShot
| 25x Zoom
|20.2 MP|| 1.05
| Canon PowerShot
| 50x Zoom
|16 MP|| 0.97
|Sony H400/B|| 63x Zoom
|20 MP|| 1.38
|Sony DSCWX350|| 20x Zoom
|20.4 MP|| 0.3
| Nikon COOLPIX
| 40x Zoom
|16 MP|| 1.19
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.
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