In a previous review we looked at an upgraded list of the best compact cameras under $200. The under $200 is undoubtedly the entry level segment of digital cameras. This segment has only a few good options. The cameras have limited features. This is now a review of the best compact cameras under $300.
With a little bit of extra money (100 bucks) you can get much better camera systems with better features.
These features include:
- longer optical zoom,
- better low light capability,
- manual focusing and
- manual shooting options.
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✔ The Best Compact Cameras under $300
|#||Camera||Price on Amazon||Rating on Amazon||Reviews on Amazon|
|1||Our Pick: Canon PowerShot SX710 HS||from $395.00||279 Reviews|
|2||Fujifilm FinePix XP120||$149.00||4 Reviews|
|3||Nikon Coolpix L340||$359.11||396 Reviews|
|4||Panasonic Lumix DMC – ZS50||$377.59||271 Reviews|
|5||Ricoh WG-50 Digital Camera||$226.95||22 Reviews|
|6||Sony DSC WX-220||from $195.93||264 Reviews|
|7||Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS||$199.00||227 Reviews|
|8||Nikon Coolpix B500||from $246.95||358 Reviews|
1. Our Pick: Canon PowerShot SX710 HS
- 20.3 megapixel high sensitivity MOS sensor
- DIGIC 6 image processing engine
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Full HD video capability at a variable frame rate of 60p, 30p, 24p
- 3″ LCD screen with a resolution of 922,000 dots
- Burst speed of 6 fps
- 35mm format equivalent focal length range of 25 – 750mm
- Manual focusing with focus peaking
- 1 cm macro range
- Manual shooting options
- Built-in flash
The Canon PowerShot SX710 HS still continues to enjoy a privileged position on this list of one of the best compact cameras under $300.
The 20.3 megapixel (effective 20 megapixel) High Sensitivity MOS sensor is capable of shooting high resolution images of the size 5184 x 3888 pixels. Size of the BSI-CMOS sensor is 1/2.3″. Image processing is powered by DIGIC 6 image processing engine. The native ISO range of the camera is 100 – 3200.
The built-in lens on the PowerShot SX710 HS has a maximum aperture of f/3.2 – 6.9 across its focal length. Even with the BSI sensor design, the lens will struggle somewhat in low light conditions.
30X Optical Zoom
The lens has a 35mm format equivalent focal length range of 25 – 750mm. That is a phenomenal 30x optical zoom. Hard to find at this range. The lens has optical image stabilization as well. Optical image stabilization is extremely important for a lens like this. This is a superzoom lens and thus without optical image stabilization you will struggle to keep objects in the frame at tele ends.
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Also, an interesting feature on the PowerShot SX710 HS is Focus Peaking. It comes with the manual focusing mode. Focus Peaking is a focus – assist feature that highlights areas that are in focus. This allows a photographer to know when s/he has achieved focus lock on his / her intended subject.
Compact cameras are known to have lenses that are very versatile. In the sense that they can shoot normal, wide, tele and macro all with the same design. The PowerShot SX710 HS is no different. The built-in lens on the system has a macro focus range of 1cm.
Finally, the video mode on the PowerShot SX710 HS is a respectable full HD (1920 x 1080p) at 60fps and 30fps. The best compact camera under $300? Certainly one of the contenders.
- 30x Optical Zoom (25-750mm)
- 20.3 Megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with the DIGIC 6 Image Processor
- Built-in Wi-Fi allows wireless transferring of images and video to compatible mobile devices
- Capture stunning 1080p Full HD video (60p/30p/24p options) with a dedicated movie button
- Large 3.0-inch LCD with a screen resolution of 922,000 dots allows easy viewing even from a wide angle
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2. Fujifilm FinePix XP120
- 16.4 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
- 5x optical zoom Fujinon lens ( 28 – 140mm on a 35mm format)
- Optical image stabilization
- Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof and dustproof
- Full HD videos at a frame rate 60 fps
- 10 fps continuous shooting speed
- Built-in flash
- Wi-Fi connectivity
- 3″ LCD screen
The Fujifilm FinePix XP 120 is a compact system all-weather camera. This small compact system comes with the ability to shoot in any weather conditions and most environments. It is waterproof (65′), shockproof (up to 5.8′), freeze-proof and dustproof giving you much freedom to shoot, no matter where you are.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP120 is powered by a 16.4 megapixel BSI (Back-side Illuminated) sensor. Backside illuminated sensors are great for the purpose of shooting in low light. These sensors are capable of producing cleaner images compared to traditional sensors.
5X Optical Zoom
Also, the lens of the Fujifilm FinePix XP120 has a 5x optical zoom. It is the equivalent of a 28 – 140mm lens mounted on a 35mm format camera. The lens comes with optical image stabilization as well. This allows for stable shooting in low light or when shooting at the full tele-end.
The camera has good video shooting capabilities as well. The camera can shoot full HD videos at a frame rate of 60 fps. There are some interesting still shooting features as well. Such as a 10 fps continuous shooting speed.
Finally, the back of the camera is dominated by a 3″ 920k-dots LCD screen. No touchscreen properties. There is Wi-Fi connectivity on the camera as well. This ensures that the camera can be connected to an available network and images / videos are transferred easily
- 16.4MP BSI CMOS Sensor Fujinon 5x Optical Zoom Lens
- 28-140mm (35mm Equivalent) Water, Shock, Freeze, and Dustproof
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps 3.0" 920k-Dot LCD Monitor
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity 10 fps Continuous Shooting
- Cinemagraph Mode and Interval Shooting
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3. Nikon Coolpix L340
- 20.2 megapixel 1/2.3″ CCD sensor
- EXPEED C2 image processing engine
- 28x optical zoom range (35mm format equivalent of 22.5 – 630mm)
- 720p video recording
- Contrast detection auto-focusing mechanism
- Maximum ISO range is 1600
- Built-in flash
- 3″ TFT LCD screen with 460k-dots resolution
- Continuous shooting speed of 1 fps
- Electronically controlled 3.3 stop ND filter
The Nikon Coolpix L340 has a 20.2 megapixel CCD sensor of size 1/2.3″. Image processing engine has been powered by an EXPEED C2 image processor.
The built-in zoom lens on the Coolpix L340 has a long 28x optical reach. In 35mm format that is the equivalent of a 22.5 – 630mm lens. That’s a phenomenal reach given this is essentially point and shoot system.
Large Zoom Range
The Nikon Coolpix L340 has one of the largest zoom range among the current available bride camera systems. Bridge camera systems are those which have the same form factor as DSLR systems, but has a long zoom range. They basically combine the advantages of a compact camera with long zoom and a DSLR. The Nikon Coolpix L340 has a pronounced grip that ensures good control while shooting or moving around.
Video recording on the Nikon Coolpix L340 is only a 720p HD system. Clearly, video resolution isn’t the main USP of the camera. Still shooting and long zoom is.
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4. Panasonic Lumix DMC – ZS50 Digital Camera
- 12.1 megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor
- Venus image processing engine
- Leica DC Vario-Elmar lens with 30x optical zoom (24 – 720mm in 35mm format)
- Full HD video recording mode at 60 fps
- Rear LCD screen is a 3″ one with a resolution of 920k-dots
- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
- Hybrid O.I.S.
- Built-in ISO of maximum 6400
- Built-in flash
- Burst speed of 10 fps
- 2″ Electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 1,166k-dots
The Panasonic Lumix DMC – ZS50 is a great camera, a worthy contender for the title of the best compact cameras under $300. At its heart is a 1/2.3″ High Sensitivity MOS sensor with a resolution of 12.1 megapixel. The sensor is capable of churning out stills of the size 4000 x 3000 pixels.
The lens on the Panasonic Lumix DMC – ZS50 is a Leica DC Vario-Elmar unit with optical image stabilization. The 30x optical zoom translates into a focal length range of 4.3 – 129mm. That is a 35mm format equivalent of 24 – 720mm. The construction of the lens includes 12 elements arranged in 9 groups. It includes 5 aspherical elements and 3 ED elements.
Two Focusing Modes
The lens has two focusing modes. One which works in the normal tele and wide modes. That is 50cm in the wide mode and 2m in the telephoto mode. The other which operates in the macro mode is – 3 cm in the wide macro mode and 2m in the tele macro mode.
One of the sports shooting features on the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS is the continuous shooting speed of 10 fps at full resolution. However, the number of frames that the camera is capable of producing is only 6 frames.
Also, video options on the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS is full HD (1920 x 1080p) at a frame rate of 60 fps (maximum) or 30 fps (minimum). Maximum file length (for video recording) on the camera is 40 mins. Built-in mic records stereo sound.
One of the best features of the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS is a 0.2″ electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 1166-dots. This makes precise composing easier. The other option is the 3″ 920k-dots rear LCD screen.
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- 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)
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5. Ricoh WG-50 Digital camera
- 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
- 5x optical zoom (28 – 140mm) on 35mm format
- Full HD video recording
- Built-in mic (mono sound)
- Crushproof, dustproof, freezeproof and waterproof all weather camera
- 125 – 6400 ISO range
- Built-in flash
- 68 MB built-in memory
The Ricoh WG-50 is a compact point & shoot system powered by a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor.
It comes with a 5x optical zoom lens, which is the equivalent of a 28 – 140mm lens on a 35mm system.
Unlike some of the other compact cameras that we have discussed here, zooming isn’t the main selling point of the Ricoh WG-50.
The main selling point is the ability of the camera to make images in all weather conditions. The camera is water proof up to a depth of 45.9′, shockproof up to 5.2′ and freeze and crush-proof as well. It can withstand a dusty environment as well. That pretty much means you can take this camera everywhere and it will shoot great images regardless of the conditions.
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The Ricoh WG-50 is capable of shooting full HD videos at a frame rate of 30 fps max. At 720p HD you can shoot at 60 fps or 30 fps. There is a built-in mic which captures mono sound along with the videos.
The back of the camera is dominated by a 2.7″ LCD screen with a resolution of 230k-dots. There is no electronic viewfinder on the camera. So this is your only composing option.
Finally, being a compact system camera has its advantages. The lens is capable of shooting subjects that are further away as well as something that is extremely close. The normal focusing distance is 50 cm to infinity but when shooting macro you can shoot as close as 10 cm. In super macro mode you can shoot as close as 1cm.
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6. Sony DSC WX-220
- 18.2 megapixel EXMOR R CMOS sensor
- BIONZ X image processing engine
- Full HD video recording
- 10x optical zoom and 20x Clear Image Zoom
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
- Smartphone connectivity with app
The Sony DSC WX-220 is a compact system camera designed around an 18.2 megapixel EXMOR R CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor.
The G lens on the Sony DSC WX-220 has a 10x optical zoom. On a 35mm format that is the equivalent of a 25 – 250mm lens. It also has a 20x digital image zoom. However, this zoom is software powered and thus, is best left alone.
Bionz X Image Processor
The aperture range on the camera is f/3.3 – f/5.9. Small cameras with small sensors and slower lenses struggle in low light. At least theoretically. But this is where the BIONZ X image processor comes into play improving low light capability of the camera. Another thing that does assist is the Optical SteadyShot Stabilization.
There is a continuous shooting mode as well on the Sony DSC WX-220. It is 10 fps at full resolution. This mode is ideal for shooting sports, wildlife and birds.
Finally, these days every digital camera needs to shoot great quality videos and the Sony DSC WX-220 does not disappoint in that department. It shoots full HD videos at a frame rate of 60 fps. Videos are recorded in AVCHD format.
There is no built-in viewfinder on the camera. The only option is to shoot with the 2.7″ Clear Photo LCD. The LCD has a resolution of 460k-dots.
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7. Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS
- 20.2 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 4+ image processor
- Canon’s HS system
- 12x optical zoom (equivalent to 25 – 300mm on a 35mm format)
- 3″ LCD monitor (461k-dots resolution)
- Wi-Fi and NFC built-in
- Maximum ISO of 3200
- Maximum still burst rate of 7.2 frames per second
- 3 distinct IS systems
We had earlier included the Canon Powershot ELPH 360 in the list of best cameras under $200. The camera is really good to be included in this list of the best compact camera under $300 as well.
Powered by a 20.2 megapixel 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 4+ image processor. The high sensitive CMOS sensor, and the processor together forms what is known as the HS system. Add to that the extended ISO of 3,200.
Powerful Built In Lens
The built-in lens on the PowerShot ELPH 360 HS has a 12x optical zoom. That translates to 25 – 300mm on a 35mm format. For a small compact camera that is a huge optical reach. To counter the long zoom and the fact that it is highly likely you will have some shaking, the PowerShot ELPH 360 HS comes with Intelligent IS (Image Stabilization). There are 3 distinct types of image stabilization systems on the camera – and a 4th bonus mode.
The first one is the ‘normal’ image stabilization. This is the mode that engages when the camera is shooting normal stills or videos. It compensates for any unintentional hand-movements.
The second is the Panning IS mode. This mode engages when you are panning. It basically disengaged any stabilization for hand movements that are horizontal.
Finally, the third mode is Macro specific. In this mode, the camera will correct for micro-movements which are specific when working with subjects that are very close.
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Also, a bonus 4th mode. This is the Tripod mode. Normally, when shooting on a tripod you need to disengage Image Stabilization. Else, the floating elements inside the lens keep hunting for movements and attempts to ‘stabilize’ them. This mode lets you disengage image stabilization.
The PowerShot ELPH 360 HS has a decent video recording capability. It is full HD (1080p) and at a maximum frame rate of 30 fps. A large 3″ LCD screen with a display of 461-k dots dominates the back of the camera. Without the presence of a live-view viewfinder (or optical viewfinder for that matter), you have only this as the composing option.
The PowerShot ELPH 360 HS comes with built-in NFC and wireless features. This allows the camera to be paired with any compatible system and remote control the camera. Additionally, you have the option to transfer the images you shoot seamlessly to your smartphone/tablet and review them in almost real time.
Is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS thus the best compact camera under $300? It is safe to say that it is one of the best in the business.
- 12x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer helps you capture images with flexibility and ease
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos
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- 1080p HD video capabilities
- Large 3.0-inch LCD enables easy viewing even from a wide angle.Country of origin is china
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8. Nikon Coolpix B500
- 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor
- Optical superzoom lens 22.5mm – 900mm (40x)
- Comes with Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization in Nikonian)
- 3″ 921k-dots tilting LCD screen
- ISO range of 6400
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC connectivity
- Full HD video recording at 30 fps
- 4 fps continuous shooting speed
Finally, we bring in another survivor from the last list. This is the Nikon Coolpix B500.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 is a superzoom bridge camera. Just like the Coolpix L340. It has a similar pronounced grip to hold the camera. This is what gives it a DSLR like stance. There are manual shooting options on the camera as well, but then don’t let it fool you with its look.
The sensor inside the Coolpix B500 is a 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS one. BSI sensors are great for the purpose of shooting cleaner images in low light situations. The maximum ISO capability of the camera is 6400. Not that one would recommend using it at ISO 6400, but the BSI sensor does promise good results.
The biggest USP of the camera is the superzoom lens. In 35mm format equivalent, it is the same as that of a 22.5 – 900mm lens mounted on a35mm camera. Of all the cameras that we have reviewed here, the Coolpix B500 has the longest telephoto range.
This is also one of those rare compact cameras that has a tilting screen. The 3′ LCD screen on the Coolpix B500 comes with a resolution of 921k-dots. This is the window you also use for shooting videos and stills. Full HD videos are a necessity these days.
Regardless of the camera type or sensor size. The Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera has full HD capabilities at a frame rate of 30 fps.
The Coolpix B500 wins the race at least in terms of connectivity factors. It is loaded with all the connectivity aspects that you need. It comes with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity. Connecting the camera to an available network is no problem at all. With Bluetooth you can quickly pair the camera with a compatible smartphone or tablet and transfer images or set-up a remote access to the camera for remote operated work.
- 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
If you could not find the best camera under $300, then check out:
- Best Point and Shoot Cameras under $500 (Top 10 Picks)
- the best point & shoot cameras under $200 or
- the best cameras under $100.
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