Are you in the market for an affordable camera to record those precious moments? High quality cameras and photography doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, for under $300 you can buy yourself a camera that can produce great images, works well in most situations and can last for a long time.
Camera technology has come a long way over the last few years and today’s point-and-shoot cameras are more advanced. Full HD 1080p video recording, super zoom and superb image quality are features you can come to expect from a camera that costs $300 or less.
Here are our top picks for best digital camera under 300 dollars in 2015 / 2016.
|Canon PowerShot SX700 HS||Nikon COOLPIX P530||Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ70||Nikon Coolpix L840|
|Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|Resolution||16.1 MP||16.1 MP||16.1 MP||16 MP|
|Image Stabilisation||Yes (optical)||Yes (optical)||Yes (optical)||Yes (optical)|
|Video Resolution||1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)||1920 x 1080 (30/25p, 60/50i) 1280 x 720 (60/50/30/25/15/12.5p) 960 x 540 (30/25p) 640 x 480 (120/100/30/25p)||1920 x 1080 (60p, 30p), 1280 x 720 (30p, 60p), 640 x 480 (30p)||1920 x 1080 (60i, 50i, 30p, 25p), 1280 x 720 (30p, 25p), 640 x 480 (30p, 25p)|
|Memory Cards||SD/SDHC/SDXC||SD / SDHC / SDXC||SD / SDHC / SDXC||SD / SDHC / SDXC|
|Battery||NB-6LH lithium-ion||EN-EL5||Lithium-Ion||Supports alkaline, lithium, and NiMH batteries|
|Dimensions||2.6" x 4.45" x 1.38"||3.3" x 4.83" x 3.87"||3.8" x 5.1" x 4.7"||4.9" x 5.6" x 6.1|
Best Digital Camera Under 300 Dollars in 2015 / 2016: Reviews
- Full HD 1080p video recording at 60fps
- 30x zoom lens for super zoom capabilities
- Easy to use
- Average battery life
First on our list of best digital cameras for under 300 dollars is the Canon Powershot SX700 HS. This camera is the company’s flagship “travel-zoom” model. A 30x zoom lens, roughly equivalent to 25-750mm focal length covers all your average everyday use and provides super zoom capabilities when needed.
The Canon SX700 HS is also capable of recording 1080p video at either 60fps or 30fps, or 720p at 30fps. Thanks to its intuitive menus and design, the SX700 is extremely user friendly and fun to use. The battery life is average, able to last for up to 250 shots.
Creative features such as a fish-eye distortion and miniaturization are fun to play around with. Image stabilization helps to eliminate camera shake from ruining your photos and allows you to maintain sharp images even in low light environments.
- Fast auto-focus with good lighting
- Has a viewfinder
- Can record video at 120fps, though it is limited to 640×480 resolution
- Mediocre battery life
- Some features from previous models are missing on the P530
The Nikon Coolpix P530 looks and feels very similar to a DSLR and it almost operates like one too. Nikon’s P530 is a bridge camera, which is in-between a DSLR and a point-and-shoot. The viewfinder, dials and body layout are very similar to a DSLR. However it is smaller than your traditional DSLR and it also features a retractable lens to keep it compact.
The 16.1 MP CMOS sensor works well with the 42x optical zoom lens to produce high quality photos. Auto-focus is quite fast under well lit conditions but does suffer in low light especially when used in the upper zoom ranges. Full HD 1080p video at 60fps is supported and a 120fps video option is available, although it is limited to a resolution of 640×480.
Strangely Wi-Fi and GPS Geotagging have been removed from the P530, though they were available on the P520. And battery life is okay, lasting up to 240 shots before needing a recharge. The bridge camera body feels solid and pleasant in your hand, the overall feel of the camera is quite nice. The P530 would suit a keen photographer who wants the best digital camera for under 300 dollars.
- Able to save in both JPEG and RAW formats, and both at the same time
- Has the longest zoom currently available on any compact travel camera
- Well built
- Fast auto-focus
- Slightly more expensive because of the long zoom lens technology
- Small sensor causes noticeable noise
Currently holding the title of the camera with the longest zoom lens is the Panasonic Lumix FZ70. Designed to reach 60x zoom, which is equivalent to 1200mm on the 35mm format. The long lens adds a bit of bulk to the camera, but it is still relatively portable and doesn’t weigh too much.
Auto-focus works very well on the Panasonic FZ70 and there is very little start-up time. You can save your photos as both RAW or JPEG formats, and there is the option of saving both at the same time. Full HD video recording is also supported on this camera.
The Panasonic Lumix FZ70 does suffer from its tiny sensor. Noise is noticeable at around ISO 800. The advanced technology used in the zoom lens also adds a considerable amount to the cost of the camera. Whether it is worth that extra you pay for the longer zoom is down to personal preference.
- Cheap, good value for money
- 34x zoom lens
- Runs on 4 AA batteries
- It bigger than your standard compact camera
The Nikon Coolpix L840 is very cheap and performs quite well considering its price tag. However, there is a “hidden” cost associated with this camera. The Nikon Coolpix L840 runs on 4 AA batteries which need to be replaced each time their power depletes. Replacing the batteries may prove to be costly, especially if you are constantly using this camera.
Its image quality is adequate, but outclassed by smaller cameras within the same price range. Some may like the bulkier body, but if you are in the market for a compact camera then the additional size of the L840 may be a undesirable trait.
It does have a tilt-screen to aid taking shots in tight angles. The 34x zoom is a nifty feature that adds a bit more versatility to the camera. Overall the camera performs quite well and comes with a lower price tag. But there are glaring faults with the L840 that may influence you to look at other options.
Simple Photography Tips
We hope this list will help you find the best digital camera under 300 dollars. Want to get the best out of your point and shoot camera? Check out these websites for some basic photography tips: