Whether you’re a photographer or a videographer, you might be looking to start your career (or hobby) off for a reasonable price. Today, we take a look at the best cameras under 500 dollars.

If you’re into photography you don’t really need much gear to get started. Many photographers get some amazing photographs using just their smartphones.

Phone cameras, especially in the past couple of years, have become pretty admirable in the quality of the photos. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a photo taken by a smartphone and a digital camera.

If, however, you want to leap from the state of an aspiring photographer to a professional one you’ll need to jump into the world of professional digital cameras.

The Best Cameras Under 500 Dollars

Now, I’m not saying you need to get some crazy gear set that costs many thousands of dollars. Chances are, if you’re just starting, you don’t make much money from photography, if any at all.

But you do need a digital camera, so we’ve compiled a list of 5 cameras that are under 500 dollars. This guide will help you ‘go pro’ without digging a gigantic hole in your wallet.

1. Canon EOS Rebel T6

  • Body type: Compact SLR
  • Max resolution: 5184 x 3456
  • Effective pixels: 18 megapixels
  • Sensor size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • ISO: Auto, ISO 100-6400, expandable to 12800
  • Lens mount: Canon EF/EF-S
  • Focal length mult: 1.6×
  • Articulated LCD: Fixed
  • Screen size: 3″
  • Screen dots: 920,000
  • Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Format : MPEG-4, H.264
  • Storage types: SD/SDHC/SDXC card
  • USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
  • Weight (inc. batteries) 485 g (1.07 lb / 17.11 oz)
  • Dimensions 129 x 101 x 78 mm (5.08 x 3.98 x 3.07″)
  • GPS None

Canon is a beginner-friendly brand. They like to focus on drawing in new photographers with affordable cameras.

The thinking is if you start photography with a basic and affordable Canon camera you’ll naturally gravitate towards an upgrade to the professional (and pricey) cameras as your skills grow.

The Canon EOS Rebel T6 certainly makes a great purchase for this starting level price point. It is, after all, a good option for any beginners without much to spend as it’s reasonably priced. That’s in fact much cheaper than other digital cameras in a similar feature range.

The camera’s 3.0-inch screen has a great resolution. And the image quality is fantastic.

Another great thing is that you can mount different lenses on this camera since it uses the EF-S lens mount. Meaning that the camera has detachable lenses and you aren’t bound to just one specific lens. So, if you find a decently priced EF lens it’ll fit right on.

There are a few cons, of course. The camera’s resolution is only 18 megapixels (oMP), so you’re not shooting the sharpest pictures out there.

Also, there’s no 4K video shooting. However, for the asking price, you shouldn’t expect it anyway. Still, you get great value with this camera and it’s a solid entry level camera that gives you a great starting point in both photography and videography.

Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera Bundle with Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is II Lens + 2pc SanDisk 32GB Memory Cards + Premium Accessory Kit
  • This Camera Bundle Kit comes complete with all manufacturer supplied accessories and includes:
  • The EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera from Canon is an APS-C format digital SLR camera with an 18MP CMOS...
  • Canon 18-55mm II Lens - a standard zoom compatible with Canon APS-C format cameras. It features a...
  • Also includes - 2 x SanDisk 32GB SDHC Memory Cards + Deluxe Camera Case + Flash Light + 3pc Filter...
  • Commander 0.43x Auxiliary Wideangle Lens - it conveniently mounts to the front of your fixed or zoom...

2. Nikon D5300

  • Body type: Compact SLR
  • Max resolution : 6000 x 4000
  • Effective pixels: 24 megapixels
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 12800 (25600 with boost)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F
  • Focal length mult: 1.5×
  • Articulated LCD: Fully articulated
  • Screen size: 3.2″
  • Screen dots: 1,037,000
  • Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Format : MPEG-4, H.264
  • Storage types: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • USB: USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
  • Weight (inc. batteries) : 480 g (1.06 lb / 16.93 oz)
  • Dimensions: 125 x 98 x 76 mm (4.92 x 3.86 x 2.99″)
  • GPS: Built-in

Nikon follows the same business module as Canon. That means they have some pretty neat entry-level cameras.

The Nikon D5300 stands out because it offers a little more than your average beginner’s camera.

For one it has a 24 megapixel resolution which is a huge step up from Canon’s offering.

It also has a 5FPS burst shooting feature, which is a little higher than the EOS Rebel mentioned earlier in the list.

This all sounds good, right? Higher resolution, better performance. However, there are also some downsides.

For one, if you choose this camera you’ll have to pay more. The Nikon D5300 is priced at a price point a little higher than the EOS Rebel.

Also, you won’t get any higher than 1080p resolution on the video shooting side of the equation. But it does offer more than its competition in some feature areas, so you’ll have to decide if these features are worth the extra money.

If you’re a Nikon fan, this one gets the big thumbs up from us!

Sale
Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black)
  • 24MP DX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter
  • 39-point AF system with 3D tracking and 3D matrix metering II
  • 5 frames per second continuous shooting
  • ISO 100 - 12800 (Expandable to 25600)
  • 3.2" Vari-angle LCD with 1,037,000 dots

3. Olympus PEN E-PL9

  • Body type: Rangefinder-style mirrorless
  • Max resolution: 4608 x 3456
  • Effective pixels: 16 megapixels
  • Sensor size: Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • ISO: Auto, 200-6400 (expandable to 100-25600)
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Focal length mult: 2×
  • Articulated LCD: Tilting
  • Screen size: 3″
  • Screen dots: 1,040,000
  • Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Format : MPEG-4, H.264
  • Storage types: SD/SDHC/SDXC card (UHS-I supported)
  • USB: USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
  • Weight (inc. batteries): 380 g (0.84 lb / 13.40 oz)
  • Dimensions: 117 x 68 x 39 mm (4.61 x 2.68 x 1.54″)
  • GPS: None

This camera is a good choice if you want to upgrade from your smartphone camera.

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is a solid entry-level mirrorless camera. It’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around without much hassle.

It takes sharp and well-exposed images. And unlike other entry-level cameras, it shoots 4K video.

So if you’re a vlogger or YouTuber and what you need is a high-resolution video camera: look no further.

The Olympus PEN E-PL9 is also a solid choice for beginners because it’s very easy to use. Meaning those transitioning straight from their smartphone will find this camera gives you an edge over many others in this entry-level price bracket.

The downside here is that if you choose to go with this camera, you’re looking to pay a bit more than the last two options. Still, if the 4K video is what you’re after, it might be worth it.

Olympus are one of the classic camera manufacturers out there and they have a rich tradition of creating exceptional photographic equipment.

Sale
Olympus PEN E-PL9 Kit with 14-42mm EZ Lens, Camera Bag, and Memory Card (Onyx Black)
  • Kit contains the E-PL9 camera, 14-42mm EZ Lens, Pen camera case, Special camera strap, and 16GB SD...
  • TruePic VIII Image Processor
  • 3" 180 Degree Flip down touch screen
  • In-body 3-axis image stabilization
  • 4K video & still image capture from 4K video

4. Panasonic Lumix GX85

  • Body type: Rangefinder-style mirrorless
  • Max resolution : 4592 x 3448
  • Effective pixels: 16 megapixels
  • Sensor size: Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • ISO: Auto, 200-25600 (expands down to 100)
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Focal length mult: 2×
  • Articulated LCD: Tilting
  • Screen size: 3″
  • Screen dots: 1,040,000
  • Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Format: MPEG-4, AVCHD
  • Storage types : SD/SDHC/SDXC card
  • USB: USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
  • Weight (inc. batteries) : 426 g (0.94 lb / 15.03 oz)
  • Dimensions: 122 x 71 x 44 mm (4.8 x 2.8 x 1.73″)
  • GPS: None

This is one of my favorites. The GX85 Panasonic is a mirrorless camera.

It shoots pictures at 16.0MP and video at 4K. So this is another great choice for vloggers and other types of videographers.

What’s more, the price for this pocket-sized camera is lower than Olympus’ offering. So if price is a deciding factor, look no further!

It might not look like the fanciest camera out there, though. Also, the menu design is a little underwhelming compared to the competition.

Still, if you’re looking for a simple camera that shoots 4K video and has decent photo resolution, not to mention a very attractive price point, there’s not much of a reason not to consider this one.

Sale
Panasonic LUMIX GX85 4K Digital Camera, 12-32mm and 45-150mm Lens Bundle, 16 Megapixel Mirrorless Camera Kit, 5 Axis In-Body Dual Image Stabilization, 3-Inch Tilt and Touch LCD, DMC-GX85WK (Black)
  • Fine Detail Performance:16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter resulting in a...
  • Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera Kit: With two super compact lenses 12 32mm F3.5 5.6 and 45...
  • Class Leading Dual Image Stabilization: In body 5 axis dual image stabilization works in both photo...
  • Live Viewfinder and Tilting LCD Display: Integrated eye level electronic viewfinder (2764K dots) and...
  • 4K VIDEO CAPTURE: 4K QFHD video recording (3840 x 2160), plus exclusive Lumix 4K...

5. Fujifilm X-T100

  • Body type: SLR-style mirrorless
  • Max resolution : 6000 x 4000
  • Effective pixels: 24 megapixels
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm)
  • Sensor type: CMOS
  • ISO: Auto, 200-12800 (expands to 100-51200)
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X
  • Focal length mult.: 1.5×
  • Articulated LCD: Tilting
  • Screen size: 3″
  • Screen dots: 1,040,000
  • Max shutter speed: 1/4000 sec
  • Format: MPEG-4, H.264
  • Storage types: SD/ SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I compatible)
  • USB: USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
  • Weight (inc. batteries): 448 g (0.99 lb / 15.80 oz)
  • Dimensions: 121 x 83 x 47 mm (4.76 x 3.27 x 1.85″)
  • GPS: None

Fujifilm has done an excellent job with the Fujifilm X-T100. It’s a well-built mirrorless camera with a wealth of great features.

First of all, it has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels (MP), which is more than what you can get with other entry-level cameras.

It also shoots Ultra HD and 4K video. So, if you get this one you’re getting what is possibly the best value for your money. Not to mention a digital camera that will last you a long time without you feeling the need to upgrade.

It’s also easy to control and use which is what you want from an entry-level camera. It should also be mentioned that this camera is compatible with all XF and XC lenses. So you can get experimental with your lens choice!

Fujifilm X-T100 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens - Champagne Gold
  • 24.2 Megapixel APS C size sensor with Color Reproduction technology refined over 80 years; Artistic...
  • Featuring super: fast autofocus and a variety of automatic functions, including an evolved SR plus...
  • Compatible with existing XF/xc Lens lineup of 26 Fujinon high quality lenses which cover focal...
  • Features three way tilting LCD monitor with a high resolution and high magnification (0.62x)...
  • Bluetooth low energy technology allows for quick and seamless image transfer; Touch screen :...

Best Cameras Under 500 – Conclusion

There’s a great variety of budget suitable cameras out there for you if you want to start taking photography seriously.

You don’t need to get the latest and most expensive equipment to take high-resolution pictures anymore.

Digital camera manufacturers are more aware now that there’s a market for novice photographers who want to get into the field, but don’t have the budget for the costly professional level cameras.

So, they’ve all been offering affordable cameras with great features at competitive prices. Even if these cameras listed in this guide don’t do it for you, you can still find the right camera for you if you do enough research.

We hope you’ve found this post on the best cameras under 500 dollars useful. Have a budget camera suggestion that we missed out in this list? Drop some wisdom by leaving a comment in the comment section below.