Best Cameras in 2017 Under $500
2017 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
Don't have a lot of money to spend on a new camera? Fret not, we've got you covered here at Steve's Digicams. This list of epic low-budget cameras proves that you don't need to have a lot to get a lot of features.
Here are our favorite cameras under $500 presented in alphabetical order.
Canon EOS Rebel T6
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 18MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.0" LCD (920K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 3fps | Video Recording: 1080/30p
PROS: Built-in Wi-Fi, good low-light performance
CONS: No 4K video, no tilt screen
Canon's entry level DSLR is anything but. Equipped with an 18.0 Megapixel CMOS image sensor and the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor for highly detailed, vibrant photos and videos even in low light. Built-in Wi-Fi1 and NFC2 connectivity make it easy to share, print, or get your favorite pictures up on select social media sites. Easy to use and simple to share with, the EOS Rebel T6 delivers high image quality ideal for smartphone or digital point-and-shoot camera users looking to step up their imaging game.
GoPro HERO6 or HERO4
HERO 4 Black: Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: None | Display: 1.75" Touchscreen LCD (920K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p, 2.7K/60p, 1080/120p
HERO 6 Black: Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: None | Display: 2.0" Touchscreen LCD (920K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p, 2.7K/60p, 1080/120p
PROS: Waterproof down to 33ft, 4K video, GPS (HERO 6),
CONS: No HDR Photos (HERO 4), subpar audio recording (HERO 6)
GoPro is so synonymous with "fun action camera" that any small camera that's used in small places is now called a GoPro. You really can't go wrong with any model, but the new Hero 6 Black boasts faster Wi-Fi, a new image processor, and faster variable frame rates including 4K at up to 60fps, 2.7K up to 120fps, and 1080p up to 240fps. OR you can opt for to use digital in-camera digital stabilization up to 2.7K/60 or 1080/120. And all of this in a waterproof body that doesn't require any extra housing. However, if you don't need the improved frame rates, the HERO 4 Black costs $200 less than the HERO 6, offers comperable low-light performance and dramatically bettery audio recording. Click here to buy the HERO 6 Black:
Or here to buy the HERO 4 Black
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.2MP | Viewfinder: Optical | Display: 3.0" LCD (920K dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 5fps | Video Recording: 1080/30p
PROS: Light, great to learn on
CONS: No Wi-Fi, no touchscreen
The Nikon D3400 is the perfect stepping stone from smartphone to an interchangeable lens camera system. It's light, easy to use, and takes very nice photos. And, as you learn, you can upgrade to higher end Nikkor lenses, building a glass-library until you're ready for a new camera. Great camera for a great price.
Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: OLED EVF | Display: 3.0" tilting LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 11fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p
PROS: Fast, compact, high ISO performance
CONS: No touchscreen, no 4K video
Sometimes it pays to wait. One of the best-selling mirrorless cameras of all time is versatile and advanced, featuring a 24.3MP APS-C-sized Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processor that produce high-resolution still images and Full HD movies with marked low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. Beyond notable imaging traits, the image processor also lends itself to continuous shooting up to 11 fps and an intelligent Fast Hybrid AF system that uses both phase and contrast-detection methods to quickly and accurately acquire focus. You'd be hard pressed to find a better ILC for under $500.
Sensor size: 1" | Resolution: 20.2MP | Viewfinder: None | Display: 3.0" LCD (1.2M dots) | Max Burst Shooting: 10fps | Video Recording: 1080/60p
PROS: Fast lens, compact, high ISO performance
CONS: No touchscreen, limited upgradeability
Need an affordable camera where you don't have to worry about swapping lenses? The Sony RX100 provides superb image quality and creative freedom in a compact package. It delivers razor-sharp images with defocused backgrounds like a larger DSLR with a longer lens. I has an ultra-bright Carl Zeiss F1.8 lens that features a handy control ring for easy access to aperture settings and more for total creative freedom. Great little camera that's perfect for beginners or as a second camera for enthusiasts.
Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: None | Display: 2.2" Touchscreen LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 30fps | Video Recording: 4K/60p, 2.7K/60p, 1080/120p, 720/240p
PROS: Bargain pricing, records video at a higher bitrate that the GoPro
CONS: Requires a case to be waterproof, no 120fps at 2.7K
Here's the camera that ruined GoPro's day. The YI 4K+ records in 4K at up to 60fps just like the HERO 6, but costs $200 less. Built-in EIS lets you capture smooth and steady 4K/30fps video without the need for high-end stabilizers or post-production editing. It also allows you to make adjustments to ISO and the shutter, which can make shooting at night much easier than some other action cameras.