You don’t necessarily need an expensive DSLR or mirrorless camera to take amazing photos. Instead, why not try out one of the best point-and-shoot cameras under $500? In this guide, you will see that there are some fantastic quality point-and-shoot cameras that are capable of taking beautiful photos at professional levels.
We have scoured the web to find 10 great options for your consideration. This includes a range of compact point and shoot cameras from Panasonic, Canon PowerShot models, and some point and shoot bridge cameras. After reading this guide, you should have an excellent idea of the different P&S cameras available.
Best Point and Shoot Cameras Under $500 – Our Top 10 Picks in 2022
1. Panasonic LUMIX ZS100
Great for low-light photography and video
The Panasonic LUMIX ZS100 is a brilliant P&S camera with a large MOS sensor, excellent Leica lens, and some great features like optical image stabilization.
4K video recording capable at 30fps
Has a lens-mounted exposure control ring
WiFi connectivity and USB charging
Does not have an adjustable LCD touchscreen
Panasonic has an excellent range of LUMIX point and shoot cameras and some of the best point and shoot cameras under $500. Our top pick is the Panasonic LUMIX ZS100. This is a versatile compact camera that gives great image quality, useful features, and also high-quality video recording.
It has a 20.1MP MOS sensor and optical image stabilization. This means that you can take sharp and bright photos handheld in various conditions. The O.I.S should help reduce motion blur and improve the handling in low-light situations too.
We also like the high-quality Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens. This has an equivalent focal length of 25-250mm which means you can take everything from wide-angle photos to telephoto shots of wildlife. The lens also has a maximum aperture range of f/2.8 to f/5.9 across the different focal lengths.
Aside from photography, the LUMIX ZS100 also has superior video recording capabilities. It can record in 4K HD at 30fps which means this is a great camera for travel vlogging. Although the LUMIX ZS100 doesn’t have a rotatable touchscreen, it does have a lens-mounted control ring. This is highly useful and can be used to change the exposure settings of your compositions.
2. Panasonic LUMIX ZS60
Great for super-telephoto photography
The Panasonic LUMIX ZS60 has a longer focal length of 24-720mm compared to the ZS100 and thus has improved super-telephoto capabilities.
Excellent Leica DC 24-720mm lens
Can record 4K Ultra HD video at 30fps
Has a simple design with an easy to use set of controls
Only has an 18MP resolution MOS sensor
If you like the style and features of the LUMIZ ZS100 but don’t want to pay that much, the Panasonic LUMIX ZS60 is a suitable alternative. This is a slightly older model but still has some excellent features and certainly isn’t lacking in quality or usability.
The Panasonic LUMIX ZS60 has a slightly smaller sensor with a resolution of 18MP. However, it can still record 4K UHD video at 30fps like the ZS100. We also like that it has the same lens-mounted control ring. As a result, you can quickly change the exposure setting without having to access the menus or control dials.
For usability, the LUMIX ZS60 also has an electronic viewfinder and touchscreen. The touchscreen cannot be rotated or adjusted in any way, but it provides clear previews of your images and simple menu navigation.
The lens is a Leica DC Vario-Elmarit model with an optical zoom of 30x. This translates to an effective focal length of 24-720mm. As a result, this is one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 with a super-telephoto zoom lens. It also means that it has a superior reach to the ZS100. The design is simple, and the camera is also compact and can easily fit in your pocket.
3. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS
Great for travel use
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS looks great but also has great performance with its large 20.1MP CMOS sensor and 25-625mm lens.
High resolution 20.1MP CMOS sensor
Portable and lightweight design
Excellent focal length range of 25-625mm
Can only record 1080p video
The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS is a standout point and shoot camera and has remained a popular choice despite being several years old. It is one of the best PowerShot cameras available under $500 and is packed with useful features. This bundle includes the camera and an 8GB SDHC card.
For photography, the PowerShot SX720 HS has a 20.2M CMOS sensor which is large and bright. Powering this is the DIGIC 4+ image processor. This is an older processor, but it still has excellent power and results in great image clarity with minimum artifacts.
The lens has a 25 optical zoom which equates to a fantastic focal length of 25-625mm. At 25mm you have brilliant wide-angle capabilities. You can then progress to 50mm portraits and even super-telephoto shots for capturing wildlife etc.
The style and design of this camera are also great. It is available in several bold colors and has a durable exterior. It also weighs just 0.87 lbs / 380 g, and has a longest dimension of 5 inches. As a result, it is highly portable and could make for a quality travel camera.
4. Panasonic LUMIX LX10
Great for selfies and vlogging
The Panasonic LUMIX LX10 is a camera that excels at selfies and vlogging due to the flappable LCD touchscreen so you can see a live preview of your images.
High-quality Leica DC 24-72mm lens
Can record videos in 4K UHD at 30fps
The lens also has Optical Image Stabilization
Does not have the same telephoto reach as the ZS60
While the ZS100 is our top pick, the Panasonic LUMIX LX10 is also one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 and has some different features too. One of the most prominent features is an LCD touchscreen that can be rotated and pushed upwards. This means that it is great for selfies and vlogging as you can see the screen above the lens with a live preview.
Aside from the excellent display, this camera also takes great photos. It has a 1-inch 20.1MP MOS sensor and Power O.I.S. This means that you can take consistently sharp images and avoid things like motion blur. The lens is a Leica DC Vario-SU 24-72mm lens with a maximum aperture range of f/2.8 to f/8.8. The lens does not have as far a reach as the ZS0 and ZS100, but it makes for an excellent general-purpose photography lens.
The LUMIX LX10 also has some other great features. For example, it has WiFi connectivity so you can download photos to your smartphone. It also has a Lithium-Ion battery that has a great usage life and can be charged via a USB cable. If you want to do vlogging or take selfies, this is one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500.
5. Olympus Tough TG-6
Great for underwater use
The Olympus TG-6 is a tough camera that can create some fantastic underwater photos and video due to the 5 dedicated underwater modes.
Dustproof and shockproof exterior
Can record 1080p HD video at 120fps
4 different special macro modes
Only has a 12MP CMOS sensor
If you want a durable camera for underwater use or for extreme sports, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500. This camera is meant to withstand tough conditions and is crushproof, shockproof, and dustproof.
It also has an anti-fog lens, and is waterproof up to 15 m / 50 ft. As a result, you can comfortably use it for snorkeling or diving or just when you are having fun in the pool or sea. The freezeproof feature also means that the Tough TG-6 can withstand temperatures of -10 degrees Celsius / 14 degrees Fahrenheit.
Aside from being tough and durable, the Olympus TG-6 also provides great image quality. It has a 12MP CMOS sensor and a sharp, high-resolution lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 and an 8x optical zoom. We also like that it has four macro shooting modes that allow you to focus on objects as close as 1cm from the end of the lens.
This camera also makes underwater photography and video easy due to its 5 underwater shooting modes. This includes an underwater microscope and different white balance modes.
6. Canon PowerShot ELPH 180
Great for beginners
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is great for first-time users due to its intelligent auto mode which automatically selects the best camera settings for you.
High-resolution 20MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ processor
Decent focal length range of 28-224mm
Has both optical and digital image stabilization
Some may not like the minimum focal length of 28mm
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 due to its simple controls, high-quality image sensor, and stylish compact design. This is one of the newer PowerShot P&S models and it has a 20MP CMOS sensor with the DIGIC 4+ image processor.
This means that you images will be sharp and have great contrast. You can also use this camera handheld with confidence due to the optical image stabilization. For zooming and photography variance, the lens has an equivalent focal length range of 28-224mm.
For first-time photographers, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 also has an intelligent auto shooting mode. This uses AI technology and live analysis to choose the best possible photo settings for the current scene. You can therefore take quality photos without needing to understand things like aperture and exposure.
We also love the design of this compact camera. It weighs only 9.8 ounces / 277 g and can easily fit in the palm of your hand or your pocket. If you want a simple point and shoot camera that can deliver excellent image quality with minimum technical knowledge, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 is a great choice.
7. Panasonic LUMIX FZ300
Great for outdoor use
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 is a durable point and shoot camera that is dustproof and splashproof and thus perfect for outdoor use.
Rugged design with dustproof exterior
5-axis hybrid optical image stabilization
Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens
If you want a larger point and shoot camera that can prepare you for DSLR or mirrorless use, the Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 is one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500.
This is a larger and bulkier model compared to most P&S cameras on this list so bear that in mind. However, it has excellent features and great still photo and video quality. It has a 12MP MOS sensor that creates crisp images with great contrast. It is also capable of recording video in 4K at 30fps.
You have great versatility due to the Leica DC Vario-Elmarit lens too. This has a 24x optical zoom which equates to a focal length of 24-600mm. This is complemented by an excellent maximum aperture of f/2.8 at 24mm. It also makes the lens fast, and capable of shooting in low-light situations.
The Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 also has an incredibly rugged design. It may be larger and bulkier, but it is splashproof and dustproof. The seals around the buttons and joints are tight and mean you can comfortably use this camera outdoors in varying weather conditions. We also like that the FZ300 includes a detachable lens hood. This helps reduce lens flare and light interference.
8. Minolta MN67Z
Great for portraits
The Minolta MN67Z excels at portrait photography and group photos due to the face detection, smile detection, and blink detection shooting modes.
20MP CMOS sensor for high-resolution images
3-inch LCD touchscreen display with vari-angle adjustments
Has 14 different scene modes for great usability
It may not have the smallest or lightest body
Minolta has a decent range of bridge cameras that are inexpensive and easy to use. One of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 is therefore the Minolta MN67Z. This point and shoot bridge camera has some great features and also benefits from a 67x optical zoom.
The image quality is excellent due to the 20MP CMOS sensor. This is complemented by the high-quality lens that has a 67x optical zoom. This translates to an effective focal length range of 23-1568mm. As a result, you can comfortably use this camera for virtually any type of photography – from street photography through to wildlife and sports photography.
We also like the different shooting modes this bridge camera has. This includes face detection for portraits, smile detection, blink detection, continuous shooting, and 360-degree panoramas. It gives you flexibility for your photography without needing advanced technical skills.
For ease of use, the Minolta MN67Z also has an LCD screen that can be fully tilted and rotated. Therefore, you can easily take selfies or record 1080p video while watching a live preview. Lastly, it also has optical image stabilization to help with handheld use.
9. Canon PowerShot SX530 HS
Great for learning photography
The Canon PowerShot SX530 HS is a great starter camera as it has a range of auto and creative modes, but allows you to progress to full manual mode too.
Ergonomic design with a large hand grip
Excellent focal length range of 24-1200mm
Great connectivity with both WiFi and Bluetooth
It may no have the best autofocus
Canon also has some PowerShot cameras that look and feel more like a traditional DSLR. An older option, but still one of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 is the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS.
This point and shoot bridge camera has a 16MP CMOS sensor, and the DIGIC 4+ image processor. It can perform great in a variety of situations and also has decent low-light performance. We also like that it has intelligent image stabilization to help get sharp images and videos without motion blur.
The lens has a 50x optical ultrazoom, and a 100x ZoomPlus feature. This gives it an impressive focal length range of 24-1200mm. You can take amazing wide-angle landscape shots and street photography or zoom in on subjects far off for greater detail.
For usability, the Canon PowerShot SX530 HS also has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. You can download images and video to your smartphone or laptop relatively easily. The camera also caters to different skill levels. For example, it has a range of creative modes, but you can also use it in full manual mode.
10. Nikon COOLPIX B600
Great for beginners
The Nikon COOLPIX B600 is an excellent starter camera due to its range of automated shooting modes and scenes which will make photography easy for the uninitiated.
Fantastic focal length range of 24-1440mm
Ergonomic design with large hand grip
Has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
Only has a 16MP CMOS sensor
The Nikon COOLPIX range of cameras is relatively old, but you can still pick some of them up as new models. One of the best point and shoot cameras under $500 in this range is the Nikon COOLPIX B600.
This point and shoot camera has a traditional DSLR design and it is great if you want to learn how to handle a DSLR and get used to the different control dials. It has a large right-hand grip so you can hold the camera comfortably. There is also a rear LCD screen although it is fixed and cannot be adjusted in any way.
For image quality, the Nikon COOLPIX B600 has a 16MP CMOS sensor which offers great low-light performance. The lens has a 60x optical zoom, and a 120x dynamic fine zoom. This equals a focal length range of 24-1440mm. As a result, it offers the largest focal length range on this list.
We also like the usability of this bridge camera. It has a range of automatic shooting modes and 19 different scene modes. This means you can easily get quality photos, but also create some artistic shots using the scene modes and creative filters. Please bear in mind that this camera is now discontinued, so support is limited.
Which Point and Shoot Camera Under $500 is Right for You?
We hope you now have a great idea of the best point and shoot cameras under $500. There is an excellent selection of compact cameras available. Due to the number of different models, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you.
Perhaps you want a simple camera that is easy to use? If so, beginner models like the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180, Canon PowerShot SX530 HS, and Panasonic LUMIX FZ300 all have some excellent controls and features for new photographers.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Certain content that appears on PhotoWorkout.com comes from Amazon. This content is provided ‘as is’ and is subject to change or removal at any time.