best travel cameras under 500 dollars

Best Travel Cameras Under 500 dollars: Everything you need to know

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With the revolutionary advancements in the digital world, the photography world has taken a new step towards a brighter, more detailed, and luxurious path. From point and shoot cameras to DSLRs, these devices are now equipped with digitally enhanced features that allow you to experience the rich world of photography with the ability to capture various objects without weighing you down. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed guide for the best travel cameras under 500 dollars.

Features to look for in one of the best travel cameras under 500 dollars

Just like all other devices, cameras also come with certain essential features that one should consider before buying a camera. You might see several specifications on the box, but it doesn’t mean that you need to consider all of them.

Some of them are just made up of technical words by the manufacturer, so they might confuse first-time buyers. So let us look at some of the essential features that you need to consider before making your decision.

Sensor Size

The image quality of a camera depends on the amount of light that it captures. The sensors integrated into the digital cameras play the leading role in achieving glow to enhance the image quality. The larger the sensor, the more light it would be able to absorb and the better the image quality.

A camera with a small sensor will give you grainy images that ruin the whole experience. Choose a camera that comes with a large sensor so that you can capture high-quality images even in low light.

Focal Length

The focal length is the term used to describe the distance between the sensor and the camera lens. It is commonly measured in millimeters, and the smaller the number, the better.

In most cases, both the max and the minimum focal lengths are mentioned, which indicate the width of the shots that you can capture.

Aperture

Aperture and sensor size are correlated features. Aperture is represented in the form of ‘f’ followed by a number that indicates the size of the hole in the sensor, which lets in light for better image quality. So, in short, the aperture controls the brightness of an image.

You must remember that the smaller the number, the larger the hole, so cameras with smaller apertures are much better at getting high-quality photos in low light.

Megapixels

Most buyers tend to believe that cameras with more megapixels offer better image quality. Even though there is a bit of truth to it, that is not what megapixels represent. In simple terms, megapixel is used to describe the size and the resolution of the image that your camera can capture.

The higher the number, the better, but if you are genuinely looking for top-notch quality images, then make sure to correlate the megapixels with the sensor size and the aperture for a more rational decision.

EIS/OIS

These are terms used for stabilization features integrated into the cameras. They are there to ensure that you don’t end up with bumpy images. Optical image stabilization is linked to pictures, whereas electronic image stabilization is linked to videos. A camera with both EIS and OIS will offer you less jerky images and videos.

Optical and Digital Zoom

Most people tend to get confused between optical and digital zoom. Well, to clarify, optical zoom is the actual zoom lens that allows you to magnify an object or make it appear closer to you without actually affecting the overall image quality.

Digital zoom, on the other hand, allows you to zoom in on a frame or video that you have captured by cropping the image. This reduces the image quality, so it is better to avoid using it and only focus on optical zoom when making your decision.

Best Travel Cameras Under 500 Dollars

We understand that finding the perfect camera for your traveling endeavors can be a hectic and confusing task with so many great products on the market, which is why we have compiled a list of the best travel cameras under 500 dollars that are also the best cameras for travel vlogging. So, go through the reviews and choose the one that suits your needs the most.

1. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100

Our pick for the Best Travel Cameras Under 500 Dollars

If you are looking for an affordable Lumix camera as compared to the ZS200/TZ200, then the ZS100/TS100 is a great alternative. It is an older version and the length of the lens might not be enough, but the device is packed with a decent electric viewfinder, a large 1.0 sensor and, of course, allows you to shoot 4K video, which is enough for holiday photos and vacation captures.

Apart from the hardware features, it also comes with some new state-of-the-art features such as the ability to extract frames from your videos or adjust focus on images after capture and so much more.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP
  • Lens: 25-250mm, f/2.8-5.9
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Large 1.0-inch sensor
  • 4K movies
Cons
  • Restricted 10x zoom lens
  • Fixed rear display
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2. Sony Cyber-shot HX99

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99 is a great option for individuals who are looking to capture decent-quality scenic experiences while on the go. The best feature of the Cyber-shot HX99 is the 30x Optical Zoom that can’t be found in any of the other devices.

Although you might have to compromise on the image quality due to the absence of large sensors, the device is capable enough to capture much better pictures than your best smartphones. Plus, the raw capture and the tilting touch screen are features that add to the versatility of the camera.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 18.2MP
  • Lens: 24-720mm, f/3.5-6.4
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Integrated Electric Viewfinder
Cons
  • Restricted Controls
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3. Panasonic Lumix ZS80 / TZ95

This is another great Panasonic device that is simply perfect for traveling individuals. It is amazing how such a compact device is packed with so many high-quality features that allow you to experience the world of photography from a completely different angle.

The Lumix ZS80/TZ95 comes with an amazing 20.3MP sensor, a 24-720mm zoom, a tilting touchscreen and, of course, 4K video recording supported with quick autofocus, making it perfect for capturing moments and scenes on the go while filming the experience as well.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP
  • Lens: 24-720mm, f/3.3-6.4
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1,040K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Great Value
  • Fast Autofocus
Cons
  • Softness issues
  • Noise Issues
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4. Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90

Panasonic is known for its versatility. When it comes to Panasonic, you can easily find a great travel camera at an affordable price range. The Lumix series is one of the best and the cameras included are simply better than the others in some way or the other.

The Lumix ZS70/TZ90 is an all-rounder camera that is packed with features like 30x optical zoom, 4K video recording option, raw capture features, tilting LCD screen, fast autofocus and face detection and so much more. It is like the most affordable best camera for travel under 500.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP
  • Lens: 24-720mm, f/3.3-6.4
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,040K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting at 10fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Great Bang for your Buck
  • Tilting touchscreen
Cons
  • Smoothing images at high ISOs
  • Detailing issues with max zoom
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5. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

If you are looking for an easy to use, nicely built camera that comes with all the basic features for capturing decent quality images with an excellent zoom range, then there isn’t a device better than the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS.

Although the device does lack some of the modern features as compared to its rivals, it is still a great pick for individuals who don’t want to indulge in the complicated features that might ruin the whole experience for them.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.3MP
  • Lens: 24-960mm, f/3.3-6.9
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 922,000K dots
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Continuous shooting: 5.9fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Unbeatable Zoom Range
  • Nicely Built
Cons
  • No viewfinder
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6. Nikon D3500

Best Small Travel Camera for Image Quality

Apart from the compact cameras, another great small camera that you can carry with you on your trip is the Nikon D3500. A small, entry-level DSLR that is equipped with all the necessary features that allow you to experience the world of photography with the decent, unbeatable lenses of a DSLR. It is packed with a large 24.2MP APS-C sensor paired with a 1.5x crop factor that allows you to cover wide-angle views.

Plus, the device is very easy to use, which means that even if you haven’t held a DSLR before, you can use it on the first try. The super zoom lens feature is something that makes it stand out from the rest of its rivals as one of the best travel cameras.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 24.2MP
  • Lens: Sold separately
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch screen, 921,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: Optical
  • Continuous shooting: 6fps
  • Movies: 1080p
Pros
  • User-Friendly
  • Great Image Quality
Cons
  • No touchscreen
  • No 4k video support
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7. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Want to enjoy the perks of a mirrorless camera while on the go? Well, then there isn’t a better choice than the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. Although it won’t be able to compete with the DSLR image quality, it is still better than the compact travel cameras, especially when it comes to zoom.

This amazing camera is packed with a 5-axis image stabilization system, a Four Thirds sensor, an electronic viewfinder, and supports 4K video. All these features make it one of the best choices for travelers and bloggers.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 16.1MP
  • Lens: Sold separately
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1,037,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 8.6fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Compact body and lenses
  • Decent Electric Viewfinder
Cons
  • Rusty Resolution
  • Average battery life
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8. Olympus TG-6

Not all travelers are interested in capturing wide-angle views or fully detailed images. Some of us want a versatile, easy-to-use, durable camera that can withstand being dropped or splashed, and there isn’t a device better than the Olympus TG-6 that fits the definition.

There are a few notable enhancements from the TG-5 to the TG-6. Chromatic aberration has been minimized, the purple orb issue has been resolved, microscope videos can now be recorded, and aperture mode can now be used in conjunction with microscope mode.

In addition, the TG-6 photos are darker and less prone to being overexposed. It is very clear that the visual quality has had a significant upgrade. The TG-6 is also more durable (thicker lcd, better for reduction, etc). The LCD screen has seen the most improvement.

Along with its structural features, the camera is also packed with some amazing software features such as a 8x zoom range, 4k Ultra HD video recording, raw capture, Wi-Fi, and LED lights for better close-up shots.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 12MP
  • Lens: 25-100mm
  • Monitor: 3-inch, 460,000 dots
  • Viewfinder: No
  • Continuous shooting: 20fps
  • Movies: 4K Ultra HD
Pros
  • Raw Capture
  • Durability
  • Waterproof Camera
Cons
  • Small Sensor
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9. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 (Best Under $700)

Panasonic has been known to manufacture some seriously amazing compact cameras in the past. The approach that Panasonic took in designing this model is quite appealing as the device has the same size as the earlier cameras in the ZS/TZ series but offers a much larger sensor.

The large 1.0 sensor paired with the versatile 15x zoom and the electronic viewfinders makes the camera one of the best for capturing bright, high-quality images during your trip, especially if you are a beginner.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP
  • Lens: 24-360mm, f/3.3-6.4
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,240K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Large 1.0-inch sensor
  • 15x zoom
Cons
  • Confined EVF
  • Slightly Expensive
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10. Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI (Best Under $1000)

If you are looking for the best compact camera of traveling, then there is nothing that can beat the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VI. Sony revolutionized the travel camera market with the initial version of the RX100, which was packed with the very first large 1.0 sensor.

However, since the RX100 VI is a later version, it is packed with so much more, including the decent 24-200mm zoom lens, which makes it unbeatable. The autofocus system, integrated into the 4K video recording, makes it stand out from its rivals and is a perfect travel camera for professionals.

Specifications;

  • Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP
  • Lens: 24-200mm, f/2.8-4.5
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 921K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Continuous shooting: 24fps
  • Movies: 4K
Pros
  • Unbeatable performance
  • High-quality EVF
  • Decent Zoom Range
Cons
  • Expensive
CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

Things to consider when buying one of the best travel cameras under $500

Buying a camera is a huge investment, which is why instead of rushing into it, one must always plan and look for the camera that would perfectly suit one’s needs. There are plenty of great devices out there, and you can get any one of them, but the question is, apart from the features, what are the other things that you must consider before choosing the best small digital cameras for travel purposes.

Portability

Portability is one of the main things that you must consider before buying a camera, especially for traveling purposes. There is a difference between an occasional traveler and a travel blogger. As a blogger, you might be willing to carry heavy equipment with you.

However, when it comes to occasional travelers, they tend to opt for a small, compact, and lightweight camera that they can easily carry to their destinations. So consider the portability factor before making a decision.

Connectivity

In the early days of digital photography, you were most likely stuck with a lot of cables, but not anymore. Modern cameras are equipped with certain connectivity features, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth being the most common, which add to the versatility and ease of use.

It is probably best for you to get a camera that comes with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so that you can easily connect it with other devices digitally and transfer your data without any serious hassle while on the go.

Ergonomics

Travel bloggers tend to go for ergonomically designed cameras since they don’t always have the luxury of tripods. Since you will most probably be filming and capturing images all along the way, you need to invest in a device that fits your weight and size requirements.

Video Frame Rate

Most cameras today are equipped with video shooting ability, but when it comes to measuring the quality of the video shoot, the frame rate is an important factor to consider. Normally, cameras can shoot 24–30 frames per second, and the number goes up to 60 FPS. The higher the number, the smoother the playback, so choose wisely.

Lens Selection

Each camera comes with a unique mount for interchangeable lenses. You won’t be able to attach any lens to any camera, which is why it is important to consider the type or brand of lens that your camera can support before you invest.

Budget

The budget is another important feature. Everyone wants the best camera available, but that doesn’t mean that one can afford it, which is why the price range that you can afford also defines the camera that you will be able to buy. Look for cameras in your price range and make the decision accordingly.

Final Words (Buyer’s Guide)

Choosing the right camera for traveling can be quite a hassle because there are so many things that one needs to consider. Plus, with the versatility of products available, it can be a confusing task at times as well.

So read through the guide carefully so you understand the features that you need to look for and the things that you need to consider before investing in one of the best travel cameras under 500 dollars. We hope that you find a suitable camera on this list and wish you luck with your travel endeavors.

 

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