10 Best Travel Cameras Under $500 (IN 2019) | But Don’t Say Cheap

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 wealthy world of photography with the ability to capture various objects without weight you down. In this article, we will provide you with a detailed guide for the best travel cameras under 500.

Features to look for in a travel camera

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 the 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 better the image quality. A camera with a small sensor will give your grainy images that ruin the whole experience. So 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 senor and the camera lens. It is commonly measured in millimeters and 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 the 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 will 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, but 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. While 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

Best Travel Cameras Under 500

We understand that finding the perfect camera for you traveling endeavours can be a hectic and confusing task with so many great products in the market which is why we have compiled a list of the best travel cameras under 500 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

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

2.      Sony Cyber-shot HX9 (Best Travel Camera 2019)

Sony Cyber-shot HX9 is a great option for individuals who are looking to capture decent high-quality scenic experiences while on the go. The best feature of the Cyber-shot HX9 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 still, 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

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 of Money
  • Fast Autofocus

Cons;

  • Softness issues
  • Noise Issues

4.      Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90

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

The Lumix ZS70 / TZ90 is an all-rounder camera that is packed with 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: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K

Pros;

  • Perfect Value of Money
  • Tilting touchscreen

Cons;

  • Smoothing images at high ISOs
  • Detailing issues with max zoom

5.      Canon PowerShot SX730 HS

If you are looking for an easy to use, nicely build a camera that comes with all the basic features for capturing decent quality images with excellent zoom range, then there isn’t a device better than the Canon PowerShot SX730 HS. Although the device does lack some of the modern features as compared to its rivals but still is a great pick for individuals, who don’t want to indulge in the complicated features which 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: 1080p

Pros;

  • Unbeatable Zoom Range
  • Nicely Build

Cons;

  • No viewfinder
  • Doesn’t support 4K Video

6.      Nikon D3500 (Best Small Travel Camera 2019)

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 the DSLRs. It is packed with a large 24.2MP APS-C sensor paired with the 1.5x crop factor that allows you to cover wide-angle views. Plus the device is very easy to us, which means that even if you haven’t held a DSLR before, you can use it in the first go. The super zoom lens feature is something that makes it stand out from the rest of its rivals.

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

7.      Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

Want to enjoy the perks of the 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, Four Thirds Sensor, an electronic viewfinder, and supports 4K video. All these features make it one of the best choices for travelers and vloggers.

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

8.  Olympus TG-5

Not all travelers are interested in capturing wide-angle views or fully detailed images. Some of us want a versatile, easy to use, a durable camera that can withstand being dropped or splashed, and there isn’t a device better than the Olympus TG-5 that fits the definition. Along with its structural features, the camera is also packed with some amazing software features such as a 25-100mm zoom range, 4k 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

Pros;

  • Raw Capture
  • Durability
  • Waterproof Camera

Cons;

  • Small Sensor

9.      Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 (Best Under $700)

Panasonic has been known to manufacturer 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 to capture 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

10.      Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI (Best Under $800)

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 cameras with the initial version of the RX100 that was packed with the very first large 1.0 sensor. But 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;

Cons;

  • Expensive

Things to consider when buying a travel camera

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 vlogger. As a vlogger, you might be willing to carry heavy equipment with you, but 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 because making a decision.

·         Connectivity

In the initial days of digital photography, you were most probably 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 vloggers 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 of the cameras today are equipped with video shooting ability, but when it comes to measuring the quality of the video shoot, the frame rate is significant 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 the brand of lenses 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 hectic 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 the best travel cameras under 500. We hope that you find a suitable camera on this list and wish you luck with your traveling endeavours. (Latest Updated).

Leave a Reply