Best Compact Cameras Under $300 – Buying Guide

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The rise in the popularity of the smartphones since 2010 has given a decline to the sales and fame of the compact cameras. People are preferring smartphones over compact cameras but this doesn’t mean that the smartphones are better in terms of photography when compared to compact cameras which are specially built for photography.

The smartphones are still far behind than the compact cameras as compact cameras boasts some amazing features which a smartphone does not. They offer optical zoom unlike a smartphone’s digital zoom, different kinds of modes, better focus and efficiency to perform better in low lighting conditions. A smartphone lacks in all these domains and therefore, compact camera becomes the most feasible alternative for capturing stunning photos under budget and comfort.

People take photos to experience them in some later point of life and to relive those moments again with the help of those photographs. Some special moments are worth printing to hang on the wall or on the desk of their workspace. The printed image captured by a compact camera is far superior to that of a smartphone’s.

Best Compact Cameras Under $300 in 2018

$249.99
$379.00
in stock
13 new from $233.00
16 used from $149.99
Amazon.com
$348.00
$349.99
in stock
8 new from $348.00
2 used from $250.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$434.78
$529.00
in stock
8 new from $434.78
14 used from $255.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$396.95
$399.95
in stock
13 new from $396.95
15 used from $219.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$268.00
in stock
9 new from $268.00
18 used from $93.95
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$199.00
$350.00
in stock
1 new from $199.00
9 used from $185.07
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$386.95
$389.00
in stock
10 new from $386.95
14 used from $288.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$349.00
$399.00
in stock
22 new from $349.00
12 used from $225.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Too low to display
out of stock
4 used from $251.01
Amazon.com
$229.00
$279.00
in stock
22 new from $219.00
32 used from $174.33
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm

What to look for?

Modern-day compact cameras have evolved too with the technology and we have compiled a list of the 10 best compact cameras that are available in the present day market. They are very affordable (under $300) and provide better photography over smartphone’s. Have a look.

1. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS

$249.99
$379.00
in stock
13 new from $233.00
16 used from $149.99
Amazon.com
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Great optical zoom No touch screen
Slim and easy-to-hold camera Camera button are too small
Fairly large sensor No Bluetooth

Boasting a 20.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, the PowerShot SX720 HS is surely an incredible camera. It has a brilliant 40x zoom lens with an aperture range of f/3.3-6.9. This compact camera also has an in-body image-stabilization feature which makes sure that you get the perfect picture every time you click the button. Since it is a compact camera, it measures at 4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches and weighs just 270 grams. The PowerShot Sz720 HC is powered by the DIGIC 6 image processor which offers crispier image quality, better dynamic range and deep shadow performance. The video quality offered by this camera is Full-HD 1080p.

The LCD is fairly large in size as it measures 3-inches and contain 922,000 dots on it showing sharp and vivid display of the images, videos and information shown on the edges. For the purpose of connectivity, both Wi-Fi and NFC are built-in to transfer the data wirelessly.

2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500

$348.00
$349.99
in stock
8 new from $348.00
2 used from $250.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Decent optical zoom No touch-enabled display
Articulated LCD No weather protection
Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC No Bluetooth

Sony has taken care of all your family photography needs thanks to the brilliant 18.2 MP Exmor R sensor and the powerful Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* f/3.5-6.4 lens of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX500. According to Sony, the WX500 is the world’s smallest compact camera with 30x optical zoom feature. It measures at 4.02 x 2.28 x 1.42 inches and weighs at just 236 grams. This economical compact camera is powered by the  Bionz X image processor which is capable of processing the high-resolution image and video data at high speeds with better color reproduction and almost no noise at all. The department of video is also taken care of by 1080p and 720p resolutions. The three frame rates in which you can record the videos are 24, 30 or 60 fps.

The LCD in this compact camera measures at 3-inches and contains 921,000 dots on it. The quality of photos and videos displayed on this LCD is brilliant and vivid. A great advantage offered by the WX500’s LCD is that it could be articulated up to 18- degrees providing you great flexibility to take self portraits. For the purpose of connectivity and transmitting data, both Wi-Fi and NFC are built-in to this compact camera which could easily be purchased under just $300.

3. Canon PowerShot G9 X

$434.78
$529.00
in stock
8 new from $434.78
14 used from $255.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
1-inch image sensor Limited zoom of just 3x
Touch-enabled LCD LCD is not tiltable
Wi-Fi and NFC No Bluetooth

The Canon PowerShot G9 X is one of the slimmest yet comfortable compact camera currently available in the market under the price range of $300. It provides incredible image quality and great video recording thanks to the 20.2 MP and an astonishingly sized 1-inch sensor which is not very common in the compact cameras. However, zoom is limited to just 3x with maximum apertures of f/2.0-f/4.9.

Canon’s very own DIGIC 6 image-processor is responsible for providing fast and reliable coverage of both images and videos with sharper and better quality. Full-HD 1080p video can be easily recorded in this beautifully compact camera which measures at 3.86 x 2.28 x 1.21 inches and weighs at just 210 grams.

A touch-enabled screen measuring at 3-inches with 1,040,000 dots provides stunning colors and better detailing with lots of modes and tweaks to make your shooting experience more comfortable and exciting. The in-built Wi-Fi and NFC makes sure you can transfer the data on-the-go without any hassle of wires and whatnot.

4. Nikon Coolpix A900

$396.95
$399.95
in stock
13 new from $396.95
15 used from $219.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Great optical zoom of up to 35x No touch screen
4K Video A little bigger than the average size
Tiltable LCD
Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth for connectivity

The list of the best compact cameras would be incomplete without one of the industry giants, Nikon. Here they are with their all-new Nikon Coolpix A900 which is a reasonably sized compact camera which performs astonishingly thanks to some of the most advanced features boasts. The 20.3 MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor delivers a brilliant zoom range of up to 35x with maximum apertures of f/3.4-6.9.

One of the most attractive feature of this economical compact camera is the inclusion of the 4K video. Yes, you heard it right. This pocket sized camera will make your trips and vacations even wonderful with stunningly sharp and bright 4K videos (3840×2160/30p). Even some of the most anticipated compact cameras of the present day market are unable to shoot in 4K but Nikon has not disappointed the loyalists and has yet again proved the fact that they are one of the pioneers of the industry.

The 3-inches long tiltable LCD is not touch-enabled and contains 921,000 dots on it. Wi-Fi and NFC alongside Bluetooth are also built-in to provide faster connectivity.

All of these amazing features comes at a little trade-off. The measurements of this compact camera are substantially bigger as compared to the competitor’s. It measures at 4.45 x 2.64 x 1.57 inches at weighs at 290 grams.

5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350

$268.00
in stock
9 new from $268.00
18 used from $93.95
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Fair optical zoom of 20x No touch-enabled LCD
4K video Difficult Wi-Fi setttings
Wi-Fi and NFC No Bluetooth

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX350 is the most compact and lightweight point-and-shoot camera available in the market. Measuring at just 3.8 x 2.2 x 1.0 inches and weighing 140 grams, the WX350 is a hot shot under just $300.

Although, the WX350 is one of the most compact and lightweight camera out there but, this does not mean that Sony has compromised on some performance related factors. It comes packed with 18.2 MP Exmor R sensor and a maximum aperture of f/3.5-6.5. The Sony’s G-lens is capable of a whooping 20x optical zoom which is pretty impressive in this size. It is powered by Sony’s famous BIONZ X image processor which handles different shooting modes including the Program Auto, Superior Auto and Intelligent Auto. The WX350 can shoot videos in stunning 4K quality which is a plus considering the price (under $300) and dimensions of this compact camera.

The LCD is similar to that of any other compact camera i-e, 3-inches in size and contains 460,800 dots on it. However, it is neither tiltable nor touch-enabled. For connectivity, it has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for faster connectivity.

6. Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50

$199.00
$350.00
in stock
1 new from $199.00
9 used from $185.07
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Great optical zoom of 30x Just 12 MP sensor
Decent Electronic View Finder No touch-enabled LCD
Wi-Fi and NFC No Bluetooth

Nowadays, “travel zoom” is the most used term in the compact cameras’ market because of the true zoom provided by the optical zoom. Panasonic claims that the “travel zoom” was introduced by them in the year 2006. Since then they are holding the top position in this sector by introducing different models.

The latest addition to the Lumix series of compact cameras, the DMC-ZS50 comes with a Leica-branded zoom lens which is capable of 30x optical zoom alongside a 12 MP CMOS sensor and a maximum aperture of f3.3-6.4. It is capable of taking stunning images and Full-HD 1080p videos. All of this is packed inside a body which measures at 4.37 x 2.56 x 1.34 inches and weighs 243 grams and is just priced under $300.

The latest addition to this compact camera is an electronic viewfinder. It detects your face automatically and performs in an excellent manner. It gives a 100% scene coverage and a 0.46x magnification. On the other hand, the LCD is also pretty decent with 3-inches in size and contains 1,040,000 dots on it. However, it is not touch-enabled and can’t be tilted either for self-portraits. For the purpose of connectivity, Wi-Fi and NFC are there for easy transmission of data.

7. Nikon Coolpix W300

$386.95
$389.00
in stock
10 new from $386.95
14 used from $288.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Water proof, Freeze proof and Shock proof Limited battery life
4K Video LCD is not touch-enabled
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth No NFC

Another exciting compact camera by the Nikon in their Coolpix franchise is the W300 which is nothing but a classy camera. It has a 16 MP CMOS sensor with the maximum aperture being f/2.8-4.9. The NIKKOR lens is capable of 5x optical zoom and the overall result of this camera is just fantastic.

However, the most striking feature of the W300 is that it is waterproof up to 100 feet, freezeproof up to -10 degrees Celsius and an increased shock resistance up to 7.9 feet. All these features allows the user to go beyond the possibilities of an average compact camera and find out what the nature has to offer to them. The 4K video recording even enhances the experience while the user is out there enjoying the thrilling experience.

This hardcore camera has an LCD of 3-inches which contains 921,000 dots on it and allows you to see the action in a bright and vivid manner thanks to the EXPEED A5 image processor. For faster connectivity it has Wi-Fi ad Bluetooth but no NFC.

8. Canon PowerShot SX540 HS

$349.00
$399.00
in stock
22 new from $349.00
12 used from $225.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Powerful optical zoom of 50x Substantially bigger size and weight
Zoom Framing Assist No 4K Video
Wi-Fi and NFC No Bluetooth

At first glance, the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS looks like a DSLR camera but given the measurements of 4.72 x 3.23 x 3.62 inches and weight of 442 grams, it falls into the category of compact bridge camera. The most highlighting feature of the SX540 HS is the 50x optical zoom paired with a 20 MP CMOS sensor which makes sure that you can capture all the rich details and fast moving actions easily. The DIGIC 6 image processor makes sure fast and rapid coverage is provided to you throughout your photography session.

Thr 50x optical zoom is backed by “Zoom Framing Assist” due to which it is easier to lock the subject when lens is at maximum telephoto. This feature is very important because at maximum zoom, it becomes very difficult to have a balance.

A 3-inch LCD with 461,000 dots is vivid and clear and shows you detailed images and videos. The video can be recorded in Full-HD 1080p and the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC allows faster connectivity without involving any wires.

9. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400

Too low to display
out of stock
4 used from $251.01
Amazon.com
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Electronic Viewfinder No 4K or 1080p video
Massive 63x of optical zoom No NFC and Bluetooth
Powerful HAD CCD sensor of 20.1 MP Non touch-enabled LCD

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 is surely a magnificent compact camera which offers a whopping 63x of optical zoom which can easily capture the distant objects without getting any noise or grain in the images or the videos. It is backed by a 20.1 MP HAD CCD sensor and resembles an entry-level DSLR. The aperture number varies between F3.4(W)-6.5(T)

Alongside the 3-inch LCD which is non touch-enabled, there is an Electronic View Finder which provides real-time preview of your shot with alomost no reflection. It also has “Optical SteadyShot” which makes sure that the images aren’t effected by the shake of your hand and control the lens gyroscopically.

Instead of recording 4K or 1080p video, it just records videos at an HD resolution of 720p. For connectivity, it has Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth or NFC.

10. Canon PowerShot SX620

$229.00
$279.00
in stock
22 new from $219.00
32 used from $174.33
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on December 15, 2018 9:54 pm
Pros Cons
Decent zoom of 25x Non touch-enabled LCD
Image stabilization No Bluetooth
Powerful sensor

The Canon PowerShot SX620 HS is pretty decent compact camera which gives you 25x of optical zoom with it’s powerful 20.2 MP CMOS sensor. A maximum aperture of f/3.2 (W), f/6.6 (T) and powered by Canon’s very own DIGIC 4+ image processor which provides good response and rapid image stabilization, this camera is a good choice for those want a compact camera under just $300.

Although, the LCD is not touch-enabled but it provides good scene coverage. The camera is capable of recording Full-HD 1080p videos and the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC make sure you are connected on-the-go.

Final Verdict

A lot of different features are offered by the various compact cameras we just discussed. All of them are the best compact cameras which can be purchased under $300 and are great for your daily photography needs. If you want a camera with higher optical zoom level and you are ready to add up a little weight than you should go for Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H400 and Nikon PowerShot SX540 HS should be preferred. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 is also a good one. If you want a rough and tough camera for your daily vlogging and adventurous needs than Nikon Coolpix W300 is an ideal choice. Rests of the cameras listed are also perfect and will give you images which your smartphone cannot and you should definitely get your hands on one as they are just under $300.

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