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6 Best Cameras Under $300 in 2022 [Top Budget Picks]

If you’re looking for a $300 camera, it’s because you know you want something better than what a smartphone can offer. Maybe that’s more reach courtesy of a longer lens, more flexibility, or just a more powerful flash.

The biggest problem you’ll face when looking at cameras under 300 dollars is that this is a dying segment with few new offerings. You’ll need to sift through quite a bit of old stock to find what you’re looking for, which will take a lot of time and effort.

As a photographer myself who started out shooting many of these devices, I’ve compiled this list to make that decision easier for you. Rest assured, despite being old, the featured sub $300 cameras offer great value and can be your first digital camera, to begin with.

6 Best Cameras Under $300 in 2022

To prepare this list of top digital cameras under 300 dollars, I have primarily focused on photo quality over anything else. Some of them are pretty old and lack the speed and video processing capabilities of smartphones, but they do capture excellent stills.

Whether you’re searching for an easy-to-use Point and Shoot or want to get your hands on the best budget compact camera, the list covers diverse options to meet different needs and use cases. Rest assured, you’ll find the perfect fit for yourself!

  • Sensor Resolution: 18.1MP
  • Zoom Capacity: 30x
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K 30 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 280 shots
  • Weight: 0.62 lbs

Panasonic’s ZS60K is a very capable superzoom camera that’s compact, very capable, and light on the pocket. The Lumix DMC-ZS60K the best photography camera under $300 that I’d recommend for vlogging as well.

Sensor & Capabilities

Panasonic uses a high sensitivity 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor in the ZS60K. It has a resolution of 18.1MP and is paired with a 24-720mm F3.3-6.4 Leica branded lens that’s quite sharp throughout its zoom range.

The device focuses via Panasonic’s DFD CDAF system, which is accurate and fast when shooting stills. With manual focus, a 3 cm macro, and excellent image stabilization, not to mention great low-light performance, the ZS60K is certainly a compelling buy.

Video Features

This is one of the few options in this price range that internally shoots 4K 30p video. It uses a 5-axis hybrid OIS system for the video that’s quite effective at stabilizing zoomed-in shots, and its CDAF system does a decent enough job of tracking subjects.

Unlike some high-end vlogging cameras with flip screens, Lumix ZS60K’s display doesn’t flip out, so you can’t frame yourself when vlogging, but this niggle aside, the video quality will not disappoint. All said and done; it’s easily the best video camera under 300 USD.

Design & Build

Measuring just 4.41 x 2.52 x 1.5 inches and weighing 0.62 lb, the Lumix DMC-ZS60K is very compact and pocketable. There isn’t much grip, but the handling isn’t an issue since the body doesn’t weigh much.

There isn’t much space for buttons and dials either, but you do get a large, 3” 1 MDOT LCD and a 0.46x EVF, not to mention a simple and intuitive UI. The best feature of the ZS60K is a control dial on the lens, which you can map to a variety of functions.

Battery Life

The battery life of 320 shots puts the LUMIX ZS60K on par with the latest, high-end mirrorless cameras from Canon and Nikon. That’s quite a feat, given the size of the ZS60K. This should be enough for a day’s use, and since it charges via USB, you won’t need to carry spares.

Connectivity & Other Features

Panasonic uses a fast and intuitive 802.11n Wi-Fi system that pairs easily with a smartphone. You’ll also find a micro USB 2.0 port for data transfer and charging and a micro HDMI output. There is no mic input, however.

Should you buy it?

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60K is the best $300 camera you can buy today and a great 4K video camera to boot. I’d recommend it as the first choice for anyone looking for an upgrade from a smartphone. Good video support is just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Pros
  • 4K video support
  • Well-rounded feature-set
  • Excellent value
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • AF tracking performance
  • Sensor Resolution: 20MP
  • Zoom Capacity: 42x
  • Max Video Resolution: HD 30 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 195 shots
  • Weight: 0.72 lbs

The SX420 is an SLR-like bridge camera from 2016 that offers a massive 42x of optical zoom. Because of that super zoom, it’s a tool I’m happy to recommend for animal or bird photography. Let’s learn more about the Canon PowerShot SX420 to know if it’s the right pick or you should consider an upgraded variant, i.e., SX620.

Sensor & Capabilities

Canon has packed a 1/2.3″ CCD with a resolution of 20MP. The ISO range only tops out at 1600, and the image does get noticeably noisy above ISO 400. This limits the SX420’s usefulness in low light, but it can offer very good images in daylight.

The lens has an impressive focal length of 24-1008 mm and a slightly less impressive aperture of F3.5-6.6. Again, the small aperture limits the performance in low light. You do get a 0cm macro, though, and a built-in flash that goes to 4m. 

Video Features

As with most systems from this era, video quality just qualifies as usable. It’s useful when you want footage of something a mile away, but with a maximum resolution of just 720p, it’s not ideal for Youtube or vlogging. It can suffice for TikTok or Instagram, however.

Audio is also limited, with your only option being the built-in mono microphone. There is no external mic input.

Design & Build

The SX420 is relatively large with a deep grip as a bridge camera. It measures 4.09 x 2.72 x 3.35 inches and weighs 0.72 lb, though the bulk of the weight comes from that long zoom lens. There aren’t too many buttons, but the layout is intuitive and straightforward to use.

You get a 3”, 230k-dot LCD on the rear for live view shooting and dedicated buttons for macro and wireless data transfer. There’s also a separate button for recording video.

Battery Life

This is a small body, and Canon has gone with the NB-11LH battery here. This gives you a battery life of just 195 shots, and the battery must be charged externally. For these reasons, I’d recommend you get yourself a couple of spares if you shoot regularly.

Connectivity & Other Features

The SX420 comes with a micro USB port rated at 2.0 speeds and supports 802.11n Wi-Fi. NFC is also included for easy pairing with certain smartphones. You won’t find any HDMI ports or mic input. Images are captured on a single SDXC card.

Should you buy it?

The PowerShot SX420 is one of the top-rated Canon cameras under 300 USD. Its excellent zoom range and sensor performance in daylight lend themselves well to wildlife and bird photography.

Alternative Option

If you don’t need that much zoom and are okay spending a bit more for an upgraded variant, PowerShot SX620 is an excellent alternative that I can recommend. It only has 25x optical zoom, but supports 1080p video, boasts of a higher resolution LCD, and offers 50% more battery life. For $319, it’s a considerably good upgrade and a better deal than the SX420.

Pros
  • 42x zoom range
  • Good value
  • Excellent daylight performance
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
Cons
  • Noisy in low light
  • HD video only
  • Sensor Resolution: 20.1MP
  • Zoom Capacity: 35x
  • Max Video Resolution: HD 30 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 350 shots
  • Weight: 1.09 lbs

This is a large, SLR-style hybrid zoom system with a small sensor and, for its time, good video performance. The video features aren’t much use today, but still, the image quality of the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-H300 is excellent, and 35x of optical zoom can be very useful.

Sensor & Capabilities

Sony used a 1/2.3″ Super HAD CCD in the H300 that captures 20.1MP images. This sensor does a better job of capturing low light images when compared to its competition and coupled with a Bionz processor, it is reasonably fast.

A contrast-based system takes care of focus, and you get face detection and tracking. Burst speed is a low 0.8 FPS, but you can shoot to 100 shots before the buffer is full. With a good dynamic range and noise control, not to mention a flash, this isn’t a bad superzoom option to have for shooting in poor light.

Video Features

Video features are just borderline usable. The DSC-H300 only shoots HD video at up to 30 fps, and even that is limited to 15 minutes in the highest quality mode. Files are also limited to 2 GB in size. The footage itself does look nice when shot in good light.

Design & Build

As with all SLR-style bridge cameras, the H300 is large and comfortable to hold. It measures 5.02 x 3.5 x 3.61 inches and weighs 1.09 lb, but it can be used one-handed because of the grip. There’s a large, 3” 460k dot LCD on the rear, no EVF, a mode dial, and a zoom knob under the shutter button.

Battery Life

While it adds a lot to the bulk, I like the fact that Sony’s H300 uses 4x AA batteries for power. They are easy and cheap to replace, and you can even buy high-capacity rechargeable ones if you choose to.

Battery life is impressive enough at 350 shots, and you can record 85-150 minutes of video depending on the mode you’re using. If you’re shooting stills, the batteries can last you the whole day.

Connectivity & Other Features

Connectivity options include a micro USB 2.0 port, SDXC and Memory Stick Pro Duo support, and micro HDMI output to TVs or monitors. There is no audio output or line-in, so you can’t use external mics.

Should you buy it?

The Sony CyberShot DSC-H300 is a budget superzoom option with very decent low-light performance. It’s also one of the few options to use AA batteries, making it great for photographers who tend to spend a lot of time on the road, away from civilization.

Pros
  • AA battery support
  • Decent low-light performance
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent handling
Cons
  • Limited video modes
  • Sensor Resolution: 12MP
  • Zoom Capacity: NA
  • Max Video Resolution: 4K 60 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 50 minutes
  • Weight: 0.26 lbs

I can’t create a list of 300 dollar cameras and not include a GoPro. The best one you can get on a budget is the GoPro HERO8 Black, and it’s perfect for travel vloggers and action cam nerds out there.

Sensor & Capabilities

For stills, the tiny 12MP CMOS sensor GoPro uses was long in the tooth even when the HERO 8 was launched back in 2020.

It does a decent job of capturing images in any light, but the warped framing due to the 15mm equivalent focal length and low resolution can be challenging. This is an action camera, and not a stills camera.

Video Features

The HERO 8 was the first GoPro to first nail HyperSmooth, GoPro’s proprietary image stabilization engine. It makes the GoPro HERO8 so easy and so much fun to use. The video is captured at up to 4K 60, 2.7K 120, and FHD 240 slo-mo.

For vloggers and the outdoorsy type, I really can’t think of a better 4K video camera under $300 to have by your side.

Design & Build

As you know, GoPros are tiny. This one measures 2.4 x 1.3 x 1.8 inches and weighs a mere 0.26 lb. You can hold it and vlog, but I’d recommend getting a selfie stick of one of the many compatible mounts and using it that way.

There’s a tiny 2” LCD on the rear for framing, control, and monitoring and an even smaller monochrome LCD on the front that shows recording status and other information. The HERO8 is also rugged and completely waterproof down to 33’.

Battery Life

The HERO8 ditches the HERO7 battery for something larger and more powerful. As a result, you can expect about 50 minutes of use per charge when shooting at max. quality. This battery charges via USB-C, but it may not be fast enough, and you will want to have a handful of spare batteries on any kind of trip.

Connectivity & Other Features

The only connectivity options you get are a 5 Gbps USB-C port and Wi-Fi with Bluetooth. The only way to get more ports is if you use the GoPro media mod and the like that adds HDMI and mic input and an LED lamp.

One thing to note, though, is that the HERO8 is only serviceable if you take a $4.99 a month subscription. Any damage to the glass or body cannot be repaired. The subscription does offer unlimited cloud storage, though, so it might be worth getting regardless.

Should you buy it?

The GoPro HERO8 Black is the best vlogging camera under $300 that you can get. Stills aren’t very great, but if you like long drives, leaping off cliffs, or simply camping in the woods, it’s the rugged, waterproof GoPro that you want with you.

Pros
  • Rugged, waterproof body
  • HyperSmooth 2.0 stabilization
  • Excellent 4K 60 video
  • 240 FPS slo-mo
Cons
  • Limited connectivity
  • Poor battery life
  • Sensor Resolution: 20MP
  • Zoom Capacity: 35x
  • Max Video Resolution: FHD 60 FPS
  • Battery Life: NA
  • Weight: 0.37 lbs

Another bridge camera sets itself apart from the rest by offering an FHD 60 FPS video support. This makes the Minolta MN35Z a surprisingly capable hybrid all-rounder that you’ll want to carry with you during your travels.

Sensor & Capabilities

You’ll find a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor in here. It captures images at 20MP and, because of the small sensor size and powerful processor, can record an unlimited burst when necessary. The lens is a monster 25-873mm unit with an F3-5.9 aperture.

The device uses CDAF and face tracking, but that tracking isn’t entirely reliable because it’s contrast-based. It does a good job with stills, however. Lastly, you get a super macro mode, a useful OIS option, and a pop-up flash with a range of 7.5m.

Video Features

Impressively enough, this camera can capture Full HD video at 60 FPS and even does slo-mo at 480p 120. The CDAF system does an adequate job of tracking faces, and with that OIS support, you can get very usable video at even the tele end of the lens. Better yet, the camera can capture 1-second GIFs for quick sharing on social media!

Design & Build

This is a fairly large camera with a substantial grip. When measured, the dimensions come to 5.03 x 3.38 x 3.58 inches, and surprisingly, the MN35Z weighs a mere 0.36 lb. This is primarily due to the plastic body, of course.

The 3″ LCD on the back is a 460k dot unit and is quite good for framing. Sadly, it’s not articulated, so vlogging is a bit more of a challenge than it could have been. There is no weather sealing to speak of.

Battery Life

Official battery life data isn’t available for this Point-n-Shoot, but it packs in a relatively large 1700mAh NP-120 Li-ion battery. From experience and reviews from users, I can tell you that this battery will easily last you the whole day for stills and a little over an hour when shooting video.

It does charge via USB, but these batteries are an increasingly rare find, and I’d recommend picking up 2-3 spares if you get the chance. Batteries do degrade over time.

Connectivity & Other Features

The MN35Z can handle 64GB SDXC cards and has a micro USB for data transfer. It’s rated at USB 2.0 speeds and is slow, but you also get 802.11n Wi-Fi which mostly makes up for this. There are no audio jacks, but there are a mic and stereo speakers for recording and monitoring audio.

Should you buy it?

Image quality from the Minolta is on par with other similarly priced bridge cameras, but few of those offer anything more than HD video. This is easily one of the best Point and Shoot cameras under $300 you can get today.

Suggested Read: Best Point and Shoot Cameras for Wildlife Photography

Pros
  • FHD 60 video support
  • USB charging
  • Large battery
  • GIF capture
Cons
  • Spares are hard to find
  • Sensor Resolution: 16.1MP
  • Zoom Capacity: 42x
  • Max Video Resolution: HD 30 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 200 shots
  • Weight: 1.4 lbs

The Kodak PixPro Astro AZ421-BK (that’s quite a mouthful) is a fun bridge camera with some interesting AI enhancement modes for stills that can work great on social media. More importantly, KODAK PIXPRO Astro is available in red! It’s one of the best budget compact cameras to get in 2022.

Sensor & Capabilities

The Astro captures 16.1MP images on a 1/2.3″ CCD sensor. This is an old sensor with a limited ISO range, so I’d recommend using it only in good light. For low-light, use your smartphone.

On the front is a massive 42x zoom lens that goes from 24-1008 mm at an aperture of F3.6.8. There’s also a 1.6cm macro mode for when you want to get close and a pop-up flash with a 7.5 m range that’s great for fill and low light.

Video Features

Video quality was good when it was launched, but 720p video at 30 FPS isn’t much use today. It can be useful when using the full extent of the 42x zoom range but has very little utility. Here again, I’d recommend sticking to your smartphone for vlogs and video clips.

Design & Build

This is a plastic body with a great zoom lens, and it’s the size and weight of the latter that gives Kodak its 0.98 lb weight. You’ll find a mode dial-up top, a zoom switch, and a D-pad for navigation. There’s also a 3” 460k dot LCD.

The device measures 3.32 x 4.44 x 3.21 inches and is available in red, white, and black.

Battery Life

The LB-060 battery in here has a max capacity of 1100mAh and is rated at 200 shots. This is fine for light use, but you’ll need spares for anything longer than a couple of hours of shooting. The device does charge via USB, but it takes 4 hours for a full charge.

Connectivity & Other Features

Class 4 SDHC cards up to 32 GB in capacity are supported. Interestingly, the PIXPRO Astro comes with 8MB of internal memory, so you can capture a couple of shots in an emergency if your SD card dies.

The KODAK PIXPRO uses the so-called Eye-Fi wireless standard to connect and can transfer data wirelessly to printers and certain smartphones. There’s a micro USB 2.0 port on the side and a type-D HDMI port. With an adapter, the USB port doubles an analog A/V output.

Additionally, the device comes with a host of post-processing features that let you beautify your face, experiment with scene modes, and more.

Should you buy it?

The AZ421 is great for photographers who need superzoom capabilities on a tight budget. Perhaps you want to shoot the moon or capture the eyes of a hawk a mile away. In either case, PIXPRO Astro will get the job done. The AI beautifying features can be useful for social media.

Pros
  • 42x zoom
  • Pop-up flash
  • AI beautifying features
  • Good stabilization
Cons
  • Poor battery life
  • Low-light performance

Buying Guide: Things To Consider

User Specific Requirements

As someone looking for a cheap but good digital camera, you need to be aware that most smartphones today have completely overtaken the sub $300 cameras. They’re also far more capable when it comes to video, with even the cheapest phones able to capture 4K 60 video with HDR.

The reason, then, that you’re investing in a 300 dollar camera is because you need some specific features, such as a long zoom range or flash, that no smartphone can offer. Don’t waste your money on a budget camera for regular family and food photos.

Camera Features

With that out of the way, let’s talk about budget cameras. First, the only options you have are older models, so don’t get your hopes up as far as video quality is concerned. You can primarily expect an action cam like a GoPro or an older superzoom system with a 30x lens.

Most of these devices will have stabilization and a flash so that they can be useful for wildlife photography or shooting well-lit events. Few will have viewfinders, and I wouldn’t recommend spending more for them because they’re usually older designs with poor magnification and frame rates.

Connectivity & Storage

You should be fine as long as the device takes high-speed SDHC or SDXC cards. Many options support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but they usually rely on apps that are out-of-date or no longer supported. You’re also not likely to find USB 3 support anywhere.

I’d recommend investing in a good card reader and carrying a stash of SD cards for low-capacity cameras.

Design & Build

Since most of the cameras under the $300 price mark are bridge cams, they’re all large and comfortable to hold. You can get smaller Point and Shoot bodies, but I wouldn’t recommend them unless you’re at least getting a good zoom lens.

In terms of build quality, most budget bodies are made of plastic and not weather sealed. Take care not to drop these devices, and definitely don’t take them out in the rain or heavy snow.

Other Features

The most important accessory you can get for $300 cameras is a spare battery or two. Most of these are older model cameras that have been phased out. Finding compatible batteries and accessories will be difficult.

I’d also suggest investing in a decent tripod, whether small, portable, or full-size. These devices have small, noisy sensors, and image quality will significantly benefit from the tripod’s extra stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best digital camera under $300?

For stills, just about any bridge camera will do since their sensors are mainly similar. For video, however, get an old GoPro like the HERO8.

How to choose a camera as a beginner?

Your best bet is to shortlist available cameras and then go for the most recently released one. Newer cameras will have better features and will support the modern accouterments that we’re used to. You may also refer to our list of cameras suitable for amateur photographers.

Are cameras under 300 dollars worth it?

Yes, but only if you’re looking at some feature, like 30x optical zoom, that your existing smartphone doesn’t have.

Can I get a DSLR under $300?

Yes! It’s possible to find decade-old models that are going cheap, and if they’re in good nick, you’re in for a treat.

Verdict

Without question, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60K is the best camera under 300 dollars that you can get today. The Lumix offers excellent stills and supports a 4K video.

  • The GoPro HERO8 Black is a rugged, waterproof action camera that’s perfect for vlogging from anywhere on earth.
  • The Minolta MN35Z is also a great alternative to the LUMIX ZS60K if you don’t mind sacrificing some video resolution and want additional zoom range.
  • If you want to go all out on zoom, get the Canon PowerShot SX420. It’s a good camera for under 300 USD. Its 42x zoom will get you shots you didn’t know were possible with a camera in this budget.

Understand your needs and choose wisely. Budget cameras might seem like a waste of money in the smartphone age, but if you know what to look for, as I hope you will now that you’ve gone through this article, they can be more rewarding than one might realize.