The Best Compact Camera Under 300 Dollars

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Living a decluttered and minimalist lifestyle is not limited to just the home surroundings or your work desk. If you’re on the go or travelling with limited cargo room, you may prefer to keep your carry items smaller or compact. Smaller in stature should also mean smaller in price but we wouldn’t want to completely sacrifice quality for sake of a lesser priced item.

This mentality is what lead our to to research and discover what camera is the best compact camera under $300 dollars. We wanted to get as close to DSLR-quality at a fraction of the cost and size. Sure mobile phones can take pretty good pictures but these cameras can still have double the megapixels in comparison to the latest iPhones. So our team collected the top models and analyzed what makes each one unique and worthy of mention on our list.

Let’s get into it!

Our Top Picks

The Best Compact Digital Camera Under $300

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS (Black)

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS Digital Camera

The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS is one of the most impressive digital cameras on the market, which is great for capturing family vacations, parties, and weddings, along with other special moments. The camera features a fanatically versatile design, which is equipped with a versatile 40x optical zoom lens, which has high zoom capabilities, The camera produces stable shake-free photos and is equipped with Intelligent IS, which analyzes the camera’s movement and applies a suitable anti-shake correction that can assist you in a wide variety of situations.

The digital camera is equipped with a variety of still image shooting settings, such as Normal IS, tripod, Macro (Hybrid) IS, and Panning. The camera also features a variety of video settings, which includes, Dynamic IS, Powered IS, Macro (Hybrid) IS, and Active Tripod IS. It also is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to easily post and share imagines to Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr. The Canon PowerShot SX720 HS also utilizes NFC technology, which provides fast connectivity with a single tap. You can also photos and videos wirelessly to your computer by using the “Imagine Sync Function.” The PowerShot SX720 is equipped with a DIGIC 6 Image Processor, which helps boost image quality, improve lighting, and reduce noise when shooting in dark conditions. The camera also includes a limited 90-day warranty, which covers being lost, damaged, along with product defects.

Features:

  • DIGIC 6 Image Processor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology
  • 40x Optical Zoom
  • 90-Day Warranty
  • Includes Compatible Downloadable App

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Camera, Black

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Digital Camera

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Camera is a digital camera in a league of its own, which is designed to capture every detail and produce stunning images. The camera features 30x 24mm LEICA DC Lens with optical zoom, which is ideally suited for travel and everyday photography. The lens is designed to bring every subject in closer and more clearly and features high-sensitivity MOS Sensor, which allows you to take photos in even low-ligh5t environments, which captures more details and less noise. The camera can also be switched to LVF (Live-View Finder) which automatically adjusts the resolution, along with the lighter to provide superb visibility in any light condition. The digital camera also features a control ring, which provides easier manual control for exposure, along with total control of every photo and video you create. The camera can record any fast-moving action, producing high-speed videos, which delivers 100fps in HD resolution and 200fps in VGA. You can also use the camera’s “Raw” format recording option, which captures greater detail and delivers high-quality images. The camera also features a built-in eye viewfinder to eliminate glare, along with a light-speed auto-focus, which delivers perfectly focused images every time.

Features:

  • Enhanced Low Light Sensitivity
  • Built-In Eye Viewfinder
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology
  • Light Speed Auto Focus
  • 30x 24mm LEICA DC Lens
  • Includes Compatible Downloadable App

Canon PowerShot SX610 HS - Wi-Fi Enabled (Black)

Canon PowerShot SX610 HS Digital Camera

Despite its slim profile, the Canon PowerShot SX610 HS Digital Camera packs a punch, which boasts a powerful array of advanced capabilities. It features an 18x optical zoom, which delivers excellent versatility and superb zoom. The lens is great for capturing landscapes, wildlife, along with city scenes, which ensures brilliant clarity. The camera is equipped with a high-resolution sensor, along with an advanced image stabilization system, which produces clear, sharp, and beautifully detailed images. The digital camera also utilizes Intelligent IS technology, which helps you frame your subject and keep it in focus. The Intelligent IS allows you to capture clear, steady imagines in any lighting condition without having to rely on a tripod. The system is designed to automatically analyze each movement and produce steadier shots. The camera also features pre-programmed modes, which include, Normal IS, Panning IS, Macro (Hybrid) IS, along with Dynamic IS, Powered IS, and active Tripod IS. The camera is equipped with a large 3.0-inch LCD screen and includes a wrist strap, battery pack, charger, and AC cable.

Features:

  • 3.0-inch LCD screen
  • Battery/Charger Included
  • 18x Optical Zoom
  • 90-Day Warranty
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology

The Best of the Rest

Nikon COOLPIX W100 (Blue)

Nikon COOLPIX W100 Digital Camera

The Nikon COOLPIX W100 is a compact digital camera, which makes photography simple for everyone. The camera is waterproof and can go up to 33 feet underwater, which is also shockproof, dustproof, along with cold resistant. The Nikon COOLPIX is the ultimate underwater camera, which is perfect for taking photos at the beach, pool, or down by the lake. It allows you to shoot full-HD videos and photos with stereo sound. The camera also features Nikon’s SnapBridge app, which automatically transfers each shot to your smartphone or tablet. You can also use the app to edit and share your photo, which also can be used to control your camera remotely. The camera features an image sensor and NIKKOR 3x optical zoom glass lens, which provides the reach you need. The camera is equipped with an easy-to-use interface, which allows you to shoot full-HD 1080p resolution movies and photos with the simple touch of a button. It also features built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) which allows you to maintain a connection between the app and your camera, even when the battery is running low on power.

Features:

  • Includes Compatible Downloadable App
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • NIKKOR 3x Optical Zoom Glass Lens
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology
  • Extended 2-Year Warranty
  • Waterproof Design

Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera w/25x Optical Zoom - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black)

Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera

The Canon PowerShot SX620 is a powerful and compact digital camera, which is great for shooting vacation photos, landscapes, portraits, and videos. The Canon PowerShot SX620 is one of the most versatile cameras on the market, which is equipped with a powerful 25x optical zoom for subjects both near and far. It’s also equipped with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (near-field communication,) which provides you the ability to easily transfer videos and photos to your smartphone or tablet. The camera features a CMOS sensor, along with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, which helps deliver stunning 20.2-megapixel images even in low lighting conditions. It also is equipped with Intelligent IS, which analyzes the camera’s movements and stabilizes your images. The camera has 4 modes for still, which include Normal IS, Panning IS, Marco (Hybrid), and tripod modes, which help capture more precise and steady images. You can also down the Canon Camera Connect app, which enables you to upload images to social media or edit them.

Features:

  • Includes Compatible Downloadable App
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • 25x Optical Zoom

Sony DSCWX350 18 MP Digital Camera (Black)

Sony DSCWX350 18 MP Digital Camera

The Sony DSCWX350 18 MP Digital Camera is a compact digital camera designed to fit in your pocket. It delivers ultra-smooth recording, which can take shots in near darkness, without having to use a flash. The camera utilizes the Exmor R CMOS image sensor, which harnesses light to make every moment shine. The camera is equipped with a 20x optical/40x clear image zoom lens, along with a powerful processor, which delivers realistic, higher-quality images. The BIONZ X processor is equipped with Optical SteadyShot, Image Stabilization, and Intelligent Active Mode, which works together to produce sharper images and minimal noise. The powerful processor delivers up to 10 frames per second and features improved low-light sensitivity, along with image clarity. You can also use the lock-on auto-focus to focus on multiple points, which keeps your subject in sharp focus even when in motion. The camera is equipped with One-touch sharing simply by using the NFC control, which also features Wi-Fi support. If you’re trying to capture wider angles, you can use the Sweep Panorama Mode, which you simply select the desired direction and the camera will continuously shoot at high-speed.

Features:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology
  • Lock-on Auto-Focus
  • 40x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty

Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera w/Image Stabilization and Smart AUTO Mode (Red)

Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 180 Digital Camera is great for capturing your favorite moments, which features a slim, stylish, and easy-to-use design. The camera features an 8x optical zoom lens, which offers a 28 – 224mm shooting range. The wide lens is great for capturing landscapes, portraits, and cityscapes, which delivers bright and clear images. The digital camera also features a 20.0 Megapixel sensor to provide more detailed, textured, higher resolution images. The camera also is equipped with a DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, which delivers ultra-fast, responsive performance, while reducing noise and evenly distributes lighting. The camera can also be used to capture 720p HD beautifully life-like videos with the simple push of a button.

Features:

  • 20.0 Megapixel CCD Sensor
  • Auto-Zoom & Shake-Correction
  • 8x Optical Zoom Lens
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty

Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera (Red)

Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera

The Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera is a compact digital camera, which comes in the color red and can take 1080p Full-HD videos with stereo sound, along with stunning photos. The camera is equipped with a 16-megapixel low-light sensor, which is great for shooting in low-light conditions. The Nikon features a telephoto 40x NIKKOR glass optical zoom lens that provides an enhanced digital zoom, which can deliver steadier shots at longer distances while capturing every detail. The camera can also be controlled remotely using the app. The camera also features Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, which automatically will transfer images to your smartphone or tablet. The camera is 4equipped with a 3.0-inch LCD screen, which makes it easier to compose your shots while monitoring your footage. The camera also includes a strap, batteries, and a USB cord.

Features:

  • 3.0-Inch LCD Screen
  • Limited 90-Day Warranty
  • 40x NIKKOR Glass Optical Zoom Lens
  • Built-in Wi-Fi & NFC Technology

PANASONIC Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera, 18.1 Megapixel Video Camera, 60X Zoom DC VARIO 20-1200mm Lens, F2.8-5.9 Aperture, Power O.I.S. Stabilization, Touch Enabled 3-Inch LCD, Wi-Fi, DC-FZ80K (Black)

PANASONIC Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera

The PANASONIC Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera is the perfect point and shoot camera for photography enthusiasts and amateurs alike. The 18.1-megapixel camera features a 20-1200mm LUMIX DC VARIO lens, which utilizes power O.I.S technology to capture high-resolution videos and images. The camera produces stunning video quality even in low- light conditions, which is equipped with a “Post Focus” feature that allows you to set your focus points after the image has been taken. The camera is also equipped with a comfort grip, along with a high-resolution viewfinder and rear touch-enabled 3-inch LCD display. The camera is equipped with 1 HDMI port, micro USB port, and includes a 1-year limited warranty.

Features:

  • 1-Year Limited Warranty
  • 20-1200mm LUMIX DC VARIO Lens
  • High-Resolution Viewfinder

Buying Guide

Why Buy a Camera?

Most people have a decent quality camera with them at all times, via their phone. Phones today have better cameras than ever before, but if you want your photos to stand out in the crowd, you will need to purchase a device to keep you ahead of the curve. Compact cameras can produce images with between 25% and 300% more detail than even the best smartphones. A quality camera is the next step in increasing the quality of your content, whether that be for your business, blog, or simply for personal photography.

Price Point

While you could spend thousands of dollars on professional quality photography equipment, you don’t need to in order to greatly increase the quality of the photos you’re taking. Don’t be fooled by expensive price tags, as the price does not always equate to quality. High grade compact cameras can be purchased for around $300. There are even less expensive options for smaller budgets. The following factors contribute to the cost of your device, which will allow you to choose a camera that is perfect for your project.

Image Quality

More megapixels means more detail, a 20MP photo will have roughly double the detail of a 10MP. Today, flagship smartphones have cameras capable of 12-16MP photos, so when you’re looking for a compact camera you’ll want to exceed that. Having a device solely dedicated to taking photos can increase the quality significantly. Most of the compact cameras on the market today will have at least a 20MP capability, some as high as 40MP. If you are wanting to update your personal blog game, you could go for a device with 20-25MP. But, if you are an artist, you may want to go as high as 40MP to show the detail in your work. For businesses wanting more eye catching content, we suggest starting at 25MP and up.

Image Stabilization

Image Stabilization is a really nice feature, because the tiniest shaky movement of a photographers hand or tripod setup can create blurry useless images. Most modern cameras will have either Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) or Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS). OIS is a sensor that actively adjust camera lenses for small movements preventing blurry pictures. EIS does the same thing at a slight cost in image quality, by cropping and editing the photo to remove blur. OIS is great for capturing sports and nature images that will have slight movement, and EIS is great for those with shaky hands.

Zoom Capability

Compact cameras typically don’t have interchangeable lenses, so you’ll want to make sure the lens adjusts to your needs. Zooming allows you to adjust the composition of a photo, so if you’re doing sports photography, nature scenes or taking pictures of your dinner plate, you can obtain just the right amount of zoom to display the detail in your image.

Video Capture Resolution

HD is essentially the standard for video production now, so if you plan on doing any video work with your camera, you will need to ensure the video resolution is at least 1080p. If you have no intention of filming your work, you have free range to look at options with 720p video resolution. The film market is constantly growing, and with it the quality video is improving as well. To keep up in today’s market, a camera with 4k video quality is that sweet spot. The market is moving to 8k but that will be in the distant future. To keep within your budget and within quality, sticking between 1080p and 4k for your videos is the way to go. Another thing to be aware of is the sound capture that will accompany your videos. Stereo audio will always beat recorders that only have one microphone, and some cameras will even have a method for recording virtual surround sound.

Frames Per Second

Frames Per Second or FPS does for video what MP does for still images. The higher the FPS the smoother and more realistic motion will appear in videos. The human eye takes approximately 24 pictures per second, but that won’t stop you from seeing a quality difference in 60 fps and 120 fps. If you’re deciding between two cameras that both take videos in FHD 1080p, choose the one that takes videos with higher FPS.

Size & Weight

When you choose to buy a compact camera, part of that decision making process has to be for it’s easy to transport size, and comfortable to use weight. We have found that 6-9 ounces is ideal for this category. More than 9 ounces starts to get too heavy for prolonged use. Less than 6 ounces can feel like a cheap toy in your hands. Size is also important as most compact cameras are 6” x 3” x 2” or less. At this size they take of the same sort of real estate in your pocket or bag as a typical smartphone.

Battery Life

Battery life is important. Nothing is more frustrating than setting up for the perfect shot and right when all the action aligns perfectly, the camera dies. Most cameras rate their batteries to take several hundred still photos and a few hours of video. If your photography requires you to be far away from power sources, or you don’t want to carry spare batteries you may want to consider a camera with the longest possible battery life.

Conclusion

When buying anything, you have to balance the capabilities of the device with what you actually need. Using this guide you can review the facets of photography that are important to your needs. Keeping all of these aspects in mind, you will be able to find a camera that fits your budget and project needs perfectly.