Best Point and Shoot Camera Under $300

In this review, I will break down several reliable point-and-shoot cameras that manage to deliver premium traits without costing too much.

I started with photography at a young age and spent years working with different cameras. That knowledge and experience allowed me to compare the models in this guide, look at their characteristics, and review where they fit into the larger market.

The Canon Powershot SX720 is my pick for the best budget point and shoot camera due to how well it mixes clear quality, a strong sensor, and powerful image stabilization.

Every part of the SX720 helps give you better end results. It comes with a full HD 3-inch monitor in addition to 1080p recording and 5-axis dynamic image stabilization. There is also a wide range of accessories that enhance both versatility and general usability.

If you’re interested in that device, or if you want a similar budget point and shoot, this article goes over similar premium models and looks at why they rise above the pack.

Quick Summary

Top Point and Shoot Cameras Under $300

This section analyzes the top budget point and shoots by breaking down their traits and the specific niches they fill.

1. Canon Powershot SX720

  • Best for: Overall
  • Key Features: 3-inch LCD monitor. Full HD 1080 recording. 20.3MP CMOS sensor. 5-axis dynamic image stabilization. Plenty of strong accessories.
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Weight: 9.52 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1080p

Where many budget cameras cut certain specs or tone down specific characteristics, the Powershot SX720 gives you high-quality full HD 1080p recording at 60fps alongside a 3-inch LCD monitor and 40x zoom lens. That list of features helps take your shots to the next level. 

There’s an impressive list of traits in this sleek device, and they all make your shooting easier. The versatility of being able to snap a stunning picture and then switch to HD video is incredible. It also comes with a large sensor to help deliver strong low-light shots.

As well-rounded as it is, the SX720 doesn’t have the most extensive list of features. It could also be more durable too. You want to be careful when handling it or bringing it out into tricky situations. If you’re careful, though, you get a strong point and shoot at a reasonable price.

2. Lumix ZS50

  • Best for: Low Light
  • Key Features: All-in-one zoom lens. Light speed autofocus. 12.1MP sensor. 30x optical zoom. Built-in eye viewfinder. Lightspeed autofocus and 10fps high-speed burst shooting.
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Weight: 7.67 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1080p

The Lumix ZS50 makes my list because it fixes a big issue with many budget point and shoots: low light capability. Where many similar cameras struggle in dim environments, this model’s 12.1MP sensor and enhanced sensitivity both go a long way when the lights go down.

However, this is more than a low-light device. It also comes with HD playback, great digital zoom, and light-speed autofocus. On top of that, there is plenty of focus and depth of field features that you can freely alter as well as wonderful macro shooting.

In fact, few budget cameras give you as much as this model. The only true downside is that it isn’t the toughest device out there. You definitely need to take care of it, especially when you’re shooting in rowdy or precarious spaces. If you can, it’s more than worth the lower price.

3. Sony DSCWX350

  • Best for: Lightweight
  • Key Features: 20x optical/40x clear image zoom lens. Wi-Fi and smartphone compatibility. Sweep panorama mode and 18.2MP sensor. Included wrist strap. Lock-on autofocus. 
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1080p

Nobody wants to lug a heavy camera around all day. Luckily, this Sony model cuts down on weight without taking away any key traits. The 4k quality still image provides you excellent shots and the motion shot video does an excellent job of tracking subjects during videos. 

There is a range of impressive characteristics here, including a 20x optical/40x clear image zoom G lens, lock-on autofocus, and a strong panorama mode that sweeps up to 360 degrees. The 4k output and Wi-Fi connectivity are simply two more bonuses.

Just remember that, as this is a lighter camera, it’s not the toughest one around. You’re going to have issues if you drop it or you aren’t careful. Despite the small size, there’s also a lot of features stacked into the device. It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

4. Nikon CoolPix B500

  • Best for: Bridge
  • Key Features: 40x optical zoom. Remote control functionality through the handy app. Tilting 3-inch LCD screen. 16MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor.
  • Screen Size: 3 inches
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1080p

If you want a solid halfway camera, the B500 is an option between more basic point and shoots and more advanced DSLRs. As such, it’s an excellent beginner camera for users who want to take the next step. That’s mainly due to the simple interface and easy-to-navigate menus.

As with so many bridge cameras, the B500 delivers stellar features. You can control it remotely with your smartphone or tablet, it shoots full HD 1080p video (30fps), and has a 40x optical zoom lens. There’s a variety of different scene modes and the low light sensor works well.

The only hitch with this point and shoot is that it doesn’t operate as quickly as more premium or expensive options. You might experience some slow responsiveness when navigating through menus, but that’s a small price to pay for how many specs you’re getting in a cheap package.

5. Powershot ELPH 360

  • Best for: Compact
  • Key Features: Optical image stabilizer and 1080p HD video capabilities. 20.2MP CMOS sensor. Small design. Wi-Fi functionality and large, vibrant screen.
  • Screen Size: 5 inches
  • Weight: 5.2 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 1080p

While point and shoots are compact by nature, the Powershot 360 is an incredibly small device that’s light and simple to operate. You can use it in a range of different temperatures and lighting situations. It’s also easy to hold for hours without experiencing any fatigue or tiredness.

The camera is more than just a small shell. It has a 3-inch LCD screen for great viewing, a strong sensor, and an optical image stabilizer to cut down on shake or blur. The Hybrid Auto and Creative Shot modes bring an extra level to the entire design while the Wi-Fi adds functionality.

The only big issue with this model is that the resolution doesn’t quite hold up when you’re zooming in. It could also be a bit more intuitive. While seasoned photographers won’t have any issues, novice users might not be able to get the hang of everything right away.

6. FinePix XP140

  • Best for: Durability
  • Key Features: Waterproof up to 82 feet. Strong body. Shockproof and freezeproof. 4k resolution. 5x optical zoom lens. Fast shutter speed. Bluetooth capability.
  • Screen Size: N/A
  • Weight: 7.3 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 2160p

The FinePix XP140 is an incredibly tough point-and-shoot model that doesn’t break the bank. The rugged design isn’t just waterproof all the way down to 82 feet, it’s also freeze, dust, and crushproof. That combination makes it ideal for adventurers and outdoor photographers.

Besides the powerful shell, the camera has full Bluetooth capabilities as well as subject and scene detection. You even get a wide range of different timer modes, all of which help you capture exactly what you want. The zoom lens is another handy way to further your shots.

As this is a budget camera, you aren’t going to get every fancy feature or spec you might find in more premium models. That includes 4k recording at 30fps. However, if you need something sturdy that comes with top-tier characteristics, this camera is the one to choose.

7. Kodak Pixpro

  • Best for: Affordability
  • Key Features: 5x optical zoom. Versatile thanks to the 16.1MP CCD sensor. 28mm wide-angle lens and panning shot mode. Face detection technology.
  • Screen Size: 2.7 inches
  • Weight: 3.68 ounces
  • Video Capture Resolution: 720p

The Pixpro from Kodak is a perfect point-and-shoot camera for those who want a simple-but-impressive device at a lower price point. All of the models on this list are budget, but this takes that to another level without removing any of the features that make it special.

For a low price point, you get a well-built camera with a 16.1MP CCD sensor as well as both red-eye removal and face detection. On top of that, the camera also utilizes panning shot mode to help you capture excellent footage in a wide range of different scenarios.

You’re not getting a ton of extra features, but the ones that exist do a nice job. This is not an extremely high-end camera with exceptional zoom. Even so, it’s hard to find point and shoots with as much versatility anywhere near its extremely low price point.

Best Point and Shoot Camera Under $300: What to Look For

Each of these traits will help you pick the perfect budget point and shoot camera for your needs.

Resolution

Image quality is one of the first places manufacturers cut back on when designing a more affordable model. That’s why you should strive for high resolution (4k, 1080) and HD screens when looking for your next point and shoot. Such models give you much better results.

Your shots or footage will always feel a bit off if you fall short of the above specs. Look for devices with exceptional coloration, or ones that are able to churn out bright vibrant footage in a range of different lights or situations.

Stabilization

It also helps to make sure your camera stays stable when taking pictures or recording footage. Anti-shake features or image stabilization work to reduce blur, ensuring that everything you capture comes out crisp and clear. This is another aspect that furthers resolution.

You can either get a camera that utilizes optical image stabilization to compensate for movement, or you can use digital image stabilization to correct blur after you take a picture. Both help you shoot in low-light situations as well.

Battery Life

Nothing is more annoying than going out to take the perfect shot or record the perfect video only to have your camera die at the wrong time. Rather than fighting your battery, you should get a long-lasting model that will stay on for hours at a time without a hitch.

It’s also important to take note of what battery your camera uses. Many point and shoots have rechargeable lithium-ion options, but some utilize regular AA batteries too. The one you pick comes down to how many hours you need and how easily you can access an outlet.

Durability

You never know what’s going to happen when you’re shooting, nor do you know where your camera adventures may take you. That’s why a strong shell or durable resolution is so important. Get a device that won’t break or fall apart at the first sign of an accident.

Also, look for a model that’s made to withstand all sorts of weather conditions. Waterproof models are extremely nice, but ensure your camera has what it takes to stand up to the heat. Protecting against both ends of the spectrum lowers the chances of an unfortunate accident.

My Verdict

The Canon Powershot SX720 is my pick for the best point and shoot under $300. Despite its price point, the camera doesn’t skimp in any area. It’s fully HD, offers clear, highly-detailed shots, as well as full HD 1080p recording. The LCD monitor and extreme zoom are great too.

That blend gives you more choices in terms of how you like to shoot. If you want a mix of versatility and quality that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the Powershot is the point and shoot that gives you the most bang for your buck.

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