These days, you don’t need a huge budget to take fantastic photographs. In fact, some of the best values in the camera market reside in the under $300 range. Most of the cameras listed here fall under the category of point-and-shoot, mirrorless, or “adventure” models. Don’t worry about performance, though: these cameras come a long way from the clunky, unreliable point-and-shoots of past years.
We loved one camera over and above all the rest: the Olympus PEN EPL-6. The most incredible value in the expanding mirrorless market, the EPL-6 delivers superb photo quality in a light, easy to use package.
The EPL-6 is also a fantastic bridge camera, negotiating an affordable compromise between the DSLR and point-and-shoot markets. It’s ideal for the hobby photographer who’s ready to take their work to the next level!
What to Look for in a Camera Under $300
If you’re in the market for an affordable modern point-and-shoot camera, then you already know that you won’t be getting the same level of features as a DSLR. But the modern point-and-shoot is no pushover. You’ll still want to look for some of the same features that you would seek out when purchasing a much more expensive camera. Here are the most important:
- Great Image Sensor: Your primary consideration is probably taking great photos, so you’ll want to look for cameras with sensitive, powerful image sensors.
- Megapixels: Another element of the clear, beautiful shot. The more megapixels, the better your photos will generally look.
- Flash and ISO: Point-and-shoots have often struggled in low light settings in the past, but that’s not necessarily true any longer. Many modern models feature solid pop-up flashes and advanced white balance correction—so if you anticipate using the camera in low light.
- Ease of Use: Of course, that fantastic camera is useless if you can’t figure out how the menu works. Finding a product with a simple, effective interface is a must.
- Affordability: Though all these cameras come in under $300, some of them are considerably more expensive than others. Choose what’s right for your budget.
- Build Quality: When choosing even a budget camera, you want to find something that will stand the test of time. Quality materials and solid construction ensure a product that will work well for years to come.