Best point and shoot cameras under 300 - header

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With each passing year, smartphone manufacturers design their phone cameras to be even better. You only need to get your hands on the latest iPhone, Google Pixel, or Samsung phone to know how fantastic their cameras are. And some photo enthusiasts now use their smartphones for outdoor photography and everyday point and shoot. But dedicated cameras have a number of benefits over using smartphones for photography.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to break the bank to get a quality camera. The same can’t be said for equally good camera phones. Just check the prices of the hottest smartphones in the market if you are a doubting Thomas. Modern point and shoot cameras are very portable, easy to carry around, and have super zoom which offers you more zooming power for distant photography. You also get image stabilization, replaceable memory, and wireless connectivity.

I’ve dedicated countless hours of research into this article to bring you the very best point and shoot cameras under $300 available on the market. You’ll be happy to know there’s a lot of room to work with if your budget is $300. Now, let’s take a look at these cameras, their pros, and cons. After this will come a buying guide that will provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision.

The 7 Best Point and Shoot Cameras Under 300 Dollars for 2021

Canon PowerShot SX620Our Top Pick

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

$299.00  in stock
3 new from $299.00
4 used from $239.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The Canon Powershot SX620 is a great compact superzoom camera for those looking for high-quality imagery at an affordable price. The compact design of the SX620 makes this camera easy to carry and transport. You can easily put this camera in your pocket as the lens fully retracts into the body.

One of the best features of this camera is the optical zoom which is just downright amazing. With the 25x zoom, you’ll be able to zoom in on most subjects you’re shooting. This will particularly come in handy for outdoor or wildlife photography enthusiasts. You can be a good distance away from a subject and still get high-quality images.

The image stabilization feature is also a nice touch as it analyzes camera movement and applies a suitable shake correction method for the shooting situation. Thanks to the 1080p resolution, you’ll be able to take high-resolution videos with this camera. And the built-in WiFi connectivity makes it easy to share your photos and videos with friends and family.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 3.80 x 1.09 x 2.24 in / 9.7 x 2.8 x 5.7 cm
  • Weight :  6.42 oz / 182 g
  • Resolution: 20.2 megapixels
  • Zoom: 25x
  • Video: 1080p Full HD

Pros

  • Very compact and portable.
  • Super zoom – 25x zoom.
  • Very intuitive and easy to use.
  • 20.2 Megapixel sensor so you will get nice sharp images in good light.
  • The built-in WiFi allows you to send pictures and videos to your smartphones.
  • Can record video in 1080p resolution.
  • Sturdy, well built, and durable.

Cons

Fujifilm FinePix XP130

Fujifilm FinePix XP130 Waterproof Digital Camera w/16GB SD Card - White

$412.49  in stock
1 used from $328.00
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The Fujifilm FinePix XP130 is one of the most rugged compact cameras I’ve ever seen and can be used in any environment or weather condition. Designed to be waterproof up to a depth of 20m (65ft), shockproof of a fall from 1.8m (5.9ft), and also freezeproof up to -10ºC (14ºF).

I must also mention that this camera is also dustproof. This incredible durability means you have to compromise on some other features such as the optical zoom which is just 5x. But I like the camera can still record videos in 1080p resolution, has an ISO sensitivity of about 3,200, and comes with a built-in time lapse mode.

If you are okay with the short zoom, then you’ll be getting a camera that’s extremely difficult to break. The XP130 can easily withstand the unpredictability of the outdoors, human clumsiness, and still come out unscathed. And this is why this camera is popular among outdoor enthusiasts as it can withstand any condition they find themselves in.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.33 x 2.8 x 1.1 in / 11 x 7 x 2.8 cm
  • Weight :  7.30 oz / 207 g
  • Resolution: 16.4 megapixels
  • Zoom: 5x
  • Video: 1080p Full HD

Pros

  • Super rugged and durable as it is waterproof up to 65 feet, freezeproof down to 14°F, and shockproof of a fall from 5.8 feet.
  • The ability to record videos in 1080p makes this camera a big bargain considering the price.
  • Has a built-in WiFi/NFC which allows you to send photos/videos to your smartphone.
  • Performs well in low-light thanks to ISO sensitivity of about 3,200.
  • The built-in timelapse mode allows you to create a timelapse video.

Cons

  • 5x optical zoom only.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 Digital Camera w/ 12x Optical Zoom and Image Stabilization - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black)

$229.00  in stock
4 new from $229.00
5 used from $189.98
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The Canon ELPH360 is a great compact point and shoot camera that performs well in the outdoors. The minimal form factor is a big advantage as it makes this camera comfortable to carry in a cargo pocket. Deploying this camera is very easy since you can put it in your pocket instead of your backpack. And this ensures that you don’t miss shots.

Canon squeezed 20.2 megapixels onto a 1/2.3-inch image sensor with ELPH360 HS and this means this camera has higher resolutions than many other cameras belonging to the same price range. The 12x zoom of this camera is very responsive and easily zooms in on whatever you want to capture. I also like the focusing and the optical stabilization comes in handy for both still and video photography.

The ELPH360 comes with WiFi functionality which is fast and easy to use. You’ll be able to send photos and videos to your smartphone or friends and family. The battery life is less than 200 shots per charge as Canon has to reduce the size of the battery to maintain the slim profile of this camera. However, you can increase the battery life to about 250 shots per charge if you use the Eco mode.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 3.94 x 2.28 x 0.91 in / 10 x 5.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Weight :  5.2 oz / 147 g
  • Resolution: 20.3 megapixels
  • Zoom: 12x
  • Video: 1080p Full HD

Pros

  • Minimal form factor, easy to carry and transport.
  • High-resolution images and videos.
  • 12x zoom and image stabilization.
  • Sharp LCD screen and WiFi connectivity.
  • Fast performance with limited shutter lag.

Cons

  • Doesn’t perform at its best in low light situations.
  • The battery capacity is good but could be a bit better.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60K

Panasonic Lumix 4K Digital Camera with 30X LEICA DC Vario-ELMAR Lens F3.3-6.4, 18 Megapixels, and High Sensitivity Sensor - Point and Shoot Camera - DMC-ZS60K (BLACK)

$399.99
$297.99
 in stock
3 used from $246.37
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

Panasonic’s long-running ZS series (referred to as ‘TZ’ in the UK) is a line of portable and fully-featured point and shoot cameras. I like that the cameras in this list are designed to satisfy the needs of a broad range of users. The cameras in this series have slightly different features. I’ll be focusing on the DC-ZS60 in this article but you can check out other models and their features in the link I’ve provided.

The 30x optical zoom of the ZS60 is just amazing and allows you to zoom in on anything you are viewing. Imagine being on a safari and being able to track and photograph a herd of elephants in the distance. This camera performs excellently for both stills and video which has 4k resolution.

The inclusion of an electronic viewfinder is a nice touch even though it’s tiny. You’ll find the autofocus of this camera to be very reliable and fast. So if you want a great travel point and camera that can take great pictures on any occasion, take a look at the ZS60 or other cameras in the ZS series.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.41 x 2.64 x 1.61 in / 11 x 6.7 x 4 cm
  • Weight :  11.36 oz / 332 g
  • Resolution: 12.1 megapixels
  • Zoom: 30x
  • Video: 4K Ultra HD

Pros

  • Very portable.
  • Stunning 30x optical zoom.
  • Fast and reliable autofocus.
  • Built-in eye viewfinder
  • 12.1 MP sensor and 10fps burst mode
  • Image stabilization works effectively

Cons

  • No articulated screen

Canon PowerShot SX540

Canon PowerShot SX540 Digital Camera w/ 50x Optical Zoom - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black), 1 - 1067C001

$279.00
$254.51
 in stock
12 used from $254.51
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

If you prioritize zoom capability above anything else in a camera, then you should take a look at the Canon PowerShot SX540. The SX540, while not as compact as the SX620 I talked about earlier, is one of the most portable superzoom cameras you’ll find with a 50x zoom ratio.

The design of this camera is reminiscent of a mini DSLR camera when you consider the secured and textured grip that gives the impression of holding a quality camera. And the SX540 is indeed a quality camera.

I like that this camera allows you to shoot in manual mode thereby giving you more control over the way you take your pictures. The video quality is also great as you get to record videos with this camera at a resolution of 1080p at up to 60 frames per second (FPS). The 60 FPS allows you to slow your footage down.

The incredible zoom range is obviously the selling point of this camera. However, this comes with some compromises on the aperture width with the maximum aperture being f/3.4. There will also be slight compromises with budget cameras but the aperture width is far from being a deal-breaker if you are all about the incredible 50x zoom ratio.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 3.6 x 3.2 in / 12 x 9 x 8 cm
  • Weight :  15.59 oz / 449 g
  • Resolution: 20.3 megapixels
  • Zoom: 50x
  • Video: 1080p Full HD

Pros

  • Incredible optical zoom of 50x.
  • You can adjust the aperture and shutter speed manually.
  • The 20.3 Megapixel sensor allows you to take nice sharp images in good light.
  • Built-in WiFi/NFC allows you to transfer photos and videos to your smartphone through the Canon app.
  • Ability to record videos in 1080p resolution at 30 FPS and 60 FPS. This offers you some nice flexibility.

Cons

  • Focusing may become slow when zoomed in all the way

Kodak Pixpro Astro Zoom AZ421

Kodak PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421 16MP Digital Camera (White) with Kodak 32GB SD Card and Focus DSLR Camera Accessory Bundle (3 Items)

$219.99
$199.99
 in stock
2 new from $199.99
Free shipping
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The Kodak AZ421 is a very popular compact point and shoot camera which has managed to gain an impressive reputation among videographers and photographers involved in the wildlife, bird, and astrophotography niches. One of the impressive features that this camera has is the 16MP camera sensor. Most cameras in this price range usually have a 12MP camera sensor.

The 42x optical zoom is very responsive and fully native to the camera. This allows you to zoom in on any subject, a feature wildlife, bird, and astrology photographers will love. There is also the 24mm wide-angle lens that moves you closer to the main subject of your video or photo while allowing you to capture more with the same frame.

This camera comes with a 720p video resolution. Yes, I know you are expecting a 1080p resolution but the 720p resolution is better than the 1080p of some cameras which can look grainy at times. There is also the panorama capture feature which is a nice little touch.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.2 x 3.3 in / 11 x 8.1 x 8.4 cm
  • Weight :  15.6 oz / 445 g
  • Resolution: 16 megapixels
  • Zoom: 42x
  • Video: 720 Standard HD

Pros

  • Compact and portable.
  • 16MP camera sensor.
  • 42x optical zoom.
  • Excellent detection software.
  • High-quality images and videos.

Cons

  • Does not support SD cards larger than 32 GB.
  • Maximum battery life can sometimes be inconsistent.

Sony DSCW830/B

Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)

$164.00  in stock
2 used from $164.00
Amazon.com
as of July 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The Sony DSCW830 is one of the lowest-priced point and shoot cameras you’ll find on the market that’s worth having. The optical zoom of this camera is not the highest you’ll find in the market as it’s just 8x. The 20MP resolution on the other hand is simply impressive and will ensure you take quality photos and videos. There’s no WiFi connectivity or 1080p video which is due to the fact that this camera was produced earlier than most of the others on this list.

Another thing I like about this camera is its portability. The minimal form factor allows you to put this camera in your pocket and even forget that it is there. On the video side, you are able to record video at 720p resolution in two quality settings – fine and standard.

And the equivalent range of 25-200mm provides you with a super-wide angle that’s ideal for panoramic landscapes, interior and group shots as well as a telephoto that’ll get you close enough to capture school sports or foxes in the garden.

 Quick Specifications

  • Dimensions: 3.7 x 2 x 0.9 in / 9.4 x 5.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Weight :  4.3 oz / 121 g
  • Resolution: 20.1 megapixels
  • Zoom: 8x
  • Video: 720 Standard HD

Pros

  • Very compact and portable.
  • 20MP resolution.
  • Super wide-angle provides you with more possibilities for photography.
  • Panorama mode.
  • In-camera charging.

Cons

  • No Wifi
  • No 1080p resolution

Best Point and Shoot Cameras Under $300 – The Guide

Now that you know the best point and shoot cameras available under $300 in the market, I’ll now be taking you through an extensive buying guide. Here, you’ll learn about the various features of point and shoot cameras. And by understanding these features, you’ll be able to confidently select a camera that will meet your photography or videography needs.

What is a Point and Shoot Camera?

I think it’s important for me to first define the term “point and shoot camera.” While point and shoot cameras may have slightly different definitions at times, the general definition of a point and shoot camera is a camera, be it digital or film, that has a fixed non-interchangeable zoom or fixed focal-length lens. If you are able to change the lens of a camera, then it’s not a point and shoot camera.

Cameras that have interchangeable lenses are usually referred to as “advanced cameras” and they include most DSLR camera systems and mirrorless cameras.

Point and shoot cameras come in varying sensor sizes which usually range from relatively tiny 1/5″ sensors to full-frame (24 x 36mm) camera sensors.

Pros and Cons of Point and Shoot Cameras

Point and shoot cameras have a number of advantages over DSLR/mirrorless cameras some of which will be highlighted below:

  • Compact size: Perhaps the greatest advantage of point and shoot cameras. They are super portable and easy to transport. You can easily put a point and shoot camera in your pocket.
  • Easy to use: User-friendly and easy to use. They are also quick to deploy since you can put them in your pocket. This way, you won’t miss shots.
  • Automatic functions: The camera is almost completely automatic in the auto mode thereby taking all the manual work away from you.
  • Fixed lens and built-in flash: All the key components of a point and shoot camera are fixed and this means you don’t have to carry additional products.
  • Quiet: Point and shoot cameras take shots quietly since they are fully digital.

The cons of point and shoot cameras compared to DSLR/mirrorless cameras include:

  • Lower quality: Point and shoot cameras cannot just compete with DSLR/mirrorless cameras as those are more advanced cameras designed for professionals.
  • Limited control: DSLR/mirrorless cameras give you more control over how you take shots as they have manual control.
  • Fixed lens: Since you can’t change the lens of point and shoot cameras, you are stuck with whatever is in the camera indefinitely.
  • Shorter battery life: Batteries tend to drain faster in point and shoot cameras due to the digital LCD screen

Point & Shoot and Bridge Cameras

You may have heard of a bridge camera before and wondered what the camera is about. The first thing you should know about bridge cameras is that the term “bridge” is actually a marketing term and not a technical term. The reason why manufacturers name some cameras bridge cameras is because those cameras are a “bridge” between point and shoot cameras and DSLR cameras.

Bridge cameras are sometimes referred to as hybrid cameras and they are more advanced than point and shoot cameras but not as sophisticated as DSLR cameras. You just get enough advanced features (larger optical zoom lens, improved sensor, and controls) to get a small taste of DSLR cameras. But bridge cameras are still point and shoot cameras because their lenses are not interchangeable.

In our list, the Canon PowerShot SX540 and the Kodak Pixpro Astro Zoom AZ421 are bridge cameras.

Best point and shoot cameras under 300 - Guide

Optical Zoom vs. Digital Zoom

When you are zooming on a digital camera, you are trying to get a closer view of far-away subjects. There are two types of zoom – optical and digital zoom.

Optical zoom actually uses an actual lens adjustment to get up close and personal to far-away subjects. The lens of the camera actually moves back and forth to truly zoom in and out.  An optical zoom is the most important type of zoom and if you intend to take lots of photos from far away subjects, be sure to go for a camera with a large optical zoom.

Digital zoom actually involves in-camera image processing – an all electronic form of zooming in or out. Nothing is moving on your camera. It’s your camera’s software and processing that’s zooming in or out the image on the screen.

Manufacturers usually use magnification power to denote the zooming power of lenses. That’s why you will see a camera zooming power represented like 8x, 25x, and so on. But while something like 8x actually sounds like a reference to magnification. It’s not. What an 8x zooming power means is that the image is magnified eight times the widest focal length number. So, an 8x zoom that starts at 28mm would zoom in to 224mm, but an 8X zoom that starts at 24mm would only zoom in to 192mm.

What Are The Factors to Consider When Choosing my Camera?

Image and Video Quality

What’s the use of a camera that can’t produce high-quality photos? The image and video quality of a camera are very important. Megapixels (MP) is the standard used to measure the resolution of a camera. The higher the megapixels, the better the quality of photos you get.

Cameras on this list can also record videos. Most of them have a video resolution of 1080p (the standard for HD – High Definition) which is very good. You’ll rarely find a point and shoot camera that has 4k video resolution at this price range. However, the 1080p resolution is very satisfactory for most people.

ISO and Low Light Performance

The sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to light depends on the ISO. The higher the ISO of your camera, the easier you’ll be able to shoot in darker conditions without using a flash. Look for cameras that offer ISO 1600 or higher.

However, higher ISOs mean that there will be more noise in the image as the image will be grainier. You can go online and search for images taken by the camera you want to buy at low ISOs. And such images should be bright and crisp.

Today, many cameras can use high ISO settings and still get very usable images.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization helps reduce vibration and shakiness when shooting. This will reduce blurriness in photos especially in low light conditions. Manufacturers will either install a stabilization mechanism in the camera body/lens or use software to stabilize images.

Wireless Connectivity – WiFi and NFC

Cameras that have WiFi connectivity allow you to easily upload your media to your phone, computer, or social media straight from your camera.  There are camera models that allow you to download apps that link your phone up to your camera. This allows you to do stuff like setting a timer, pressing the shutter, or seeing what your camera sees, all from your phone.

Near-field communication (NFC) is another wireless option available that comes with newer camera models. And this feature lets you send images wirelessly from your camera to a wireless device (your phone or tablet) simply by touching the devices together.

Features & Functionality

Point and shoot cameras come with different camera modes which include portrait, daylight, museum, sports, night landscape, night portrait, landscape, etc. Some cameras have viewfinders that allow you the frame while composing an image. Face recognition is another feature you may find in cameras.

Final Thoughts

The options available for quality point and shoot cameras under $300 continues to decrease as the world moves towards mirrorless cameras. But you can still get quality point and shoot cameras for under $300 if you know what to look for.

I’ve come up with this list of the very best point and shoot cameras in the market after extensive research, testing, and chats with photographers and videographers enthusiasts. The buying guide will help you understand the various features of a point and shoot camera and help you choose one that best meets your needs.

Choose one today and capture anything that catches your attention.

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