Home Buying Guides The Best Travel Cameras Under $500

The Best Travel Cameras Under $500

by Stacy
The Best Travel Cameras Under $500

Over the years, digital cameras have transitioned from being obscure, elite and un-affordable devices to common appliances that are very affordable providing users with a long list of many different options. One factor that is certain is that anyone who is interested in photography should own a high-quality camera.

Professional photographers, as well as other interested parties, should not have to spend a large amount of their money on purchasing a camera. As you can imagine, individuals who travel a lot as well as those who like to capture every single moment take a ton of pictures everywhere, they go.

Today’s market is undeniably saturated with a large number of different cameras. Consumers have admitted to been very confused when it comes to browsing through different options and selecting just one camera. In this article, we have put together the best choices for DSLR, POV and other digital cameras in the market. Whether you are an energetic entrepreneur, a budding artist, a fierce adventurer, or an intrepid traveler, the cameras mentioned are quite ideal providing you with high-quality images.

In this article, we have taken the time to go through the best cameras that are under $500 in the market today. We have also focused on the major factors of the cameras as well as the advantages. This will allow you to know exactly what to expect from your device. We have also broken down through a couple of things that you should look out for when buying your camera. If you are out in the market browsing through different options this review should guide you through the process.

What Factors Should You Look Out for When Purchasing A Travel Camera?

The Weight and the Size of the Camera

To settle on an ideal camera that is good for travel, you need to choose a compact camera that is light in weight, and easy to carry around. The camera you choose to carry on your trips will also depend on the means of travel that you will choose.

If you will be in a car for long periods of time then you could decide to carry a heavy-duty camera, however, if you will be taking part in long walks or hectic hikes, it would be a great idea to consider the weight of the camera that you will be carrying.

This is because carrying around all the additional weight of your camera would really prove to be difficult and travelling around with such a bulky piece of equipment is not so easy. Big and bulky cameras are great at the job they do but just think about the condition of your neck or your hand as you hold onto the camera for a great number of hours.

The good news is that there are a number of adjustable neck straps that are effective at evenly distributing the weight around your back and saving your neck or hand from the stress of carrying your camera up and down.

If you travel often you should also beware of pickpocketers as well as other individuals that are looking to make away with your valuables such as your camera. A number of thieves from all over the world have successfully gotten away with cameras from unsuspecting tourists. It is important especially for those who are moving around with compact cameras to make sure that they keep their equipment safe with them.

The Durability of Your Camera.

Those who travel often, always expose their cameras to different types of climatic conditions that could pose a risk to the proper condition of their gear. Travelling through different areas with cold and freezing temperatures, to rain and high humidity, then hot and dusty regions require you to carry around a durable camera that can withstand all these different conditions.

Additionally, all this traveling could make you accidentally drop your camera to the ground. Dropping your camera is obviously such a nightmare as it the impact could cause parts of the equipment to disintegrate. There are a number of cameras in the market that are shockproof and waterproof as well. Another great way for ensuring that your camera does not fall is to secure it around your neck with the use of a neck strap.

Dust and strong winds are other damaging environmental factors that could affect the condition of your camera. You need to ensure that your camera is durable enough to handle all the dust that will be flying around as you travel around dusty regions.

As we all know, the weather can get really unpredictable and rain could suddenly start to fall even on a sunny day. You need to ensure that the camera you select is water resistant and can handle the unexpected rainfall and still work well even in an area with thick fog.

A Camera that is Easy to Use

If you are not a professional, but you still want to easily achieve great high-quality travel pictures, it is important that you choose a camera that will be suitable for the level of experience that you have. Every in-experienced individual often gets intimidated when they first see all the buttons, dials, lenses and screens and they are not sure what functions they are meant to perform.

Every camera owner should really consider taking some time to study and find out the different functions of certain keys and lenses. There are a number of excellent cameras on the market that do not require the user to be so versed. The final image will still look like a high-quality image.

These cameras offer the user image stabilization options, which allows the image to look neat even if your hands shake or move. The camera should also offer preset modes, ISO ratings, Burst modes, a touch screen, time lapse options, compatibility and lens availabilities.

The Zooming Range of your Camera.

You must select a camera that has an excellent zooming range feature. When traveling, a lot of nature’s most gorgeous features are much further away from you. These are features such as waterfalls or a herd of elephants. For safety reasons, tourists cannot be allowed to approach a waterfall or wild animals without been accompanied by a guide. In such a scenario you would need a camera that has great zooming range allowing you to easily magnify objects that are far away.

To capture wildlife that is far away, you should invest in a zoom lens with a stabilizer so that you can get a very clear image when you zoom in. To capture a wide landscape from a clifftop it is important to get a camera that has a wide-angle lens that can clearly capture the sunset. For a personal like photo that is up close, a really small lens that is 50mm will give you a very clear shot. Moving around with a small lens is great as it is compact giving you the freedom to maneuver around. If you’re on a cruise then it is best if you carry around a lens that acts as an allrounder. This lens has a great zoom lens and is great at capturing relatively close up shots and beautiful sunsets from a wide range.

The Battery Life of your Camera

When purchasing your camera, it is so important that you check on the battery life. Generally speaking, a great camera should be able to keep its charge for long periods of time without dying. Before finally selecting your camera, users are advised to carefully check out various reviews that will reveal the camera’s battery life. There are a number of cameras that shut down in just a few seconds as soon as you begin recording a video. There are also a number of cameras that cannot retain enough charge when they are affected with a software glitch.

Consumers are also advised to check out if the camera they purchase comes with additional batteries. This is a great advantage because as soon as one battery dies you get the opportunity to switch batteries. A camera that is sold together with an additional battery is also great as you will not be compelled to go to the market and search for a compatible battery.

If you are traveling a lot, you are advised to fully charge your batteries the night before. There is nothing worse than experiencing a great moment and failing to capture it because you have a low battery.

Power banks are also great for charging your camera while you’re on the go. A number of professional photographers are big fans of power banks as they understand how such devices come in handy. It is just a matter of attaching your camera to the power bank. You can then toss it into your bag and continue with the day’s activities as the battery continues to charge.

Reviewing the Best Cameras Under $500

Comparison Table

Size and Weight
Battery Life
Check on Amazon
Sony DSC HX400 20.4 Megapixel Digital Camera
Size- 129.6mm x 93.2mmx103.2 mm

Weight- 1lb 7.3oz
Optical zoom-50x

Digital zoom- 20m

Still image-20m
150 minutes
Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
Size – 98mm x 57.9 mm x 31.3mm

Weight- 206g
Optical zoom-3x
235 shots
Sony Cyber Shot RX100 20.2 Megapixel Digital Camera
Size – 101mm

x 6mm x 35.9mmWeight- 240g
Optical zoom-14x

Sony DSC HX400 20.4 Megapixel Digital Camera

The Sony HX400V is designed with a hard and chunky handgrip that is quite large allowing the user to comfortably fit three fingers around the grip. It is also quite useful in providing indentations for both of your top fingers, allowing you to maintain a strong and steady hold when taking a picture of an object that would require you to focus to the very extreme end.

A great feature of this camera is the use of the steady shot image stabilization. The steady shot helps in preventing blurred shots and produces quality images even in really dim light. This feature greatly reduces the shake that would be quite visible on the camera’s LCD screen. This makes it so much easier to frame the image.

This camera is of high-quality and has a really strong build. The body is covered with a deep black matt finishing and the finish extends to a number of controls and dials. It also has an inbuilt electronic viewfinder which is a great feature that enthusiasts look out for. The camera is small and ideal helping you easily locate the right controls with your forefingers and your thumb. A number features that users would like to easily access is just at your fingertips making the overall operation much faster.

The top plate of the HX400V extends giving your camera a more sophisticated and elegant look. It also has a microphone placed behind the plate with a flash that rises. At the back of the microphone there is the inclusion of a multi-faceted shoe that is inclusive of a shutter release remote controller, an LED light that pops up when you are on video mode, a stereo microphone as well as an external flash.

The camera is also fitted with a really small button that allows you to swap between the LCD Monitor and the EVF. Another very useful feature is the eye sensor that automatically switches between the EVF and the LCD monitor.

The camera comes inclusive of an adapter, a plug, and a mains lead. When the camera is switched on the button releases a green glowing light. When your battery needs to be recharged the button glows orange.

The battery life of the lithium cell inserted in the base of the handgrip is around 300 shots. On the bottom of the HX400V are metal screw threads located and a compartment housing the battery and a slot for either Memory Stick PRO Duo or Secure Digital cards. The battery life of this camera will serve you for around 300 shots.


  • It is manufactured with a faster Bionz X processor
  • It has a multi-interface shoe that is quite useful
  • The camera connects easily to Wi-Fi and NFC. It also has an inbuilt GPS system


  • The electronic viewfinder only has a resolution of 202k dots


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Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

This camera has a slim, sleek and modern design. It is a really compact camera that is very portable. With the Canon PowerShot, you can unleash your promising photography and videography skills and you can capture all objects and elements from huge sudden movements to small changes in someone’s facial expression.

The camera provides really quick shooting speeds ranging up to 8.2 fps as well as a large 1.0 type to the 20.1-megapixel sensor. Whatever activity that you are doing with your camera will not affect the quality of the final image. This is because the camera is equipped with the Canon’s Dynamic Image Stabilizer that immediately corrects the camera shake. So, whether you are hiking up a mountain or walking around the city, there’s no need to be completely still.

The camera is also equipped with features that allow you to access the internet through the dynamic NFC as well as the Wi-Fi button. This enables the quick transfer of videos and images from one smart device to the other. The camera also has a Bluetooth compatibility option that allows you to safely share your files with other interested parties even if the camera is tucked away in your bag. This feature is also useful for Wireless Remote Shooting. This is amazing for a stand out selfies and group photos. The camera battery is easily charged with a USB charger allowing you to conveniently charge the device anywhere you go.


  • It is compact and very light in weight
  • The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity features allow you to easily share photos and videos with other people.
  • It produces beautiful and high-quality images.


  • It has a fixed screen that does not tilt
  • It does not have an electronic viewfinder
  • Does not have any 4k video features


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Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 20.2 Megapixel Digital Camera

This camera manufactured from the Sony industry can easily fit into your pocket and contains a large sensor with a really bright lens. This model features a 20.2-megapixel function, with a 1-inch sensor that sits behind a lens of a 3.6x f/18 lens. The Sony RX100 20.2 embodies certain features that most of us are looking for in a camera. The compact-sized body, the bright lens, and large sensors are truly great features.

The camera has really large sensors and lenses. When powered off the camera is really thin and you can easily slide it into your pocket, however, when switched on the lens must stick out from the front side. The front is also equipped with an AF-assist lamp and a multi-purpose ring.

At the back, there is a four-way navigator. The navigator contains an integrated scroll disk and a set button right in the middle, surrounded by four other buttons. The camera is designed with a sensor that is 1-inch. This sensor is actually four times larger than other sensors on other camera models. This feature is praised greatly amongst photographers.

The front side of the camera has such an elegant design. The front lens is concave rather than convex. The ring that borders the lens turns effortlessly without any stops after a click. The flash on this camera shows up after been supported mechanically. The flash is quite tiny yet very effective especially when used at a wide-angle.

When the camera is charging you will notice the amber LED light that appears at the center of the power button. This camera does not come inclusive of any battery charger. It only contains a small USB power supply that has flip prongs, which is really convenient for travelers.


  • The camera features a high and impressive ISO performance.
  • It has a really compact and elegant look
  • It has a very bright lens.


  • It has a very slow flash
  • The lens ends up flaring in the night time when it is dark
  • Poor rendering of the color yellow


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We really hope this review will help guide you as you lookout for a great travel camera that does not necessarily affect your bank account. Years ago, a budget of $500 would hardly get you any decent photography equipment. However, in this era, you can sharpen your photography skills and achieve great photos with some of the cameras mentioned above. In our opinion, the Sony DSC HX400 20.4 Megapixel Digital Camera is the best option.

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