The 5 best digital cameras under $ 300

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It was the Photographic Stone Age when I took my first photos – Back then we filled our Kodak Instamatics with something called a “film cartridge” and we were confident that our photos “would fit.” reveal “. There were no dials, rings, zooms or shutter speeds. No adjustment of any kind. And seeing our photos – often ugly and discolored – meant a trip to the local pharmacy and a wait of several days.

Then I ran a successful photography studio for eighteen years and saw a lot of change. Today, for under $ 300, you can enjoy the quality and versatility the pros pay thousands of dollars for.

Canon PowerShot SX540 HS Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot SX540 HS Digital Camera with 50x Optical Zoom

Cannon

amazon.com

$ 299.00


My first “real” camera was a Canon. I used them during my days as a photojournalist and later in my studio.


Flashing back to 1934 when the “Kwanon” 35mm camera was introduced by Precision Optical Industry Co. – now called Canon Inc. and considered a world leader in cameras and office equipment.


Canon PowerShot SX540 Specifications

I’m talking about the PowerShot SX540 HS for novices or anyone looking for a versatile camera that’s easy to use and carry. For just $ 299.99, it does everything except brew coffee.

Let’s start with a CMOS sensor (for the old folks, that’s where the film went) and a blazing 20.3 megapixel (That’s a lot. And the more you have, up to a point, the better your footage gets. crisp and clear).

Now check out this: This crazy little camera sports an incredible 50x optical zoom. With the push of a button, you can switch from a 4.3mm wide-angle view to a powerful 215mm telephoto lens. It’s great for stargazing or spying on your friends and family.

But since you’re counting acorns on trees in the next county, your photos might look a bit shaky, so Canon has built in a vibration reduction system right into the lens.

With a wide ISO selection from 80 to 3200, you can take pictures in low light conditions without ever needing a tripod. ISO is photo lingo for the light your sensor needs to take a photo. The higher the ISO, the less light you need and 3200 makes you practically a night shooter. Well, twilight anyway.

There is not enough space for all the many features, but here is a partial summary:

Ultra-fast autofocus, wireless Wi-Fi for sharing with your friends, a full 3 inch viewer, automatic modes for blur and monochrome poster effects, continuous shooting up to 6 frames per second, fisheye effects mode, a high-speed super-shutter, and much more.

And of course, the PowerShot SX540 HS also makes great videos.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)

Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)

Nikon Coolpix B500 Digital Camera (Black)

Nikon

amazon.com

$ 296.95


As a company, Nikon predates Canon, celebrating its 100th “anniversary” in 2017. For decades, these corporate giants have fought for the title of Japan’s premier camera maker.

Fun fact: In the United States, “Nikon” appears at the top of every camera. In Japan, they get an extra “k”, as in “Nikkon” (pronounced Neekone).

Either way, the Coolpix B500 is a great camera, and for the same low price as the Canon.

Nikon Coolpix B500 Specifications

At 16 megapixels, the B500’s CMOS image sensor is slightly less impressive than its rival Canon. But this is hardly serious. Unless you’re shooting barn-sized photos, 16mp will be fine for you. And you will save more space on your computer.

The B500 features a 40x optical zoom lens with superb anti-shake function, super-fast autofocus, built-in flash, 3-inch viewing monitor, remote control remote and Wi-Fi for sharing.

And like the Canon, the B500 makes great videos.

Sony DSCH300 / B

Sony DSCH300 / B Digital Camera (Black)

Sony DSCH300 / B Digital Camera (Black)

Sony

amazon.com

$ 198.00


Everyone knows Sony, the Japanese electronics giant. But did you know he was named Sonny Bono? I’m joking. Sony was not named after Sonny Bono.

Relatively new to digital or any type of camera, Sony introduced its first commercial camera, the Mavica, in 1984, followed by the now famous CyberShot line in 1998.

The H300 has a wide array of features, outrageous for cameras in its price range (it sells for $ 199.99).

Sony DSCH300 / B Specifications

They include shutter speeds of up to 1 / 1500th of a second to freeze all but the fastest movements, a totally respectable 20.1 digital sensor for solid digital images, a 35x optical zoom for getting up close and personal. , and even a video mode.

Need more? This Sony gem goes even further with a 280x digital zoom to increase its optical pillar. Now, compared to optics, digital zoom is something like smoke and mirrors. But hey, that sounds like fun, right?

With a really long zoom, it can be a bit difficult to keep your photos steady. But relax. Built inside the H300 is a wonderful Optical Stabilizer to help correct “camera shake” which is normal at high magnifications.

But if you’re looking for green men on Mars, maybe get a decent tripod.

And that’s all you get. Everything except automatic red-eye correction, a self-timer (for perfect photos with your friends), ISO sensitivity up to 3200 and shooting modes such as: night scenes, landscapes, soft skin, beach, snow and fireworks.

Oh, and the Sony H300 makes great movies too.

Zoom Astro KODAK PIXPRO

KODAK PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421-BK 16MP Digital Camera

KODAK PIXPRO Astro Zoom AZ421-BK 16MP Digital Camera

KODAK

amazon.com

$ 159.99


Kodak is over 130 years old and registered their ever famous name in 1888. For most of those years they’ve owned the movie business – whatever it is, right?

This was all before Japanese newcomer Fujifilm came looking for them. Almost before they realized it, the American icon had lost a good chunk of its 90% market share. Limiting their losses – and their slowness in the digital market – Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

But now they’re back … and with an incredible range of super low-cost, feature-packed cameras.

A great example is the Kodak AZ421-Astro Zoom. For almost insignificant $ 179.99, you can get an easy-to-use “bridge camera” (designed for hobbyists, but with a few pro features).

Kodak PIXPRO specifications

Let’s recall a few: First, there’s the quite respectable 42x optical zoom with stabilization. We follow that up with a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, pan capability, multimode focus (including object tracking), continuous shooting, sensor sensitivity up to ISO 3200, and multimode exposure. .

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K digital camera

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 4K digital camera

Panasonic

amazon.com

$ 297.99


While priced a bit higher than some entry-level cameras, at $ 297.99 MSRP, the rugged Lumix FZ80, from Panasonic, brings a host of quiet but impressive features.

Yes, the 18.1 megapixel sensor is sort of the “magic 20” you might be used to seeing. But trust me, that’s more than enough for a casual shooter, or even many pros.

Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 Specifications

But hey, focus on this: a 20-1220mm (60x) zoom lens with optical stabilizer and a maximum aperture of f / 2.8 (phew) makes this unassuming little box more than just a “aim and shoot”.

The aforementioned f / 2.8 aperture – an uncommon lens aperture for amateur cameras – perfectly matches the manufacturer’s claim of superior low-light performance.

And the FZ80 sports a high-resolution viewfinder and LCD display (1040 dots) that are supposed to read clearly even in direct sunlight, USB charging, and even Wi-Fi connectivity.

But maybe where this camera really shines is in the making of its films. The little dog has, yes, believe it or not, full 4K video recording capabilities – usually only available in a much more expensive instrument. This is ultra HD video, shot at 30 frames per second, folks!

So if you’re looking for a good “bridge” or starter camera, the one I’ve listed here should fill the bill.

Good luck and good shooting!


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