Be it a family getaway or an adventurous mountain hike, a camera has become an indispensable travel companion because if you can’t capture it, you can’t relish it later.
Ideally, a travel camera should be a point-and-shoot camera that is compact and lightweight, with a range of preset functions. It should have capable night modes for low light shots and powerful optical zoom to help you capture high-quality photos from a distance.
Unless you’re a professional photographer, you don’t need extra components to add to the weight – compactness is key. The lens should also be versatile enough to compensate for the lack of lens types available for novice camera options. Last but not the least, a travel camera, just like its weight, should be light on your pocket, as well.
Here are 5 travel-friendly compact cameras under $500 that will let you capture serene moments without costing you a fortune.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the best travel camera under $500 review!
Sony has always been a frontrunner in the compact camera world and the Sony HX400V is a true testament to that. Equipped with 50x optical and 100x clear image zoom, this compact camera produces incredibly smooth stills and videos with its new BIONZ X processor and optical steady shot, even when the camera is zoomed in and the user is in motion.
Unlike the digital zoom of other cameras where electronic cropping is used, the clear image zoom in the Sony HX400V uses near-pixel analysis and replication to create more detailed and clear pictures.
The 20.4 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor works perfectly to capture beautiful low-light images without any hard flash. The sensor enhances the performance of the camera’s G lens to deliver heightened image clarity and grain reduction. You can expect 10 fps, 1080p video without motion blur.
With no dearth of features like Wifi, NFC connectivity, lock-on AF, and GPS tagging, this camera is truly a traveler’s delight.
- Clear image zoom Zeiss lens
- 20.4 MP Exmor R CMOS sensor
- 4K image quality output with HDMI2
- Lock-on AF
- GPS tagged photos
- Wifi and NFC connectivity
- TFT LCD touchscreen
- Downloadable camera apps
- Compact and lightweight
- 100x zoom for long-distance photography
- Motion blur and grain-free videos and images
- Cinematic full HD video
- Long battery life
- No camera bag
- Some cameras in the same price range have more optical zoom
The Kodak PixPro Astro Zoom offers a massive 90x optical zoom lens along with a 20 MP CMOS sensor. The sensor, with the attached 22mm wide-angle lens, produces crystal clear images with impressive detail and full HD 1080p video. The 5 fps burst shooting offers more prospects for your photography.
The files are available in both RAW or JPG format so you can choose to either edit the RAW file or directly share the picture with your friends. The camera has a 3-inch 920k pixel LCD touch screen, which you can rotate by 180 degrees. The rotation helps in viewing the scenery without putting unnecessary strain on your neck or back.
The Electronic ViewFinder (EVF) also has an adjustable diopter that you can shift to your preference. The built-in wifi can connect to the free PIXPRO remote viewer app, which can be installed on both iOS and Android so that you can directly download all the photos and videos on your phone.
- 20 MP BSI CMOS sensor
- 22 mm wide lens
- 90X optical zoom
- 1080p resolution full HD video
- 3” LCD screen with 180-degree rotation
- Optical image stabilization
- Impressive 90X optical zoom
- Razor-sharp details with BSI CMOS sensor
- Impeccable clarity due to image stabilization technology
- Wifi connectivity for easy sharing
- No sharing over NFC
- No camera bag
- No 4K support
The next best travel camera under $500 on our list, the Minolta Pro-Shot Camera incorporates Japanese technology with its 20 MP photo resolution and 1080p full HD 60fps video to produce crystal clear images and videos.
The camera also boasts 67x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom capabilities. The convenient optical stabilization feature keeps the images from shaking even when the user is in motion.
The camera has user-friendly features like smile, face, and blink detection to help you capture the best moods and expressions. It also has a selection of preset modes like night portrait and panorama, which makes it easy to capture the perfect photographs.
Storage function supports SDXC card upto 32 GB, which holds a reasonable amount of photos and videos shot in this camera. The electronic viewfinder is equipped with a diopter adjustment setting so that you can capture a view from all angles and take a better shot.
In addition to the viewfinder, the camera also has a 3-inch 920k LCD screen, which can be rotated to facilitate a better view, better-angled shots, and reading of the menus and settings.
Lastly, the Minolta Pro-Shot Camera comes with a 24 mm wide-angle lens that produces a wide and spectacular view. As for connectivity, it has inbuilt Wi-Fi along with app integration to facilitate the transfer of photos and videos. You can also control the camera remotely courtesy of the Minolta Pro Shot app.
- 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, 20.68 MP
- 67x optical zoom
- ISO range of 100-3200
- 920k Articulating 3.0” LCD screen with Angle Adjustment
- 5 fps full-resolution continuous shooting
- Electronic viewfinder with Diopter adjustment
- Advanced features like Face and Smile detection
- Multi-frame shooting
- Diopter adjustment for enhanced photos
- Rotating LCD screen
- Wide-angle lens
- No 4K support
- No NFC support
The Powershot SX450 is a versatile and easy-to-use compact camera from the industry veteran Canon. With its 20 MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor and the powerful DIGIC 6 image processor, the camera produces stunning images and 1080p videos without much effort.
The said image processor also reduces noise in HD videos and aids in identifying and removing distortion. Add to that a powerful 50x optical zoom that enables you to capture stunning images from anywhere, no matter how far away from your subject you may be.
Long shots have higher chances of being blurry and shaky but the optical image stabilizer makes sure your zoomed pictures and videos are never off point. Additionally, image framing assist helps you recognize and lock your subject in for better usability.
All these features aid the already capable PowerShot X540 camera to take spectacular full HD videos at 60 fps with stereo sound. Hybrid auto mode records 4 seconds of video before each photo to show you a combined clip of your whole day video recap. A large 3-inch LCD screen with 461,000 dots allows you easy viewing even from difficult angles.
The camera features inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities so that you can nonchalantly share the captured moments. Much like the Minolta Pro Shot, you can access the remote shooting feature with the camera connect app, as well.
- 20.3 MP High sensitivity CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 6 Image processor
- 50x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer
- 1080p with 60 fps shooting
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
- Rechargeable battery
- Powerful image processing
- Optical image stabilizer
- Better connectivity with Wi-Fi and NFC
- Image framing assist in a better shot each time
- No preset functions
- No camera bag
The 16 megapixels 1/2.3 inch BSI CMOS sensor takes stunning images and videos with its own Nikkor f/3.0 6.5 millimeter ED lens. With the help of its 40x optical zoom capability, you can capture stellar images from a distance.
The camera can take 1080p tripod steady HD videos with excellent image quality aided by 4-Axis Hybrid Vibration Reduction (VR) technology. The flip flop LCD lets you take a better view before and during the shoot so that you can perfect your capture each time.
Lastly, both Wi-Fi and NFC come inbuilt in the camera along with low-energy Bluetooth to provide easy connectivity.
- 16 MP 1/ 2.3 inch BSI CMOS sensor
- Nikkor f/3.0-6.5 mm lens
- 4-axis hybrid vibration reduction technology
- Wi-Fi, NFC, and low-energy Bluetooth connectivity
- Nikkor lens for better images
- Superior vibration reduction
- Better connectivity options
- App for remote control
- Less preset options
- No camera bag
Below you’ll find our picks for the key features you may be looking for in the best travel camera under $500:
For Maximum Zoom
For Amazing Preset Photo Modes
For Maximum Connectivity Options
For Low Light Images
For Maximum Image Processing Capabilities
We hope this detailed guide and product review has made your life easier and you’ll now be able to make a sound choice when it comes to picking the best travel camera under $500!
Take a look at our other blogs at wanderinggoals.com for more product analysis and recommendations.