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Best Digital Cameras Under 300 for travel + Photo Tips & Apps

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If you love photography, you don’t need an expensive camera to start. Few years ago, both of us were using digital cameras that were priced about less than $300 and learnt basic editing skills to take photos and capture memories from our travels. When you are traveling you need a good digital camera, something that is compact, lasts you full day (or at-least 8-10 hours), wifi to share on social media and a decent lens. That’s where this post can help you. We have researched the best digital cameras under 300 that are perfect for travel. These are high performing cameras at a lower price point – so whether you are in Paris or in Blue Lagoon in Iceland or capturing a town near home – this list has you covered!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

QUICK OVERVIEW

<strong>QUICK OVERVIEW</strong>
Best Digital Cameras under $300
Best Digital Cameras under $300

At the end of this post, we have shared some of our favorite phone apps that we use to edit our pictures on the go, including some basic photo tips. 

Happy Snapping!

Best Digital Cameras Under 300 USD

Digital CameraFeaturesBuy Here
Canon Powershot SX720
20.3 MP
40x optical zoom
Wi-fi ✔️
Video ✔️
Compact ✔️
Canon Powershot ELP 180
20.1 MP
8x optical zoom
Wi-fi ❌
Video ✔️
Nikon Coolpix B500
16 MP
40x optical zoom
Wi-fi ✔️
Video ✔️
Fujifilm FinePix XP130
16.4 MP
5x optical zoom
Wi-fi ✔️
Video ✔️
Waterproof
Panasonic Lumix FZ80
18 MP
60x optical zoom
Wi-fi ✔️
Video ✔️
Canon Powershot SX530
16 MP
50x optical zoom
Wi-fi ✔️
Video ✔️
Go Pro Hero 7 Silver
10 MP
4K, QHD, and Full HD
Video ✔️
Waterproof

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Canon Powershot SX720 – Best Digital Cameras Overall

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 20.3 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 40x optical zoom
  • Digital Zoom – 80x – 120x digital zoom
  • Wi-fi – Inbuilt wifi to upload to social media or wirelessly transfer files
  • Video recording – yes
  • Multiple exposure options
  • Can geo-tag pictures
  • Good processor
  • IDEAL USE – BEST OVERALL VALUE!
Cons:

No raw format

DETAILED REVIEW

Canon’s newest superzoom travel camera features a compact design and a 40x optical zoom lens that is amplified by the camera’s 80x digital zoom (known as zoom plus on the camera). It has one of the finest 20.3 megapixel cmos sensor. However, one of the many design features that really sets this device apart is its ability to further zoom to 120x; a fact that is quite impressive when you realize that this camera is actually slim enough to fit in your back pocket, at least as long as you’re not wearing super tight pants. (Note: Most superzoom point and shoot cameras only offer 20x optical zoom to 30x optical zoom, max this one exceeds it)

In addition to the Canon Powershot’s stream line design, the camera body has a sleek, metallic look that is further accentuated by chic, ultra-smooth corners that make this machine look more like a fashion accessory than an actual camera (I mean that in the best possible way). 

Yet, appearance can only take you so far. Functionality is what really makes cameras, such as this, stand out. Therefore, to compensate for the camera’s compressed design, manufacturers have developed a rubber-like grip on the front, and back near the mode dial, where your fingers can rest naturally; a characteristic that reduces the likelihood that this narrow camera will slip through your fingers.

Additionally, the button layout of the SX720 is incredibly straightforward, with a shutter release button at the top that is surrounded by a zoom rocker. You’ll also find the on and off button here, as well as the video record button.

There is also a mode dial along the top back of this machine, that allows you to quickly switch between exposure modes like Auto, Hybrid Auto, Live, Scene, Creative Shot, Movie mod, and more!

On the downside though, this camera will not let you shoot in raw format and only in either semi-automatic or manual control. Something this is a bit limiting for any passionate photographer looking to purchase this camera.

Another negative is that you cannot alter the point of autofocus in your photo; a fact that doesn’t quite coincide with the high level of manual control that is found within many of the camera’s other features. However, you can choose the centre point, or use the Tracking AF to pick a spot for you (don’t worry, it gives priority to human faces); a feature that is helpful, but just not the same as choosing a point of focus for yourself. Sigh.

The only other tiny drawback of this machine is that to use the inbuilt flash, you will have to first eject it from its built in chamber (do this by using a switch, on the side of camera, that is right above the zoom frame assist button). But that’s a small negative given the incredible versatility of this incredible piece of photography equipment.

Interestingly enough though, this button can also be used to help you quickly zoom out of the optical zoom, if your subject happens to move out of frame. And if you want to return to the same focal length you were just using? Easy, just release the zoom frame assist button and the lens will automatically return to its previous zoom level (this is also much easier than using the zoom rocker switch).

Plus, this camera boasts a 1/2.3-inch type back-illuminated sensitivity CMOS sensor, supplemented by a Digic 6 processor, that has roughly 20.3 million pixels.

Other exciting, camera features include full HD video recording capability (at 1080p), a 3 inch, rear LCD screen, as well as built in WIFI.

 


Canon Powershot elph 180

 

 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 20.1 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 8x optical zoom
  • Wi-fi – No
  • Video recording – yes
  • IDEAL USE – Great for everyday photography
Cons:
  • Not water proof or dust proof
  • No wireless connectivity, so transfer files with a wired cable

DETAILED REVIEW

If you’re looking for a simple point and shoot camera to help you capture candid moments with family and friends, then the slim and stylish Canon Powershot alpha 180 is for you. Before purchasing our Sony Alpha mirrorless camera, we were using this one. 

Not only does this device have an 8x Optical Zoom lens with good wide angle capability and great reach on tele (giving you great photographic flexibility), but it also has a 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor, with DIGIC 4+ Image Processor, to help you create beautifully clear images every single time you take a shot.  You can also choose between a variety of scene modes, like Fisheye Effect, Toy Camera Effect, and Monochrome, to give you the creative freedom to tailor your photos to your exact needs.

This machine even has an incredible, Smart AUTO feature that helps you find the perfect settings for whatever you’re photographing. This way, novice photographers can still take high-quality photos even if they lack the technical acumen to do so.

Plus, this Canon Powershot even comes with Digital IS, to keep blur at a minimum, and an Auto Zoom feature that automatically focuses in on the subject of your photo. The camera’s

However, this compact camera does not come without its drawbacks. Not only does the Powershot alpha 180 lack a wireless connection and an articulating screen, but it is also not the highest resolution small sensor camera on the market, lacks environmental sealings to protect against water and dust, has a slow lens on both the wide and tele end of the photographic spectrum, and has a below average battery life of 220 shots.

But, if you’re looking for an inexpensive camera that is small, easy to use, and that still takes nice photos, then definitely consider purchasing the Canon Powershot alpha 180.

 


Nikon Coolpix B500 – Best Digital Cameras Runner Up

 

 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 40x optical zoom
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Video recording – yes
  • IDEAL USE – Perfect for new/amateur photographers
Cons:
  • Uses AA batteries only, no rechargeable Nikon battery – could be costly

DETAILED REVIEW

The Nikon Coolpix B500 is a fantastic, relatively inexpensive, mid-sized, bridge camera with a 16 megapixel sensor and a 40x optical zoom that is further enhanced by a 80x digital zoom.

And while this camera is incapable of shooting in manual modest, it does offer users a range of shooting modes that are perfect for beginners who are looking to better under the subtle art of photography.

Just turn the dial at the top of the Nikon and this versatile camera will quickly and easily switch between fully automatic, scene, creative, and movie shooting modes. Surprisingly though, of all the camera modes available, the fully automatic setting actually provides the photographer with the greatest amount of control over the camera and how you shoot your photos. Sure, you can’t change either the aperture or the shutter speed of this mode, but, you can adjust both the white balance and ISO setting (or you can leave them if such changes are a bit beyond your skill level). Also be aware that while most of the camera’s mode have a normal, operational speed, camera owners can get quite frustrated by the length of time that it takes this device to process movie clips with the Short Movie Show function.

When attempting to macro focus, please be aware that it can take several tries before this camera can focus correctly. Therefore, be exceptionally careful when using the zoom and taking close-up shots. Also note that when the light drops, it can take this Nikon a bit longer to focus, something that can get quite irritating if you’re doing low light photography.

Now, like with many of Nikon’s newer model cameras, this device comes with SnapBridge technology that allows photographers to maintain a constant, bluetooth connection with their smartphone device. Therefore, users can now instantly upload photos to their cellphone and share them across a wide range of social media channels.

In terms of usability, this camera comes with a sturdy, textured hand grip that protrudes significantly from the body of the camera, making it easy for novice photographers to get a secure grip on the camera. Additionally, this device is reasonably light, making it possible for users to snap photos with one hand, even though holding the camera steady with two hands feels a bit more natural.

Other fantastic features from one of the best digital cameras under $300 include 921k-dot resolution, inbuilt Wi-Fi, and Full HD video recording.

However, one slight negative is that this camera is powered by two double AA batteries instead of a single chargeable battery. So, while you definitely won’t have a problem finding a replacement battery if your camera should lose power, you will continually have to to go to store and spend more money on batteries. But, just a small drawback for an awesome, multi-use camera like this.

 


Fujifilm Finepix XP130 waterproof

 

 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 16.4 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 5x optical zoom
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Video recording – yes
  • Waterproof
  • IDEAL USE – Those looking for an affordable and compact camera
Cons:
  • Image Quality – Not the best for night time photos/low light

DETAILED REVIEW

This compact, multi-faceted, waterproof camera is perfect for adventurers who need a device that can go anywhere and do anything, and all for just under $200. Fully equipped with a 16.4 MP BSI CMOS sensor and a 28-140mm (35mm equivalent) 5x optical zoom lens, users can quickly and easily manipulate the zoom with the W and T rocker button that is found at the back of the camera (along the top right).This camera also comes with a built-in WIFI and video recording up to 1080p60.

This camera also comes with a nice fill flash that is natural looking and effective at birthing harsh shadows during sunny days. That being said, the flash on this machine is still only a small bulb that can reach a maximum distance of about 14 feet (4 meters). This is why the XP130 generally does not perform well in low-light conditions and should really only be used during bright, sunny days.

While using this camera, you’ll also enjoy some manual control over shooting through exposure compensation and manual setting of the ISO up until ISO 6400. For additional photographic control, users can take advantage of this camera’s many shooting modes, including Portrait, Landscape, Sport, Night, Sunset, Snow, Beach, Underwater, Party, Flower, and more. There are several burst modes included with this machine, including Time-Lapse, Panorama, Macro Modes, and Cinema-graph (it creates hybrid photo and video clips).

Additionally, the XP130 is capable of taking pictures at a depth of up to 65 feet (20 m), a level of submersion that will easily satisfy the needs of most snorkelers, kayakers, swimmers, and recreational divers. This camera is also perfect for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts as well since it is freeze proof and can withstand temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C).

Now, to protect this waterproof digital camera from potential damage associated with increased activity, manufacturers have designed this camera to withstand drops of up to 5.7 feet (1.8 m).

Yet, this camera does come without some slight drawbacks. Firstly, the automatic exposure system can be inconsistent and lead to underexposed photos, even in the brightest of conditions. And while this issue can easily be corrected with photo editing, such concerns should not arise with this class of camera. Additionally, the Scene Recognition Mode, which is the automatic shooting mode, doesn’t always choose the most appropriate mode for the subject of your photograph, making it difficult to take high quality photos. The lens also just isn’t as sharp as it should be, but with a camera in this price range, that’s to be expected.

 


Panasonic Lumix FZ80 

 

 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 18 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 60x optical zoom
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Video recording – yes
  • Good shutter
  • Optical Image Stabilization 
  • Bridge camera
  • IDEAL USE – Those looking for an affordable and compact camera
Cons:
  • No wifi connectivity

TIP: For image and video stabilization, use a tripod

DETAILED REVIEW

This superzoom bridge camera from Panasonic is perfect for photographers on a budget. Not only does this device feature a small, 1/2.33-inch sensor with a resolution of 18 MP, resulting in images that are often noisy and that lack detail.

But, what this device lacks in sensor size, it makes up for with its fantastic lens system, which features a massive focal length range between 20-1200mm (35mm film equivalent). And if users decide to take advantage of the device’s 60x digital zoom, the camera’s focal length range can be enhanced to an astounding, 4800mm.

Because the Lumix FZ80 is a bridge camera, it does come with an electronic viewfinder that has a resolution of 1,166,000 RGB dots. But, this viewfinder is relatively small, with a 0.46 scale factor (equivalent the viewfinder you’d use in a 35mm film camera viewfinder), and difficult to manually focus.

In addition to the viewfinder, this device also has a 3 inch, fixed, touch sensitive, 1.04 million RGB dots resolution, LCD screen that makes camera setup and photo parameter alterations incredibly easy. To switch between the viewfinder and the LCD screen, just use the “LVF” button near the viewfinder ocular since this device doesn’t come with an eye sensor.

This Panasonic camera also employs both a technical and electronic shutter system that both work together to allow this machine to reach exposure times of 1/16,000 of a second in electronic mode and a maximum shutter speeds of 1/2000 second in mechanical shutter mode. There’s even a “Post Focus” function in this camera that will automatically select an image with the desired focus area from a series of photographs. Users can even do “focus stacking” and combine images to create sharper images with a wider depth of field.

Additionally, the FZ80 comes with a built-in image stabilizer that functions with both photo shooting and video recording. Yet, this feature has limited functionality and cannot  stabilize photos and videos that fall between 800 and 1200 mm. Therefore, definitely consider using a tripod when doing photography or videography under such circumstances.

However, regardless of any negatives, this camera is still a versatile device with a wide range photographic capabilities that are perfect for new photographers who are looking for budget friendly camera options.

 


Canon Powershot SX530 – Best Digital Cameras

 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Optical Zoom – 50x optical zoom
  • 100x digital zoom
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Video recording – yes
  • Big back buttons
  • IDEAL USE – Those looking for an affordable and compact camera
Cons:
  • Not compact
  • Not great for selfies

DETAILED REVIEW

Canon makes this list of best digital cameras under $300 again with the Canon Powershot SX530, their newest, high-zoom, bridge camera. This device features a 50x optical zoom that is accompanied by a 100x digital ZoomPlus.

And while this camera is rather bulky (you definitely won’t be sticking this camera in your back pocket), you can still easily steady the lens with your left hand and hold the base of the camera with your right.

Plus, unlike many other cameras listed here, the entire body of the devise has a textured coating that makes it feel more secure in your hands while simultaneously giving the camera a higher quality feel. There is also an additional recessed grip where your middle finger can naturally rest while your other finger holds the shutter release.

Move behind the camera’s shutter release and you’ll find a scrolling dial that controls the camera’s aperture and shutter speed, depending on the type of camera function that you’re using.

You’ll also enjoy a reasonably large mode dial that provides easy access to a variety of exposure modes like manual, semi-automatic, automatic, hybrid auto, creative shot, and more. There’s even a LIVE function that demonstrates the impact that a setting change will have on any photo that you take. This way, you can take that ever illusive “perfect shot” without actually understanding the technology that you need to obtain it. A fantastic feature for anyone who is new to photography.

Other amazing camera attributes include a 16 megapixel sensor, built in WIFI for easy smartphone connection, and, something that many of the other cameras on this list don’t have, the ability for the user to take full manual control. The SX530 even comes with digital filters and with the capability to shoot full, HD movies.

One slightly irritating thing about this camera is that you do have to press the shutter button rather intensely before the device will actually take a photo. And while this isn’t a huge issue, it can be problematic if you’re taking a picture that requires precise framing or one that needs slow shutter speeds (To avoid this issue, use the self-timer to give the camera the ability to steady before you expose your shot).

There’s also no viewfinder (get the Canon PowerShot SX60 if you want this feature) and the attached screen is fairly low resolution, with 461,000 dots, and fixed in the camera. Therefore, this device is not ideal if you’re looking take selfies or photograph at awkward angles. Yet, in spite of many of these issues, this camera still successfully takes pictures under most circumstances, except for instances of extreme sunlight.

 


Go Pro Hero 7 Silver (Best Digital Cameras – Adventure)


 

Pros: <strong>BUY THIS</strong>
  • Megapixels: 10 MP
  • Wi-fi – yes
  • Video recording – 4K, QHD, and Full HD
  • IDEAL USE – Adventure/ Water Use
Cons:
  • Not compact
  • Not great for selfies

DETAILED REVIEW

By far the best Go Pro model to date, the Go Pro Hero 7 is perfect for adventurous travelers. This small, handheld, waterproof (Use the GoPro “SuperSuit” when going more than 10 meters below the surface to avoid water damage), digital camera can be affixed to almost any surface imaginable, to create a wide variety of videos, still photos, time lapse photos, night photos. and photo bursts with truly unique perspectives.

Choose between three Hero 7 models that include White, Silver, or Black, which can roughly be categorized as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Personally, I would skip the White model since, while cheaper, is basically a waterproof, digital camera that comes with 1080 video.

In contrast, the Silver model has a few more features and includes 4K videos as well as WDR photos. In Quad HD and Full HD quality, you can record at 60 frames per second. This model also allows you to slow down the recordings up to 2 times, in order to create slow-motion images. The WDR function in this camera corrects dark shadows and overexposed parts of your photo. 

Additionally, for an extra $$, the GoPro Hero 7 Black offers more advanced features like the TimeWrap or the Super Photo feature. It has a SuperPhoto feature that can be selected from the camera settings. This technology renders additional photo editing unnecessary since the Hero 7 can now automatically select the perfect white balance, ISO levels, sharpness, and color for fantastic, High Dynamic Range photos every single time (all without the photo looking over edited).
However, when using the SuperPhoto application, do mount your Hero 7 on top of a tripod since images do take longer to process then using this feature. This way, you won’t have to worry about shaky photos with unusual chromatic variations.

Lastly, the GoPro Hero 7 White comes with a wonderful, TimeWarp feature that operates much like a Hyperlapse. Just set your optimal speed and video settings (The faster the setting, the smoother the TimeWarp) for smooth, ultra-fast videos every single time. And remember, if you’re doing a video while running or walking, set TimeWarp to 150x. However, if your GoPro is mounted to a bicycle or fast moving vehicle, then set the TimeWarp to 30x.

Other features included with this latest GoPro model include a self timer, an enhanced sound system that makes it easier to Vlog and record audio while taking video, extended battery life that lasts for four hours (depending on the camera mode you’re working in), advanced voice control, and an auto exposure lock that brightens photos taken in low light conditions. Plus, you can now even flip the LCD screen so that you can easily take photos and videos in portrait mode, a format that is automatically transferred to your laptop when downloading photos and videos. Therefore, as a result of such design and ease of use advancements, the Go Pro isn’t just for Adeline junkies anymore and can now be considered one of the overall, best digital cameras under $300.

 


Basic Photography Tips: Best Digital Cameras Under $300

As travel content creators, we definitely use a lot of apps to make photos look all pretty and nice, without breaking the bank. Before getting into travel blogging, I (Mayuri) had relied on software and apps to make photos ‘Insta worthy”, even with an entry level camera, much like the Canon Powershot 180. So here are some of the tips and apps that we recommend and still use.

Meuse River
Meuse River

Basic Photography Tips:

  • Natural Light – Regardless of your camera lens, taking pictures in good day light makes a big difference. So always attempt to capture moments in natural light/day light. Images captured in dark, poor lighting will appear unpleasing. Same goes for rain or gloomy snow days. (During snow or rains, wear bright colors to make your pictures pop)
  • Manual or Auto – Each camera comes a manual guide that helps you to change settings to make the most of your photography. If you are expecting a bad weather day, check if you can change the settings to capture grainy rainy days or remove red eye if you are capturing people/faces. Auto settings (settings that the camera comes in-built, after you set the date, time and region) is good as well. It is optimized for power and battery – perfect for normal weather conditions or day light shots. 
  • Poses – Poses are good, sometimes. But it does take a few takes and experience to get those perfect shots. I found candid, in the moment pictures to be more precious and beautiful, then ones that are posed or acted. If you wish to take more of studio poses, portraits or professional photos – check how other models are posing and what you like or don’t like about them to create your own style. Or a photography workshop!
  • Colors – Colors are important and they play a big role, when you edit them, which we will learn in our next section. Choose colors that contrast the background in a good way. Like photographing in the blue city of Jaipur India, wear yellow or white. Grey tones in Iceland – wear bright red, yellow or orange – for that pop of color.
  • Symmetry – This is key when you are taking pictures of buildings or an item and need the object to be centered. Cameras have a feature to guide you to capture images at a vertical or horizontal symmetry. If you take the picture right, you don’t’ have to crop or straighten it later.
  • Crowds – Let me be honest with you, some pictures are great with people in them like market places or busy streets. If you are wanting to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower without crowds, it is more dependent on timing, rather a camera lens. Start early before crowds come in or choose a spot, an angle from where you can capture the Iron lady without getting people or their hands into the frames.

Once you have a camera and you have taken some great shots, its time to edit them. Apps and software go a long way in giving a great finishing touch to your photos. Most of the apps mentioned here are free, unless other mentioned.

  • LightRoom for Mobile: Lightroom for mobile is a free app. It is great to do basic edits like color correction, brightness, symmetry and even editing people out of photos. The desktop version is more powerful and paid monthly or annually. We use the monthly paid option to get the latest version. If you like using “presets”, you will need Lightroom.
  • Presets: Because I mentioned presets, I will explain what they are here, before moving further. Presets means, ‘a set or pre-adjusted value that controls the image’s appearance, more predominant with colors, brightness, etc. Do you like the pop of red in my Paris photos? Yes, my dress is red, but it pops because I have used preset – that makes the red pop. There are presets available in the market that can make a picture look vintag-y, woody or make certain colors stand out. There are free presets and paid ones. Using YouTube, you can learn how to create them or use a preset that you have purchased. Super handy and once it’s set up on lightroom, it works like magic.
  • SnapSeed – One of the most powerful and free photo editing tools that we use. It is easy to use and is downloaded to your iOS or Andriod device. It has editing tools – color, brightness, tones, etc. It can erase the old light pole or a mole on your cheek with its “healing” properties (healing option)
  • Picasa – I have been using Picasa since probably I was in the 10th grade. I use it for organizing photos, adding watermark, basic editing, crop, and straightening photos. You can also create collages and add filters (like presets). Also helps in reducing image files, before I upload them to our blog or send via email.
  • VSCO – Free photo editing app, perfect for those woody tones.
  • Layout – We use this app (on our iPhone) to create quick photo collages. It has am easy to use interface and you can save a collage directly to your phone. The files generated here are lighter then Picasa.
  • UMUM – If you are into Instagram, use UMUM to plan your photos. This is a free app as well.

We hope you found this camera guide post very helpful. If you have further questions do not hesitate to contact us!

Below are some more of our buying guides – 

Last Updated: June 22 2019

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Pin – Best Digital Cameras Under 300 for travel!
Best Digital Cameras for travel
Best Digital Cameras for travel

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2 Comments

  1. Bunch of thank you for this great post. Actually, I wanted to buy a camera and was looking for it for a long. It was very time consuming for me because I have to check so many websites. Thanks to your blog, you explained all the things in detail that saved my time as well. From your list, I have decided that I will buy Canon Powershot SX530.

    I have also shared your article on my social media to help others. Once again thank you so much for this article.

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