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The best cameras on offer in the sub-$500 range in 2016 from the high-end compact cameras to the entry level SLR's. Typically the high-end compacts have a well-honed feature set such as a high megapixel count, good optical zoom, optical image stabilization to reduce camera shake and excellent video capability. The cameras under this price range includes some of the best value cameras.

Expect the best optics in the compact camera market with ever-improving dynamic ranges at the 500$ price point. Canon for eg has it's HS system (High Sensitivity) which gives excellent image quality at higher ISO's. The Panasonic Lumix models use the excellent LEICA DC VARIO lenses. Olympus offers the M.Zuiko lenses for impressive image quality.

Also the best under 500 cameras offer an extended optical zoom range. At the wide-end the range is typically 25-27mm for generous viewing space and some of the superzooms offer up to 18X optical zoom.

The best superzooms below 500 dollar offer image quality on par with d-SLR's at a comfortable price and without the hassle of bulky lenses etc. Targeted at the amateur photo hobbyist segment, they provide the flexibility of full manual controls as well as powerful optical zooms. superior image quality at high ISO's etc. In addition they could serve as an add-on camera to a d-SLR for the serious photo enthusiast.

Browse All Top Digital Cameras Under $500 of 2016 »

Nikon 1 J5

Nikon 1 J5


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Nikon 1 J5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Pentax K-S2
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Fujifilm X-A2
Nikon 1 J5
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V
Pentax K-S2
Nikon Coolpix S9900
Fujifilm X-A2
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Release Date
May 2015
Aug 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Mar 2015
Camera Type
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Compact
Compact SLR
Compact
Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Resolution
21.0 Megapixel
18.0 Megapixel
20.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
BSI-CMOS
BSI-CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
CMOS
LCD Screen Size
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
Image Sensor Size
13.23 mm
2.5 mm
28.2 mm
2.5 mm
28.28 mm

very capable camera

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX90V is a solid entry in the world of compact superzooms.

The Pentax K-S2 is an attractive option for photographers who don't put an emphasis on video capture.

If you're on a tight budget and are prepared to sacrifice a built-in electronic viewfinder, the COOLPIX S9900 represents great value for money - especially considering it sports a fully-articulated screen and built-in GPS.

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It's fair to say that the X-A2's movie mode isn't overly advanced.

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