The Best Cameras Under 300 From Every Manufacturer
This is a work in progress. There are so many options to go through.
This is an exciting price point because there are a variety of great cameras available. Cameras with interchangeable lenses will be covered. That includes DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
There will be dedicated lists for:
- point and shoot cameras under $300
- video or vlogging cameras under $300
- best action cameras under $300
My criteria for putting together this lists includes the complete cost of putting a camera kit together. I am going by what it would reasonable cost to get a camera with lens, battery, charger, and memory card.
Replacement batteries and chargers for discontinued cameras can be expensive. Make sure when you are looking for a deal to pay attension to what is included with the camera. Battery model number and memory card requirements will be noted for each camera.
Canon was (and still is) the leader by market share during the span of time when all of the recommended cameras were released. An abundance of models that were former best sellers is why Canon is the best value at the $300 price point.
Lenses also tend to be slightly cheaper than their contemporary Nikon competition. There are also plenty of upgrade options that use the EF-S or EF mounts.
Some downsides of the cameras are that Canon is in the process of disconitinuing the production of DSLRs and lenses for those cameras. That means no more EF-S or EF lenses will be produced.
Keep in mind that Canon produced more than 100 million EF lenses. Third party manufacturers also made lenses for the EF and EF-S mounts. There is no shortage of lenses to choose from at every focal length and price range.
If you are technically savy enough, you can use Magic Lantern to get extra performance out of many Canon models.
Here are the 3 most common lenses you’ll find the recommnded Canon cameras with. They are kit lenses that may have been included with the cameras.
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
- Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
- Canon EF-S 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS
Canon Rebel T4i w/ EF-S 18-55mm Lens (Canon EOS 650D)
Available for just over $200. At that price, it is possible to get a second lens or pickup a bundle with 2 lenses.
The fully articulating touch screen is a killer feature of this camera.
Here is a link to the offical page with the Canon Rebel T4i Manual. The manual is the best place to look when you have questions about a camera.
Memory Card: SDXC Battery: LP-E8 Lens Mount: EF and EF-S Not supported by the Canon EOS Webcam Utility. This means that the Canon T4i cannot be used as a webcam. Magic Lantern is available.
Canon Rebel T5i w/ EF-S 18-55mm Lens (Canon EOS 700D) $250
The T5i is supported by the Canon EOS Webcam Utility. This means it can be used as a webcam.
The replacement model was the Canon EOS Rebel T6i (Canon EOS 750D). It can not be found for less than $300. It fall in the $350-$400 range.
Canon Rebel T6 w/ EF-S 18-55mm Lens (Canon EOS 1300D)
This camera has the drawback of not having a fully articulating screen. That missing feature makes shooting video more difficult as well as make shooting photos from odd angles difficult. Being able to tilt and angle the screen is such a big quality of life feature.
All the recommended cameras come from a time period where Nikon was losing market share to competitors. Nikon never seemed to care about their APS-C DSLR cameras or video functionality. It shows in retrospect.
I’m not trashing Nikon or saying these cameras are bad. However, I think at the $300 price point there are better options. If you already have one of these cameras, or find one for a bargain, they’re great for photography.
Nikon D5200 w/ 18-55mm Lens
It has a fully articulating screen.
SDXC 2010 Nikon F-Mount, DX lenses
Nikon D3300 w/ 18-55mm Lens
Having a fixed screen is a good reason to skip this camera. If that’s a feature you know you won’t need, this is a good camera for taking photos.
Panasonic cameras have aged well. A large number of features were added as they were better able to take advantage of mirrorless technology with the Micro Four Thirds sensor.
Panasonic Lumix G5
At $250 this is a great camera if you can actually find one. It was not marketed heavily and didn’t sell well in North America.
It isn’t worth paying expensive shipping rates to get a copy. Just breaking the $300 barrier, the Panasonic Lumix G7 is a great camera that is widely available.
The Panasonic GF7 is a compact mirrorless camera featuring a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, flip-up selfie screen, and built-in Wi-Fi for easy image sharing.
At 266g, the Panasonic GF7 is one of the lightest cameras on this list.
Olympus PEN Mini E-PM2
At 269g, the E-PM2 is practically as light as the Panasonic GF7.
Olympus PEN E-PL7, E-PL6
The PEN E-PL7 and E-PL6 are entry level cameras. They are small and are “pocketable.”
You’ll likely need to buy the body seperately from the lens.
Olympus OM-D E-M10
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is a compact mirrorless camera featuring a 16.1 megapixel Four Thirds sensor, in-body 3-axis image stabilization, and advanced autofocus system.
This camera can be hard to find because there are 4 versions. After the first, they are denoted as Mark II, Mark III, and Mark IV.
Pentax K-S1 w/ 18-55mm
The Pentax K-S1 DSLR is a compact camera featuring a 20.1 megapixel APS-C sensor, in-body shake reduction, and unique LED indicator lights for camera settings.
Available in blue, white, and black.
Pentax K-50 w/ 18-55mm
The Pentax K-50 DSLR is a weather-sealed camera featuring a 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, in-body image stabilization, and full HD video recording capabilities.
The bodies come in different colors. Red, white, pink, and black.
No Fuji bodies and lens combos come in under $300. The closest models are the X-A1, X-E1, and X-T1.
The Fujifilm X-A1 is a lightweight mirrorless camera with a 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, built-in Wi-Fi, and a tilting LCD screen.
The Fujifilm X-E1 is a vintage-styled mirrorless camera with a 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, hybrid viewfinder, and manual control dials.
The Fujifilm X-T1 is a weather-sealed mirrorless camera with a 16.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, advanced autofocus system, and high-resolution electronic viewfinder.