Best Products Camera & Video The 7 Best Advanced Cameras for Under $500 in 2020 Buying the best cameras doesn't have to cost you your whole paycheck by Gabe Carey Tech Commerce Editor Gabe Carey is a writer and editor with 7+ years' experience covering technology and gaming. He's currently Lifewire's Tech Commerce Editor. our editorial process Twitter Gabe Carey Updated on June 18, 2020 Camera & Video Accessories Tweet Share Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Zoom: Nikon Coolpix B500 at Amazon "An excellent choice for digital shooters who don’t want to be weighed down by a full-fledged DSLR." Best Adventure Camera: GoPro HERO7 Black at Amazon "This device is waterproof and can be submerged up to 33 feet, and can survive large drops." Best Panasonic: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60K at Amazon "It proves that the point-and-shoot category as a whole is not to be overlooked." Best DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T6 at Amazon "For folks who are looking to dive into the world of interchangeable lenses without breaking the bank." Best Point-and-Shoot: Nikon COOLPIX A900 at Amazon "It’s a versatile yet robust camera with an unassuming appearance." Best Waterproof: Canon PowerShot D30 at Amazon "Yes, it’s waterproof, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg." Best Smartphone Attachment: Moment Lens at Amazon "You’ll actually get twice the field of vision from your phone camera." Best Zoom: Nikon Coolpix B500 2.4 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on B&H Photo Video With its sharp looks and excellent photographic results, the Nikon Coolpix B500 digital camera is an excellent choice for digital shooters who don’t want to be weighed down by a full-fledged DSLR. Among its highlights are a 40x optical zoom lens and 80x dynamic zoom for getting up close and personal with your photo subjects. Boosted by a 16MP 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS sensor, 35mm lens, and Full HD 1080p video recording, the B500 is a stand-out selection. When it comes to its main highlight, the zoom feature, the optical zoom, and dynamic zoom are both aided by lens-shift vibration reduction, which helps maintain a steady image and is critical when snapping photos at a distance. The three-inch tilting LCD helps make composing shots a snap, as well as aiding you in finding a few new angles to capture. The addition of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC technology makes getting photos off the B500 and onto a smartphone or PC a snap. Best Adventure Camera: GoPro HERO7 Black 4.3 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy GoPro has a well-earned reputation for rugged cameras that you can take anywhere in the world, no matter how extreme. The GoPro HERO7 Black, the newest top-of-the-line camera from GoPro, continues in that tradition with a fully-featured lightweight camera that can take great video and photos. In fact, in the sub-$500 category, none will probably be as versatile as the HERO7 Black. First off, this device is waterproof and can be submerged up to 33 feet (10 meters) and it can survive large drops. Second, the HERO7 Black has the most advanced stabilization of any GoPro, meaning you can shoot hyper-real 4K video from your helmet while snowboarding or biking and the video will be smooth. Third, the HERO7 Black includes a new feature called SuperPhoto that takes 12-megapixel HDR photos, ensuring you can get good photos on the fly. Finally, this camera has voice control capabilities, which let you say things like "GoPro, take a photo" and the device will take a shot without you having to do anything else. GoPro HERO7 Black Review Best Panasonic: Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60K Buy on Amazon Like most of Panasonic’s point-and-shoot cameras, the ZS60 is all about versatility. Whereas some cameras excel in one or two key areas and leave other areas in the lurch, Panasonic affords due regard to the whole photographic experience, and the ZS60 is the pinnacle of that approach. It features a powerful 30x (24-720mm) Leica DC optical zoom lens, specifically catered to travel and outdoor use. The 18-megapixel affords solid performance in a variety of conditions, and the lens-mounted control ring offers a level of control not often found in the point-and-shoot realm. The eye-level electronic viewfinder (EVF) and touch LCD deliver a variety of framing modes and strategies, and with 4K/UHD video recording the camera is pretty much future-proof. The ZS60 is no DSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, but it proves that the point-and-shoot category as a whole is not to be overlooked when it comes to high-end digital photography. The 9 Best Panasonic Cameras of 2020 Best DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T6 4.8 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy Buy on Walmart The $400-$500 price range may sound like a lot of money for a camera, but when it comes to DSLR shooters it’s still fairly introductory. For folks who are looking to dive into the world of interchangeable lenses without breaking the bank, the Canon T6 is a good place to start. It features a solid 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, Full HD (1080p) video recording, a built-in flash with a variety of shooting modes and filters, and a three-inch LCD. The kit comes with an 18-55mm IS II standard zoom lens that’s versatile enough for most first-time SLR shooters. It also includes a nine-point autofocus system, an ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 12800). The T6 is an all-around great camera for novice DSLR users, something that could pave the way for intermediate and even advanced photographers. The 9 Best Entry Level DSLR Cameras for Beginners in 2020 Best Point-and-Shoot: Nikon COOLPIX A900 Buy on Amazon Buy on Best Buy The Nikon Coolpix A900 is the quintessential point-and-shoot camera—even if it does have some flaws. It features an impressive 35x optical zoom (and 70 dynamic zoom), a typical 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, 4K video capture at 20 fps, a multi-angle LCD and Wi-Fi/NFC/Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connectivity for sharing and uploading images wirelessly. It’s a versatile yet robust camera with an unassuming appearance, and that’s sort of what people want from basic point-and-shoots. The 7 Best Nikon Cameras of 2020 Best Waterproof: Canon PowerShot D30 Buy on Amazon The Canon PowerShot D30 is a lesson in durability. Yes, it’s waterproof, but that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. It can withstand temperatures from 14 degrees Fahrenheit up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit; it’s shockproof up to drops of 6.5 feet, and it’s waterproof up to depths of 82 feet — that’s one of the deepest waterproof performances around. As for the camera, its 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor with a DIGIC 4 Image Processor takes high-quality pictures, shooting in Full HD 1080p video at 24 frames per second and 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. As an adventurer on the go, you’ll most likely want a camera that can keep up with you, and the D30 packs in GPS technology to do just that, although the feature doesn’t work underwater. It lets you geotag your photo and map them out, so you have essentially a photo diary of your trip. The 8 Best Canon Cameras of 2020 Best Smartphone Attachment: Moment Wide-Angle Lens Buy on Amazon The concept of a lens that attaches to your smartphone isn’t that new. But many of the options out there are little more than magnifiers, and they don’t offer much in the way of professional functionality. Moment aims to step this up by building lenses that attach to a specific case (sold separately). This allows the lens to sit firmly on your phone’s camera, and in the case of this wide-angle option, you’ll actually get twice the field of vision. The lens itself has been designed with cinema-grade glass and is specially optimized for filming video. Most phones actually crop the image you get while filming in order to achieve image stabilization, so having this extra field of vision is really helpful. There’s a multi-layer, low-flair, anti-reflection coating on the lens, which has been designed with five elements and four groups (a larger degree of components than other, cheaper clip-on lenses). It’s important to note that because of the 0.63x magnification, you will get some very slight distortion on the edges of the camera field, like a very subtle fisheye effect. Because this is just a lens that fits over your phone’s existing camera, you are limited to the capabilities of that sensor and the software that controls it. But at just 44.9g and a thickness of only 22.1mm, this is a great little accessory to throw into your travel bag.