The 6 Best Cameras to Buy in 2017 for Under $400

You don't have to shell out a ton of money for a great camera

The $400 price range actually delivers some options when it comes to form factors and designs. Here, you’re no longer limited to point-and-shoots, as you are in the sub-$300 range. However, that also makes for a more complicated decision-making process. We’ve outlined some of the best options for the sub-$400 category, ranging from mirrorless, to fixed-lens, to waterproof and more. Read on to see which one is best for your needs.

If the Nikon A900 is the best fixed lens camera found for less than $400, then the Sony DSC-WX300 may be the second best. First of all, it costs less than the A900 and it features a lot of the same tech. It has an 18.2-megapixel CMOS sensor with high-speed autofocus (AF), WiFi connectivity for quick and easy sharing, a 20x optical zoom range that is effectively doubled by the dynamic (digital) zoom function, continuous shooting up to 10 fps and Full HD (1080p) video recording. It also features Sony's Optical SteadyShot image stabilization mode, which allows you to shoot movies while walking or running and still produces a steady video feed. It doesn’t have NFC, UHD recording, RAW shooting or a waterproof design, but the price more than makes up for what it lacks.

If you’re on the hunt for a DSLR under $400, you really can’t do better than the Nikon D3300. While it retails for around $450, you can score a certified refurbished model within budget. It’s tested and certified to work like a new camera and ships with all its accessories, including a 18-55mm lens, and has a 90-day warranty.

The camera itself is perfect for entry-level photographers, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack some powerful specs: It has a 24.2-megapixel DX format (APS-C) sensor, an Expeed 4 processor and a three-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen. It shoots HD video in 1080/60p, though doesn’t offer 4K. It has an ISO range up to 12800 (25600 with expansion) and shoots five fps in burst mode. Aside from the fact that it ships in a generic white box, reviewers on Amazon say that you can’t tell the difference between a new Nikon and this refurbished model.

Smartphone cameras have become increasingly better over the years, making sharing your snaps easier than ever. But for all those times when you demand better photo quality without sacrificing connectivity, the Panasonic DMC-ZS45 with built-in WiFi shows up. You can easily connect this shooter to your smartphone or tablet by scanning the QR code on the screen and use the Panasonic Image App to turn the phone into a remote control to zoom, focus and shoot from a distance. You can then edit, geotag and upload your photos to social media directly from the app. Those who like to share selfies will especially appreciate the “hands-free selfie” option to flip the monitor up 180 degrees and trigger the shutter with a wink. Soft Skin, Slimming and Defocusing and other unique filter features are flattering bonuses.

The ZS45 boasts a powerful 20x optical zoom lens and a 16-megapixel MOS sensor to capture fine details with impressive clarity considering its pocket-friendly body. While it’s only capable of light-sensitivity levels of up to ISO 3200 and has a maximum aperture of f/3.3, this point-and-shoot isn’t ideal for low-light settings, but for the exuberant sharer, it’s one of the best options out there.

A few years ago, if you wanted a camera with an interchangeable lens, you had to buy a DSLR. Today, that’s not the case, thanks to the introduction of mirrorless cameras. As the name suggests, mirrorless cameras don’t house complex mirror systems, which means they can be smaller and lighter. While they can be as pricey as DSLRs, the Canon EOS M10 is our favorite under $400.

It has an 18-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, DIGIC 6 processor and a 3.0-inch 1.04m-Dot Tilting touchscreen LCD, while the built-in WiFi with NFC makes sharing photos a cinch. Unlike many other small mirrorless cameras, it has a built-in flash, though it lacks a hot shoe, so you can’t use an add-on electronic viewfinder. And although there’s a limited lens selection, as is the case with most mirrorless cameras, you can purchase an adapter for Canon SLR lenses. Overall, it’s slim pickens when it comes to interchangeable lens cameras under $400, but if you’re bent on keeping to your budget, you’ll be pleased with the EOS M10.

No one ever said the compact point-and-shoot category was lacking in quality. In fact, some fixed lens devices could compete right alongside the top mirrorless and DSLR shooters on the market — just don’t complain when you need to capture some close-up macro or a long-range telephoto shot. High-end point-and-shoots are general-purpose cameras, and when it comes to sub-$400 devices, there’s nothing better than the Nikon A900. It features a 20-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with a fixed NIKKOR f/3.4-6.9 ED lens (24-840mm). It offers a 35x optical zoom range with a dynamic (digital) zoom function that effectively doubles that. It also features a 3-inch tilting LCD, the full suite of connectivity options (Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC), and, perhaps most impressive of all, UHD 4K video recording, effectively future-proofing the camera for a while.

When it comes to finding a camera that can handle your rough-and-tumble adventurism, there are few better options than the Olympus TG-4. This camera consistently lands itself on best-of lists for its supreme waterproof, all-weather tech — and with good reason. The TG-4 is waterproof down to 50 feet, freeze-proof down to 14°F, shockproof (drop-proof) up to 7 feet and crushproof up to 220 pounds. In addition to its wealth of durability features, it’s a fine camera to boot. It has WiFi connectivity for quick and easy sharing, GPS for geo-tagging your photos and even a compass. It shoots Full HD (1080p) video, has a 4x wide-angle optical zoom function with a fast f/2.0 high speed lens and it can shoot in RAW image format. It’s also got a bunch of shooting modes and options specifically designed for outdoor or underwater use. This is an all-around tough camera; it even says so on the front.

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