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.

Best Value: Sony DSC-WX300

Sony DSC-WX300
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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.

Best DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T5

Canon EOS Rebel T5
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If you’re partial to DSLRs, you really can’t do much better than the Canon EOS Rebel T5, at least for $400. This is very much still the introductory realm of digital cameras, but that doesn’t mean the Canon T5 or the Olympus OM-D E-M10 are anything short of awesome. It features an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor, Full HD (1080p) video recording, a built-in flash with a number of different shooting modes and options, a 9-point autofocus (AF) system, a huge ISO range of 100–6400 and up to 3 fps continuous shooting. It also comes equipped with an EF-S 18-55mm IS II standard zoom lens. In all, if you’re looking to make the jump from point-and-shoot to interchangeable lens — and you prefer big, bulky DSLRs — this is your guy.

Best for Sharing: Samsung WB350F

Samsung WB350F
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Samsung is a bit of newcomer to the world of digital photography, having arrived on the scene only within the last decade. But its wealth of experience producing computers, smartphones and tablets provides a platform to deliver next-gen connectivity and interface design. In the point-and-shoot category, the company’s stellar WB350F offers the “smart” punch of a mobile device in a camera form factor. With a social media upload function, e-mail sharing, as well as a host of connectivity standards (Photo beam, Direct Link, Mobile Link, PC Auto-backup, Remote Viewfinder, All Share), the camera is equipped for quick and easy sharing of photos. As a camera, it features 21x optical zoom, Full HD (1080p) video recording, a 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, and a 3-inch Hybrid Touch Display. Sharing capabilities aside, this is a solid all-around point-and-shoot camera that's competitively priced.

Best Mirrorless: Olympus OM-D E-M10

Olympus OM-D E-M10_V2
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Olympus is one of the most respected brands in digital photography, and its line of superior mirrorless cameras makes the case. Among its more affordable mirrorless devices is the OM-D E-M10. Perfect for novices, this camera has everything you need to make the jump from basic point-and-shoot photography to the big, wide world of interchangeable lens. While you’d have to spend considerably more and pick up a OM-D E-M10 Mark II or a PEN-F to appreciate the full spectrum of Olympus tech, the OM-D E-M10 is probably the best mirrorless device you can buy for less than $400. For that price, you get a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor, a fast autofocus (AF) system for on-the-fly shooting, built-in WiFi for quick and easy sharing and Full HD (1080p) video capability. The $400 kit also comes included with a 14-42mm zoom lens, ideal for landscapes, scenery and general-purpose photography.

Best Point and Shoot: Nikon COOLPIX A900

Nikon COOLPIX A900
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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.

Best Waterproof: Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4
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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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