7 Best Cameras for Bloggers under $500

Social media is becoming more and more visual, so what are the best cameras for bloggers under $500?

Long are the days where a Facebook or Twitter text post could satisfy your viewers & potential readers.

For bloggers, social media should be a vital part of your growth strategy & to generate interaction around your content. Great content and quality visuals are what can really elevate your blog & social media to a new level, but photography poses a whole new world of options to explore.

All of this can be rather challenging at first and be a really daunting prospect. There’s no need to worry, however, as I’ve put together a list of the 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers under $500 to get you started & creating amazing images (and video!).

If you didn’t know it already, social media is booming! With Facebook, YouTube & Instagram all bringing in over 1 billion active users a month! Meanwhile, ranking your blog with SEO on Google is becoming more and more difficult, which is why you should be actively looking to grow your social media channels.

Why invest in a camera?

For social media? To gain new followers, readers & fans on those vital social networks and drive traffic to your blog!

Now Google SEO is far from dead, think of it more like a long-term strategy. Whereas Social Media platforms like Instagram or Pinterest can put your blog in front of people that are yearning for your content NOW!

For this reason alone, you should be looking at ways to improve your social media post quality, and photos are often the best way to go about doing that. This is where a great camera comes in, and these days great cameras don’t have to set you $1000’s back.

These days, you can get some real bargains with DSLR’s, Mirrorless cameras & great quality compact cameras costing less than $500.

The world of photography is a constantly evolving & changing place, with 100’s of cameras offering numerous features & functions you may or may not need.

To save you the time & trouble of going through all the jargon, reviews & confusion though, here are my 7 top camera recommendations that are under $500!

But first…

What makes up a great camera for bloggers?

Now blogging cameras can cover a wide variety of areas, but some of the main topics I looked for whilst assembling this list were:

Image Quality

You and I both know how busy bloggers can be, meaning that fast & accurate focussing is a must, whilst still providing great quality that can be used among a variety of different platforms. A large camera sensor means your images will have more detail & a good Mega-Pixel (MP) count means you can crop into your image without losing quality & even print them.

Video Capability

Video is also something you shouldn’t ignore with Instagram & YouTube providing create platforms to showcase your blog in video format. I wouldn’t consider it as important as the photography aspect, but it did play a large part in my assessment.

Price

Price is something you may have noticed I already laid out. 😉

It’s not just the $500 limit that I’ve taken into consideration, though. I’ve also looked at lenses, accessories, the competition & previous models to get the most bang for your buck!

Special features

We can all appreciate a special something. Sometimes that special something turns out to just be a gimmick, but other times it can allow you to achieve things you normally wouldn’t be able to. I’ve filtered out the gimmicks, leaving you only specialness. 😉

Size & form

As a blogger, taking photos, you may require a more compact device or one that gives off the impression that you’re a professional (even if you’re just starting out!).

You also want something that feels just right in your hands and has natural ergonomics for button placements & quick operations. There’s at least one thing that photographers & bloggers have in common; neither has the time to constantly look at the camera to fiddle with settings!

Customizability

This goes for camera settings, having interchangeable lenses & camera accessories currently on the market. Customizability allows you the freedom to create engaging images & videos without having to invest in completely new equipment or to make your camera more user-friendly.

With this in mind, let’s get to the contenders!

Related: 5 Brilliant Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners

The Best Cameras under $500 for Bloggers

Whilst this isn’t going to be a comprehensive review of each camera, I’ll highlight some of the main aspects I like about each of the models chosen whilst also highlighting some drawbacks you should be aware of.

These are in no particular order, scroll down though if you’d like to see my final verdict.

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The D3500 from Nikon is the latest in Nikon’s entry-level DSLR range (Find out more about DSLR’s below).

Designed with photography in mind, this camera has an impressive 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor. The large pixel count means you can crop into your images without losing too much detail, and you can also print these images (A3 paper-size easily).

What more, APS-C sized sensors are approximately 15 times larger than your standard smartphone sensor. This means, amongst other things, greater image detail and better low light performance, which can be vital when taking photos indoors.

Apart from the camera sensor, the battery life is quite astounding! Being able to shoot up to 1550 photos on a single charge, this camera simply has a battery life you cannot compete with at this price point.

Video has often been a second thought when it comes to DSLR’s, but luckily enough Nikon has provided the D3500 with 1920 x 1080p Full HD video. It’s not 4K, but you can film at up to 60 fps, which means you can still create some interesting slow-motion effects in editing.

The Autofocus on the D3500 is great, utilizing both contrast & phase detection autofocus, this just means the focus works generally faster than sensors that only utilize one autofocus system… And there’s nothing more annoying than thinking you got the shot, only to notice you missed the focus point!

The screen on the back is neither touch sensitive or an articulating screen (a.k.a. flip out screen), so if you decide to try your hand at vlogging for your blog, you’ll have to just wing it! 😉

Overall as a camera for taking very high-quality photos for your blog, I’d highly recommend the Nikon D3500.

Get the Nikon D3500!

Pros

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DSLR Camera
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 1550 shots battery life
  • 1080p Full HD video at 60fps

Cons

  • No articulating rear screen
  • The display is not touch-sensitive
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Max 1080p video (no 4K)

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The D3500 and & D5300 are quite similar in their names & also on paper. Whilst the above Nikon D3500 was announced in August 2018, the Nikon D5300 is a lot older, having been launched in early 2014. This doesn’t mean is a worse camera, however, in fact, it has a few tricks up its sleeve on the new kid!

The D5300 has 39 focus points, compared to the D3500s 11 focus points, this means better subject tracking & a higher chance of keeping your shot in focus.

Whilst the D3500 has that all impressive 1550 shot battery life, the D5300 can only muster up 600 shots per charge. That’s not to say it’s bad, just that the D3500 is a massive step ahead in that department.

The Nikon D5300 has one big advantage that could cause you to consider it over the newer D3500 however, and that is the fully articulated (flip out) rear display. It also has an external mic port if you want to put a shotgun on and start a vlog for your blog. 😉

The Nikon D5300 may be getting on in the years, but it’s still a powerful piece of kit at a now very affordable price! If you’re looking to make a few vlogs but want to focus mainly on the photography aspects of your blog, I’d definitely recommend this unit.

Get the Nikon D5300!

Pros

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DSLR Camera
  • Optical viewfinder
  • 39-point autofocus system
  • Fully articulated (flip out) rear display
  • 1080p Full HD video at 60fps

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Max 1080p video (no 4K)
  • 600 shots battery life

Panasonic G7

Panasonic G7 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The Panasonic G7 is a real jack of all trades! The problem with jacks of all trades, however, is that they’re often a master of none.

That’s not the case with the G7 though!

This Micro-Four Thirds mirrorless camera (find out more about mirrorless cameras below) has a respectable 16MP sensor that can create good quality images that are still large enough to crop into & print (easily high-quality A4-sized prints).

Micro-Four-Thirds is a smaller sensor size compared to the APS-C sensors already mentioned. These APS-C sensors are approximately 60% larger than a Micro-Four-Thirds sensor, allowing more light to be captured by the sensor, resulting in better performance under low light & better image quality. This is still about 10 times larger than your average smartphone sensor, so don’t let that turn you off. 😉

Now the jack of all trades has a few tricks up its sleeve as well. One of which is a fully articulated display (flip out screen) which happens to be touch sensitive. Not only that, but the G7 has a 49-point focus system. Meaning it does a great job at finding whatever you try to select on the touchscreen.

The focus isn’t quite as fast as some others on this list, but it does a good job of finding the focus point and tracking objects.

Like all of the other cameras in this list, there is no built-in image stabilization.

That’s unfortunately still something reserved for much higher priced models, but you do have image stabilization built into Panasonic’s range of lenses.

The real party trick for the Panasonic G7 is the ability to shoot 4K video at 30 fps (24 frames per second is the general frame rate for cinema video). Some of the benefits of being able to shoot a 4K video means you can zoom in and out of scenes without losing detail (if exporting at a lesser resolution, like 1080p) & having a very detailed video if viewed on a 4K display.

The Panasonic G7 is a jack of all trades as I’ve already mentioned. If you’re looking to mainly tackle your social media with video, but still want to be able to take some great photo’s, the Panasonic G7 is one of your best bets for under $500!

Get the Panasonic G7!

Pros

  • 16MP Micro-Four Thirds CMOS Sensor
  • Mirrorless Camera
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 49-point autofocus system
  • A fully articulated rear touchscreen
  • 4K video at 30fps

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilization
  • 350 shots battery life
  • Not weather sealed

Sony A6000

Panasonic A6000 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

We’re back to APS-C sensor cameras, and this mirrorless device from Sony is a really powerful piece of kit.

With 179 focus points, both contrast and phase detection autofocus, as well as 11 fps burst shooting, this camera can track the action so you don’t miss your shot.

The 24MP Sensor does a great job at allowing in light, much like the contrast and phase detection autofocus on the Nikon’s above. Whilst they do not have an anti-aliasing filter, the Sony A6000 does. This reduces the chance of moiré being present in your images.

Moiré occurs when there are multiple patterns in a scene, they often interfere with one another and form another pattern that isn’t actually in the scene. Modern camera sensors have reduced this amount, which makes it not something to worry too much about, but it can be a benefit if you know the objects or subjects you’ll be photographing have plenty of narrow lines & patterns.

Whilst the A6000 can only manage 360 shots on one charge, that’s about the average for mirrorless cameras. The rear screen tilts, but only enough for you to get a 90-degree perspective & not completely around. The display is also not touch enabled like some of its more expensive cousins.

You can shoot 1080p Full HD video at 60 fps through an electronic viewfinder, but the A6000 cannot shoot in 4K.

The Sony A6000 checks a lot of boxes for a lot of people, I personally would recommend it if you’re going to be spending the majority of your time behind the camera & not in front of it. 😉

Get the Sony A6000!

Pros

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Mirrorless Camera
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 11 fps continuous shooting
  • 179 focus points
  • Tilting rear screen
  • 1080p Full HD video at 60fps

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilization
  • The rear display is not a touchscreen
  • 360 shots battery life
  • Max 1080p video (No 4K video)
  • Not weather sealed

Fujifilm X-T100

Fujifilm X-T100 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The Fujifilm X-T100 is a little bit pricier than the rest of the contenders featured here, it was launched in mid-2018 however & it’s also the only APS-C camera listed that can shoot in 4K!

It should be noted that the 4K is only at 15 fps, making it not ideal for video. You can shoot 15 fps 4K sized images in a sort of burst mode, which can make capturing fast-moving subjects easier. A feature also presented on the Panasonic G7.

There are of course some other benefits to the X-T100. It has a touchscreen that tilts for a 90-degree perspective to photography or record subjects from interesting angles, but it can also flip out if you decide to do a casual bit of vlogging!

The 91 focus points and both contrasts and phase detection autofocus make for a very precise autofocus. Whilst the battery life is above average for mirrorless cameras at 430 shots per charge.

What you really do notice about this camera is the design.

It has a premium look & feels to it you’d only expect at a much higher price. Build quality is absolutely superb & if you’re not going to be holding your camera all day out in the field, the design will also be something to your liking.

The 2 metal dials situated on the top at either end can be customized to just about anything. Speeding up your use of this pretty great device.

Whilst it’s a shame that the X-T100 only shoots 15fps 4K, you still get 60 fps 1080p Full HD video & a great sensor for photography with an articulating screen. The body may just come in, on a budget of $500, but you’ll have to purchase an additional lens to get going with your X-T100.

I’d recommend the Fujifilm X-T100 for anyone that doesn’t require a solid DSLR-styled camera grip.

Get the Fujifilm X-T100!

Pros

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Mirrorless Camera
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 91 focus points
  • Tilting & flip rear touchscreen
  • 4K video at 15fps (1080p Full HD at 60 fps)
  • 430 shots battery life

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilization
  • 4K video is only 15fps
  • Not weather sealed

Fujifilm XF10

Fujifilm XF10 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The Fujifilm XF10 is quite a bit different to the rest of the cameras previously mentioned, you could say these last 2 cameras are here thanks to some impressive features that some bloggers may find useful. It’s definitely not going to something for everyone, but maybe it’s just what you’re looking for. 😉

The XF10 is very similar to the Fujifilm X-T100 mentioned above, in terms of sensor, focus & video capabilities, you could say they’re identical.

The big difference is that this camera is actually a compact camera. The lens on the XF10 is fixed, which means you cannot remove it and put on a different one like you can with interchangeable lens cameras like DSLR’s & Mirrorless cameras. (Find out more about compact cameras below)

This lens is a prime lens, the focal length is fixed at 28mm, which just means that you’re not going to be able to zoom with the camera… You can still zoom, but you’re going to have to adopt some fairly outdated hardware for that… Your feet.

Now you must be thinking that this ought to be one heck of a lens if that’s all you get and I’ve added it to this list.

You wouldn’t be wrong. 😉

The lens is a f/2.8 28mm lens, a wide-angle lens which is very fast.

This basically just means that the lens lets in more light than your standard f/3.5 lens would at this focal distance. I’d rather not confuse you with aperture numbers any further, let me just tell you about some of the benefits!

P.s. if you would like to find out more about aperture, check out Tony & Chelsea Northrups explainer!

Having a fast lens allows you to take photos with less noise in darker areas or without having to mount the camera on a tripod, you can blur out the background & you can increase your shutter speed to catch, well, fast-moving subjects. 😉

This is all at a fixed focal length, however, so you will have to know if this is the length you’re going to want to stick to until you get another camera or if that’s all you really need.

Some more noteworthy things would be that the display is touch sensitive like the Fujifilm X-T100. Unlike the X-T100, however, the rear display is fixed in place.

This is a very compact camera in comparison to the previously mentioned cameras & it’s also very light.

You may have difficulties with glare if you’re taking photos or filming in direct sunlight as this camera doesn’t have a viewfinder, you’re going to have to compose your images & videos using the rear display.

This camera is for a very specific person, so I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but what it can do, it does well!

Get the Fujifilm XF10!

Pros

  • 24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • Large sensor compact camera
  • Fast f/2.8 fixed lens
  • 91 focus points
  • The rear display is a touchscreen
  • 4K video at 15fps (1080p Full HD at 60 fps)
  • 330 shots battery life
  • Small & light

Cons

  • No viewfinder
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • Fixed rear display
  • 4K video is only 15fps
  • Fixed focal length (no zoom or way to change lenses)

Nikon Coolpix A900

Nikon Coolpix A900 - 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers - Outofthe925.com

The Nikon Coolpix A900 is proof that dynamite can come in small packages.

Like the XF10 before, the A900 is a compact camera, but a completely different type of compact.

The A900 for one has a huge zoom lens, with a focal range between 24-840mm. That long end is safari level zoom! 😉

The more you zoom in though, the slower the zoom gets, however. Meaning you should consider bringing a tripod with if you’re going to be doing any tele-zooming. This has to do with the aperture again, as it is f/6.9 at the far end of the zoom. It won’t be a deal breaker under good light though.

The 20MP sensor creates large images, but the compact sensor (1/2.3”) is standard for compact cameras and is only slightly larger than your typical smartphone sensor. Meaning details in low light situations is an area this camera struggles with like most compacts & smartphones.

The rear display does flip 180 degrees for selfies, vlogging & to create interesting camera angles, but it is unfortunately not a touchscreen.

Video is another strong suit however, 4K video can be shot at 30 fps with the A900.

Battery life isn’t a strong suit, only managing 300 shots on a charge. Like the XF10, the A900 doesn’t have a viewfinder, making glare a real problem if you’re standing in the sun.

In comparison to the other cameras here, this is a very compact and light model that can be stashed away quite easily.

If you’re satisfied with modern smartphone quality images & are just looking for some insane zoom on another device, then the A900 will not disappoint.

Get the Nikon Coolpix A900!

Pros

  • 20MP Sensor
  • Small sensor compact camera
  • 24-840mm fixed zoom lens (35mm equivalent)
  • 180-degree tilting rear display
  • 4K video at 30fps
  • Small & light (compared to the rest in this list)

Cons

  • 1/2.3″ BSI-CMOS Sensor (low light capabilities)
  • No viewfinder
  • No built-in image stabilization
  • 300 shots battery life
  • Cannot shoot in RAW
  • The rear display is not a touchscreen
  • Slow towards the long end of the lens (I.e. towards 840mm)

What is a DLSR camera?

A Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera allows light into the camera via the lens. This bounces off of a mirror inside the camera and onto either another mirror, or prism, and out the optical viewfinder for the photographer to see.

This is how you can see directly what you’re shooting through the lens.

When the shutter is pressed, this mirror lifts and the light is captured on the sensor forming the image.

The plus side here is that you see everything in real time through the mirror system and won’t have any lag compared to some mirrorless systems & compact cameras. These need transfer what the sensor is receiving and then send it to the electronic viewfinder or display for you to view it.

One of the big drawbacks is that you cannot preview any exposure settings in the optical viewfinder like you would be able to in a mirrorless camera.

DSLR’s do have great battery life, however, due to the power savings. You can see above just how much better with the Nikon D3500’s massive 1550 shot battery life.

DSLR’s are still the most common for interchangeable lens cameras, and you’ll find quite a lot of lens options from 3rd party suppliers.

What is a Mirrorless camera?

You’ve probably already guessed it, there is no mirror. 😉

Mirrorless cameras are becoming more and more popular in recent years. Mirrorless cameras are often come with more features per dollar & whilst there may be a minuscule lag when looking through the viewfinder compared to DSLR’s, it’s hardly noticeable for most users and is becoming ever more minuscule.

You can preview exposure settings live in your viewfinder or display, as mentioned previously.

Most mirrorless cameras are also a lot more compact compared to their DSLR cousins.

Whilst DSLR’s have quite a lot of lens options, even from 3rd parties, Mirrorless cameras generally have fewer options. This is changing, however, with more and more companies going the mirrorless direction.

What is a Compact camera?

These cameras have fixed lenses & generally a small sensor. The Fujifilm XF10 is an exception here, with its APS-C CMOS sensor, it’s a large sensor compact camera.

Compacts usually have a wide variety of features, long zooms, and many can fit into your pocket, which makes them great for vacations.

The compromise to these features is the smaller sensors that produce lower quality images compared to cameras with larger sensors.

Related: Instagram Image Dimensions, are my images too small?

The 7 best cameras for bloggers under $500 in 2018 - Outofthe925.com

Best Cameras for Bloggers – Verdict:

All 7 of these cameras represent superb value for money and can be used to create some pretty awesome content for your blog or social media. Some are more specific for certain tasks, but those may be the tasks that you’re looking to complete.

Here are my final thoughts:

Best Value: Panasonic G7

Of course, the jack of all trades will take the best value spot for me.

It is easy to use with a great flip out touch screen, a lens is included under $500, it is competitive in both photo & video capabilities with a 16MP M4/3 sensor & 4K 30fps video & it just looks the part when you’re out and about.

Get the Panasonic G7!

Top Pick: Fujifilm X-T100

This was a toss-up with the Sony A6000, but the touchscreen & flip-out display of the Fujifilm X-T100 is what did it for me.

The Fujifilm X-T100 has fast autofocus and tracking with 91 focus points & an excellent build quality with beautiful design. The large 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor captures bright & detailed images that you would only expect to be able to achieve from far more expensive cameras.

Get the Fujifilm X-T100!

These are what I consider to be the 7 Best Cameras for Bloggers under $500. Camera prices do fluctuate, and all of these units were priced under $500 at the time of writing. Only cameras in this price range were taken into consideration at the time of writing. I would still, however, rank the Fujifilm X-T100 above most sub $700 camera’s anyway. 😉

The 7 best cameras for bloggers under $500 in 2018 - Outofthe925.com

What are you currently shooting with & are there any cameras you would recommend that I may have missed?

If you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful, share it with someone that may also find it useful.

Related Articles: