A DSLR camera is a good option when you want to take better pictures than what your smartphone camera offers. A DLSR camera can offer image stabilization, higher resolutions and sharp colors.
DSLR cameras are typically expensive, but because photography is such a popular hobby, now there are products for budget prices. Do not buy the cheapest budget DSLRs around $100, which don’t perform much better than smartphone cameras.
If you want a true upgrade, set your budget to $300. Here is a list of best DSLR cameras under 300:
4 Best DSLR Cameras Under $300 – 2017
This is an older DSLR model that continues to be outstanding even against newer models. This is a 10MP camera that comes with a highly useful CMOS censor. This DSLR can capture excellent photographs to fit 18×24 inch prints. The camera has HyperCrystal LCD display with a 2.5-inch Live View screen. It has mechanical image stabilization, which works like a charm. The camera is equipped with Supersonic Wave Drive technology that facilitates stabilization. The original purchase came with excellent Zuiko lenses. The camera comes with a lithium-ion battery inside. It doesn’t have SD card storage, but does store images on Micro Drive, CF, and xD Picture Cards. As we mentioned, the model is old.
This camera has great strengths and some annoying weaknesses. One of the biggest strong points is that the camera sports and ergonomic design and it’s really easy to change settings quickly. The buttons are carefully placed that makes manual operation a breeze. There’s no need to spend a lot of time learning or reading the manual. Everything is intuitive. The images captures, however, can be soft and rather bland in color. But these effects are not permanent and can be corrected during post processing. Overall, this is a really great buy.
- Ergonomic design
- Intuitive controls
- Post processing image correction available
- Older model
- Soft captures
- No SD card storage
This cute and compact camera is one of the best DSLR cameras under 300 you can buy. It is a point-and-shoot camera that is packed with amaxing features. It’s great for taking still photographs as well as shooting video. The camera is capable of shooting 1080 Full HD video at 60fps. Video will have enhanced and crisp Dolby sound. The camera is quite versatile. It has 20mm to 1,200mm ultra wide lenses that can capture almost anything. This DLSR is perfect for taking macto shots. One big advantage is that the camera has extra zoom up to 120x powered by Intelligent Resolution technology. The zoom impressively doesn’t diminish the quality of the images or video.
This camera records video in two formats: MP4 and AVCHD. Unlike in most cameras, this one has a custom mode that allows the user to control aperture and shutter speed for videos. That gives superior creative control to the user. The camera also has a decent POWER O.I.S image stabilizer that mostly eliminated hand shake effects. Overall, this camera is capable of many things. The flaws are minor. We only experienced a limited burst as a downside.
- Highly versatile
- Shoots high-end video
- Enhanced Dolby audio for videos
- Two video file formats
- Some manual control settings for video
- Limited burst effect
This is the quintessential point-and-shoot camera for beginners. What makes this camera so special is the 28x optical zoom. According to Nikon, it gives this small camera a focal range of 22.5mm to 630mm. Technically, this camera has a focal range of 35mm. This camera definitely passes the tests for its superzoom capabilities. It packs a 20.2MP sensor, and is capable of 720p HD video recording. It’s rather big and bulky, but has a great rubbery exterior that prevents slipping. It has limited controls that enable basic photography so we recommend this DSLR for beginners.
This DSLR is powered by four AA batteries, so there are no charging issues. It has a CCD sensor, but lacks image stabilization. However, the lenses have a vibration reduction function. It’s not the same has reducing handshake, but it helps. This camera is good for portraits, mostly because of the zoom, but also because of a feature called smart portrait. It can autofocus and color adjust, especially in portrait mode. This camera isn’t exactly packed in features, but if you want super zoom, then this is probably the one for you.
- Super zoom
- Easy to use
- Anti-slip exterior
- No image stabilizer
- Limited number of features
This is a really decent and highly compact budget DSLR. It has 12MP lenses and a CMOS sensor. The camera has 26x manual optical zoom, which means that you don’t lost image quality with higher zooms. The user controls are all dials and all are made from metals so it’s easier to grip. However, the controls could do with rubber coating. This camera stands out for its decent ISO performance that can be as much as 1,600. But the best feature is the manual zoom with optical stabilization, which is surprisingly smooth. This DSLR is equipped with f/2.8-5.6, which offers excellent rang and sharp optics. The camera is worth it just for the lenses.
This camera can shoot 1080p Full HD video, but manual zoom is not available for video mode. If you are a casual user, this shouldn’t post a big problem. This is a Fuji camera, and that means superb color richness too. We found the camera to have really good white balance on auto mode. The built in flash was surprisingly powerful too. There are only minor drawbacks, such as unprotected casing.
- Manual zoom with optical stabilization
- Color rich optics
- Good auto white balance
- Lenses with sharp optics
- No manual zoom for video
How to Buy a DSLR Camera with Just $300
With $300, you can buy a decent DSLR. Do not expect cutting edge image stabilization, ISO, or anything else however. But you can get a good upgrade over a phone camera. When shopping, make sure you have the following in mind:
Don’t judge the image quality of the camera by its megapixel size. The MP number often doesn’t have much to do with image quality as marketers claim. What you need to look for in a DSLR is the size of the sensor. The bigger it is, the better pictures you would be able to take.
It’s recommended to check out the video capabilities of the camera even if it’s not what you are looking for. You might need video in the future so don’t rule it out.
Buying a compact camera can be useful when travelling with it. But keep in mind that some DLSRs are really small and don’t fit into large hands. If you want a good grip, don’t buy a super compact sized camera.
Pay attention to the lenses. They should have a range of 20 to 50mm, or ideally be 50mm prime lenses. Some lenses have features like telephoto. The lenses can make a big difference in image quality, so they should also make a difference in your purchasing decision.