What is a good camera for under $500?
I am looking for a good camera for less than $500. Any suggestions?
You have several options you can go with and stay within your $500 price range. The first would be to look at purchasing a used DSLR with lens as you should be able to find one in that range. Or if you shop enough you might find a new DSLR for around the $500 range as well. Certainly those options would be the best route for maximum image quality however you need to realize that by going with a DSLR or another interchangeable lens camera you are really investing in a system as you can easily spend more on lenses than the camera itself.
If you are relatively new to photography and on a limited budget I would recommend that you look at what are known as "Super-Zoom" or "High-Zoom" cameras. These cameras are a good “bridge” camera from the smaller point-and-shoot models and the more expensive digital single-lens-reflex camera (DSLR).
What I like about them is they typically have a similar shape to a DSLR with a good grip which makes them easier to hold and use than some of the smaller cameras. They also usually offer more features and greater control over the typical point-and-shoot camera. But the best feature of all is the versatility they offer because of their long zoom lenses. These cameras typically have zoom lenses that have between 15X and 26X optical zoom. Therefore they provide you with a very wide range of focal lengths so you can go from wide angle to extreme telephoto with a touch of a button. This allows you to take wide angle group or landscape photos or zoom in for close ups or to capture those far away subjects.
I have one of these cameras myself which I use in addition to my DSLR for those times when I don’t want to take along a large camera bag and all my different lenses. Two specific models that I would recommend are the Nikon CoolPix P100 a 10.3 megapixel camera with a 26X zoom lens or the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX1 a 9.1 megapixel camera with a 20X zoom lens. Both of these cameras are available online from Best Buy, B&H Photos, Adorama or a number of other online retailers.
Overall I think these are good cameras for someone just getting into photography and would be my recommendation to you.
For more information check out my page on digital camera comparisons.