There isn't a lot of choice when it comes to choosing the best cameras under AU$500 in Australia, but there are still some great options.
It's fair to assume that if you're looking for cameras that cost under AU$500 in Australia, you're going to be getting a lot of instant cameras. However, if you shop during sales and find a great deal, you will be able to get a bargain on a decent snapper. Sure, you won't get top-end features in this price range, but you will get remarkably capable shooters that offer more than what your phone can.
You won't be spoilt for choice here, though, but you can find reliable point-and-shoot cameras for under AU$500 alongside the best instant cameras at this price point.
Read more: Best cameras under AU$1,000
One of the reasons camera prices drop so much is that as new models are released, the older ones get cheaper. Manufacturers often won't discontinue a line straight away, especially if it was really popular, which means there's an opportunity to grab yourself a bargain.
Most of the cameras below don't feature the most up-to-date technology and have smallish sensors, but that doesn't mean they can't still take good photos. On the plus side, they're all pretty compact.
Everything here should be available for less than AU$500, though prices do fluctuate from time to time. So, let’s take a look at our favourite cameras in this price bracket.
Best cameras under AU$500
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This tiny camera really does do it all - no bigger than a credit card it can take digital photos, print Instax-style photos or print photos you've taken on your phone. There are quite a few unmarked buttons but, once you get your head around what each of them does, it's a really easy camera to operate and a pleasure to use. We've always been fans of the Fujifilm Instax range, but this one combines the advantages of digital cameras with the novelty of instant film cameras to create a product that is well worth the money. We love the classic analog camera look Fujifilm has gone with, it almost feels like a bit of a nod to its X-T100 range, only designed to use in portrait mode rather than landscape.
Read our full Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo review(opens in new tab)
Instant film cameras are always a hit at parties, and the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 is a fine example available at a great price. With a click of the shutter button, it'll create 6.2cm square prints that look fantastic, with punchy colours and less of the tendency towards overexposure that has plagued previous Instax cameras.
The thing to remember about instant film is that it is of course an ongoing cost, so while you're paying AU$199 or so for the camera, you'll have to keep buying refills every time you run out. Still, it's worth the investment if you love the instant prints.
Also, this is a very basic point-and-shoot model, which is arguably all you need in an instant camera, though some users may lament the lack of basic quality-of-life features such as a self-timer. Still, for the price this is loads of fun, and a wonderfully inexpensive way to make physical images that last.
We've been a little cheeky including the latest Instax camera in our best cameras under AU$500 list but, honestly, the price seems to fluctuate so much depending on where you buy it from we thought we'd leave it in.
The Instax Mini 11 looks like every version before it, only Fujifilm has decided to remove the exposure dial in place of automatic exposure. You can view how many shots you have left on the back of the camera and film cartridges are easy to replace, all you need to do is match up the yellow dots. When you first load a new film cartridge, you'll need to fire off one shot to get rid of the plastic film cover and then you're good to go. The film prints almost instantaneously and develops in just 90 seconds. We love the aesthetic of Fujifilm Instax, it's hard to recreate in an app, and for weddings and festivals they're perfect for creating tangible keepsakes.
Read more: Instax Mini 11 review
For a camera that costs under AU$500, the Lumix TZ90 has a lot going for it. Its 4K video capabilities are pretty competitive for a camera that was launched in late 2017 and, more importantly, at this price point. And let's not forget that massive zoom – 30x optical zoom means you'll be able to get closer to the action without being part of the fracas yourself. Its 3-inch touchscreen offers a decent range of controls, and there's a selfie mode too. While you're likely going to see some soft results at the widest angles, and the viewfinder isn't going to help frame as it's too small, it's still a remarkably good compact camera that won't break the bank.
Not only can you take photos using the Instax Mini LiPlay but it can also print photos from your phone. Small enough to fit in your pocket, its compact design makes it perfect for having on you at all times. Featuring an LCD screen and a selfie mirror on the front so you can make sure you're looking your best, Fujifilm really has thought of it all. Connect it to the LiPlay app on your phone so you can edit your photos and add things such as coloured frames or apply a filter for a bit of fun. Even though the photos print out onto Instax Mini film, you can also choose to just keep the pictures stored on a microSD card. Choose from Blush Gold, Elegant Black or Stone White depending on your style and it's time to get snapping. It has a rechargeable battery, a built-in flash and three shortcut buttons so you can save your favourite settings.
For a camera that features a whopping 52x optical zoom, this Kodak bridge camera doesn't cost a lot. It's even capable of a max burst speed of 6fps which might just get you some decent action shots. If you're heading off on a safari or just want to capture your kids' sports events, this might do the trick without costing you an arm and a leg. It's also not as big as some other bridge cameras as it lacks a viewfinder, and you're stuck with a max video resolution of Full HD here. Still, for the price, this isn't too bad. Note that this camera isn't available extensively in Australia, but some camera specialist retailers do have stock.
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Yes, this is a strange one to add to this list, but you if you're looking to automate the taking of family memories, this little nub of a camera might just do the trick. In fact, if you like quirky tech, it really will fit the bill.
Taking great pics with the PowerShot Pick will require some patience and experimenting, but once you've nailed that down, Canon promises you'll get decent shots. The camera, which is battery powered and so can be placed anywhere, is capable of analysing its environment first, then can track subjects automatically. You can control it via an app and even use it as a webcam.
There's a microSD card slot for you to store images and recordings, but it can also connect to your PC via a Type C USB port.
Note that the Pick recognises subjects automatically, so if it's not picking you or your family up, it could well take pics of something else it's latched on to. So be sure to be right in its frame in a well-lit environment.
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