Holiday Gift Guide 2015 - 2016: Top 10 Best Point and Shoot Cameras Under $500

When it comes to purchasing digital cameras these days, a lot of the people you might be buying for simply don't care, or don't have the time to mess around with lenses and features. They want a camera that's easy to use, good-looking and will take infinitely better photos than their smartphones. Hopefully, our mix of the Top 10 Best Point and Cameras Below $500 will have a little something for every type of photographer.

Canon PowerShot G16

Canon is a name that people instantly think of when they think cameras, and for good reason. The PowerShot G line has been a cult-classic for a long time, and the G16 version is on the larger side, but features an excellent sensor as well as a functional viewfinder and a hotshoe for accessories like a flash and so on. With it ticking most of the boxes, this can do it all and do it all well. It's got built-in WiFi as well, so this is definitely a modern option.

Buy the Canon PowerShot G16 Digital Camera from Amazon

Sony DSC-RX100/B

This might be the original Sony RX100, which is now a few years old, but it's still got a wicked 20.2-megapixel resolution and a great lens. It's not as sophisticated as its younger brothers, but it's a whole lot cheaper and it still has it where it counts; taking great pictures.

Buy the Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Digital Camera from Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

As the name suggests, the Galaxy Camera 2 is an Android-powered digital camera from Samsung. It features a 21x optical zoom, a large LED touchscreen and of course, all the apps you can download from the Google Play Store, this includes Dropbox, Google Photos and of course Instagram. A good all round camera, this is well worth taking a look at.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 from Amazon

Canon PowerShot SX710 HS

The Canon PowerShot SX170 HS is often described as the best camera for traveling. It has a great 30x zoom so you can get the shot you need, it has a good flash, and a high-resolution sensor. Plus, it's easy to handle and easy to pack, while also offering up stereo microphones for decent video recording when you need it. For something that takes great pictures and can do other duties fairly well, this Canon won't disappoint.

Buy the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS from Amazon

Fujifilm X30

The Fujifilm X3o is a personal favorite of mine, and I use it all the time. It's a great-feeling camera, with excellent handling, a brilliant screen and an excellent electronic viewfinder. For its price, the X30 punches well above its weight, and the best part about it is the great Fujinon lens. It's super-bright making for great low-light performance, and the macro can focus as close as 1cm away, that's just 10mm and makes for some great shots of flowers and just for more detail when up close.

Buy the Fujifilm X30 from Amazon

Olympus TG-4

If you know someone that travels with a view to get under the waves, then this is a great gift. Perfect for taking pictures underwater as well in some inhospitable locations, this tough option from Olympus has it all. It's got a good aperture for some bright photos, but above all it's take a beating and stand up to the water without breaking a sweat.

Buy the Olympus TG-4 Waterproof Digital Camera from Amazon

Canon EOS M

The EOS M from Canon is an interesting option, because it's not your usual point and shoot. It looks and feels like one, but it will take Canon dSLR lenses, one is included with this kit, but it's a great option for those with a good collection of lenses already. You could think of this as a "bring your own lenses" sort of option with point and shoot charm.

Buy the Canon EOS M 18.0 MP Compact Camera from Amazon

Fujifilm FinePix S1

The FinePix S1 from Fujifilm is the option out there that's for those looking for a dSLR but don't want to worry about lenses and that sort of thing. Definitely a bigger point and shoot, this will do everything fairly well, but it's obviously for the discerning photographer. A great gift, this can see a person through college, through their travels and beyond. Plus, the display here can be moved to whatever angle you want.

Buy the Fujifilm FinePix S1 16 MP Digital Camera from Amazon

Panasonic DMC-ZS40S

This option from Panasonic is a more classy, understated affair that will appeal to the style conscious out there. A nice option for a small bag or even a jacket pocket, this little guy will surprise you in what it can do, and it will keep on going as well. With a viewfinder as well, this should be a good option for all different types of photographers out there.

Buy the Panasonic DMC-ZS40S Digital Camera from Amazon

Nikon COOLPIX P7800

This fairly pricey option from Nikon might only have a 12.1-megapixel resolution, but the excellent lens is what sets this apart from the rest in this list. The Nikkor lens here is a great performer and that sensor is much larger than others here, so it should still perform brilliantly. A compact camera for the serious photographer, this Nikon will take care of pretty much anything you throw at it.

Buy The Nikon COOLPIX P7800 from Amazon

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About the Author

Tom Dawson

Former Editor-in-Chief
For years now I've had a heavy interest in technology, growing up with 8-bit computers and gaming consoles has fed into an addiction to everything that beeps. Android saved me from the boredom of iOS years ago and I love watching the platform grow. As an avid reader and writer nothing pleases me more than to write about the exciting world of Android, Google and mobile technology as a whole.