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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.