Last week, I asked you guys to weigh in on the top cameras under $500. Whether used or new, there are plenty of great options out there and you guys picked some real winners that I had not considered.
Now, let’s break down the top 10 camera models as chosen by you.
10. Canon EOS M
AF woes be damned, the Canon EOS M still produces solid image quality and offers very respectable HD video capture. In fact, with the most recent firmware upgrade, the Canon EOS M became just a plain old, good camera. Unfortunately for Canon, the damage had already been done with early reviews that lambasted the camera’s poor AF.
That’s your good fortune though, because the camera is available for dirt cheap and well under the price limit.
9. Canon Rebel T3 (aka EOS 1100D)
The Rebel T3 is about the most basic Canon DSLR that is still around, although it has been discontinued in the US in favor of the Rebel T5 (also under $500). The T3 is scant on features; however, it still offers respectable image quality and is available for dirt cheap on the used market.
You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a T3 and a kit lens for around $300 or less, which leaves you plenty of room to add a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, an EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens, a Speedlite or other accessories.
8. Sigma DP1, DP2 or DP3 Merrill
Filip says the Sigma DP1, DP2 and DP3 Merrill cameras deliver unsurpassed image quality at low ISO’s, a superb fixed lens and are compact and light. They run about $650 new in the US.
They can be found under $500 if you are willing to go with a used model. You can find several auctions here on ebay.
7. Olympus Stylus 1
I was a little surprised to see this camera as the sole camera with a sensor smaller than APS-C (I really expected to see the Sony RX100 listed), but the retro-fresh Olympus Stylus 1 gets the nod as the advanced compact (I use that term loosely) camera in the list. Also priced around $650 new (with incentives), it’s a little hard to find under the $500 threshold but it can be done. Good luck.
6. Pentax K-50
The Pentax K-50 certainly deserves its vote on the list. Solid build quality in the camera and it is capable of delivering great images as well. The Pentax K-50 kit can be found just under the $500 mark, while the body alone is under $400.
5. Canon SL1
The Canon Rebel SL1 got a couple of mentions and is probably my personal favorite Canon Rebel model to date. The compact size is perfect and it is right up there with the Rebel T5i in performance – just at a lower price. By going with a refurbished model from B&H, you can get it as a kit with the 18-55mm IS STM lens for comfortably under the $500 mark.
4. Canon 60D
The Canon 60D was the mid-range, prosumer workhorse prior to the arrival of the 70D earlier this year. There are a ton of these on the used market from users looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest.
3. Nikon D7000
Just like the 60D is the old guy on the block for Canon, the D7000 is out there in droves on the second hand market and can be found here and there for under $500.
2. Canon 5D
You can buy a full frame camera for less than $500.
This classic DSLR generally floats just above the $500 selling price on the second-hand market; however, there are definitely auctions or even “buy it now” listings that will allow you to grab it used for just under $500.
Some folks suggested the Canon 1Ds Mark II as an option as well; however, they didn’t leave any links showing where it’s available for $500 and the best I could find in completed sales was around $750. So, yeah, a 5D in good condition is a solid find for $500 and takes the cake for Canon.
1. Fuji X-E1 w/ 16-50mm Lens
A very recent and high quality mirrorless camera is what you’ll find in the Fuji X-E1. It’s a camera kit that I didn’t expect to see below $500 (you can find the body just under $500 at B&H); however, Fuji’s quick releases over the past 2-3 years have probably driven the price down as people are off-loading them to upgrade to the latest and greatest models.
While it’s not as refined as the X-E2, there is a lot of image quality and performance in the X-E1. Check out all of the auctions here, with the used body alone even down in the $200s.