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The 5 Best Canon Cameras for Under 500 Dollars
(Updated for 2024)

WRITTEN BY: BRUCE LOVELACE

UPDATED: March 22, 2024

Want to know best Canon cameras for under 500 dollars. Updated for 2021, it's crazy how much things have changed since this list on the best affordable Canon cameras was first published . You want more than a cell phone to do your photography, but you don't want to go broke buying a "real camera."

This post will give you the most important positives and negatives for the top 5 Canons under $500. Yes, EVERY camera has some negatives, but some of the negatives won't apply to you because of what you photograph and your particular shooting style. 

Here are the top 5 cheap Canon cameras.


1. Canon t100

Canon Rebel T100 cameraCanon Rebel T100

camera rating meterGets a 4.8 out of 5 star rating

The Canon Rebel T100 has overtaken the top spot for recommended camera when answering the question of which Canon DSLR cameras is both good and cheap. The T100 takes great photos along with a lens for less than $500.

POSITIVES: You get a lot of recent technology in a basic DSLR for an affordable price. Similar to the Rebel t7, but around $100 less with only marginal difference in capabilities. Great image quality. Has a hot shoe for adding external flash. Lots of auto-focusing modes including face detection. Has RAW mode. Has WIFI. Has hot shoe. Optical viewfinder.

NEGATIVES: No 4k video. Frame rate of only 3 fps makes it poor choice for sports and action photographers. Fixed LCD screen does not rotate.




2. Canon R100

The Canon EOS R100 is my top recommended camera for photographers wanting a great camera for under $500 dollars. At the time of this update you can get an R100 along with a Canon RF-S 18-45mm kit lens AND other camera accessories for less than $500.

Canon EOS R100 cameraCanon EOS R100

camera rating meterGets a 4.6 out of 5 star rating

The Canon R100 is a great choice for you if want to be a first time mirrorless camera owner. The R100 is just the right size, gives you access to the extensive range of Canon RF (and EF lenses with one of the adapter) lenses and is absurdly affordable considering the modern technology it gives you.

POSITIVES: Lower price is much more affordable than the other mirrorless Canon camera bodies, leaving you extra money for a lens upgrade or other accessories. Great compact size with a great grip perfect for travel photography. Can shoot in RAW mode. bright viewfinder. Hot shoe. Fully articulating screen. Great image quality. 4k/24p Video.

NEGATIVES:  The R100 autofocus tracking drops its continuous burst rate from 6 fps to a substandard 3 fps.

Two of the next three that make the list of under $500 cameras worth considering are called "bridge" cameras. These types of cameras are called bridge cameras because they bridge the gap between point and shoot cameras and DSLR cameras. 

These cheaper Canon cameras are like small DSLR cameras and have smaller sensors than the APS-C sized sensors of the Rebel t7 and t5 mentioned above. Canon bridge cameras make great travel cameras for beginning photographers. 

They're smaller than DSLRs, light in weight, and there's no need to carry extra lenses.



3. Canon SX540 HS

The Canon SX540 HS is a bridge camera, getting its name from bridging the gap between a point-and-shoot camera and a larger DSLR or mirrorless camera. Bridge cameras are great if you want the feel of a regular digital camera in a smaller size.

Canon  SX540 HS CameraCanon SX540 Camera
With 50X Zoom

camera rating meterGets a 4.6 out of 5 star rating

If you want to keep it simple and you'd love to invest a lot less than $500, the SX540 HS might be a fascinating choice for you. This is the update over the earlier recommendation, the SX530.

You can't change lenses with this camera, but you'll never need to. Ever. The SX530 HS has an astonishing 50x optical zoom, the equivalent of 24-1200!

POSITIVES: 50X zoom range is incredibly versatile, super wide to super telephoto. One lens does it all. No chance of dust getting on sensor. Price is very cheap. Grip is like a DSLR grip.

NEGATIVES: With the small sensor image quality is good, not great. Not as good as an APS-C sensor camera like the t5 or t7. No hot shoe. No RAW mode.

You can shoot macro close-ups and far distance sports or wildlife with such a great zoom range. You can use the dedicated movie button to shoot 1080p video and it has built in WIFI.  No need to carry a Canon Speedlite-there is no hot shoe.



4. Canon t7 

Canon Rebel t7 CameraCanon t7

Canon t7 photographer ratingGets a 4.5 out of 5 star rating

The Canon Rebel t7 was released in 2016 the SX70 was released in 2018. 

POSITIVES: To get a 24 megapixel APS-C sensor camera and a decent lens for under $500 is a big positive. Optical viewfinder. Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.

NEGATIVES: Limited speed in burst mode, 3 frames-per-second. Older digic 4 processor. No 4k video. Fixed non-rotating LCD screen.


5. SX70 HS

The SX70 HS is another bridge camera worth considering that comes in as a camera less than $500.

Canon SX70 cameraCanon SX70 HS

camera rating meterGets a 4.4 out of 5 star rating

POSITIVES: Tremendously zoom range. Fast frame rate of 10.0 fps. Has 4k video and 4k time lapse video. DLSR grip. High resolution fully articulating LCD screen. Image stabilization of 5 stops.

NEGATIVES: Price is a little bit over the $500 limit. Smaller sensors on bridge cameras, like the SX70, don't produce the best image quality. No hot shoe flash mount on top. 


The SX60 HS and SX70 both have articulating LCD screens. You can position the screen in a variety of ways for more convenient ground-level, high perspective, or selfie photo/video shooting. 


Fianl thoughts on Canon cameras less than $500

There are a few other options if you're not opposed to getting a camera that's a little bit older. They include the G1X Mark II, and one of the smallest DSLRs, the 3 Canon SL cameras,

It's an incredible time to have an interest in digital photography.  Technology has leveled the field and given the average photographer an amazing range of quality cameras to create breathtaking photographs.

Canon has been the leader for most of the digital camera era and has so many offerings that it can be overwhelming. I must confess that I can't do reviews on every camera that Canon puts out.  There are simply too many of them.

What I can do is point you to other resources that will help you pick your own best selling Canon camera for under $500. No matter who you choose to buy from, Amazon is simply the best place to read reviews of consumers, those everyday photographers like you and who have purchased, used and given feedback on their purchases. 

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Use the search box below to find other articles on the Canon Geek site and scroll down through the results. Or, see the related posts below my signature. 


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Stay inspired. Shoot a Canon!

Author Bruce Lovelace
Bruce Lovelace Signature

Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Canon Camera Geek. Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the Photography Tips website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram  and Flickr  Join the tribe of followers on YouTube. Bruce also runs photo workshops and provides 1 on 1 digital photography coaching.

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