What is the best camera under $300?

What is the best camera is an ambiguous question. Presumably, you’re looking to to do cosplay photography, which to me means a bit of photojournalism and a bit of portrait photography. And after going to a few cons, I think I’m ready to make a recommendation.

Under $300

Other than buying some older used bodies off Craigslist or Ebay, finding something great for under $300 is tough. But not to fear, there’s always greatness to be found. My recommendation for under $300 is the Panasonic Lumix ZS20.

I know your first reaction might be “That’s not a DSLR!” or “You can’t change the lens on that.” But, let me start with this… This camera’s lens can zoom from 24mm all the way out to about 400mm. Don’t know what that means? Well basically, for about $270 dollars, you get more zoom than this $1000 lens:

Not only does it have a great zoom capability, but the lens is super effective in low light situations, and when you’re at a con, the hallways can be very dark.

Also, if you’re in cosplay, do you really want to lug around a 2-5 pound camera around your neck? If you’re looking for a solid camera under $300, I highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix ZS20.

The down sides? Well, since you’re in the halls you’re probably going to want to use flash, and that uses a lot of battery, so battery life on this camera is only going to get under 250 shots.

Did I mention it also does high speed video? Yep, this camera can not only shoot full HD 1080P but it can do it at 60FPS. This $3000 Canon EOS 5D Mark III can’t even do that!

To top it all off, Daido Moriyama, one of Japan’s most celebrated photographers, uses a point and shoot. You don’t get the title “Japan’s most celebrated photographers” for taking shoddy pictures….Check out the video about him here ( Vimeo link ).

TL;DR
Pros: Great lens, lightweight, awesome video capabilities, not your cell phone, and cheap.
Cons: Battery life, Not a DSLR?
Conclusion: Much better than using your cellphone to take pictures, and will do everything an entry level DSLR can do, why don’t you have one already?

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