So, the world is full of “best of” lists. I’ve added to that pile with a best of list I hope will be truly helpful to you. One of the most common questions I get is “What camera should I buy?” Most of the time folks are asking what compact digital camera I consider the best out there. Well, based on the current offerings of the best names in camera manufacturing (Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax), I’ve compiled a list of my choices for the best digital compact cameras out there for under $500. Why $500? Because at anything over $500 in your budget you should probably be looking at a full fledged DSLR and not a compact digital camera. Compact digital cameras are the bridge between pocket cameras and full DSLRs with interchangeable lenses. For my top list I’ve selected what I feel is the best all around camera in this price range from each of the camera manufacturers. Starting as low as $200 and moving up to the $499 range, there is sure to be something to fit your needs on this list.