The best point-and-shoot camera in the market these days really depends on a few of your preferences. We remember the first time we purchased a point-and-shoot camera (although quite a while ago) — the difference it brought in not only the overall picture quality but the way it felt was unreal. Nowadays, digital cameras are becoming so advanced the pictures even on your smart device can give some ooh’s and aah’s. The following is our shopping guide to give you some options in case your needs are different others — here’s 10 of the best point-and-shoot cameras.
What is a point-and-shoot camera?
A point-and-shoot camera, also known as a compact camera, typically fits the mold for what many would associate with the word “digital camera”. They made quite a few appearances in our best digital camera super buying guide for a reason — they’re great for those who want a solution for taking pictures (and filming videos) in a more simplistic way as compared to other types of cameras out there (or dislike lugging around a rather heavy DSLR on their necks). They’re known for their autofocus systems, built-in flash, as well as small size to help those who travel or merely love the convenience. They’re usually pretty affordable as compared to other types of cameras as well.
Although we see a lot of DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras dominate the digital camera market these days (for both video and photography), a point-and-shoot camera is still a viable option for many where they see fit. In fact, we know many who own both a DSLR or mirrorless as well as a point-and-shoot model, depending on their mood and use they intend to have that day. Especially when paired up with the best photo editing software for some sprucing up in post-production, point-and-shoots are still a viable option even for semi-professionals. Let’s get into how to choose the absolute best for you.
Picking the best point-and-shoot camera
- Your budget – Money is always important, so in all of our guides this is listed first. There’s a decent range when it comes to the best point-and-shoot cameras, so keep in mind the money you have at hand (or want to save up after choosing your preferred model).
- Do you want video? Many of these come with video, and if you do intend to film some video clips here and there, we recommend grabbing a model just in case. If you do want a video-compatible point-and-shoot camera, double-check the video quality as well. We wouldn’t recommend going below 720p (we list all camera specs in here), although 1080p is basically the norm nowadays. Some even come in 4K video resolution if you wanted the best of the best, albeit still a bit rare in the game. Our best video camera guide may be of service to you if this was a main priority.
- Zoom – A big standout of point-and-shoot cameras is the zoom. Although the higher number isn’t necessarily the better, there’s a big difference between a camera with 30x and 3x. How important is this to you?
- Camera size – Although these aren’t as small or versatile as the best action cameras, most are super compact and can usually fit in your pocket (depends on your pocket-size, of course!). Is smaller better for you? Or can you sacrifice having a bit of a larger model for some higher-quality specs?
- Extra features? Better autofocus, touch-screen, high-quality viewfinder, built-in flash, user-friendly filters in the unit itself, waterproof protection and more. These are some popular additional features that may catch your eye. We highlight the features worth mentioning in each description.
The top 10 best point-and-shoot cameras
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50
As stated previously, the DMC-ZS50 is one of our favorite point-and-shoot cameras, and it’s not just because it’s mentioned in many other’s best-of guides as well. Not only is it relatively affordable for the quality it brings, it has a super long LEICA lens, 30x optical zoom and a 24-720 mm focal length that brings the scene even closer than many others. It also has enhanced low-light sensitivity to offer improved sharpness even when the flash is not being used. The built-in eye viewfinder will eliminate the outdoor glare during sunny days and whenever you are traveling, you can take this with you safely since its super compact It is perfect for image framing, and when the lighting conditions make use of the LED screen difficult, the eye sensor will detect the viewing preference automatically and will switch to the LVF. With its high level resolution, it ensures near-perfect color reproduction while it delivers framing with great visibility. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 is one of the best point-and-shoot camera that you can have with you on your daily adventures.
Canon PowerShot G9 X
Up next, here’s a great choice for the best point-and-shoot camera that not only looks awesome but is comfortable and slim as well (TechRadar’s PowerShot G9 X review loved it). It has the capacity of 20.2 megapixels with a 1.0 inch high sensitivity CMOS sensor, features a powerful DIGIC 6 images processor as well as solid F/2.0-4.0 lens, which helps the user to capture awesome images even when in low light. The camera can be kept in the pocket, bag or hand, and it is easy to carry around. Although not as much as others, the subjects that are far off can still be brought closer with its 3x optical zoom lens. If you wanted video, here’s a great option since movements are captured in super clear full HD (1080p/60p) and the camera has continuous shooting in 6 fps. You’re also getting some Wi-Fi connectivity, an LCD touch-screen and ISO up to 12800. The Canon PowerShot G9 X is another choice for one of the best point-and-shoot cameras that produces stunning videos and impressive image quality. If you wanted a slight step above the previous choice, grab this one by Canon.
Sony RX100 III
This one is a big stand out in the best point-and-shoot camera category, and the 24 mm wide-angle makes it easy to shoot panoramic shots. There’s definitely a bit of a price jump if you’ve read our guide in order, but hear us out first if this one fits your budget. It can record 1080/60p video with full sensor readout, and it offers 50 Mbps XAVC S support for video recording (great format for an increase in overall quality). The camera has the electronic viewfinder that is preferred by many photographers because they are able to hold the camera right up to the eye in a steady way while they can still compose a shot in a quick and accurate manner. The ISO is 160-12800 (with expandable up ti ISO 100, 125 and 25,600) and the sensor is higher than a lot of others when it comes to quality — a 20.9 MP 1″-type Exmor R CMOS. There’s also some continuous shooting up to 10 fps and full exposure control with the videos it takes. The Sony RX100 III is the best point-and-shoot camera if money didn’t exist, and with its features like the 24-70 mm and F1.8-2.8 lens that offers the best flexibility and a premium digital camera shoot for close and wide shots as well as a convenient zoom feature.
This camera has innovative technology that puts it among the best in the market, especially if you were looking at the middle price-point. It comes with a high quality X-TransTM CMOS II Sensor and includes the impressive real-time viewfinder with film simulation modes (that are based on the unique history of Fuji) to create some smooth tones and rich colors (classic chrome, velvia, astlia, etc.). The camera has all the features that every serious photographer has come to expect in a point-and-shoot: a decent amount of MP (it has 12, which isn’t as much as quite a few others in here but can still get the job done), high-quality optical zoom lens and nice autofocus tech. The camera has the largest and fastest resolving electronic viewfinder for its category of camera. The film simulation modes help in creating brilliant images, and there is no need to have a lengthy post production process — you can easily choose between the styles with its user-friendly design. The Fujifilm X30 is a great point-and-shoot camera that is even better in its third generation with its large sensor premium compacts. Here’s a great Fujifilm X30 review for some more info.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100
Here’s another one of the most popular Lumix models (there are quite a few so it was difficult to choose) made by Panasonic. It provides a wide-angle to make a portrait length perspective with the fast maximum aperture of over 1.7 – 2.9. It’s lens helps you to work even in the lower light situations, and it provides the selective focus for controlling the shadow depth in field imagery. It enhances images with its nine-bladed aperture and offers smooth out of focus rendering. You can also take advantage of the multi-aspect sensor so that you may switch the lens on. If you were into video, stop right there — did we mention this films in 4K (30p) video quality? The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 also comes with a built-in DC Vario Summilux zoom lens and it offers a 35 mm equivalent focal length range of over 24-75 mm. It’s a bit more expensive than our first pick, so if you wanted a Lumix camera with 4K video that was a step above in terms of quality and features, check this one out.
This point-and-shoot is a compact and decent-quality camera that was packed with plenty of features, and it makes it easy for the user to shoot beautiful and clear images and HD videos. If you were looking for one of the cheapest models to buy right now, here’s a top choice for those on a budget. You can get over 5x optical zoom and you are able to capture a pretty high-quality image despite the price using a high-resolution 20.1 MP image sensor. You can also capture the whole scene using its 26 mm wide-angle lens. The precision photography feature meets the portability offered by the smartphone, so it’s a great addition to your pocket to use instead. The Sony DSC-W800 is considered by many to be the best budget-friendly point-and-shoot camera, especially when it comes to taking some casual snap shots and video for a low price.
Canon PowerShot G5 X
The PowerShot G5 X is another one of the best point-and-shoot cameras in the higher price-point. If you’ve gotten this far in our guide and wanted a high-end solution, here’s a great one to keep in mind. It is the first to incorporate a full-featured 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder which makes composing, setting and capturing high quality images easier than others. The electronic viewfinder also makes it more suitable to take pictures in bright sunlight or record HD video (up to 1080p\60 in MP4 format) in an auditorium or other situations where the light may not be that ideal. The dedicated dials on the camera make it easy to take pictures with full control and there are also some helpful external features like the built-in accessories with a hot shoe. The specs are also pretty much as high as you can get: 20.2 MP CMOS sensor (high-sensitivity), their DIGIC 6 Image Processor, 3.0 touch panel LCD, and a few extra modes that are actually quite impressive (ie: Star Mode to capture some night sky stills). The Canon PowerShot G5 X is makes it easy to create a unique experience for the subject that is being captured and is one of the top models if you have the money handy.
Ricoh GR II
The GR II is on this list because it comes with the some nifty features like a high-speed AF system that can at times lock the focus in nearly 0.2 seconds. This camera will start over in just one second, and it also offers continuous shooting of 4 fps. It is capable of taking some high quality video (1080p in 30fps) on top of it. It has wireless flash control and a built-in flash unit. You’re also getting some Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC functions, h.264 compression at 30fps, and their imagine engine that’s known for high-sensitivity shooting to give you some great looking for photos in terms of color fullness. The camera has been designed to be compact and portable with its magnesium alloy body to give you a long-lasting build, and it has their classic GR styling with a solid hand grip to offer physical control and better comfort. Extra buttons include AF buttons with an aperture preview button. Check out the Ricoh GR II if you’re into autofocus, want to film some video in 1080p and can afford it. This also made it into PCMag’s best point-and-shoot camera post.
Nikon Coolpix S2800
Some would say the Coolpix series of point-and-shoot cameras started the digital photography wave. This is another one of the better budget-friendly models out there right now, and with its EXPEED C2 image-processing system, 20.1 megapixel CCD sensor, 5x optical zoom lens, and a 230k dot LCD screen that measures 2.7 inches, you’re getting a very big bang for your buck deal here. It comes with 720p HD video recording capabilities, and although it doesn’t match the usual standard of 1080p, is actually a bit impressive considering the price. The camera is small and stylish and allows you to capture some great detail. The camera also has some additive features, such as some color options when it comes to the camera itself, ISO and exposure time adjustment, as well as black and white photos. The Nikon Coolpix S2800 is an exciting camera that offers high performance at an extremely affordable price.
Canon PowerShot Elph 170 IS
Last but not least, here’s yet another great option for those looking for a cheaper point-and-shoot camera. The unit itself is stylish and slim, and it is the best choice to take along with you for your daily fun and special occasions. It is equipped with a great 12 x optical zoom for maximum versatility, and its intelligent IS makes the images clear and shake free with a high zoom length. It has some sharp and high-resolution imaging, which is easy and faster because of the 20 MP sensor and DIGIC 4+ Image processor. If you wanted some video alongside the camera, you’re getting 720p HD quality here. The Canon PowerShot Elph 170 IS tops off our list with an option for those who want both decent quality specs as well as an affordable price.