You might believe that selecting the best point-and-shoot camera is a straightforward task. After all, these cameras are supposed to be simple in their own right! You take them up, point at them, and shoot. It’s right there in the name.
But, when you get down to it, the world of point-and-shoot cameras is a little more complicated than that. Point-and-shoot cameras are available at a variety of prices, and as with most things, the more you pay, the more you receive. Larger sensors, longer zoom lenses, and more shooting possibilities will be found in more expensive point-and-shoot cameras. They can still be excellent starter cameras while also providing opportunities to grow and learn. Above importantly, they take fantastic photographs.
Of course, all of this is relative, and even high-end point-and-shoot cameras will cost significantly less than system cameras for amateurs or pros. Above all, the cameras on our list are ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to fiddle with changing lenses and prefers to know that the price on the box is all they’ll have to pay. Every camera on this list, from the cheapest to the most costly, represents fantastic value for money, and everyone will be ready to shoot the moment it’s taken out of the box (well, once the batteries are charged, at least)
To make things easier, we’ve divided our best point-and-shoot camera guide into sections. Continue reading for a quick rundown of what each one entails.
- Simple and inexpensive – These are entry-level cameras meant to provide a few advantages over a smartphone, most notably optical zoom. They’re not flashy, but they get the job done.
- Tough and rugged – These are little cameras that have a waterproof and shockproof shell to protect them from splashes and bumps. These cameras are ideal for families and travel because they will not break with a little rough use.
- Longer zooms — Most basic point-and-shoot cameras have a zoom range of 3-5x. This is adequate and superior to a smartphone, but it isn’t much. We’ve compiled a list of cameras that offer substantially higher zoom than this, which can be useful for travel and more tough topics in general.
- Better quality — Small sensors are common in point-and-shoot cameras. This is partially why they are so small and inexpensive, but it also means that the image quality isn’t a significant improvement over a smartphone. Best point-and-shoot cameras have larger sensors, which allows them to be more versatile in varied lighting settings and provide better overall quality. If you can afford the price increase, these versions are well worth it.
We’ve already highlighted something that many of you may be wondering: “why buy a point-and-shoot camera when I always have one of the camera phones in my pocket?”
True, smartphone image quality is improving with each iteration, and some can now compete with, if not outperform, cameras in this area. Cameras, on the other hand, offer a plethora of functions that smartphones just cannot match. Fast burst rates, great low-light performance, and powerful zooming with minimal loss of quality are all things that even low-cost cameras can achieve better than a phone.
If you think you’ll require more quality than a point-and-shoot camera can provide, we recommend checking out our guide to the best compact cameras, which includes more of the models featured in this article’s “Better quality” section.
But for now, these are the best point-and-shoot cameras available, as well as the best prices.
10 Best Point and Shoot Cameras
1. Fujifilm X100V
With its fifth iteration, the Fujifilm X100V fully lives up to the original concept’s ambition and promise. Since its inception in 2010, it has delivered one of Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensors in an appealing compact and retro-styled body with a fixed lens, hybrid viewfinder, and virtually silent leaf shutter, but while this has been enough to attract a devoted following among street photographers, earlier models have disappointed in other ways, most notably with a soft lens at close range and a lack of weather-sealing. The X100V addresses almost all of these issues while adding new ones. The revised lens now produces pleasingly clean results close and far, the screen can swivel, the body is now weather-sealed, and the X100V includes most of the video features of the X-T30, including 4k. There are, of course, some limitations. The lens lacks optical stabilization, as well as sensor-based and electrical stabilization – this isn’t a deal-breaker for stills, but video shooters will need to find a solution to steady it. The extended lens necessitates the purchase of an external filter adapter in order for the camera to be weather-sealed, and the built-in ND filter is not yet available for video use. And, like the X-T30, the largest video clip length is a respectable 10 minutes in 4k or 15 minutes in 1080. I should mention that my X100V got pretty warm after a while of use, especially when capturing 4k footage, albeit it never shut down due to overheating in my tests. Finally, the X100V’s enhancements have made it a very versatile camera capable of handling a wide range of topics and circumstances. On a personal side, for the first time, I felt an emotional connection with the camera and genuinely adored shooting with it. The X100’s evolution may have taken ten years to reach this point, but the X100V has now become my favorite fixed-lens compact camera to date, and one I can Highly Recommend.
2. Panasonic Lumix ZS80
The Panasonic Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 is the pocket travel zoom that others aspire to replicate, with a 30x stabilized zoom, 3-inch LCD screen, 2.3 million dot viewfinder, 4k video, Wifi, and Bluetooth. Nikon has come close with the COOLPIX A1000, which, aside from a less detailed viewfinder, almost matches the technical specs of the TZ95 / ZS80 and manages to cram in a somewhat longer 35x zoom. Regardless, the TZ95 / ZS80 feels like a more advanced camera overall. However, with only the enhanced viewfinder and Bluetooth distinguishing it from the earlier TZ90 / ZS70, it’s now looking like a great steal, so keep a watch on prices. However, if you’re looking for the best of the current crop of pocket super-zooms, the Lumix TZ95 / ZS80 is the one to beat.
3. Canon PowerShot G5X II
The Canon PowerShot G5X Mark II is a capable compact camera that features a 20 Megapixel 1-inch sensor, 5x / 24-120mm zoom, popup viewfinder, tilting touchscreen, rapid bursts, and 4k video. Canon has performed a design U-turn, ditching the chunkier DSLR style of its predecessor in favor of something more pocketable and akin to Sony’s RX100 series. So the fixed viewfinder hump and side-hinged screen are gone in favor of a popup viewfinder and vertically-tilting display. The grip has shrunk and the front dial has been removed, but there is still more to grab onto than on the RX100, and the adjustments have made the G5X much more pocketable than before. This brings it closer to the G7X III, with Canon effectively asking you to pick between the G5X’s popup viewfinder and somewhat longer 5x zoom versus the G7X III’s mic input and Live Streaming. Couldn’t we just put it all in one body, or make similar variants with and without viewfinders to satisfy different pricing points? Sony’s RX100 VA likewise provides a pop-up viewfinder, tilting screen, 4k video, and quick bursts, but with the advantage of more responsive phase-detect focusing for photographs and video, though the G5X II zooms almost twice as long and has a touchscreen and better grip. Overall, the G5X II loses much of what distinguished its predecessor in the 1in the market, directing those looking for a tiny DSLR-styled compact to the G1X Mark III instead. However, by matching it more closely with its best-selling competitor, the G5X II becomes more appealing to a wider audience. Consider how much more popular it may have been if it had been combined with the connection of the G7X III.
4. Nikon COOLPIX W150
The Nikon COOLPIX W150 is a low-cost, easy-to-use, and entertaining waterproof compact camera geared at families and active children. It’s completely automatic, has a 3x optical zoom, and is, of course, waterproof, bounce-proof, and freeze-proof. Aside from its amazing look and ease of use, its greatest strength is that it can send photographs to your phone through Bluetooth while you shoot. It lacks optical stabilization, has a small, low-resolution screen, only has one 1080/30p video option, and isn’t particularly good at continuous shooting; therefore it’s not very advanced, but it does what it does quite well. Also, when you push the shutter, it may bark like a dog or tweet like a bird, which many people (including myself) believe will more than compensate for its faults. The W150, on the other hand, is a relatively slight upgrade over the W100, with the only additional function being an Underwater Face Framing mode. So it’s worthwhile to compare pricing with the older Nikon COOLPIX W100. Whichever version you choose, it will thrill families with energetic children, allowing everyone to relax regardless of who is using the camera and where they are using it.
5. Olympus TOUGH TG6
The Olympus TOUGH TG-6 is a little improvement over the TG-5, having a higher resolution 1040k dot screen and new anti-glare glass in front of the sensor. The addition of three new white balance
modes for varying water depths has enhanced the quality of underwater photographs and video, and the microscope macro mode may now be utilized underwater. So it’s a tiny update to what was already likely the best tough waterproof camera on the market, but it’s the TG-6’s brilliant f2 lens, superb image clarity, fast continuous shooting, and abundance of video modes, including 4K, that make it the top dog. I strongly suggest it due to its unrivaled performance in and out of the water. But it isn’t cheap, so if you’re on a tight budget, consider the older TOUGH TG-5, the Fujifilm Finepix XP140, or Panasonic’s Lumix FT7. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for something less expensive for active kids, consider Nikon’s COOLPIX W150.
6. Sony RX100 VII
The Sony RX100 VII is a high-end compact camera that is ideal for travel, action, video, and vlogging. It is the successor of the RX100 VI and shares the same 24-200mm f2.8-4.5 zoom as well as virtually the same body with a touch-screen that can be angled up to face you and a small but detailed viewfinder that opens up and pushes back down in a single action. The RX100 VII now has a faster sensor, allowing it to shoot long bursts of up to 20fps without blackout, as well as Sony’s latest autofocus and eye detection tracking for both humans and animals, so while it’s technically a little slower than the Mark VI’s 24fps top speed, it’s more usable and ideal for capturing sports as well as active kids and pets. If you require more speed, a new single burst mode
fires seven frames at up to 90fps, but because there is no pre-buffering, your timing must be exact. The finest quality video modes remain in 4k at 24, 25, or 30p, but are now supplemented by eye detection, more effective stabilization, and the inclusion of a 3.5mm microphone input – a rarity in this type of camera, but you’ll ideally need a bracket or a lav mic without an accessory shoe. As previously stated, it faces stiff competition from Canon’s G5X II and G7X III, both of which include 4k video, brighter lenses with ND filters
, and flip displays while also being less expensive; the G5X II also has a viewfinder, while the G7X III has a mic input. However, the Sony zooms significantly further and has more confident phase-detect AF whether shooting stills or video, not to mention much faster bursts and higher frame rates for super slow motion. However, if you don’t need the mic input, improved 4k stabilization, or the latest AF modes, much of what makes the Mark VII appealing is available in the older RX100 VI, so keep an eye on prices, while dedicated vloggers may still prefer the earlier RX100 VA, which has a shorter but brighter lens with an ND filter but no mic input. However, if you’re looking for a do-it-all-pocket travel camera
that’s also terrific for video and action, the RX100 VII is hard to beat. It’s not cheap, but nothing else gives all of this while being affordable.
7. Canon SX740 HS
The Canon Powershot SX740 HS is a pocket super-zoom camera with a 20 Megapixel sensor and a massive 40X zoom range that extends from 24 to 960mm. If you’re seeking the longest zoom in a pocketable compact, you won’t be disappointed. The SX740 HS boasts PASM exposure modes, fast 10fps continuous photography, 4k video, and a flip-up screen for selfies. On the flip side, 4k video requires a tight crop, which may extend the effective telephoto reach but makes the short end much narrower than when filming in 1080p. To be fair, the same limitation applies to the Lumix TZ90 / ZS70, and generally, the SX40 HS strikes a decent compromise between simplicity and sophistication for individuals who prefer a little bit of control but are equally content depending on Auto. Recommended, however, keep in mind that its major rival, the Lumix TZ90 / ZS70, has a slightly shorter range but offers more physical controls, a touch screen, RAW compatibility, and a built-in viewfinder for a relatively comparable price due to being an older model. It’s also worth noting that if you don’t require 4k video or 10fps bursts, Canon’s older SX730 HS offers similar features at a little lesser price while supplies last.
8. Fujifilm Instax SQ6
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is an analog instant camera designed to resemble the iconic Instagram logo. It is Fujifilm’s second instant camera to use the Instax Square format, however, unlike the previous digital SQ10, it uses the simpler analog process of the successful Instax Mini series. While the lack of a sensor and internal storage means that there is no way to print duplicate photos or examine them on a screen first, many admirers of the analog system enjoy its ephemeral nature because each print is actually unique. While the exposure remains automatic, the camera now has access to a range of shutter speeds allowing it to better handle bright environments; the SQ6 is also included with three colored filters for the flash to achieve interesting effects, which is a good enhancement over the Instax Mini 9. Finally, the SQ6 provides the appealing Instax Square format to a wider audience with a more inexpensive body, not to mention one that shares the analog beauty of the best-selling Minis with just enough frills to boost the likelihood of a successful print. Some of these frills were previously seen on Mini 90 Neo versions, but for around the same body price, you may now enjoy them with the larger square format. Budget buyers may still prefer the less expensive Mini 9, but I believe the SQ6 is worth the extra money for its increased sophistication and the ability to use the square format. Recommended.
9. Panasonic Lumix TZ200 ZS200
Panasonic’s Lumix TZ200 / ZS200 is the latest model in the company’s hugely popular travel-zoom line. It inherits the 1in / 20 Megapixel sensor, built-in viewfinder, non-tilting touchscreen, 4k video, and Wifi from the TZ100 / ZS100, but increases the earlier 10x zoom range to 15x, increases viewfinder detail, adds 1080 video at 120p for slow motion, and now includes Bluetooth for seamless connectivity and location-tagging. The literal major news is the new 15x zoom range, which is equivalent to 24-360mm and easily outperforms not only its predecessor but all rival 1in compacts with pocket bodies. The sole sacrifice is an aperture that has gotten even dimmer at f3.3-6.4 vs the f2.8-5.9 of its predecessor, which was already significantly dimmer than rivals with shorter zooms’ f1.8-2.8. But that is the trade-off you must consider. If you want a 1″ sensor with a large zoom and bright images, you’ll need a considerably larger body, such as the Sony RX10 or Lumix FZ2000. Finally, for many photographers, the TZ200 / ZS200’s combination of a big zoom and a respectable sensor in a pocket body is all they need to know: the lens range and feature set are unrivaled in their class, and it comes highly recommended, as did its predecessor.
10. Canon G1X Mark III
The Canon G1X Mark III is a one-of-a-kind camera that packs a large APSC sensor – the same as found in the EOS 80D and EOS M5 models – into a relatively compact weatherproof body with 3x optical zoom, built-in viewfinder, fully-articulated touchscreen, plenty of manual control, and excellent wireless capabilities. The sensor also has Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which allows it to refocus smoothly and reliably for stills or videos. All of this makes the G1X Mark III one of the most powerful compacts to date, but there is still no 4k video or microphone input, and the large sensor makes it one of the most costly compacts available. Competitors with smaller 1″ sensors typically pair them with brighter lenses, allowing them to roughly match the G1X Mark III on resolution, noise, and background blurring potential, but there’s no arguing with the APSC sensor’s superior dynamic range
, allowing the G1X Mark III to capture a wider tonal range and more saturated colors. Don’t underestimate the appeal of cramming the EOS 80D’s photo and video quality into a compact waterproof housing weighing less than 400g. The G1X Mark III has several unpleasant omissions for movie photographers, but it remains one of Canon’s most intriguing compacts, either as a standalone camera or as a companion to larger DSLRs.