Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras

You don’t necessarily need to upgrade to a DSLR or mirrorless camera system to get better photographs than you can with your smartphone. A point and shoot camera is your best bet if you want something small and lightweight for travel and if you don’t want to bother buying, transporting and changing lenses. I’ve selected cameras with high quality built in multipurpose optical zoom lenses so that you have good coverage for your subjects from wide angle to telephoto. A point and shoot with a fixed non-interchangeable (prime) lens really doesn’t make sense to me since they are not practical for many photography scenarios so I’ve left those ones out.

Jump straight to each segment:

Best of the Best

Best Value

Best on a Budget

These are my selections for the best Point and Shoot cameras on the market. The higher megapixels sensors and larger sensor sizes produce a sharper and better digital image and allow you to print to a larger high resolution image. They also allow for manual control of exposure settings which is essential in taking your photography up a level. All of these selections allow for good quality HD video. For best of the best I’ve chosen cameras under $1000 dollars because you can enter the still portable mirrorless interchangeable lens camera category for $1000 and above. Also for these best of the best cameras there isn’t much improvement to image quality as you approach $1000 and above.
These camera selections all have excellent lens speed. Some of these selections can shoot in RAW uncompressed format.

BEST OF THE BEST



BEST OF THE BEST

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

SONY DSC-RX100M Mark III

20.9 Megapixel 1" Exmor CMOS R

24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens

1080p 60fps/24fps HD

#2 WINNER

Canon Powershot G7X II

20.1 Megapixel 1" CMOS

24-100mm f/1.8-2.8

1080p 60 fps

#3 WINNER

Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

20.1 Megapixel 1-inch CMOS

25-400mm f2.8-4.0

4K QFHD 30fps

 

#1 WINNER
Sony DSC-RX100M III Cyber-shot

Sensor: 20.9 Megapixel 1″ Exmor CMOS R

Lens: 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens

Video: 1080p 60fps/24fps HD

Pros: Great focal length range. Good lens speed and low light performance. High FPS, Shoots RAW photos!

Cons: No 4K video.

This camera is my top recommendation because of its large 1 inch 20.9 Megapixel sensor its impressive Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar lenses. These lenses have a special coating to reduce flaring and ghosting from reflection. Its lightweight and excellent quality. One downside to this camera is the lack of 4K video capture which may not be important to you anyway, also If you want hyper-telephoto capabilities this camera isn’t for you. It has built in WIFI functionality to instantly transfer your photos without having to connect to your computer. It also has fantastic low light capability due to its large sensor and fast lens, and a really cool popup electronic viewfinder. The screen also swivels for selfie videos and photos. I love this camera!!

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#2 WINNER
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II 

Sensor: 20.1 Megapixel 1″ CMOS

Lens: 24-100mm f/1.8-2.8

Video: 1080p 60 fps

Pros: Great focal length coverage and lens speed. Shoots RAW photos!
High frame rate 60 Fps video.

Cons: Lack of viewfinder and no 4K video.

This is a great camera system. Like the Sony it has a large sensor and fast lens. It has a superior focal length range. This camera has great ergonomics and is easy to use in manual mode. It lacks 4K video and doesn’t have a viewfinder which may not be an issue for you. The G7X has great autofocus speed and is an Enthusiast level camera with excellent image quality. When it comes to video quality this camera is no slouch. With 60 fps video you can shoot great action/ moving scenes and it is great for vlogging thanks to a touch multi-angle screen. It would be hard to see a difference in picture quality between this camera and an enthusiast DSLR.

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#3 WINNER
Panasonic Lumix FZ1000

Sensor: 20.1 Megapixel 1-inch CMOS

Lens: 25-400mm f2.8-4.0

Video: 4K QFHD 30fps

Pros: Good telephoto focal length coverage and lens speed. Shoots RAW photos!

Cons: Bulky and heavy for a point and shoot camera.

This point and shoot has a large sensor and telephoto capability. The downside is that its almost the size and weight of a DSLR. You gain excellent optical quality with this camera so I reckon its worth the extra bulk. There really isn’t another option as small as this that can give you 400mm of zoom and a large sensor size. The other hyper-telephoto’s on this list are smaller but they don’t have a large sensor or the overall image quality that this camera has. If telephoto capabilities and image quality are important to you this is the camera for you. I love the swivel and tilt LCD on this camera, and its 4K video capability.

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BEST VALUE



BEST VALUE

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

Olympus TG-4 Tough

16 Megapixel; 1/2.3-inch CMOS

4.5-18mm, 35mm equivalent f/2.0

1080P HD

#2 WINNER

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K

20 Megapixel, 1”

24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 Leica

4K Ultra HD

#3 WINNER

Canon Powershot G9X

Sensor: 20.2 Megapixel, 1” High-Sensitivity CMOS

24-84mm f/2.0-4.9

1080p Full HD 24fps, 30fps, 60fps

 

#1 WINNER
Olympus TG-4 Tough

Sensor: 16 Megapixel; 1/2.3-inch CMOS

Lens: 4.5-18mm, 35mm equivalent f/2.0

Video: 1080P HD

Pros: Waterproof/Shockproof/Freezproof/Crushproof tough case built for the elements. RAW Capture. GPS/Wifi.

Cons: Small Sensor and mediocre image optics. Limited focal range.

If you’re the hardcore type and need the protection of a rugged unbreakable waterproof design this is the camera system for you. Unfortunately a sacrifice on image quality and sensor size is made for the rugged design. This camera also does not have any meaningful zoom capabilities. It has good low light capture thanks to a fast lens (f/2.0) which will be useful in dark scenes or underwater. Another advantage to this camera is that it has RAW photo capture and microscope (macro) mode. Its also a very lightweight camera which is perfect for hiking and travelling. Its built in WIFI makes sharing the photos a breeze. Its a great addition to your kit for photo/video capture in any condition but lacks telephoto capability and thus as a standalone may not be what you need.

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#2 WINNER
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K

Sensor: 20 Megapixel, 1”

Lens: 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8 Leica

Video: 4K Ultra HD

Pros: 4K video, best lens and lens speed at 24mm. Shoots RAW photos.

Cons: Limited telephoto zoom

What I love the most about this camera is the incredible lens speed (f/1.4) and Leica lens quality. This camera can capture way more light and is amazing in low light scenarios. It also has a touchscreen which is super easy to use. Another big plus compared to the other cameras in this segment are its 4K video capture which may or not be important to you. The LX10 offers a solid focal length range which is suitable for most scenarios but lacks telephoto and hyper-telephoto ranges. A great bonus is the 180 degree tilting touch LCD screen which is great for selfies.

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#3 WINNER
Canon Powershot G9X

Sensor: 20.2 Megapixel, 1” High-Sensitivity CMOS

Lens: 24-84mm f/2.0-4.9

Video: 1080p Full HD 24fps, 30fps, 60fps.

Pros: Same optics and sensor as more expensive G7X Mark II. Shoots RAW photos.

Cons: No hyper-telephoto capabilities. Not great when zoomed in in low light situations.

The G9X is a great camera system with a large high-sensitivity sensor for low light scenes. It offers a good all around focal length range but lacks telephoto and hyper-telephoto capability. Video capture is very good although not 4K. The G9X offers high frame rate video capture for action scenes. The camera lacks an optical viewfinder but makes up for it by having the same image optics and processor as the more expensive G7X Mark 2. The G9X includes WIFI functionality which is very useful. It also has excellent low light focusing and overall image resolution. I love the look and feel of this camera and its really cool in silver. A nice bonus on the G9X is Star Mode which simplifies night sky photography.

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BEST ON A BUDGET



BEST ON A BUDGET

Sensor

Lens

Video

#1 WINNER

Canon PowerShot SX530 HS 

16.0 Megapixel CMOS, High-Sensitivity , 1/2.3 Inch

24–1200mm f/3.4-6.5

1080p Full HD 30fps

#2 WINNER

Canon Powershot SX720HS

20.3 Megapixel CMOS High Sensitivity, 1/2.3 Inch

24-960mm f/3.3-f/6.9

1080p Full HD 60fps

#3 WINNER

Nikon Coolpix L340

20.2 Megapixel CCD, 1/2.3 Inch

22.5-630 mm f/3.1-5.9

720p HD

 

#1 WINNER
Canon PowerShot SX530 HS

Sensor: 16.0 Megapixel CMOS, High-Sensitivity , 1/2.3 Inch

Lens: 24–1200mm f/3.4-6.5

Video: 1080p Full HD 30fps

Pros: Unbelievable Hyper-telephoto focal length.

Cons: Bulkier than other point and shoots but still very portable. Smaller sensor size.
No RAW photo capture capabilities

The SX530 is a serious performer for its price. Although it has a smaller sensor and lower megapixels its hyper-telephoto capability is unrivalled in a point and shoot system. You can literally photograph the craters on the moon with this camera, and the lens has image stabilization built in. Lens speed suffers a bit on this camera and when fully zoomed you’ll need longer exposures to compensate for the f/6.5 aperture- well worth it though for the zoom! It also has WIFI functionality. The SX530 does not have 4K video capture but shoots full HD at a solid 30fps. For the price as expected the camera does not have RAW image capability. The SX530 is not as portable as other point and shoots and resembles a small DSLR. The camera is not ideal for printing/blowing up images due to the smaller sensor and lower megapixels.

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#2 WINNER
Canon Powershot SX720HS

Sensor: 20.3 Megapixel CMOS High Sensitivity, 1/2.3 Inch

Lens: 24-960mm f/3.3-f/6.9

Video: 1080p Full HD 60fps

Pros:Excellent hyper-telephoto focal range. High Sensitivity sensor for low light.

Cons: Smaller sensor size. No RAW photo capture capabilities

The SX720HS is an impressive little camera system. Good megapixels and excellent hyper-telephoto make this a hard camera to pass up on. Offering an impressive 60 fps full HD video capture and excellent size this is a good camera for travelling. The sensor is excellent in low light scenes which is useful because the lens speed is not the best although comparable with the other cameras in this segment. Build in WIFI makes transferring and sharing the images a breeze. This camera unfortunately does not offer RAW image capture, although it does offer full manual controls. Also a great travel size compact camera.

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#3 WINNER
Nikon Coolpix L340 

Sensor: 20.2 Megapixel CCD, 1/2.3 Inch

Lens: 22.5-630 mm f/3.1-5.9

Video: 720p HD

Pros: Great hyper-telephoto focal length and high megapixel sensor.
Cons: No 1080P Video. No RAW photo capture capabilities

For price this camera is a solid purchase. Good sensor megapixels and hyper-telephoto zoom make this a pleasure to shoot with. Its not as portable as other point and shoots but worth it for the zoom. The real downside to this camera is that it doesn’t have 1080 p full HD video. If you’re more interested in photographs and want a zoom then could be the camera for you.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

I recommend sticking to the best value, and of best of the best if you want to be able to harness the full capabilities of the camera system and capture photos in RAW format. RAW format is uncompressed and allows for much more control of the image in post production. If however you mainly want to take pictures of people, nature and things but are not concerned with post production or photo editing at all then any of the cameras will do. Any of these cameras will allow you to learn the manual control of cameras and harness the power of the camera to capture the best exposure. Its also a worthwhile tradeoff to stick with the best value cameras if you really want hyper-telephoto functionality.