While most smartphones today come packed with DSLR-quality video capability, there’s something to be said about having a camera nestled between your thumb and forefinger. Being able to pull out your camera, adjust the lens and check the zoom is something that’s lost on today’s phones. Plus, with all the bells and whistles most standalone cameras come with these days, it’s worth using one even if you plan to keep using your smartphone camera.
The best compact cameras are easy to use and easy to carry, with a ton of advanced features as well. From low-cost budget options to mirrorless cameras that rival some of the biggest DSLRs on the market, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite compact cameras you can find online.
If you’re getting ready to set out on an adventure this summer — or even if you’re just planning on lounging around the neighborhood — these compact cameras make it easier to capture your surroundings in stunning detail.
1. Leica D-Lux 7 Digital Camera
Even though it is a bit pricier than other point-and-shoot cameras, the pictures the Leica D-Lux 7 Digital Camera takes are worth every penny. The camera looks and feels retro, but has all modern capabilities, such as the 17MP Four Thirds MOS Sensor, a sensitivity range up to ISO 25600, an 11-fps continuous shooting rate and UHD 4K30p video recording to capture detailed and brilliant pictures and videos. The Leica D-Lux 7 is for those with a little more camera experience. The manual controls provide the user more control than others in of the point and shoot variety, which ultimately leads to better picture quality, but might leave novice camera users a little flustered. If you feel comfortable with a camera in your hand, this makes for a great point-and-shoot option.
2. Sony A7 III
When you want a powerful camera with all the bells and whistles but without all the added bulk, the Sony a7 III is the camera for you. Known for its blazing-fast autofocus, this camera lets you shoot at an impressive 10Fps to help you hone in on an image and take sudden shots with stunning clarity. Great for snapshot photographers, it has one of the best continuous shooting modes on the market. It’s also no slouch in the pixel department. In fact, with a powerful 24.2-megapixel image sensor, it offers higher resolution quality than most standard DSLRs. Did we mention it also weighs around a pound?
3. Olympus Tough TG-6
If you’re one for adventure, you’ll want a camera that can keep up with you. So if you’re looking for a camera you can throw in your kayak, take on a backpacking trip or throw in your surf bag, then this is one of the best compact cameras for you. The Olympus Tough TG-6 is as durable as compact cameras come. When the weather turns while you’re out and about, you won’t need to worry. It’s waterproof up to 50 feet of water, and when the camera gets a little wet and slippery, it can sustain a drop from seven feet without damage. Beyond being rugged, it takes great pictures. With a number of different scene modes including macro and underwater, you’ll be able to quickly set the mode and point and shoot to capture great pictures. It also has WiFi to connect the camera to your phone and GPS for geo-location, but keep in mind this will drain the battery. It’s a great compact camera option for the adventurer.
4. Panasonic Lumix ZS100
Some people like to get up close and personal. The Panasonic Lumix ZS100 allows photographers to do just that with a 10x optical zoom and 1-inch sensor to capture detailed pictures for when you want to get close, even when you aren’t physically close to your subject. Along with great zooming capabilities, the camera has an intuitive touchscreen interface that allows even the most novice camera users an easy path to navigate the camera’s features. And one of its best is the 4K video the camera can capture, making it a suitable option for more than just great pictures. This camera strikes a great balance of size, quality and usability that justifies upgrading to a point and shoot over your phone’s camera.
5. Polaroid Go
Remember that Polaroid picture of you standing between your parents as you sport a sweater and haircut that makes you question if your parents actually loved you? Even though you wish you could forget the haircut, you probably love the retro look and nostalgia of that instant photo. Now all your photos can have that retro vibe with the brand new Polaroid Go. This fun little camera captures and prints instant pictures that you can watch develop after you take them. There is something awesome about waiting for what the final product will look like as it develops. It’s especially great for special occasions like wedding party photos and fun social gatherings to print silly pictures on the spot for photo books or to slap on the fridge. Get this camera for one main reason: it’s really fun to use and unlike every other Polaroid on the market, this one fits in your pocket.
6. Canon PowerShot Digital Camera G7 X Mark III
BEST FOR VLOGGERS
Looking to get more views on your YouTube page? The Canon G7 X Mark III can be your secret weapon. Canon is known for making the best compact cameras with 4K video shooting, but this small camera also comes with a mic port and the ability to stream directly to YouTube (you’ll need internet). In short, this is a one-stop-shop for vloggers. The flip-up LCD screen makes standing in front of the camera while trying to create a great video easier than other compact cameras, and ensures that you’re perfectly at the angle you want. Beyond video, it uses a 1-inch 20.1MP sensor to take detailed and sharp photos. It also has a quick and reliable burst mode to capture moving subjects frame by frame. For all the features you get at the listed price, it’s been a popular choice amongst travel vloggers far and wide.
7. Sony DSCHX80
BEST EVERYDAY OPTION
For a camera as tiny as the Sony RX100, you’d be surprised at just how many features it comes with. Not only does it boast an impressive 60x clear image zoom (which is great for capturing both distant images and smaller scenes), it also comes with an 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor which is impeccable for low light situations. A great option to have on hand for any occasion, it comes standard with helpful steady shot stabilizer tech and rear and front control dials for ease of use. If all that wasn’t enough, it’s also incredibly lightweight and has a screen that moves up if needed.
8. Ricoh GR III
BEST WIDE ANGLE
If you want to upgrade from your phone’s camera, but you love the wide-angle pictures it takes with all the extra real estate it captures, then the Ricoh GR III is your solution. The 28mm field of view is on par with what an iPhone 11 camera sees but has a much more powerful and detailed DSLR APS-C sensor that adds more brilliance and sharpness to your photos that your phone can’t match. You do sacrifice some portability with the Ricoh, as it is bulkier than other point-and-shoot compact cameras, but it still should be able to fit in most jacket pockets. Its video prowess isn’t as great as that of the G7 X Mark III, but if capturing gorgeous wide-angle photos is your M.O., the Ricoh GR III is a solid option.
9. Canon PowerShot Digital Camera w/Image Stabilization
BEST BUDGET OPTION
No thrills, no-frills, the Canon PowerShot is a classic for a reason. With a super slim and lightweight design, it’s the perfect camera to pop into your pocket and bop around with, and with an impressive 8x optical zoom, it offers an impressive amount of range for such a small camera. It also features a 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor for crisp, vibrant pics. And that’s not all — it comes packed with 720p HD video capability and a built-in stabilizer to help keep your pics steady even if your hands aren’t.
10. Panasonic Lumix 4K Digital Camera
BEST COMPACT CAMERA FOR TRAVEL
Featuring an extra thin design, the Lumix was made to be used on the go. With a 30x LEICA Lens optical zoom and an impressive 18 Megapixel sensor, you’re able to take great pictures without having to sacrifice frame speed or overall image quality. It also comes packed with stunning 4K ultra video, which is able to record your videos at four times the quality of regular HD. While it may not offer the same jaw-dropping features as some of the other options on this list, it’s a powerful camera that sports an ultra-thin design and is just begging to accompany you on your next big adventure.