A point-and-shoot digital camera strikes a happy medium between the camera on your phone and a more expensive SLR or mirrorless camera. If you’re looking for total precision and professional-grade pictures, an SLR or mirrorless will get you those results. But they’re so expensive and bulky that you might be afraid to actually take them anywhere. On the other hand, if you want a camera that’ll take photos that aren’t quite National Geographic-quality, but are still crisp, clear and worlds ahead of your phone camera, it might be worth looking into a point-and-shoot.
As the name implies, a point-and-shoot camera is easy to operate. Aiming at what you want to take a picture of and pressing the shutter button will generally yield consistent and quality results; the camera automatically accounts for factors like light sensitivity and focus. These cameras are typically more travel-friendly too, avoiding the bulk that comes with larger, more advanced models (and their larger lens and accessories). If you’re heading out on a trip and want to capture better pics, keep your phone in your pocket and opt for one of these point-and-shoots instead. Or, use these cams to snap better images for your social media feed; many of these models come with WiFi for instant transfer.
What To Look For In Point And Shoot Cameras
Where will you be using your camera? We’ve included a waterproof option for outdoor lovers, but less expensive, non-waterproof options may be sufficient for your needs.
What is your skill level? We’ve included basic models that are user-friendly and great for beginners, as well as more advanced cameras that are a great option for aspiring photogs.
Will you be filming videos? All of the options on our list can be used to make movies, but two options film in 4K, while the other two only offer 720P.
How We Chose The Best Cameras
As with most tech, there is a wide range of features and price points available for point-and-shoot cameras. We’ve included basic models for beginners, waterproof options for outdoor lovers and one with an extended zoom for those who want to be able to get detailed shots even from a great distance.
1. Canon PowerShot ELPH
The Canon PowerShot ELPH has been one of the most popular point-and-click digital cameras for years and for good reason. Coming in at an affordable price point, the lightweight and powerful camera features 10-times optical zoom with an optical image stabilizer that helps ensure pictures aren’t blurry and show plenty of detail, even when far away. A 20 megapixel CCD sensor comes with a DIGIC 4+ Image Processor that ensures photos are of the highest quality. Take videos in 720P HD and ensure you’re also shooting in the right mode with Smart Auto. Fun options like fisheye and toy camera effects make this a great camera for the whole family. When it’s time to download images and videos, the Elph can be connected via WiFi.
Pros: Excellent zoom, image stabilizer, WiFi capabilities.
Cons: The battery must be removed every time it has to be charged.
2. Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera
A great option for beginners or anyone who wants a camera that won’t weigh them down, the Sony DSCW800/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera is an affordable and lightweight camera that fits easily into your pocket. The Sony features a five-times optical zoom, as well as 20.1 megapixels for detailed images. Take 360-degree panorama photos, reduce blurriness with the steady shot feature, and record videos in 720P HD. A basic camera with intuitive features, the Sony is a great option for beginners or anyone looking for a user-friendly model for pictures and videos.
Pros: Affordable, easy to use, takes photos and videos in 720P HD.
Cons: The LCD screen is somewhat small at 2.7 inches.
3. OLYMPUS Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
For a camera that both the pros and amateurs will love, we like the OLYMPUS Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera. Great for families, the avid outdoorsman, or semi-professional photographers who want a camera that can keep up with their photoshoot, the Olympus is a great option for getting amazing shots in any conditions. The camera is waterproof up to 50 feet, making it ideal for snorkelers and divers. The freeze-proof, anti-fog lens can handle just about any outdoor setting and the camera can shoot in macro, micro and RAW mode. Take stunning 4K movies and enjoy crisp images with the high-resolution F2.0 lens and 8x zoom. Whether your adventure includes rock climbing or traveling with kids, the Olympus is dustproof, shockproof and crushproof.
Pros: Waterproof, saves in RAW format, shoots 4K video.
Cons: High price point.
4. Panasonic Lumix FZ80 4K Digital Camera
This reasonably-priced point-and-shoot camera is packed with features like USB charging and WiFi connectivity, making it a good travel camera. It’s capable of capturing 4K video, and it has a long 60x zoom. The Lumix has a high-resolution viewfinder as well, so it’s easy to ensure you get the photo you want.
Pros: Impressive 60x zoom, shoots 4K video, helpful connectivity options like USB and HDMI.
Cons: Autofocus and save features are a little on the slow side.