How to Find the Best Point and Shoot Camera for Your Needs

Technology  ·  Guides   Updated December 2019

Point and shoot cameras are the biggest segment of the camera market. They are usually compact and simple to use. All the camera needs is to press the shutter button and it will handle the rest. Aperture, focus, light sensitivity and the shutter speed are all automatically adjusted on the fly.

Point and shoot cameras are designed for:

  • those who are not satisfied with the quality of the photos from their cell phone
  • those who don't want to carry anything large like a digital SLR-type camera
  • those who want something relatively easy to use, to take great photos with little effort
  • those who want a camera with super-zoom (10x, 20x and more), but can't afford or don't want a D-SLR camera with zoom lens

How to Choose the Best Point and Shoot?

Point and shoots come in many sizes, shapes and prices. It's quite difficult to choose what to buy. In this article you will find the things to watch out for when deciding what is best for you.

Image Quality

It's not just about megapixels. Today's point-and-shoots all have about 10 and more megapixel sensor and it hardly makes any difference whether it's 10, 12 or 16MP unless you intend to make large prints. If you want to take great photos, camera lens, image stabilization, sensor size and sensitivity are far more important.

Camera Lens

When choosing a camera it is essential to pick the right lens focal length range. This will tell you what field of view (FOV) the camera will be able to cover. For instance, imagine one camera has a focal length range of 28-140mm and another covers 35-175mm. Both of them will have 5x zoom, but the former will offer a wider angle at 28mm, while the latter will have more zoom at 175mm. A wider angle of the 28-140mm lens means the camera will be easier to use in tighter spaces and to take photos of a group of people from closer distance. (e.g. at a party)

Optical Image Stabilization

Image stabilization helps to prevent blurry photos, by compensating for the movement of your shaky hands. This is one of the most important features you should look for, especially when you intend to shoot low light conditions and don't want to use tripod or flash all the time.

High-ISO Performance in Low Light

If you want to take a lot of photos indoor, in the evening, or on a cloudy day, you might want to look into how well your camera performs in low light. ISO setting tells you how much light is collected by the sensor, and the less light you have available, the higher the ISO-setting will get automatically adjusted. In cheaper point-and-shoot cameras, indoor photos taken without flash will often result in unclear noise-filled images. You could use flash for every low-light situation, however the flash has a limited range and the effect is not always good, especially with small flash built in a compact camera.

Size and Functionality

Generally there is a trade-off between how much a camera can do and how big it is. You have to decide whether, for example, an extra large optical zoom is more important than a small size. Superzoom point-and-shoots are almost as big as entry-level D-SLR cameras. If you want a camera with plenty of features and settings to play with, you need to understand that the smaller the camera is, the more difficult it will be to access those settings through smaller buttons and LCD screen. (if touch-enabled)

Recording Videos

Most point-and-shoot cameras have the ability to record HD video. Currently the most popular HD formats are full HD 1080p and 720p most likely to be seen on cheaper models. If video quality is important to you, go for full HD.

In the list below you can find the models, which are particularly outstanding and popular among users:

Sony Cyber-shot RX100

This point and shoot from Sony is packed with technology and offers features rarely seen in compact cameras. It packs a 20.1 megapixel back illuminated CMOS sensor and a bright F1.8-F2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonar lens. It means you can shoot high resolution 4K videos even in low light conditions. RX100 even offers a high frame mode with up to 960 frames per second! A retractable OLED viewfinder and a 3" LCD display make it easy it work with. The camera can communicate with smartphone apps through Wi-Fi and NFC.

   
    Sony Cyber-shot RX100
In Stock.
Amazon
User Comments & Reviews
The most expensive point and shoot camera I've ever owned, but read the reviews and articles and you'll see it's got a cult following!  
Gone With the Wynns ·  Best Sailing Blogs
Want a REALLY nice point-and-shoot cam? Look no further.  
Long Long Honeymoon ·  Best RV Blogs
So far, this is our favorite, delivering excellent quality images, especially in low-light situations.  
RV Love ·  Best RV Blogs
I love it so much that it was my main camera at Burning Man this year…  
Stuck In Customs ·  Best Photography Blogs
The quality of the images is admirable for such a small camera.  
Dan Carr Photography ·  Best Photography Blogs

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II

The PowerShot G7X Mark II delivers high performance in a compact package. It has a 20.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and Canon's DIGIC 7 processor, which together produce beautiful images even in low-light situations. That is partly thanks to an excellent and fast F/1.8-2.8 lens with 4.2x optical zoom (24-100mm). The lens has a 9-blade diaphragm, which allows beautiful blurred backgrounds.

The camera has a buil-tin Wi-Fi and NFC for easy sharing.

   
    Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II
In Stock.
Amazon

Canon PowerShot SX50

Canon PowerShot SX50 comes with 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor. The wide-angle lens offers a huge 50x optical zoom (24-1200mm) as well as optical image stabilization. This lens range, as well as high image quality at any zoom level means that you can handle almost any indoor or outdoor scene without having to carry several cameras/lenses. Canon offers RAW image support, as well as full manual controls, the features typically not seen in on other point-and-shoot cameras. The angle of 2.8 inch LCD display can be adjusted for your specific needs. The camera can shoot movies at 1080p/24 fps with stereo sound. The weight is approx. 1.30 pounds.

There is a newer model of Canon PowerShot - SX60.

   
    Canon PowerShot SX50
In Stock.
Amazon
User Comments & Reviews
I have been stunned at the capabilities of this camera and especially how clear and crisp that 50X zoom is in getting me up close to wildlife and nature shots.  
Roadtreking ·  Best RV Blogs

Sony HX400V/B 20.4 MP

HX400V/B from Sony is a great camera for travel photographers. It's equipped with ZEISS super-zoom lens (50x) and a sensitive 20.4 MP Exmor sensor specially designed for low light conditions. Thanks to optical image stabilization the blur is kept to minimum. HX400V/B can shoot full HD 1080p videos at 60 and 24fps. The camera can connect to smartphones via Wi-Fi or NFC link, which is especially convenient when sharing images with your Android app. The images can be  geotagged as the camera records GPS location data as you take your photos and shoot videos. The included battery lasts around 300 photos.

   
    Sony HX400V/B 20.4 MP
In Stock.
Amazon
User Comments & Reviews
It’s the phenomenal zoom capability that we love most about this camera – brilliant for capturing wildlife or any object from a distance.  
RV Love ·  Best RV Blogs
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