9 Best Point and Shoot Cameras in 2017
The solution, a “point and shoot camera”. For casual photographers, their phone cameras are never good enough and DSLRs are way too advanced for them. If you are also caught up in the dilemma where you have to find something that is in between your lousy smartphone camera and a highly professional DSLR then dont worry anymore because we have got a solution for you.
Best Point and Shoot Camera Collection of 2017
- Ricoh GR II Compact Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD
- Canon PowerShot G7 X Point and Shoot Camera
- Canon SX530 PowerShot Wifi Point and Shoot Camera
- Nikon Coolpix L840 Compact Camera with 38x Optical Zoom
- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100K 4K Pocket Camera
- Olympus TG-4 16 MP Waterproof Travel Camera
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 Digital Camera with Built-In Wi-Fi
- Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS60 18 Megapixel Camera with 4K Video
- Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II Digital Point and Shoot Camera
A point and shoot Camera, also known as a compact/pocket camera or small camera is an easy to carry camera that gives you a much better picture and video quality than your regular smartphone camera. And the best thing about these cameras is that they are very pocket-friendly, even in comparison to a lot of smartphones.
However, do not for a moment think that being inexpensive, these cameras wont be that impressive and would just be a single step ahead of phone cameras, because that certainly isnt the case. Not only are these cameras super advanced, but, with a little bit of practice, you can even click DSLR quality pictures with these cameras. How cool, right?
Now, the question is which is the best point and shoot camera for you? Well, there isnt any single best point and shoot camera out there, as anything that fits your requirement would be the best one for you. However, considering all the latest features and other attributes, we have jotted down the list of best point and shoot cameras of 2017, which you can choose from.
Can't Find What You're Looking For?View More Cameras
Point and Shoot Camera Buying Guide
What is a Point and Shoot Camera?
A point and shoot camera is a device having a simple operation of photography. It is primarily built for the people who are not professional photographers and so it entails focus free lenses or autofocus for focusing. Other technical functions such as exposure control and brightness are also automated in it. Automatic flash units are a built-in feature of a point and shoot camera.
Point and shoot cameras are by far the best selling cameras all over the globe but last 6-7 years have seen a decline in their market due to the advancement of cameras in smartphones. But people still have a knack for using these in parties, reunions, vacations and other events.
Point and shoot cameras are also known as Compact Cameras due to their efficient and sleek design, shape, weight, and size. Many compact cameras have an optical zoom function in it and it is even up to 30X optical zoom in super zoom compact cameras and their weight is just around 300 grams which are way lesser than a normal equi-spec bridge or DSLR cameras.
By far a major chunk of digital camera market are the point-and-shoot/compact models, being easy to use, and typically take great pictures with minimal effort. You simply press the shutter button, and the camera automatically adjusts shutter speed, aperture, focus, and light sensitivity to capture a clear image with optimal color. Unlike Digital SLRs which offer larger image sensors, more manual control, and interchangeable lenses, point-and-shoot cameras can often slip into a pocket and are typically less expensive.
Deciding to buy a point-and-shoot camera is the simple part, but with a plenty of models available in the market with varying price ranges and feature sets to choose from, selecting the best one is no more an easy feat. So here we are, offering a solution these problems of yours, go through the following guidelines and in the end, youll definitely be clear in your head what to look for.
Is it a worthy investment at all?
Yes, it sure is due to following reasons
- Simple to use
- capturing the precious moments which one cherishes after sometime
- mobile phones keep on changing but cameras are not that frequently changing item
- quite handy to use easy to carry
- waterproof ones for using in all-weather scenarios
- even kids can use
- cost effective as compared to latest smartphones or DSLRs
- HD photos and videos add into the qualities of a compact camera
Types of Point and Shoot Cameras
There are three different categories of pocket cameras to choose from. To help narrow down the options out of all available, first deciding factor is to choose the type of camera you need. Following are the main types of point and shoot cameras with regards to their use:
Enthusiast cameras are the most advanced and professional level Point and Shoot Cameras thus far. Since there has been a continuous improvement in the quality and performance of the cameras lately, manufacturers are now shifting their focus majorly to the professional grade point and shoot cameras.
The majority of enthusiast cameras feature large sensors, multiple features, faster lenses and 4K video recording options. You can see a number of enthusiasts in our listed cameras. A new type of camera is entering the market, the 360 degree filming camera that can take a full rotations worth of images of video in one swoop.
The medium range point and shoot cameras generally come loaded with features just like enthusiasts but one thing that differentiates them from professional level P&S cameras is their smaller size of the image sensor, many of which are usually 2/3 inches in size.
Medium range point and shoot camera would be an excellent choice for you if are looking for a good level of zoom and performance at a mediocre price range and are not planning to enlarge your pictures.
Entry level compact cameras, as their name suggest, are very basic cameras and are for the beginner level of photographers. However, with much more advanced cameras available now, this category is slowly fading from the markets. The reason is that the rise in camera smartphones have taken the place of these very basic cameras because there isnt much difference in the result of both.
For instance, the latest models of phones from Apple and some other smartphone companies comes with pretty high-end cameras like professional drones with various shooting modes that work better than most of the entry level point and shoot cameras. And even if a basic level camera is slightly better in performance, it is still impractical to keep it in addition to your camera cell phone.
Anyhow, this doesnt mean that this type is completely useless. It is still very useful. Not everybody owns a camera phone or a phone that has an impressive camera. If that is the case, then it is perfectly fine to choose an entry level camera as your first one. We have reviewed the top Point-and-Shoot cameras under $500, click here to check out the guide.
Secondly, it is a good option for you if you are on a budget. And lastly, if you have no knowledge regarding photography, then also it would be a great option to start off with an entry-level P&S.
Major Deciding Factors
Controls and Settings
One of the many important factors to consider while selecting your camera is the number of buttons and controls on it. It can give you the idea how much control would you have over your camera. The multiple settings and shooting modes give you the liberty to explore your camera in-depth.
However, the cameras that are loaded with controls could be a little difficult to operate but, thats not always the case as some cameras are quite user-friendly than the others. So, how to decide on this factor? Well, it solely depends on your own preference.
If you want to have a deep control over your photos then you must go for the one which has various settings for shooting and great physical controls. And if you dont want such an in-depth control, a camera with lesser controls would work just fine.
Point and Shoot Cameras come with fixed lenses, unlike the DSLRs or mirrorless cameras that come with switchable lenses. P&S cameras come with a wide variety of zoom, which you have already seen in our listed products. Superzoom cameras are becoming a prevalent trend this year, which offer a zoom range of 1000mm or above.
We all know that smartphones are extremely poor when it comes to zoom and thats one of the reasons people have to keep these cameras besides their phones. Superzoom cameras provide a pretty long range of zoom, for instance, Canon PowerShot sX530 HS, that has an optical zoom of 24-1200 mm and doesnt even cost that much.
Nevertheless, superzoom cameras have their own little issues too. First of all, they are pretty heavy and huge then regular P&S cameras and they usually have small sensors, mostly 1/2.3 inches. But, if you dont mind carrying them then they are quite fun to use outdoor.
For deciding which one you should go for, you must thoroughly think about the types of picture that you are going to take generally. For wide angled pictures get 18-24mm, for portraits get 50-100mm, for outdoor and street imagery get 24-35mm and 100mm or above for telephotos. Dont get a superzoom unless you are planning to use it more frequently.
The sensor of the camera plays all the major part in producing an image. The sensor collects all the required information that ends up in creating a photograph. Generally, all the best point and shoot cameras come with sensors that range from 1-1/2.3.
Usually, large sensors shoot very detailed photographs even in the lesser light as compared to the small sensors and produce overall excellent images with great noise reduction in darker scenarios, yet, it is not impossible to have a good quality small sensor and bad quality large sensor.
Aperture of the Camera
Another vital deciding factor, after the sensor, is the aperture of the camera. Aperture and shutter speed together are responsible for the amount of light passing through the lens onto the sensor. The lower number of aperture means more light will pass to the sensor and vice versa in case of high aperture number.
Therefore, the aperture number has a strong influence on the quality and look of the picture. The majority of the lenses come with high aperture numbers but, the greater and more focused pictures can only be achieved with lower aperture numbers like f/1.4 or f/1.8.
The reason why it happens is because low aperture limits provide a shallow depth of field to your pictures, thereby, producing blurry backgrounds while keeping all the focus on the main subject. And as this number keeps decreasing, the effect keeps multiplying.
Aperture also has in impact on your photos when capturing in the dim light. Many people increase the sensor sensitivity (ISO) for capturing brighter images in low light because the brightness of the pictures is directly proportional to the sensor sensitivity. But, increasing the ISO also increases the noise and grains in your final pictures.
But, with a low aperture camera, it is not required to increase the ISO, as the aperture itself is capable of broadening the iris of the camera and hence letting the camera accumulate more light for creating noise free brighter images.
Video capturing ability of the camera is also one of the most desirable features in P&S cameras besides the zoom feature. The standard HD 1080 resolution is pretty common to find in cameras of this year. There are some low priced models as well that still offer just a 720p resolution video but they are very rare and are quickly retreating.
On the other hand, a lot of professional pocket cameras are also coming with 4K video recording option, which means you can capture the videos in full HD, just like in DSLR. When it comes to the quality of the video, the resolution is not the only measure but a lot of other factors also step in to make a great quality video. Those factors include image size, sensor size, ISO sensitivity, and some other features.
Testing various movie speeds by recording at different levels of fps is also a good idea to check how it turns out. The premium P&S cameras generally offer multiple video speeds, which you can select from. Lastly, some cameras come with dedicated movie buttons, which means that you can directly start recording by pressing that button instead of having to go through the whole menu.
If you want a camera that really makes you feel like you have upgraded from a smartphone then a camera with dedicated movie button would do great. If you are into vlogging and make videos on the move, take a look at our latest review of vlogging cameras here. Alternatively, if you are after a camera with a flip out screen, click here for our latest review.
The image stabilization is responsible for capturing non-blurry pictures by negating the effect of the capturers hand movement while holding the camera. This feature results in steadier, clearer and sharper pictures.
When using SLR cameras, people usually set up tripod stands for keeping their cameras steady. But, you cant use a tripod stand with a point and shoot camera, as the major reason people get P&S over a DSLR is because they are light in weight and because you dont have to carry extra equipment for keeping your camera.
The image stabilization is available in both digital and optical formats just like zoom, but in digital stabilization, the resolution of the image gets compromised in most of the cases. Therefore, these cameras should come with both the formats for achieving the best picture quality and resolution.
There are many inexpensive cameras out there too that do not have this feature, so always ensure that the camera you are selecting does offer this.
Electronic and OpticalViewfinders
A viewfinder is located on top of your camera that instantly gives you the view to the pictures instead of having to watch them on the rear LCD screen. But, not every professional grade point and shoot camera comes with an optical or electronic viewfinder.
If you are a professional and enthusiast photographer who has to capture huge amounts of pictures every now and then, then a viewfinder is your need. But, then again, it is quite occasional to find electronic viewfinders on these cameras and a few mirrorless cameras as well.
However, some high-end cameras do come with viewfinders, so, you can choose from them because they are certainly beneficial as compared to those with no viewfinders.
Choosing a Memory Card for Point and Shoot Camera
Thanks to the modern technology and its continual progress, storage of the pictures is not an issue anymore. Class 10 SD cards that used to be pretty expensive and slow a decade ago, now come with exhilarating speeds, which make data transfer just a matter of minutes.
Coming towards which memory card would work best with your camera, all you have to keep in mind is that the card must be of the latest technology, which is class 10, as we just mentioned above. And it should offer a read speed of around 50-60 MB per second.
You can also get a memory card that is waterproof, impact proof and can take high temperatures. This type of card would work excellent with rugged cameras like Olympus TG-4. But, if your requirement doesnt call for a durable memory card then you should just keep the speed of the card as your main priority.
Lastly, when its about storage, it completely depends upon your need but a 16 GB card is enough to store a lot of photographs, but then again, if you are a very frequent user, then you can get 32GB or 64 GB cards as well.
Things That Should be Avoided in P&S Cameras
Well, everybody can tell you about what to look for in a point and shoot camera, but you also need to keep a few things in mind that are to be avoided in such cameras. If no one else has told you that as yet, dont worry, what are we here for? Read them ahead.
Inferior Image Quality
The only reason you would like to upgrade to a point and shoot digital camera from your smartphone is the image quality. There are many cameras out there that do not provide an image quality that can be differentiated from that of a smartphone. Thats really not why you are buying your separate camera other than your smartphone, isnt it?
Therefore, whenever choosing a point and shoot camera, always keep the image quality as your top priority otherwise there is no point in buying a digital camera if you are still going to click pictures that look like they were taken from your cellphone.
Very Small Zoom
Another thing while upgrading to the best point and shoot camera is to look for the one that offers high zoom lens. The bigger the better works in this case. If you end up buying a camera with small zoom lens, then you will have no fun capturing zoomed images as you wont be able to zoom much.
Since smartphone cameras do not feature optical zoom, a point and shoot digital camera with a small zoom lens would give you the feel as if you are clicking pictures on a smartphone rather than a digital camera. Therefore, always look for good and bigger zoom lens as it will give you so much liberty to capture things that you cant click with your phone up close.
Compromised Light Performance
Buying a camera that doesnt work well in low light would be quite a disappointment for you. Generally, the inexpensive and lower priced cameras do not produce very impressive low light images, but thats not always the case. There are some inexpensive cameras too that capture excellent low light shots, but those are quite rare.
Anyhow, the point is poor low light performance could be the absolute worst drawback in your camera so you must avoid it any cost. These cameras due to their slow performance in low light, result in shutter lag and ultimately deliver compromised image quality. If you dont have enough money to get a high-end or premium camera, then go for the one with a good flash unit, to have better low light photographs.
Other Major Signs of a Good P&S Camera
Although we have discussed all the attributes that you need to look for while selecting a point and shoot camera, but there are some key points that should be checked before anything else. What are those points? Scroll down and see for yourself.
Since these cameras are intended for beginner level photographers that do not have any knowledge about photography, therefore, these cameras need to be very easy to operate for everyone. The more manual controls it will have, the more complicated it is going to get.
Though a lot of controls and buttons do give these cameras a fancy look, just like a DSLR, but its better to leave it only to them and focus on the image, zoom and lens quality of the camera. A good point and shoot camera doesnt have to be loaded with controls and should be as easy to use as your smartphone camera, but with much better results.
However, if you are one of those with good photography knowledge then there isnt any issue in going for a bit complicated point and shoot camera. Yet, it is advisable to go for the easy ones for quick use.
Though all of the above-mentioned things are enough to know that a camera is of good quality but a few additional features further add to the cameras value. Those additional features include connectivity options like Wi-Fi and NFC, multiple shooting modes for fun and creative photography.
Other additional features may be the ruggedness, the ability to capture pictures under water, tilting LCD display and colorful exterior designs of the camera. These features do not have any impact on the image quality and cameras performance; so, do not make them your key priorities while choosing the best point and shoot camera for yourself.
This means that these attributes are desirable in a camera but certainly not mandatory. Nonetheless, if you can easily find these features in a camera, which is already fulfilling all of your basic requirements, then these features are surely going to enhance your photography experience.
What is an Optical Zoom Lens?
While buying a point and shoot camera, there are many things that count, for instance, the numbers of MPs and screen sizes. But, these measurements are not enough to know if the camera is good enough or not. The cameras zoom capabilities matter a lot too. There are generally two configurations of zoom, which are digital zoom and optical zoom.
Both of these zoom lenses are meant to enlarge the image, but both of these work in drastically different ways and hence end up in producing completely different results. And if you are thinking that which one of them is better? Then let us tell you that only the optical zoom lens is the one that is reliable and beneficial for every photographer in the long run.
Coming towards optical zoom, lets take a deeper look at it. First, you must know that the optical zoom lens on your camera works in the similar way as any zoom lens works on a typical camera. And how does a typical lens work? It starts off by accumulating the light rays and throwing them onto the sensor of your digital camera.
The distance to the point where all the rays are gathered (focal point) or focused from the lens is called the focal length of the lens. A zoom lens, unlike other fixed lenses, contains many movable glass components inside it. With making some adjustments to those components, a change can be produced in the focal length of the lens.
The adjustment of the focal length results in changing the distance of the view. And it also decreases the view field, which eventually makes the focused image seem enlarged. The digital cameras with optical zoom lenses capture the similar amount of pixels when the image is magnified.
The only thing that keeps changing is the type of light rays that are projected on the sensor for forming those pixels.
What are The Benefits of a Point and Shoot Camera Over a DSLR?
You must be thinking what an absurd thing it is to compare a point and shoot camera with a DSLR. You are not wrong to think that way as we all know that DSLRs are unquestionably superior to point and shoot cameras when it comes to performance and image quality. However, what you dont know is that your point and shoot camera also keeps some cards up its sleeve, which you dont know about.
Does this mean that point and shoot cameras have some advantages over DSLR cameras? Yes, they have! So, do not think that your point and shoot camera is any less than DSLR. Lets take a look at those benefits.
Size First and most important of all is the size of point and shoot cameras, which is generally very handy and compact. Even the bulkiest of point and shoot cameras take a lot lesser room as compared to any DSLR. You can easily fit these cameras everywhere you want, even in your pocket. So, moving around with this camera is quite easy.
It is just as if you are carrying your smartphone everywhere with you, which lets you capture the sudden important moments right then and there instead of waiting to bring your DSLR until the moment is gone.
Price The biggest benefit of them all is, of course, the price difference. No matter how advanced your point and shoot camera might be, it will always be cheaper as compared to a DSLR. Alternatively, you can take a look at our recent review of the best digital cameras for under $200 right here. Thats also one of the reasons people choose point and shoot cameras over DSLRs.
User-Friendly As mentioned above as well, point and Shoot cameras are famous for their ease of use. You dont have to go through the whole menu to understand the simple functions of your camera, neither do you have to get confused with a lot of buttons and controls.
On the other hand, using a DSLR is not an easy job if you want to create images of your choice. Secondly, the massive number of controls on the DSLR would leave a beginner level photographer totally baffled.
Weight Another distinguishing advantage that makes our point and shoot cameras better than DSLRS are their light weight designs. Only a few of these cameras are a bit heavy but even their heaviest ones are still quite lesser than any regular DSLR.
Because of that and the smaller size, there is no need for you to carry around extra bags or tripod stands or any other accessories, as the camera alone is quite sufficient for you. And thats the whole point of these cameras that they should be easy to carry.
Anyhow some of the advanced SLR-like point and shoot cameras could be a little on the heavy side due to their massive zoom lenses.
Fixed Lens Imagine you see your child taking his first steps or speaking his first words. What would you do? Naturally, you would rush to get your camera and record those precious moments. But what if by the time you are finished mounting your camera lens to its body, that moment is gone? Thatd be terrible.
Thats something that can be avoided using a point and shoot camera, as these cameras come with fixed lenses and you do not have to keep mounting and dismounting the lens all the time. All you have to do is, turn it on and click the picture or record the video. Voila!
Immense Depth of Field In simple words, it means that point and shoot cameras treat the background and foreground equally and create an overall sharp image that makes the whole scene look focused. This has both advantages and disadvantages, but if you are at some visually beautiful place, you certainly wouldnt want the camera to blur up your background.
Can Point and Shoot Cameras Take Great Still Photos?
The biggest question on everyones mind while buying any camera is that whether it will be able to take great still photos or not? Well, in the case of point and shoot camera, it certainly can take some really great quality photos that could be at par with images produced from DSLRs. But, you need to take care of a few things and make a few adjustments to get that picture quality.
Adjust Your Settings First and most important way to take great quality photos is adjusting the camera settings as per the given situation. Good photography isnt just about a premium quality camera; a lot of other factors also play their part in it, one of which is the location. Like if you are in a mountain region or in a lush green valley then you should adjust the camera to landscape mode and start capturing.
If that doesnt work for you then try other modes and keep trying each one of them until you find the one that truly clicks. Although landscape modes take pretty excellent quality pictures, but you should keep playing with the modes and other settings until you are actually satisfied.
Just never think of your P&S camera to be unable to capture fine looking images. All it takes is patience, practice and knowing which settings work best for you.
Lighting Another very important factor to consider is the lighting situation of the place you are clicking pictures at. A lot of people dont take care of the lighting and then they keep whining about how their cameras are useless in darker situations. Obviously, your camera isnt a DSLR, so it cant work that well in low light as a DSLR, but with some tiny adjustments, you can easily achieve the photos you want.
Firstly, always try to find a place that has enough lighting for taking a good shot. However, thats not always possible, so, for taking high definition photos in dim light always use a flash, thats rule number one for usage of point and shoot cameras in the dark. Also, always make sure to place the subject in front of the light source for direct light exposure. That will create very bright images.
Choose Backgrounds Wisely It is generally advisable to keep the background simple. If you keep the background extra busy, it will take away the attention from the main subject of the picture, and would result in a very distracting image for the viewer. This is why you always have to steer clear from the locations that are messy and crowded.
Graphic patterns on the backgrounds can also be distractive, so, stay away from those as well. The blurry effect in the background can give your pictures a high-class look but thats a bit hard to achieve from P&S cameras due to their extraordinary depth of field. But, thats not totally impossible and if you are taking the pictures from a close-up, then youd be able to achieve that effect pretty well.
Framing Portraits You might not believe it but a lot of people dont even know where to put the subject in the frame. This is the trait that sets professional level photographers apart from the beginners. The elementary rule for framing while shooting portraits is to almost completely fill up your frame with the subject while leaving just a little of the surrounding so that the viewers focus directly go on the subject.
The quality of how your portrait turns out is directly proportional to how closely you have framed your subject. If you are shooting single subject then use vertical format and for group portraits, the horizontal format would work fine. However, it doesnt mean you cant shoot single portraits using a horizontal format because you certainly can. Just keep the focus on the face.
Other Portrait Rules In conventional photography, the subject is always kept in exactly the middle of the frame. This undoubtedly achieves the purpose by keeping the attention of the viewer on the subject. But, it can get really dull because every second portrait you see would look like this.
To make the picture a bit more interesting, play a little with the placement of the subject by keeping the subject a little away from the center. But make sure the subject is just slightly off to either of sides and not completely in the corner.
Doing so wont only result in an interesting image but would also ensure the attention stays on the subject. Another thing to take care of is that you should keep the whole subject in the frame without cutting off any body parts.
If you dont want to take a full picture then just click the head and shoulders but never cut off the subject at the midriff or at their knees. If you want to click more than head and shoulders then capture the entire body as it will give wholeness to the picture.
Although ensuring all of these things may sound like a lot of work in the beginning but once you get a hang of it, it will be a cakewalk for you to capture great quality images in no time.
The Final Word
The camera market has been highly under pressure, especially the entry level ones, ever since the smartphones started coming with good quality cameras and began to take over them. But, it is not the case with mid-range to professional level cameras as they are incessantly flourishing.
You can get all those amazing features in a P&S camera, which you cant find in your smartphone camera; a large sized sensor, massive zoom lens, connectivity options and even 4K resolution cameras are just to name a few.
No matter if you are a professional photographer or just click pictures out of your hobby and interest, a P&S camera is something that can provide an amazing photography experience to anyone. And the biggest advantage of these cameras is their handiness and ease of use whenever you want.
After going through our complete guide, we are sure that you will be able to make a wise decision for yourself. But, if you still need any help or guidance then you can simply visit here.