Point-and-shoot cameras may once have been looked down on as tools for beginner photographers, but that's definitely not the case now. Compact cameras (a term meaning a camera with a fixed lens, sometimes with zoom functionality and sometimes without) have evolved in sophistication and now are used alongside the best DSLRs by pros in every photographic field.
These cameras are perfect for creatives who don't want to do too much gear admin or heavy lifting: with the lens permanently attached, a compact camera allows you to just pick it up and go. While there are many great cameras out there, picking the compact that's right for you can be a daunting task. That's why we're here to help, with our guide to the best compacts on the market right now.
Of course, the best point-and-shoot camera for you depends on your expectations and your budget. As a general rule, cameras with 1in, APS-C and full-frame sensors will perform to a better standard than others, as will those with fixed-focal-length lenses rather than zooms – but this will be reflected in their price.
You should also look out for cameras with tilting LCD screens if you want to get creative, as well as viewfinders if you tend to shoot outdoors with any frequency. A long zoom is great for holidays and travelling. However, this feature tends to be accompanied by a narrower maximum aperture range – which can make the camera harder to use in low light and when looking to create shallow depth of field.
Here are the best point-and-shoot cameras right now – whatever your budget.
01. Sony RX100 Mark IV
The best point-and-shoot camera overall
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in tilting screen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36million dots | Continuous shooting speed: 16fps | Video: 4K | Level: Enthusiast
The best point-and-shoot camera right now is the Sony RX100 Mark IV. Sony has wisely chosen to keep all six of its RX100 cameras in production and widely available since each one's respective launch, which means there’s a strong possibility one will suit your specific needs and budget.
While the company’s most recent two models still have an asking price that sails close to their RRPs, the Mark IV continues to hit the sweet spot between features, performance, size and price.
This point-and-shoot camera is an ideal all-rounder for the more discerning user. On top of a 20.1MP 1in sensor and a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 optic, the camera has a high-quality pop-up viewfinder, together with a tilting LCD screen that goes all the way around to face the front, and even 16fps burst shooting for critical captures. 4K video and HD recording to a staggering 960fps for slow-motion output are also on hand (making this our pick of the best point-and-shoot cameras for film, too) as is Wi-Fi and NFC for simple cable-free communication between the camera and smart device. It’s not the cheapest option out there, but you get a solid performer for your money, whatever you might be photographing.
02. Panasonic Lumix ZS100 / TZ100
A tiny but capable camera, packed full of tech
Type: Superzoom compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 25-250mm (equiv) f/2.8-5.9 | Screen: 3in fixed touchscreen LCD, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 1.16million dots | Max burst speed: 30fps | Video: 4K | Level: Intermediate
Panasonic's TZ100 may not be the newest in the TZ range of travel zooms, but many would argue that it's one of the top-tier examples of what a compact camera should be. To be honest, it's hard to disagree. Packing a 1-inch sensor into a tiny body, and sporting a useful all-purpose 25-250mm equivalent zoom range, the TZ100 is equipped to handle any and all shooting situations, and sweetening the pot still further is the addition of Panasonic's trademark 4K modes, including burst shooting at up to 30fps and the intriguing Post Focus, which allows the user to reselect their focus point after an image has been taken. It's great to see a viewfinder on a camera of this size as well; it truly is impressive just how much tech Panasonic managed to pack into this little model. Absolutely top-class stuff.
03. Leica Q (Typ 116)
If you have a bigger budget, this modern full-frame smasher should be at the top of your list
Sensor: Full frame | Megapixels: 24MP | Lens: 28mm f/1.7 | Monitor: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting speed: 10fps | Video: Full HD | Level: Expert
Leica’s excellent M-series rangefinders are probably the last kind of camera that would make this list, but the firm’s Q (Typ 116) model is a different beast. It blends classic good looks with modern trappings, from autofocus and built-in Wi-Fi through to a 3in touchscreen and a superb 3.68million-dot electronic viewfinder. The 24MP full-frame sensor allows it to easily capture better images than most other compacts, although the fixed-focal length 28mm f/1.7 lens in front of it – while optically excellent – may prove limiting for those who may need a zoom. This is a no-compromise point-and-shoot camera that produces exquisite stills, but it’s asking price very much reflects this – definitely one for the purist. It's worth noting as well, however, that the Leica Q2 was recently announced, so we may see a (probably mild) price reduction for this model fairly soon.
04. Nikon Coolpix P1000
A huge zoom and a big camera – but with a small sensor
Type: Superzoom compact | Sensor: 1/2.3in | Megapixels: 16MP | Lens: 24-3000mm (equiv) f/2.8-8.0 | Screen: 3.2in tilting LCD, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Max burst speed: 7fps | Video: 4K | Level: Beginner/enthusiast
Nikon's largest superzoom went from big to ridiculous with this update. The Nikon Coolpix P1000 boasts a lens with a whopping equivalent focal range of 24-3000mm. Yes, 3000mm. At that distance, you can expect to pick out details on the surface of the moon (as indeed many users have done), and you can monitor all this either with the high-resolution electronic viewfinder or the tilting LCD screen on the camera's rear (not a touchscreen, unfortunately).
It does come with trade-offs, as you might expect. The camera itself is an extremely hefty piece of kit, while its 1/2.3in sensor is comparatively small and suffers in terms of dynamic range because of it. Still, Nikon has packed an impressive amount of tech in here, including superzoom essentials such as Dual Detect VR (vibration reduction, compensating for camera shake), and the P1000 is undoubtedly unrivalled in superzoom stakes.
05. Sony RX1R II
The best Sony point-and-shoot camera is unashamedly niche, but you won’t find this sweet set of specs on any other compact
Type: Enthusiast compact | Sensor: Full-frame | Megapixels: 42.4MP | Lens: 35mm f/2 | Screen: 3in fixed LCD, 1.28million dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2.359million dots | Max burst speed: 5fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Level: Enthusiast/professional
Picture, for a minute, a compact camera that features a 42MP full-frame sensor from an acclaimed mirrorless model that’s relied upon by the pros, together with a 399-point phase-detect AF system, a wide-aperture ZEISS-branded lens, a gorgeous electronic viewfinder and a tilting LCD screen, all inside a body that will just about sit in the palm of your hand. That’s precisely what the Sony RX1R II offers, a camera that’s perhaps most at home outside of the home, right on the street where its 35mm lens and f/2 aperture will help the documentary photographer capture images of a exemplary standard. On the downside, the camera’s battery life is nothing special, and the lack of 4K video means it’s looking a little dated already. Still, if the Leica Q Typ 116 (option #3) is a little outside of your price range and APS-C just won’t do, this resolution monster is a clear winner.
06. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
The best Canon point-and-shoot camera, with great handling, Raw shooting and plenty of manual control
Type: Compact | Sensor: 1in | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-100mm (equiv) f/1.8-2.8 | Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04million dots | Viewfinder: No | Maximum continuous shooting: 8fps | Max video resolution: Full HD | Level: Enthusiast
While Canon carries more advanced models in its PowerShot compact lineup than the G7 X Mark II, this do-it-all compact has the best balance of portability, image quality and usability. A great all-in-one walkaround camera for those wanting malleable Raw files or print-ready JPEGs alike, the substantial grip makes it far nicer to handle than Sony’s RX100-series models, while a lens control ring, a tilting LCD with great touch-sensitivity, built-in ND filter and Raw shooting with in-camera processing make it as capable in operation as it is in the quality of its output. However, for a camera of its size, it’s a pity that Canon hasn’t found space for an electronic viewfinder. The camera’s PowerShot G9 X Mark II stablemate is also worth a look if you like the basic idea of the G7X Mark II, but want something slightly slimmer – although its lens isn’t as wide nor as long, and its screen is fixed in place.
07. Fujifilm X100F
Pricey but much loved, this retro compact exudes style and spits out nothing but quality results
Sensor: APS-C | Megapixels: 24.3MP | Lens: 35mm (equiv) f/2 | Monitor: 3in fixed, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: Hybrid optical/EVF, 2.4million dots | Max burst speed: 8fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | Level: Enthusiast/professional
With only a handful of compacts in Fujifilm’s stable these days, it’s the well established, very respected Fujifilm X100F that makes the cut. While pricier than the XF10, it’s hard to fault: a respected 24MP X-Trans CMOS sensor, a sharp, wide-aperture lens equivalent to 35mm, and a clever hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder are just the main highlights from a glittering spec sheet. Whether you’re shooting Raw or JPEGs, the results are filled with detail, while a collection of Film Simulation modes give you the option to treat images at once with a range of effects reminiscent of the company’s popular film emulsions. If you need 4K video then it’s probably best to hang on for the XF10, or look towards the company’s X-T20 or X-T2 mirrorless bodies, but for everything else the X100F is golden – particular for street and documentary work.
08. Panasonic LX100 II
A stylish and capable compact with a clever multi-aspect sensor
Type: Compact | Sensor: Four Thirds | Megapixels: 17MP | Lens: 24-75mm (equiv.) f/1.7-2.8 | Screen: 3in touchscreen, 1,240,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF, 2,760,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 11fps | Video: 4K | Level: Enthusiast
Photographers had been waiting a long time for a follow-up to Panasonic's original LX100, released in 2014. Happily, when 2018 rolled around, the LX100 II did not disappoint. Though it's built around a 21MP Four Thirds sensor, the LX100 II cannily only uses a portion of this for image-taking (to a maximum of 17MP) allowing for easy switching of image aspect ratios on the fly – a task handily accomplished via the aspect dial on the lens. Elsewhere, you've got a solid metal body with tactile dial-led controls, a super-sharp optic on the front with a wide maximum aperture of f/1.7, and a huge selection of Panasonic's 4K video modes to play with. A magnificent camera four years in the making – and one that was every bit worth the wait!
09. Ricoh GR III
Pocketable power, producing fantastically sharp images
Type: Compact | Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.24MP | Lens: 28mm (equiv) f/2.8 | Screen: 3in touchscreen LCD, 1,040k dots | Viewfinder: No (available separately) | Max continuous shooting speed: Not specified | Video: Full HD | Level: Enthusiast
A fantastic fixed-focal-length APS-C compact to rival the Fujifilm X100F, this impressive comeback kid from Ricoh was long-awaited by photographers of all disciplines. Its APS-C sensor delivers fantastic, crisp results whether shooting 24MP images or Full HD video, while the redesigned 28mm lens produces images that are sharp from corner to corner.
Any gripes? Well the battery life isn't the best, lasting only around 150 shots per charge, which really isn't enough for a camera released in 2019. The lack of 4K video is also a shame, so if this is something that bothers you then best look elsewhere. Ultimately though, as a pocketable prospect for stills shooters, the Ricoh GR III excels in all other categories.
10. Sony RX100 Mark VI
It costs a bomb but the inclusion of a clever viewfinder and long lens make this the best RX100-series option yet
Sensor: 1in type | Megapixels: 20.1MP | Lens: 24-200mm (equiv) f/2.8-4.5 | Monitor: 3in tilting touchscreen, 921k dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting speed: 24fps | Video: 4K | Level: Intermediate
Sony’s sixth RX100 model, the RX100 VI, took a slight departure from the template set out by its forebears in that it swapped the 24-70mm-equivalent focal range we’d been used to since the RX100 Mark III for a 24-200mm alternative, while keeping the shell as svelte as before. 4K video, slow-motion recording to 960fps and 24fps burst shooting with both autofocus and auto-exposure are also highlights, but it's the clever mechanism of the pop-up 2.36million-dot EVF that makes it a winner: no longer do you need to draw it back once it springs up, it all happens in one action. This makes it great for shooting with the EVF on the fly, with this point-and-shoot camera as a whole best suited for holidays and travelling photographers that need a maximum zoom in the smallest package possible. The RX100 Mark IV (option #1) sticks to a similar idea for those with a little less to spend, but sadly without quite the same viewfinder mechanism.