Picking up one of the best point-and-shoot cameras makes loads of sense for a creative. Photography and videography make for great additions to a skillset, and if you promote your work on social media or elsewhere, being able to take professional-looking photos with an affordable device that fits in your pocket is a real asset.
So what makes a camera a point-and-shoot camera? Well, to start with, it's a camera with its lens fixed on the front, unlike DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, which allow you to swap lenses freely. This confers advantages in terms of convenience, portability and cost, while also having some downsides in terms of versatility. If you're not looking to get too flashy (pun semi-intended) and just want something that works, a point-and-shoot camera is definitely the right choice for you. There are no hidden extra costs; you'll be ready to shoot as soon as you open the box.
There are point-and-shoot cameras to cater to all tastes, and we've tried to include a broad spectrum in this guide. We restricted ourselves to choosing the twelve best models, including a range of new cameras and older picks that have retained their value. Look out for things like the lens focal length: short lengths are good for landscapes and architecture, while longer ones work for portraits, wildlife and action. Long zooms are more versatile, while single-length primes will offer more sharpness and detail.
If you want to know more about what a point-and-shoot camera entails, jump to the what to consider when buying a point-and-shoot camera for more advice.
We've got dedicated best camera and best camcorder guides too, in case a point-and-shoot isn't quite what you're looking for, and once you've made your choice, don't forget to pick up one of the best memory cards to store all your images and videos. Now, let's get to the cameras!
The best point-and-shoot cameras available now
A good point-and-shoot camera should be easy to use, versatile and pocketable. The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II ticks all of these boxes and then some. Its 24-105mm gives the user a hugely generous zoom range to play with, while its 20MP 1-inch sensor produces images that look fantastic, particularly in RAW mode, which is handy because you can also burst-shoot in RAW mode at a hugely impressive 30fps, enough to freeze even the fastest of fleeting moments.
What else? Well there's 4K video, a tilting touchscreen, and Canon even found room for a little electronic viewfinder, for those who prefer to compose images that way. The only real disadvantage is that all this tech does weigh heavy on the battery, which is CIPA-rated for about 230 shots before needing a recharge, so packing a spare is advisable. Also, as this is a relatively new camera it's still a pricier model, so if you're on a budget but want something like this we'd recommend taking a look at the Canon PowerShot G9 X X Mark II, included at #3. Overall, however, this is the point-and-shoot camera that provides the best balance between functionality and price right now.
We may be stretching the definition of point-and-shoot camera here as, although you can do just that with this large lens incorporating Nikon, it would be remiss to over-simplify this bridge camera-like device aimed at intermediate users. Let’s just call it a compact all-in-one, which may well be the only camera you’ll need thanks to a whopping 83x optical zoom with dual optical vibration reduction built into a focal length equivalent to 24-2000mm in 35mm film terms. As well as a respectable f/2.8 maximum aperture, the camera boasts the ability to shoot 4K video, plus supports the capture of Raw files, making it an option for the enthusiast who wants a big lens back up camera, as much as the family user looking to tick all boxes.
Many of the cheaper point-and-shoot cameras compromise by using smaller imaging sensors, while those with larger sensors tend to be significantly more balance. The Fujifilm XF10 represents an attempt to strike a balance between the two, stuffing an APS-C sensor into a compact body that's also available for an impressively low price.
It's basically the cheaper counterpart to the firm's well-regarded X100 series (which you'll meet a little further down this list). So while it doesn't have some of the flashier features, it does reliably produce punchy and vivid images straight out of camera. You're working with a prime lens not a zoom, so you'll have to move your feet, but the trade-off is images that are crisp and sharp. The XF10 is available in a few stylish colours too, including the gold trim demoed above. Having a touchscreen is handy as well. One tip though: don't expect much of the 4K video. At a frame rate of 15p it leaves something to be desired.
The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II represents a fantastic balance between value and functionality. It costs a little more than your bargain-bin point-and-shoot, but you get so much more for your money, with a sensor capable of producing both beautiful punchy JPEGS and highly adjustable RAW files. It's even possible to convert the RAW files in-camera.
There are plenty more features on this camera that should satisfy any prospective point-and-shoot buyer: it shoots great-looking Full HD video (not 4K, but you probably don't need it), and boasts an intuitive touchscreen interface that makes it a pleasure to use. Being a couple of years old means the G9 X Mark II can be picked up for a great price, and in terms of sheer value for money, it's one of the best point-and-shoot cameras around right now.
There are more than a few photographers who count the Fujifilm X100 series as the cameras that made them fall in love with photography again. The combination of a high-quality X-Trans sensor, a 35mm equivalent prime lens, dial-based controls and a stylish retro-inspired design has been winning over hearts and minds for a decades, and the X100V is the fifth in this successful series. Not having a zoom may intimidate some photographers, but as the old adage goes, sometimes the best way to zoom in is to move your feet. Images shot on the X100V look utterly gorgeous straight out of camera, with the vibrant colours Fujifilm is known for, and the X100V is the first in the family to shoot 4K video. It's not cheap, but given that it's one of the best point-and-shoots ever made, that's to be expected.
Sony has wisely chosen to keep all seven 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 more recent 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.
The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 is one of the best-value waterproof point-and-shoot cameras around. It's not as sophisticated as, say, the Olympus Tough TG-6 (which you'll meet a little further down this list), but in terms of what you get for your money, it's tough to beat. Waterproof down to 25m, it produces images with punchy colours, making it a great choice for a beachside holiday.
It's tough and brightly coloured, and a 5x optical zoom adds a fair amount of shooting versatility. The XP140 even shoots 4K video, although in all honesty you probably won't be using this function much since it caps out at a 15p frame and doesn't look all that great. Still, for general-purpose shooting above and below the water, this represents a fantastic buy.
Panasonic's TZ range of travel-friendly superzoom cameras has long been hugely popular with roaming photographers, and the Lumix TZ200 represents a great stride forward in terms of its zoom capability. Somehow, Panasonic has managed to fit a 24-360mm equivalent onto this tiny body, giving the user a great deal of reach and making for a fantastically versatile imaging machine that can still fit in your pocket. For an uncomplicated camera that does as much as possible, the Lumix TZ200 is a really solid choice, whether you want to take simple reference photos for a creative project or high-quality prints that you'll incorporate into your work: it's ideal for both. That 1-inch sensor gives it real flexibility in all sorts of lighting conditions.
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.
If you’re the adventurous type who needs a point-and-shoot camera that can take some punishment, meet the Olympus Tough TG-6. Waterproof to 15m, shockproof to 2.1m, crushproof up to 100kgf and freezeproof down to -10°C, this is a camera that will take everything you throw at it and more. The best part is however that it also produces terrific images and 4K video thanks to its backlit 12MP CMOS sensor, and its 25-100mm equivalent f/2 lens gives you real shooting versatility – far more than you’d get from something like a GoPro.
The Tough TG-6 boasts an interesting Variable Macro System, which specialises in allowing you to shoot close-ups at distances between 30cm and 1cm, while built in Wi-Fi lets you use the OI.Share system to instantly send images to your smart device or take remote control of the camera. There are also some useful underwater modes to help you get the most out of the TG-6’s sub-aquatic capabilities, as well as GPS, Compass and Location functions so that you can always get accurate location data for your images. The small sensor is a bit of a shame as it means the camera struggles in low light, and it’s also worth noting that this is a fairly minor upgrade over the previous TG-5, so if budget is an issue you might want to try that camera instead. However, as a point-and-shoot camera for adventurous stills and videos, this is unrivalled.
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!
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.
What to consider when buying a point-and-shoot camera
Best of all, point-and-shoots offer all sorts of different features depending on your needs. Planning to shoot in low light? Then there are full-frame point-and-shoots with generously sized sensors. Or, if you want plenty of scope for distant subjects, you can pick up one of the many point-and-shoot superzooms on the market. There are also plenty of models with extensive waterproofing and tough casing, for those who live life on the adventurous side.
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 offer many advantages over those with smaller sensors, most notably in low light. Prime lenses can also offer great advantages over zooms in terms of image quality.
There are plenty of other factors to consider. 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.
You might want to give your Instagram a little love, take photos that show your projects in a flattering light, or just have a camera that never leaves your side when travelling. In each of these cases, a point-and-shoot camera can work wonders. The best part is that all the major manufacturers are in on the action, so there are loads to choose from.
This can make it tricky to know what to prioritise. Some users might want the longest zoom they can get for shooting distant subjects, while others might want to squeeze as much image quality as possible out of this small package, in which case a larger sensor is the way to go.