Picking one of the best point-and-shoot cameras will give you the chance to experiment with straightforward, no-fuss photography. With all the convenience of a disposable camera (remember those?) but the added wizardry of the latest high-end technology, there’s little not to like. 

A point-and-shoot camera doesn’t come with the hassle or bulk of an interchangeable-lens system, but a fixed lens that cannot be changed. This could be a zoom lens, which focuses on range and versatility, or a prime lens designed for sharpness and quality. Already feeling lost? Scroll down for our jargon-busting explanation of what exactly to consider when choosing a point-and-shoot camera (also known as a compact camera).

Our guide focuses on all types of point-and-shoot cameras, for every budget. Some are slim and pocketable, some have bulky superzoom lenses, some are even tough and waterproof. Usually this type of camera is a cheaper option than advanced system cameras, but point-and-shoot cameras do also come in premium form with super-sharp lenses and fancy imaging sensors. Professional photographers may choose this option as a handy second camera so they can leave their bulky gear at home when needed.

If you want to explore your many options, check out our guides to the best cameras overall and the best cameras for beginners, where we include all different types of camera. Our guide to the best memory cards should also prove useful once you’ve chosen your camera.

The best point-and-shoot cameras available now

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 product shot

(Image credit: Panasonic)

01. Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200

The best point-and-shoot for travel, with a big zoom in a tiny body

Specifications

Type: Superzoom compact

Sensor: 1in

Megapixels: 20.1MP

Lens: 24-360mm (equiv) f/3.3-6.4

Screen: 3in fixed touchscreen LCD, 1.24million dots

Viewfinder: EVF, 2.33million dots

Max burst speed: 30fps

Video: 4K

Level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy
+

Large sensor for a compact

+

Hugely improved zoom

Reasons to avoid

LCD fixed in position

Disappointing max aperture

The Panasonic Lumix ZS200 (or TZ200, as it’s known outside of the US) is one of the best travel-zoom compact cameras around, and is our number-one choice of point-and-shoot cameras for its sheer versatility. When closed up and turned off, it’s diminutive enough to slip into a pocket or small bag, and yet when extended the lens can cover a mighty equivalent zoom range of 24-360mm. This makes the ZS200 one of the best travel cameras you can buy, as it has real power to bring distant subjects into sharp focus. 

The ZS200 also boasts a 1-inch sensor, which is a size upgrade over a smartphone, and a difference you’ll definitely notice in terms of image quality. It can record 4K UHD video, albeit with a 1.5x crop that does reduce your scope for wide-angle shooting. Despite its small size, the camera is comfortable to hold even for long periods, and the touchscreen interface is highly intuitive, making it easy to select focus points while using the electronic viewfinder. 

There aren’t a lot of negatives for this camera. Some users might have liked a tilting LCD, and the fact that the maximum aperture drops of to f/6.4 at the telephoto end of the lens is a little limiting. But this really is a fantastic point-and-shoot, one of the best examples of the type. 

Olympus Tough TG-6 product shot

(Image credit: Olympus)

02. Olympus Tough TG-6

The best waterproof point-and-shoot camera

Specifications

Type: Tough compact

Sensor: 1/2.3inch

Megapixels: 12MP

Lens: 25-100mm f/2

Screen: 3in fixed LCD, 1.28million dots

Viewfinder: EVF, 1.04million dots

Max burst speed: 20fps

Max video resolution: 4K 30p

Level: Beginner/enthusiast

Reasons to buy
+

Can take a beating

+

Useful optical zoom range

Reasons to avoid

Small sensor

Minor upgrade over predecessor

If you’re taking a camera on your travels, you may want to think about getting something that can take a few knocks. The Olympus Tough TG-6 is this and then some; it’s a tough compact, waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, dustproof, and more besides. You’d have to really work to destroy it, so if you’re looking to capture extreme sports or other adventurous pursuits, it’s a great choice.

It doesn’t have the tiny wearable form factor of something like a GoPro, but Olympus has sensibly used the camera’s design to add in features like an optical zoom lens. Not a lot of tough compacts or action cameras have a zoom lens – GoPros certainly don’t – and having this 25-100mm equivalent zoom range adds real shooting flexibility when using the TG-6.

The main drawback is that you only have a 1/2.3-inch sensor, which is the same size that you’d get in a smartphone. So you won’t notice a radical difference in terms of image quality. However, Olympus has sensibly packed in a few specialised features, like the underwater microscope mode designed specifically for aquatic close-ups. 

Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II product shot

(Image credit: Canon)

03. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

The best point-and-shoot camera for a bit of everything

Specifications

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1in

Megapixels: 20MP

Lens: 28-84mm (equiv) f/2-4.9

Screen: 3in fixed touchscreen, 1.04million dots

Viewfinder: No

Maximum continuous shooting: 8.1fps

Max video resolution: Full HD

Level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy
+

Punchy colours

+

Sensor upgrade over smartphone

Reasons to avoid

No viewfinder

235-shot battery life

We really like Canon’s PowerShot G9 X Mark II as a take-everywhere, do-everything kind of compact camera. It measures just 31.3mm in thickness, meaning its easy to slip into a pocket or a handbag, but packs in loads of great shooting features, including the impressive ability to burst-shoot at up to 8.1fps. This is pretty darn fast for a camera of this class, and makes it much easier to be sure you’ll never miss the moment. 

There’s no viewfinder, which for some users will be a deal-breaker, and for others will be something they don’t even notice. Composing on the LCD screen is nice and easy, and you can make good use of the touchscreen functionality to select focus points. It captures good-looking Full HD video (no 4K), and the 28-84mm lens provides a good all-purpose zoom range.

One disappointing strike against the PowerShot G9 X Mark II though is its 235-shot battery life. This is quite slim for a take-everywhere camera, so we would recommend carrying a spare battery or  one of the best power banks if you can. 

Sony W800 product shot

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Sony Cyber-shot W800

The best ultra-cheap point-and-shoot camera

Specifications

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1/2.3inch

Megapixels: 20.1MP

Lens: 26-130mm (equivalent) f/3.2-6.4

Screen: 2.7in fixed LCD, 0.23million dots

Viewfinder: No

Max burst speed: 1fps

Max video resolution: HD at 30p

Level: Beginner

Reasons to buy
+

Incredibly cheap

+

Decent zoom range

Reasons to avoid

Very basic feature-set

Not MUCH better than a smartphone

Panasonic’s TZ range of travel-friendly superzooms has been hugely popular with roaming photographers for a long time, and the Lumix TZ200 (also known as ZS200 in the USA) offers a leap forward in zoom capability. Panasonic has somehow managed to fit a 24-360mm equivalent onto a tiny body, giving this camera incredible reach. 

The one-inch sensor gives it real flexibility in all sorts of lighting conditions, making for a camera that’s brilliantly versatile but uncomplicated and can still fit in a pocket. Whether you want to take simple reference photos for a creative project or high-quality prints to incorporate into your work: this is a solid choice.

Canon SX740 product shot

(Image credit: Canon)

05. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS

The best all-round point-and-shoot camera, with a fantastic zoom

Specifications

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch back illuminated

Megapixels: 20.3MP

Lens: 24-960mm f/3.3-6.9 (40x optical)

Monitor:: 3.0-inch, 922,000 dots

Viewfinder: No

Continuous shooting speed: 6fps

Video: 4K UHD

Level: Beginner – intermediate

Reasons to buy
+

Portable and compact

+

Great zoom

Reasons to avoid

No viewfinder

Relatively small sensor

The Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is a really impressive superzoom camera – even though it’s slim and compact, it offers a whopping zoom range of 24-960mm equivalent. That’s some serious zooming power, and once that smartphones can’t hope to get anywhere near. 

It’s got loads of great photography features too, like its ability to burst-shoot at 6fps, which is great for capturing the kind of wildlife that the zoom lens will allow you to catch a glimpse of. Having a flip-out screen is handy too, especially for video, which on the SX740 HS is stabilised for smoother shots. Autofocus is snappy and responsive.

The only real downside is the sensor, which is a small 1/2.3-inch type. This hurts the image quality and the dynamic range of the camera, and this paired with the f/3.3 maximum aperture means you’ll definitely struggle in low light. If night shots are a big part of your repertoire, look elsewhere – otherwise, this is a highly capable compact camera and a terrific point-and-shoot. 

Nikon P950 product shot

(Image credit: Nikon)

06. Nikon P950

The best superzoom point-and-shoot camera

Specifications

Type: Superzoom compact

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS

Megapixels: 16MP

Lens: 24-2000mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8 to f/6.5

Screen: 3.2-inch, 921K dots

Viewfinder: 0.39-inch EVF (2359K dots)

Continuous shooting speed: Not specified

Video: 4K

Level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy
+

Catch-all lens

+

Time-lapse movie option

Reasons to avoid

Bulky (enormous lens)

Expensive compared to others

We may be stretching the definition of a point-and-shoot camera a little here, but stretching is the name of the game with the Nikon P950. Its enormous lens puts your zoom potential further than pretty much any other camera out there, on a par in focal length terms with the kind of super-telephotos that run up four-figure price tags. But it would be remiss to over-simplify this bridge camera, which is aimed at intermediate users. A compact all-in-one, we could call it, and it may be the only camera you’ll need thanks to the aforementioned huge 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 can also shoot 4K video, and it supports the capture of Raw files, which makes it a solid option for enthusiasts who are after a big lens backup camera as well as those looking for a family camera that ticks all the boxes. You can see more Nikons in our guide to the best Nikon camera.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II product shot

(Image credit: Panasonic)

07. Panasonic LX100 II

A stylish compact with a clever multi-aspect sensor

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy
+

Excellent large sensor

+

Switchable aspect ratios

Reasons to avoid

Fixed LCD screen

No built-in flash

Released in 2018, the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is the long-awaited follow-up to the original LX100. It offers 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. 

Built around a 21MP Four Thirds sensor, the camera cannily uses only a portion of this for image-taking (to a maximum of 17MP) allowing image aspect ratios to be switched easily on the fly – handily accomplished using the aspect dial on the lens. It also boasts a huge selection of 4K video modes to play with. Four years in the making, this is a camera that was worth the wait.

Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II product shot

(Image credit: Canon)

08. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II

Versatile and pocket-size, this point-and-shoot offers speed and quality

Specifications

Type: Compact

Sensor: 1in

Megapixels: 20MP

Lens: 24-105mm (equiv) f/1.8-2.8

Screen: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots

Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360,000 dots

Maximum continuous shooting: 8fps with autofocus, 30fps RAW burst mode

Max video resolution: 4K

Level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy
+

Excellent zoom lens

+

Fast and responsive

Reasons to avoid

Battery life not great

A good point-and-shoot camera should be easy to use, versatile, and, ideally, you should be able to put it in a pocket. The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II ticks all of those boxes and more. It has a 24-105mm lens, which gives us a very generous zoom range to play with, while its 20MP one -inch sensor produces images that look fantastic, particularly in RAW mode. You can also burst-shoot in RAW mode at a mighty impressive 30fps.

This camera also boasts 4K video, a tilting touchscreen, and even finds room for an electronic viewfinder for those who prefer to compose images the classic way. The only disadvantage is that all this tech drags a little on the battery, which is CIPA-rated for about 230 shots before a recharge. We’d recommend packing a spare. 

Ricoh GR III product shot

(Image credit: Ricoh)

09. Ricoh GR III

Pocket-sized power that produces fantastically sharp images

Specifications

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

Reasons to buy
+

Fantastic, low-noise images

+

RAW support and in-camera processing

Reasons to avoid

No 4K video

Poor battery life

The Ricoh GR III represented an impressive comeback from Ricoh, and it was highly anticipated by photographers of all disciplines. It’s a brilliant fixed-focal-length APS-C compact that can rival arguably the leader of this type of compact, the Fujifilm X100V (more on which shortly). The APS-C sensor delivers fantastically crisp results whether shooting 24MP images or Full HD video, and the redesigned 28mm lens produces images that are sharp from corner to corner.

The battery life could be better, lasting only around 150 shots per charge – not really enough for a camera that was only released in 2019. The lack of 4K video is also a shame, and you should look elsewhere if that’s important for what you need. But as pocketable compact for still shooters, the Ricoh GR III excels in all other categories.

Update: If you like the sound of the Ricoh GR III but feel a 28mm equivalent lens is a little wide, then Ricoh has announced a companion camera in the form of the Ricoh GR IIIx. It’s essentially the same deal on the inside, with the crucial difference that it has a 40mm equivalent lens rather than a 28mm. This narrower perspective is good for a more naturalistic feel, ideal if you’re looking to shoot street or documentary images. 

Fujifilm X100V product shot

(Image credit: Fujifilm)

10. Fujifilm X100V

One of the most intuitive, stylish, tactile compacts around

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C

Megapixels: 26.1MP

Lens: 35mm (equiv) f/2

Monitor: 3in fixed, 1,620,000 dots

Viewfinder: Hybrid optical/EVF, 3,690,000 dots

Max burst speed: 11fps (mechanical shutter) / 20fps (electronic shutter)

Max video resolution: 4K

Level: Enthusiast/professional

Reasons to buy
+

Makes photography fun

+

Absolutely sublime image quality

Reasons to avoid

No zoom lens

Pricey for those on a budget

The X100V is the fifth camera in the Fujifilm X100 series of compacts. These cameras have been winning people over for decades with its combination of a high-quality X-Trans sensor, a 35mm equivalent prime lens, dial-based controls and a stylish retro-inspired design. 

Some photographers may be put off by the lack of zoom, but as the old adage goes, sometimes the best way to zoom in is to move your feet. Images look gorgeous straight out of the camera, with the vibrant colours Fujifilm is known for. The X100V is also the first in the series to shoot 4K video. This camera is by no means cheap, but that’s to be expected given that it’s one of the best point-and-shoots ever made.

What to consider when buying point and shoot cameras

Point-and-shoot cameras offer different features for different needs. If you’re planning to shoot in low light, there are full-frame point-and-shoots with generously sized sensors. If you want plenty of scope for distant subjects, you can pick up one of the many point-and-shoot superzooms. There are also plenty of models with waterproofing and tough casing for those who want a camera for more adventurous pursuits.

You might want a camera for Instagram, for taking photos to showcase professional projects, or just for travel. In each case, a point-and-shoot camera can work wonders, but 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.

The best point-and-shoot camera for you will also depend on your expectations and your budget. As a general rule, cameras with one-inch, APS-C and full-frame sensors offer many advantages over those with smaller sensors, most notably when it comes to shooting in low light. Prime lenses can also offer great advantages over zooms in terms of image quality.

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. Note that a long zoom is great for holidays and travelling, but this 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 a shallow depth of field.

The best point-and-shoot camera: FAQs

What defines a point-and-shoot camera?

‘Point-and-shoot’ is not an official camera designation the way terms like ‘DSLR’ or ‘mirrorless’ are. With that said, the term does have a generally accepted meaning in the photographic community: it’s a camera with a fixed-lens that’s easy to pick up and use. A fixed-lens camera is also known as a compact; all point-and-shoots are compacts, but not all compacts are point-and-shoots, as some are quite advanced (not to mention expensive) and designed for serious photographers.  

Which point-and-shoot camera has the best zoom?

If you’re looking for zoom length and nothing else, then we’d recommend taking a look at superzoom compacts like the Nikon P950. These cameras have incredible optical zoom lenses, which pair with digital zoom technology to give you unbelievable optical reach. This makes them pretty bulky, but their power to close distance is unmatched at their price point.

Which point-and-shoot camera is best in low light?

While point-and-shoots aren’t known for their low-light qualities, some careful selection can lead you to a great camera. The things you want to look out for are a decent sized sensor (ideally APS-C, though Four Thirds will do), good high-ISO performance, and a large maximum aperture on the lens – remember, you won’t be able to change it. Based on these criteria, from the list above we’d recommend looking at the Panasonic LX100 II, which has a real advantage in the form of its f/1.7 lens, as well as a decent-size sensor.

Why should you buy a point-and-shoot camera?

The two main advantages of point-and-shoot cameras are convenience and portability. Point-and-shoots are easy to use, they tend to be light, and they have everything you need to start taking pictures from the moment you open the box. They also tend to be much more affordable than buying the equivalent camera and lens combination would be in a DSLR or mirrorless system.

So why doesn’t everyone use point-and-shoots? Well, having a fixed lens does hamper your versatility; you’ll never be able to exceed the stated focal range in either direction, so go longer or wider than the camera was meant to. They also tend to have smaller sensors than interchangeable-lens cameras, which can have an effect on the dynamic range of images, and the camera’s low-light performance. 

If you need a decent, affordable camera with some nifty features, and not the best technology in class, then a point-and-shoot is the way to go.

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