Best point and shoot compact camera

If you're shopping for a point and shoot compact camera, you've come to the right place! At my sister-site Camera Labs I write in-depth reviews of cameras but understand you're busy people who sometimes just want recommendations of the most outstanding products.

So here I'll cut to the chase and list the best point and shoot compact cameras around right now, with links to my reviews.

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Gordon's favourite compact camera right now: Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III

Sony RX100 III review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE, thanks!

Sony's RX100 III is the third model in its enormously popular 'compact-with-a-big-sensor' series. Like the earlier models, the RX100 III is equipped with a 20 Megapixel 1in sensor that has about four times the area of a typical phone or point-and-shoot camera, allowing it to deliver lower noise and greater tonal range. The lens on the Mark III is 24-70mm f1.8-2.8 compared to 28-100mm f1.8-4.9 on the Mark II. So while the Mark III can't zoom as far, it can go wider, and crucially stays much brighter at the long-end, making it better in low light and for delivering a shallower depth of field. The other big difference is Sony's managed to squeeze a popup electronic viewfinder, that's surprisingly good. There's also a built-in ND filter, higher bit rates for 1080p, slow motion 720p, a screen which can angle round to face the subject for selfies, and support for downloadable apps. The RX100 III may now have more competition than ever from the likes of Canon and Panasonic, but it remains one of the best compacts around. If you don't need the viewfinder, consider the Canon G7X below. If you do want an EVF and don't mind having a bigger body, consider the Lumix LX100. As for the latest RX100 Mark IV model, its unique selling point is the ability to capture ultra slow motion video. if you don't need this, save some money and go for the Mark III here.

Highly Recommended Alternatives

Panasonic TZ70 / ZS50 review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


The Lumix TZ70 / ZS50 is Panasonic's flagship pocket super-zoom, and like previous incarnations, it takes the high ground compared to rivals. Despite sharing a great deal with its predecessor, including the 30x zoom range, and actually losing one major feature, Panasonic has made a number of improvements that genuinely enhance the over experience. Most notably, the built-in electronic viewfinder - a key benefit over the Canon SX710 HS - is now more detailed than before and includes an eye sensor to switch between it and the screen. The reduction in resolution to 12 Megapixels also gives it a small edge over rivals in low light, and there's still support for RAW files, another benefit over rivals. It all adds up to a classy camera if you can afford it, but if money's tight, consider Canon's cheaper SX710 HS (lower on this page), or indeed Panasonic's own TZ60 / ZS40 from last year. Also compare closely with Sony's HX90V (below) which packs a 30x zoom with an EVF, GPS and tilting screen.

Sony HX90V review - buy it from Amazon USA, B&H, Adorama, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Sony's Cyber-shot HX90V is the World's smallest compact camera with a 30x optical zoom. Successor to the popular HX60 and HX50, it shares a similar optical zoom range, but packed into a smaller body. The HX90V delivers an equivalent range of 24-720mm, taking you all the way from respectable wide angle to super-telephoto, although the earlier G-series optics have been upgraded to a new design by Zeiss. Like its big rival, Panasonic's Lumix TZ70 / ZS50, the HX90V features a built-in electronic viewfinder which is popped-out the top of the body for use like the RX100 III and IV. Unlike the TZ70 / ZS50 though, the HX90V also sports an articulated screen which can tilt up to face forward for selfies, along with built-in GPS hardware, a useful capability Panasonic removed from the latest model. Ultimately, the Lumix takes the lead on noise, support for RAW and high-speed shooting, but the HX90V has the GPS, tilting screen and slightly smaller body. Both are great high-end pocket super-zooms.

Canon SX710 HS review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Canon's PowerShot SX710 HS is a good, solid 30x pocket super-zoom. It represents a mild refresh of last year's SX700 HS, keeping the same body, controls and 30x optical range, but enhancing it with a higher resolution sensor and greater smartphone control. The jump to 20 Megapixels delivers plenty of detail in good light, but copes less well than lower resolution rivals in dim conditions. The degree of control and features fall short of the Lumix TZ70 / ZS50, but will still be sufficient for most people who want this kind of camera. For me the ultimate decision boils down to whether you want the built-in viewfinder of the TZ70 / ZS50 and crucially if your budget will stretch. If the answer is yes to both questions, then go for the Lumix. If not, then the SX710 HS will deliver essentially the same optical range with the same portability at a lower price, but again compare the features and prices with last year's models as there's potential bargains to be had.

Canon G9X review - buy it from Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Canon's PowerShot G9X is the slimmest traditional compact to feature a 1in sensor - giving it superior quality to most phones and compacts but without compromising its pocketability. Indeed the G9X is almost exactly the same size as Canon's earlier S120, despite sporting a sensor with roughly three times the surface area. As you'd expect for a small body with a larger than average sensor, the zoom range isn't huge - just 3x - but the 28-84mm range still covers most needs while the 5cm macro and f2 aperture at the wide end allow for respectable close-ups and relatively shallow depth-of-field effects. Impressively for its size there's a mode dial with a wealth of shooting options from full Auto to full Manual, while the touch-screen interface presents quick and easy access to all the settings. Indeed the combination of pocket size and the touch-screen makes it one of my favourite compacts around, although compare it closely with the chunkier G7X below which squeezes-in a longer zoom and a tilting screen.

Canon G7X review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE, thanks!


The PowerShot G7X is Canon's answer to Sony's RX100 series. Canon's taken the same 20 Megapixel 1in sensor (delivering a big upgrade in image quality over typical phones or compacts) and squeezed it into essentially the same sized body. The big difference here though is Canon has equipped the G7X with a 24-100mm f1.8-2.8 zoom, giving it longer reach than the RX100 III without losing the f2.8 aperture - this is great for portraits and macro shots. Canon's also fitted a screen that can angle forward to face the subject and unlike Sony, it's touch-sensitive too, allowing you to tap to reposition the AF area or pull-focus while filming. The AF system is faster for stills and more confident for movies, and it's cheaper than the RX100 III. If you don't need the viewfinder of the Sony, it's a great alternative. If you want the same quality in an even smaller body, consider the G9X which may have a shorter zoom and lacks the tilting screen, but measures roughly the same as Canon's S120.

Nikon S33 review - buy one at Amazon USA, B&H, Adorama, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


If you're a photographer with kids, you'll understand the desire to equip them with a camera that can survive pretty much anything they throw at it - or drop it into. Waterproof tough models are ideal since they can survive drops, sand, snow or total submersion in liquids, but equally you want one that won't break the bank. Nikon's S33 is the perfect choice, a budget digital camera engineered to survive the trials of childhood - or indeed active adult-hood. Available in a variety of bright colours, this simple-to-use 13 Megapixel / 3x zoom compact is waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, shock-proof to 1.5 metres and you can use it in temperatures down to -10C, so it's good for the piste as well as the pool or the seaside. There are superior tough cameras out there, but none at this price, nor any which can be programmed to bark or tweet when you take a photo.

Nikon L840 review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Adorama, Amazon UK or Amazon DE. Thanks!


Nikon's COOLPIX L840 is a DSLR-styled super-zoom camera with a surprisingly powerful feature-set for the money. You get 16 Megapixels, 1080p video, a tilting 3in screen and a 38x optical range equivalent to 22.5-855mm. It's also powered by AA batteries that may increase the weight, but at least a spare set is easy to get hold of. The major update over its best-selling predecessor is the inclusion of Wifi with NFC which makes it an even more compelling proposition, especially for the price. A great super-zoom camera at an entry-level price.

Canon SX60 HS review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE, thanks!


Canon's PowerShot SX60 HS is the company's most recent DSLR-styled super-zoom camera. Successor to the massively popular SX50 HS, the new model extends the optical range from 50x to a whopping 65x, making it the joint longest in the World (at the time of writing). The SX60 HS takes you from 21 to 1365mm, or extreme wide angle to extreme telephoto, covering every eventuality. It also includes 1080 / 60p video, manual control, support for RAW, high resolution viewfinder and screen, mic input, Wifi with NFC, and a particularly neat Zoom Assist feature that automatically adjusts the lens zoom to always keep someone in the frame if they move too close, too far, or off the side. It's not the cheapest super-zoom around, but it is the best-featured of the small sensor / big range models.

Panasonic Lumix LX100 review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE!


The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is one of the most powerful compact cameras to date. Forget 1in sensors, Panasonic's squeezed in the larger Four Thirds sensor from the Lumix GX7 along with its big and detailed viewfinder too. Sure the lens specification means only 12 Megapixels of the original 16 are used, but the active area is still larger than a 1in sensor and the spare border allows the camera to cpature at different aspect ratios without cropping. As for the lens, the LX100 sports a 24-75mm zoom with a bright f1.7-2.8 focal ratio and an impressive macro mode than can focus as close as 3cm at wide angle. The AF system is very fast and impressively keeps working at much lower light levels than the competition. And the icing on the cake? The LX100 can film video at 4k resolution and actually lets you grab 8 Megapixel stills from it. The body may be larger than the RX100 III and G7X, and the screen may not tilt nor be touch-sensitive, but it's hard to argue with the powerful specification, especially at increasingly discounted prices.

Canon ELPH 340 HS / IXUS 265 HS review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE!


Canon's ELPH 340 HS / IXUS 265 HS is a classy point-and-shoot camera with a 12x optically stabilized zoom, 3in screen, and Wifi with NFC that lets you transfer images wirelessly. It features a 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor rather than a CCD for better quality in low light. The ELPH 340 / IXUS 265 can also capture Full HD 1080p, offers cunning wink, smile and face self-timers and a wealth of creative effects, albeit still not a panorama mode. It's an excellent choice for those looking for a versatile and classy point-and-shoot compact with good image quality and a capable zoom range without breaking the bank. If you're looking for a true budget model in double-digits though, go for the Sony W830 below.

Sony W830 review - order at Amazon USA, B&H, Amazon UK or Amazon DE, thanks!


Sony's Cyber-shot W830 is one of the lowest-priced point-and-shoot cameras that's worth having. It's a point-and-shoot compact with an 8x optical zoom, 20 Megapixel resolution and 720p video packed into a slim and light body, and offers a step-up from the cheapest compacts on the market while maintaining a double-digit price tag. For this kind of money you won't get Wifi or 1080p video, but the basics are there along with a useful zoom range, panorama mode and in-camera charging. In my book it's the best compact at the sub-100 price tag.


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