Best Point and Shoot Camera

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Last Updated: August 14, 2017

Looking to buy a new camera ? While this sounds like an easy question, the sheer options in the market with the various types of cameras are overwhelming. Read our camera guide to understand the various types of cameras and which one is right for you.

If you are looking for a point and shoot camera which can deliver good photos and is easy to carry around look no further. After having tested and reviewed over 15 of the best models and spending over 40 hours researching, we tell you which ones are worth your money depending on your usage.

 

The best Point and Shoot camera

1. Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M3

rx1003

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III is the best compact camera that we’ve have seen. Get a popup SVGA / OLED  eye-level electronic viewfinder and an amazing lens (f1.8-2.8) in an incredible small form factor. If you’re looking to get the best possible pictures in a small pocketable camera, the Sony RX100 III is the way to go. It’s expensive but worth it.

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2. Canon PowerShot G5X  

g5x

If you don’t mind a little more bulk and weight than the RX100 III, go for the G5x. Get a fixed electronic viewfinder, an amazing lens (f1.8-2.8) and an easy to use touch screen interface.The Canon PowerShot G5 X is an excellent compact camera for enthusiast photographers, offering a very good built-in viewfinder, a fast lens, excellent image quality, fast auto-focusing, and solid construction.

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The best mid-range Point and shoot

1. Canon PowerShot G9X

g9x

 

If you are looking to get amazing pro level photos in an easy to carry camera – while not breaking the bank, get the G9x. The G9x offers a 1-inch sensor in a small camera letting you take low-light pictures and also achieve a shallower depth of field ie- get impressive blurred backgrounds. This camera is for those looking for something which is more pocketable while giving features of more advanced cameras.

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2. Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M2

rx100-2-small

 

The Rx100 M2 offers a 1-inch sensor in a small camera letting you take low-light pictures and also achieve a shallower depth of field ie- get impressive blurred backgrounds. The camera gives excellent image quality, fast auto-focussing and accurate colors. However, the lack of a touch screen and a price that is higher than the Canon G9x makes it our second choice.

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The best budget Point and Shoot

 

1. Canon Digital IXUS 285 HS Point & Shoot Camera

ixus275-s

If you want to buy a decent and basic point-and-shoot at an affordable price, the IXUS 275 HS is a simple to use camera capable of delivering sharp photos with vibrant colors. Additional features like built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and 12x zoom make this a better choice over smartphone photography.

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2. Nikon COOLPIX S6900

nikon-s

The Nikon is similar to the Canon in specification and performance with the addition of the very useful swivel touch screen for selfies and other situations. The camera is great except for the poor indoor performance in real life.

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Why should you listen to us? 

We are photography enthusiasts and have spent a good time of the last decade playing with some of the latest cameras and enjoying the sheer exhilaration of getting that perfect pic. We have spent over 100 hours of research in testing the top models in the market, reading and filtering expert reviews and participating and reading customer forum discussions.

Why should I buy a camera when I have a good smartphone? 

Camera technology has come such a long way that some of the latest smartphones are able to deliver pictures that rival that of some SLRs a decade ago. Nonetheless, smartphones do have their limitations. The main advantage of getting a dedicated camera is zoom, good battery life and storage options. Smartphones are perfect for daily use and occasional pictures since they are always handy and click good pictures nowadays. However if you are travelling and intend to click hundreds of photos, there is nothing more frustrating than running out of battery and then not being able to even make calls on your smartphone. Also most smartphones come with very limited storage and with a dedicated camera, you can always swap SD cards easily.

What are the different types of cameras and which one should I look at ? 

Photography is a very wide area and there is no one  camera that is good for all purposes. The main thing is to define your usage and understand which one is best for you.

1. Smartphone camera – best for daily usage, selfies and for posting on social media.

2. Point and Shoot cameras – best for carrying around in your pocket and getting better photos than smartphone photos. Get basic zoom and video recording features and improved low light performance.

3. Mirrorless Compact Cameras – Best for high-end almost professional level photos that can be used for printing while not having the bulk of a DSLR. You will get all the manual controls and fine settings available in the bigger DSLR’s.  Mirrorless cameras achieve their significant size advantage by ditching an optical viewfinder in favor of an electronic one.

4. Entry level DSLR’s – Best for getting learning about photography and getting professional grade photos that can be used for printing. You can also swap lenses and increase the range and performance of the camera.

5. High end DSLR’s – Best if you are a professional looking to get the best of the best. With the biggest sensors and the fatest autofocus these cameras are the ones used to capture sports and even shoot movies with them.

6. Adventure camera’s – Best for clicking pictures while on the move, these are rugged small cameras that can be easily strapped on a helmet or wrist while performing adventure activities.

* We will be updating the other camera buying guides soon.

 

What makes a camera good? 

  1. Megapixels – meaning the number of megapixels a camera can capture in a single shot—is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to image quality. Higher megapixels mean that you have a larger image which can help if you want to cropping images etc.
  2. Sensor Size – The sensor is what the camera sees and as a general rule the bigger the sensor tend the more detailed the images.
  3. Lens – The lens is the eye of your camera. There is lens quality and sharpness dictated by the materials used and the structure of the lens which matters especially when choosing high-end dedicated lenses. Apart from that, the specifications of a lens can indicate how it will perform. One such important spec is Aperture, basically lets you know how much light is let in to the sensor. The lesser the aperture numbers, the more light falls on the sensor and hence better low light photos as well as more detail. Therefore and aperture value of f/1.8 is better than f/2.7. In zoom lens aperture value changes as you zoom into the subject. Hence its important to see the aperture range of the zoom lens.
  4. Other factors like ISO, shutter speed, Auto-focus points, focal length and the camera processor also influence the quality of photos.

 

The best Point and Shoot camera

Its amazing what premium point and shoot cameras can achieve today and our top picks all deliver stunning pictures. Pick one based on your needs and you won’t go wrong. These are the best in the business and perfect for photography enthusiasts who are looking for something small yet good.

1. Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M3

 

rx1003wi

By LgarronOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Sony was the first to shake up the point and shoot market with the Rx100 series by introducing the 1 inch sensor at a very affordable price and pocketable size . Sony has two series of cameras in the enthusiast market, the pocketable RX100 and super-zoom RX10 series.The Rx100 M3 is the third variant in the Rx100 series and continues the legacy of being the best point and shoot cameras.

The RX100 III has a 1 inch type / 20.1 Megapixel sensor that maybe smaller than Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sensors, but is three to four times bigger than those in most point-and-shoot cameras. This allows the RX100 series to deliver lower noise at high ISOs – that is excellent low light performance and indoor shots. The new RX100 III  has a zoom lens, equivalent to 24-70mm (3x zoom) with an f1.8-2.8 aperture that provides bright photos across the entire zoom range. It also has a popup SVGA / OLED electronic viewfinder that is fantastic to use and a rarity in cameras this small. In addition, there is a LCD monitor which can tilt up to 180 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward – to simplify clicking selfies and other difficult shots.

While there’s also the Rx100 M4 in the market, it is considerably more expensive due to a few upgrades. Whats new mainly is the ultra slow motion video and 4K movies. However the  Mark III has the same body, screen, viewfinder and lens. Unless you absolutely need those updates, the MIII is a better buy.

It’s not just us, the Rx100 III has received near universal acclaim. DP Review says that “the RX100 III offers the best image quality of any pocketable camera we’ve ever seen”, CNET gives it a 8.2 out of 10 and Photographyblog calls it “the best compact camera that we’ve ever reviewed, period.”

If you are looking to get the best possible pictures in a small pocketable camera, the Sony RX100 III is the way to go.

Pros:

1. Big sensor, good bright lens.

2. Electronic view finder and tiltable screen

3. Small size, easily pocketable

4 .USB charging

Cons:

1. No touchscreen for the price point

2. No hotshoe or mic input

 

2. Canon PowerShot G5X  

 

g5xsmall

The Canon PowerShot G5X is a compact DSLR-styled camera with a 1-inch sensor, built-in viewfinder and 4.2x zoom . There are 3 Canons now to choose from. There’s the super-zoom G3X with its 25x / 24-600mm range and the G5X with the same optics as the G7X, but with a viewfinder and fully-articulated screen. The chunky G1X Mark II officially remains the flagship model with its larger 1.5in sensor and 5x / 24-120mm zoom.

Canon’s PowerShot G5X is one of the most capable compacts around, styled like a DSLR and yet in a smaller, lighter and often cheaper form factor. The G5x has a 1-inch type / 20.2 Megapixel sensor with 4.2x zoom with an aperture of f1.8-2.8 that provides bright photos across the entire zoom range. A 1 inch sensor maybe smaller than Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sensors, but is three to four times bigger than those in most point-and-shoot cameras. This allows the camera to deliver lower noise at high ISOs – that is excellent low light performance and indoor shots.

Unlike the Sony Rx100 M3, that has pop up viewfinder, the Canon has a built-in electronic viewfinder that is perched on the top. While it is significantly easier to use this rather than popping up the viewfinder – a  2 step process, it also adds to the overall bulk of the camera. In addition, there is a fully-articulated screen that’s also touch-sensitive which greatly improves usability and navigation within the camera.

It’s not just us, Dp Review says “The Canon PowerShot G5 X is a stylish, well-built enthusiast compact that in most situations is a pleasure to use.” and TrustedReviews says it’s a “A great compact camera for those who want the DSLR feel in a smaller, more convenient package.

While it s still a great camera, it’s less pocketable being both heavier and larger than the Rx100 M3 and hence is our second choice.

Pros:

1. Big sensor, good bright lens.

2. Electronic view finder and fully articulating touch screen interface.

3. Bigger Zoom than the Rx100M3.

4. USB charging.


Cons:

1. Bigger and Heavier than the Rx100M3

 

The best mid-range Point and shoot

1. Canon PowerShot G9X

g9xbig


The Canon PowerShot G9X is a slim compact camera with a 1-inch sensor that is similar to its more expensive siblings. The G9x is the smallest of the Powershot G Series and while it doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the higher end models like an electronic viewfinder or an articulating screen, it still is a one of the best cameras around.

While Sony was the first to shake up the point and shoot market with the Rx100 series by introducing the 1 inch sensor Canon has quickly caught up and upped its game. A 1 inch sensor maybe smaller than Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sensors, but is three to four times bigger than those in most point-and-shoot cameras. This allows the camera to deliver lower noise at high ISOs – that is excellent low light performance and indoor shots.

The G9X has a 1 inch type / 20.2 Megapixel sensor with a zoom lens, equivalent to 28-84mm (3x zoom) with an f2.0-4.9 aperture that although starts fairly bright, slows down considerably as you zoom in. If you are looking for better performance in low lights you’ll have to look at the larger G5x which has an aperture of f1.8-2.8. That being said, the G9x performs extremely well giving very good quality photos in its price range.

While it does not have an articulating screen or an electronic viewfinder, the G5x is still equipped with a touchscreen and built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to transfer images to your phone or remotely control the camera (great for selfies). The touchscreen makes it easy to to change focus while taking pictures and also magnify images in playback much better than a button based operation.

It’s not just us, TechRadar says “The G9 X delivers great image quality” and Imaging Resource says it’s has “Great image quality and Intuitive touch-screen control”

The G9x offers a 1-inch sensor in a small camera letting you take low-light pictures and also achieve a shallower depth of field ie- get impressive blurred backgrounds.

Pros:

1. Big sensor, good bright lens.

2. Touchscreen operation

3. Small size, easily pocketable

4. USB charging


Cons:

1. No Electronic view finder

2. Only 3x zoom with a slow lens at (f4.9)84mm.

 

2. Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M2

rx1002

Sony was the first to shake up the point and shoot market with the Rx100 series by introducing the 1 inch sensor at a very affordable price and pocketable size . Sony has two series of cameras in the enthusiast market, the pocketable RX100 and super-zoom RX10 series. The Rx100 II  is the second generation camera in the Rx100 series and continues the legacy. The RX100 II has a 1 inch type / 20.2 Megapixel sensor that maybe smaller than Micro Four Thirds or APS-C sensors, but is three to four times bigger than those in most point-and-shoot cameras. This allows the camera to deliver lower noise at high ISOs – that is excellent low light performance and indoor shots.The new RX100 II  has a zoom lens, equivalent to 28-100mm (3.6x zoom) with an f1.8-4.9 aperture that although starts fairly bright, slows down considerably as you zoom in.

There is a LCD monitor which can tilt vertically to compose difficult angles, but is not fully articulate .Built-in Wi-Fi makes it easy to transfer images to your phone or remotely control the camera (great for selfies).

The Rx100 M2 has near universal praise. The Verge calls it a “Point and Shoot Perfection” and Trusted Reviews calls it as “the best camera ever made.” It’s bettered only by our top pick the Rx100 M3 and the latest M4.

The Rx100 M2 offers a 1inch sensor in a small camera letting you take low-light pictures and also achieve a shallower depth of field ie- get impressive blurred backgrounds. However, the lack of a touch screen and a price that is higher than the Canon G9x makes it our second choice.

Pros:

1. Big sensor, good bright lens.

2. Hotshoe and mic input and tiltable screen

3. Small size, easily pocketable

4. USB charging


Cons:

1. No touchscreen for the price point

2. No Electronic view finder

3. Only 3x zoom with a slow lens (f4.9) at 100mm.

 

The best budget Point and Shoot

The low-end camera market is one that is almost redundant with all the smartphone cameras around. However a dedicated camera may make sense for some. These are best for carrying around in your pocket and while photo quality may be similar to top-end smartphone, you’ll get basic zoom and video recording features along with better battery and storage options. Also since they are cheap cameras, these are great for kids, older adults and generally for passing around groups etc. If you are looking for better photo quality, choose one of the above models.

With the budget cameras, you get significantly smaller sensors and slower apertures and poor performance when you zoom and use the camera in low light. The pictures will have lesser detail, the camera will be slower and you will be disappointed in the indoor use without flash.

There are cameras available starting for Rs. 2000. However most of these are simply old models with old technology and its better to stay away from them. Look for how good the zoom is, check the aperture speed, no. of shots per second and HD video recording as the very basic features. Also look out for how good the display screen is and features like optical stabilisation which allow you for steadier shots. Stay way from older generation CCD sensors as they are slower and produce poor low light images.

With these in mind, we eliminated the competition and arrived at the shortlist based on expert reviews and photo tests which show how good the photos actually are.

1. Canon Digital IXUS 285 HS Point & Shoot Camera

ixus275


For those looking for a decent affordable Point and shoot, this is the camera that you should go for. With good quality sharp pictures and Canon service to back it up, this has all the features that you want. It also has wi-fi connection to wirelessly transfer  your pics. It produces decent pics in auto mode and you don’t really need to do much tinkering.

The IXUS 275 HS  has a 1/2.3-in.type 20.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor with a zoom lens, equivalent to 25-300mm (12x zoom) with an f3.6-7.0 aperture. The aperture starts at f/3.6  which is decent, however it rapidly falls to  f/7 Aperture as you zoom in. The camera has an impressive 12x zoom in a very small case. However if you use high zoom, you will find the pictures to be more blurry and with less light and hence not very useable in low light.

Another shortcoming is the battery which only lasts around 90 photos, which means you’ll end up changing it often. In addition to all this, you get a 3 inch LCD Screen on the back, WiFi and NFC Connection to easily transfer and store photos wirelessly and also Full HD Recording.

If you want to buy a decent and basic point-and-shoot at an affordable price, the IXUS 275 HS is simple to use and capable of delivering sharp photos with vibrant colors.

 

2. Nikon COOLPIX S6900

 

coolpix

The Nikon coolpix s6900 is similar to the Canon in most features. However mosts test show that the low light performance is not as good which means indoor and evening pics will not be as clear as the Canon.

The Nikon COOLPIX S6900  has a 1/2.3-in.type 16 Megapixel CMOS sensor with a zoom lens, equivalent to 25-300mm (12x zoom) with an f3.3-6.3 aperture. The aperture starts at f/3.3 , however it rapidly falls to  f/6.3  as you zoom in. The camera has an impressive 12x zoom in a very small case. However if you use high zoom, you will find the pictures to be more blurry and with less light and hence not very useable in low light.

However one big advantage that this camera has is the 3 inch LCD Screen articulating touch screen display screen, which lets you take selfies. It has WiFi Connection to easily transfer and store photos wirelessly and also Full HD Recording.

We love this camera if it weren’t for the poor indoor performance. Ultimately if you value the swivel touch screen for selfies and other situation, go for it.

 

Team BeforeIbuy is a team of writers and editors who are passionate about their work. We are a bunch of geeks, nerds and modern day detectives who love getting to the root of things. We also work with experienced writers, researchers and engineers who give us the technical guidance on products before we come up with our recommendations. Beforeibuy is a list of the best things to buy for those who do not wish to spend hours and days figuring out what to buy. Our mission is to make buying easy. We have one expert article with links to the best products for each category that you can readily refer before you buy anything. We are unbiased, ethical and open in our decision process. We are open to feedback from all of you since we do see it as community effort.

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