Searching for the best point-and-shoot camera you can buy right now? Good news –we've rounded up all of the best options, from fuss-free budget options to premium compacts, in our regularly updated round-up below.
Before we delve into the guide, it's worth answering the obvious question – do we still need point-and-shoot cameras when many smartphones can do the job so well? It's true that even mid-range phones now have excellent, beginner-friendly cameras, but the cameras in our list below all still have a very useful role to play, for various reasons.
Firstly, you may want a simple, family-friendly camera that isn't quite as vulnerable to scrapes and drops as a smartphone. Also, you may well want some of the extra features – for example, built-in viewfinders and optical zoom – that aren't available on phones and help give you a more comfortable, engaging shooting experience.
You may also simply be looking for better outright image quality than your phone can provide. Yes, today's flagship phones are capable of matching the best point-and-shoot cameras in this list, but today's compact cameras still bring physical advantages that trump most phones below that level.
These can include large, one-inch sensors (like the Panasonic Lumix TZ200) or generous optical zooms (like those available on the Sony Cyber-shot WX220 and, in particular, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS) that simply aren't possible on any smartphone even with the latest computational software tricks.
Alternatively, you may simply be looking for a virtually indestructible camera, like the Fujifilm XP140 or video-focused Apeman A100, that you can simply hand to the kids on a beach trip without worrying about the potential for dealing with smashed screens or water-damaged components.
Whether you want a tiny slip-in-the-pocket compact, an all-singing travel zoom or a stylish, large sensor professional tool, there’s something in here for you. We've even chucked in our pick for the best point-and-shoot smartphone, for those who want to might want access to the latest computational photography without necessarily adding a SIM card.
Our overall pick for the best point-and-shoot camera right now is the Sony Cyber-shot WX220, because it packs smartphone-beating power and 10x optical zoom into a stylish, affordable package. But it might not necessarily be the best choice for you, so make sure you peruse the rest of our list to find the best point-and-shoot match for you.
Best point-and-shoot cameras 2021:
The Sony Cyber-shot WX220 is the pinnacle of what we call a classic point-and-shoot camera, being the type of tiny, pocketable model that thrived before flagship smartphones arrived.
Certainly, at its price point, you simply cannot find a phone with a lens to compete with the WX220. For this reasonable sum, you get a stabilized 10x optical zoom with 25-250mm coverage. Even at the telephoto end, stabilization keeps the scene nice and sharp.
The 1/2.3-inch image sensor is the same size or larger than you'll find in most smartphones, but here you have a decent 18.2MP resolution.
Pictures possess lovely colors and can be edited in-camera with a wide array of effects available, plus the camera is Wi-Fi enabled and it's easy enough to share those images quickly to your, ahem, smartphone.
Where the WX220 is let down a little is the confusing menus and its 2.7-inch LCD screen also isn't touch-sensitive. Otherwise, this tiny, no-fuss camera is a highly competent snapper to keep in your pocket or hand to the kids.
- Read our in-depth Sony Cyber-shot WX220 review
Travel zooms like this offer something that no phone can truly match – a huge optical zoom. This is the key selling point of the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS.
Crammed into an impressively compact, solid and stylish body, the lens boasts a 40x optical zoom with 24-960mm coverage. It also features 3.5-stop intelligent stabilization, making the telephoto end more useable, although understandably image quality does suffer a little.
Again, you have a 1/2.3-inch sensor, so expect similar image quality to a smartphone – although resolution is high at 20.3MP and the camera is way more versatile, including that zoom range and a 10fps continuous shooting mode.
Armed with Canon's Digic 8 processor, the SX740 HS has a decent 4K video performance and a snappy autofocus that can be always-active in that continuous photo mode.
Ideally, the camera's 3-inch flip-up screen would be touch sensitive and a viewfinder would be nice for shooting in bright light. But the SX740 HS is still towards the low end of the point-and-shoot price range, so everything is forgiven.
- Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot SX740 HS review
Instigators of the 'travel-zoom' type of point-and-shoot camera, Panasonic brought us the smallest camera with 10x optical zoom in 2006. The company has been a regular presence ever since, culminating around twelve years later in the Panasonic Lumix TZ90 (known as the ZS70 in the US).
Of course, the tech has moved on and we now have a 30x optical zoom with 24-720mm focal range, supported by a five-axis image stabilization that we have found to be very effective.
There are similar cameras with bigger zooms, but the TZ90 arguably offers a more well-rounded package.
Key features include the lovely 3-inch touchscreen that tilts up for an intuitive selfie mode. Unlike many models in this list, you also get a 0.2-inch viewfinder. It's on the small side and you'll err towards the lovely touchscreen instead, but most other cameras at this level (and of course smartphones) simply don't have a viewfinder at all, so the option is welcome.
Like the Canon SX740 HS, there's a 1/2.3-inch sensor with 20.3MP and a 10fps continuous shooting mode. But the TZ90 can also shoot in raw format and offers in-camera raw editing, too. With impressive 4K video quality too, the TZ90/ZS70 offers excellent value for money.
- Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix TZ90/ZS70 review
Here's another category of camera that still fares well against smartphones; the tough camera. Right now, the Fujifilm XP140 is our favorite cost-effective option in this category – it offers superb value for money.
Yes, you get a lot of bang for your buck in this bold-looking yellow camera. It’s fully waterproof down to 25m, shockproof to 1.8m, freeze proof to -10°C and dustproof, without the need for casing.
That waterproof design does restrict the lens reach, although the XP140 still has a decent 5x optical zoom with 28-140mm focal length. The lens is stabilized too, which comes in handy on those rough-and-tumble adventures.
The 1/2.3-inch sensor is back-illuminated which is great for low-light scenarios like underwater. All 16.4MP pictures can be tagged with GPS location and shared wirelessly via Fujifilm's app or even printed on-the-go using the Fujifilm Instax Share printer.
Video-wise, the 4K is a let down being only 15fps, but Full HD videos fare much better – and there's an option for slow-motion and time-lapse recording.
Not having to worry about damaging your camera really does make all the difference during your day-to-day adventures – and the Olympus Tough TG-6 is as tough as they come.
Shockproof to 2.4m, waterproof to 15m, crushproof to 100kg and freeze-proof to -10C, you can go places and do things with the TG-6 that you wouldn't even consider with a smartphone or most other cameras.
Olympus has opted for a more modest 4x optical zoom and 12MP resolution here, but the lens is faster than most with a maximum f/2 aperture at the wide end and f/4.9 at the longest focal length.
A better maximum aperture means more light, which means better-quality images. Conversely, we have found the camera overexposes a little in bright light, but it does shoot in raw format too, so any lost detail can be recovered post-capture.
The TG-6 boasts a solid array of features, including 20fps continuous shooting, 4K video at 30fps, a 1cm macro mode and a high resolution 3inch screen – the only downside is that slightly high price tag.
- Read our in-depth Olympus Tough TG6 review
Our Panasonic Lumix ZS200/TZ200 review describes this compact as "the most advanced travel zoom camera you can buy", and we still stand by that statement.
What sets the ZS200/TZ200 apart from other travel-zooms is that it has a large 1-inch sensor – that's around four times the size of a typical 1/2.3-inch chip used in most of the other cameras in this list.
That sensor size can be found in other compacts, but not in ones with such a long-reaching lens as the 15x optical zoom unit here, which gives you a very useful 24-360mm reach.
Being a Panasonic camera, the ZS200/TZ200 is also crammed full of excellent features; a 3-inch touchscreen, 2.3 million-dot EVF and 4K video recording up to 30fps.
The drawback? Well, of course, you do pay for all of this power. But for an all-in-one compact camera with decent image quality, you still can't do better than this.
- Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix ZS200 / TZ200 review
PowerShot is the name that Canon gives to it's point-and-shoot cameras and last year we described the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III as the company's most video-focused PowerShot yet.
A hit with vloggers, there's more to the dinky G7 X Mark III than its lovely 4K video capture, Full HD D 4x slow motion capture, excellent image stabilization and mic input.
Squeezed into a tiny-yet-tough body is the larger type 1-inch sensor with a 20.1MP resolution, and a fast f/1.8-2.8 lens with control ring that offers a 4x optical zoom. You also get a decent 3-inch tilt-touchscreen that can be flipped up for selfie viewing.
Sadly, there is no hot-shoe for accessories or a built-in viewfinder, plus the AF system is slightly dated. However, mentioning these downsides are testimony to how otherwise capable the G7 X Mark III is – it's in another league to smartphones.
- Read our in-depth Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III review
You wouldn't necessarily think of a smartphone for wildlife photography, would you? The same cannot be said for bridge cameras, like the Nikon P950.
And what a lens the P950 has. Designed to get you close to the action, be it wildlife or sports, it boasts an 83x optical zoom. Yes, you read that right, the zoom covers a simply ridiculous 24-2000mm range, with a f/2.8-6.5 maximum aperture.
Such flexibility is partly achieved by using the small 1/2.3-inch sensor, like those used in smartphones, so don't expect image quality to match the large DSLR-like form factor. However, for what lens you get, the P950 is small – if a telephoto lens with such a long reach existed for a DSLR (which it doesn't), it would be as long as your arm.
The P950 has more going for it besides its zoom. There's a 3.2-inch vari-angle screen (that sadly isn't touch-sensitive), a decent 0.39-inch EVF with a 2.359-million dot resolution, 4K video, raw support and 7fps continuous shooting.
It may not be the most capable bridge camera around (see the Sony RX10 IV below), but in terms of bang for your buck, the P950 is one of the best zoom cameras you can get.
- Read our in-depth Nikon P950 review
The Sony RX10 IV is simply the most capable all-in-one camera around, redefining what we can expect from a point-and-shoot camera. We can't quite squeeze its plethora of top-line features into this short summary, but here goes.
It's a weather-sealed bridge camera packing a 25x optical zoom with 24-600mm coverage, supported by excellent stabilization and the larger-type 1-inch sensor, so images look great at any setting.
For photography, you can shoot up to 24fps with continuous metering and class-leading continuous AF – and that's in raw mode, too, which allows you to retain information that you can play with in editing software afterwards.
Video-wise, 4K UHD shooting is included, plus a range of slow motion modes up to an astonishing 1000fps, although the latter naturally comes with reduced image quality. There's a mic input and a headphone jack, while the touchscreen and EVF both look great, too.
The catch? Well, the RX10 IV is a little unwieldy at just over 1kg, but really it's the money that stings. Understandably, this is the most expensive camera in this roundup, but for any scenario – sports, wildlife, portraits, landscapes, you're covered. Everything about the RX10 IV is leaps and bounds above smartphones, so if you want the ultimate point-and-shoot, this is it.
- Read our in-depth Sony RX10 Mark IV review
If you consider yourself to be a hobbyist photographer and are looking for a tiny but capable point-and-shoot, then the Panasonic Lumix LX100 II should definitely be on your shortlist.
Its USP is its large sensor size. It's the same Micro Four Thirds sensor format as used in the company's 'Lumix G' mirrorless cameras, being almost twice the size of the 1-inch sensor found in other high-end point-and-shoot cameras in this round up.
Squeezed into this impressively compact body is a 24-75mm f/1.7-2.8 lens. That's only a 3.1x optical zoom, but the lens aperture is very fast, letting in more light and providing greater control over depth of field. In other words, you can blur those backgrounds more easily. While smartphones rely on image processing for blurred-background portraits, it's all real here.
The viewing experience is good, with a high-quality 2.76-million dot EVF, though sadly the rear touchscreen is fixed. We'd love a tilt function for waist-level viewing, especially when out-and-about doing reportage photography.
All in all, every choice from design to features makes the LX100 II ideal for photography enthusiasts, and it's all found in an impressively compact package.
- Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review
Without breaking the bank, the Fujifilm XF-10 features the largest image sensor in this roundup and excellent image quality.
This stylish and tiny point-and-shoot boasts an APS-C sensor with fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens. That focal length is similar to what you get with a phone, but the larger sensor and sharp specialized lens provide much better image quality.
Inside the pared down and tough metal body with traditional looks are some very modern features. There's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on board, plus USB charging. Video is a mixed bag – its 4K video is only 15fps, but Full HD is fine and there is a mic input.
That fixed zoom makes the XF-10 more of a specialist tool, theoretically suited to street photography, for example. However, there are some drawbacks. Autofocus is a little sluggish and we wish there was a tilt-touchscreen for waist-level shooting, rather than the fixed one here.
Still, for a relatively low price, the XF-10 brings a stylish camera with an APS-C sensor into your pocket.
- Read our in-depth Fujifilm XF10 review
Apeman (AKA Trawo) offers a 4K action camera that is stonkingly good value for money. The image quality of the Apeman A100 holds its own against significantly more expensive rivals, in any lighting, making it a strong choice if you're looking for point-and-shoot video, rather than stills.
What we love most about image quality, including photos, is the crisper image processing as opposed to the aggressive noise reduction and soft detail of its rivals. And it's not just 4K video at 30fps either, because unlike any other camera at this price point, you can shoot 4k up to 50fps.
There has to be downsides, right? Well, despite premium-feel buttons, build quality doesn't impress, nor is the image stabilization the best we've tested. Audio quality is the main let down, offering a low level and noisy output, while voices sound tinny.
Ports are covered but the device isn't waterproof, so you'll need to use the included case when underwater. Still, this camera is much better suited to action than a smartphone. Plus, if you're on a budget and want lovely image quality from your action camera, the Apeman A100 can't be beaten.
If you'd still rather have the smartphone shooting experience in your point-and-shoot camera, an alternative to the cameras above is buying a SIM-free smartphone with a powerful camera – and using it without buying a mobile data plan. Right now, we think the Google Pixel 4a is the best choice for this.
We'd be remiss not to include a smartphone in a point-and-shoot camera roundup. The camera capability even in mid-tier smartphones like the Google Pixel 4a is hugely impressive.
We test all new smartphones and have been most impressed by the Google Pixel 4a's camera. It's a fixed 12MP lens, so you don't get the same flexibility as quad-camera phones, but Google's image processing is up there with the best around.
The lens is consistently sharp from centre to edges, portrait mode works well especially the application of the blur effect (achieved entirely by intelligent processing), while the night mode shines too.
As a photography tool, we love the Live HDR function that allows you to manually and independently change the brightness in highlights and shadows. Raw capture is included too, but the phone's JPEG processing is already making the most out the sensor's capability.
Given the perceived limitations of the Pixel 4a's camera, it is extremely capable and most importantly of all, it quietly gets on with the job of making lovely photos and videos, fuss-free.
- Read our in-depth Google Pixel 4a review