Best Point and Shoot Digital Camera: Buyers Guide & Expert Reviews

Truly finding the best point and shoot digital camera is only effective if you can get your hands on some options, which is exactly what we did. After we purchased the cameras, we shaved the list down to the top 5 options on the market today by testing things like image quality, video recording capability and overall build quality. We took tons of pictures and compared them to one another to see which camera can shoot the best shot in a variety of lighting situations.

In the end, we found that the Nikon Coolpix B500 Point and Shoot is the most versatile and high-quality point and shoot camera available today. It offers stunning image quality and a whopping 40x zoom, making it more flexible than any other camera on our list. Keep reading to learn more about our #1 pick and the other cameras we selected as the best for 2019.

Top Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for 2019

Nikon Coolpix B500Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark IIOlympus Stylus Tough TG-6Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HSSony Cybershot HX99
Ranking#1 - Editor's Choice/Best Point and Shoot Camera for the Money#2 - Best Advanced Point and Shoot Camera#3 - - Best Compact Point and Shoot Camera#4 - Best Canon Point and Shoot#5 - Best Point and Shoot Camera for Video
Amazon Rating4stars-new4andhalf-stars4stars-new4stars-new4andhalf-stars
Resolution16 MP20.1 MP12 MP20.2 MP18.2 MP
Optical Zoom Lens40X4.2X4X12X30X
Full HD Moviegreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-markgreen-check-mark
Articulated Display
Screen Display
Wireless ConnectivityWiFi, NFC, BluetoothWiFi and NFCWiFiWiFi and NFCNFC
Price$256.95$649.00$399.00$209.00 $448.00
Buy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy NowBuy Now

#1 Pick Nikon Coolpix B500 – Editor’s Choice/Best Point and Shoot Camera for the Money

The 40X optical zoom lens on the Nikon Coolpix B500 sets it apart from other point and shoot cameras.

best point and shoot camera 2018point and shoot camera for travelPrice: $256.95 Optical Zoom: 40X | Resolution: 16 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Low price and a massive zoom lens make a great pairing.

The Nikon Coolpix B500 is one of the easiest long zoom digital cameras to use, offering a minimal number of buttons and switches. For a beginning photographer looking to find a model that separates itself from a smartphone camera, having the 40X optical zoom lens in the B500 is a significant factor, as smartphone cameras have no optical zoom. It’s great to find such a large zoom in a low-priced, easy-to-use camera, setting the B500 apart from other models on this list.

Read: Top 5 Best Digital Cameras

The Coolpix B500 also ranks as a best point and shoot digital camera with WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC, each providing wireless connectivity. The B500’s tiltable display screen is a nice feature to help you shoot selfies, which is something that many of these easy-to-use cameras don’t offer. The B500 runs on 4 AA batteries, which makes it easy to swap out batteries when you’re in a spot where you wouldn’t be able to recharge a battery.

It’d be nice if the B500 had slightly better image quality, as its 16-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch image sensor simply can’t provide an image quality to compete with more advanced cameras. This camera body is too large to fit in a pocket or purse, which may disappoint some photographers who are looking only for the basics.

One great feature that helps to set the Coolpix B500 apart from other models is its tiltable 3.0-inch LCD screen, making it easy to use this point and shoot model on a tripod. Throw in the B500’s low price, and it’s tough to find point and shoot cameras that can surpass it.

View on Amazon – $256.95

#2 Pick Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II – Best Advanced Point and Shoot Camera

The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II creates outstanding image quality in the point and shoot category.

advanced point and shoot cameraPrice: $649.00Optical Zoom: 4.2X | Resolution: 20.1 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Easy to use camera with image capture that can compete with some entry level DSLRs.

The image quality you’ll find in the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II – thanks to its large 1-inch image sensor – is impossible for a smartphone camera or most point and shoot cameras to match. Even though the G7 X has some advanced modes, it works great in fully automatic mode. It has an articulated, touch screen display, and its popup flash unit gives it strong low light performance. It does carry a pretty high price tag versus other point and shoots, and its small 4.2X optical zoom lens is another drawback, but its image quality makes up for its problems.

The PowerShot G7 X Mark II has 20.1 megapixels of resolution, which helps to explain this model’s great image quality. Its performance speeds are strong, as you will notice almost no shutter lag and you can shoot full resolution images at up to 6.5 frames per second. For even greater image quality, you can shoot in the RAW image format, which is great to find in a camera that’s so easy to use. All of these features give the Canon G7 X Mark II some of the best low light image quality you’ll find in a point and shoot camera.

View on Amazon – $649.00

#3 Pick Olympus Stylus Tough TG-6 – Best Compact Point and Shoot Camera

The waterproof Olympus TG-6 is easy to use, which is helpful when shooting in deep water.

point and shoot camera for videoPrice: $399.00Optical Zoom: 8X | Resolution: 12 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Built-in GPS in a versatile, feature rich waterproof camera.

Olympus has created a very easy-to-use waterproof and tough camera in the TG-6. When you’re working underwater, it can be beneficial to have a simple design in a point and shoot camera, and the Stylus Tough TG-6 fits that description. The TG-6’s extra features, such as built-in WiFi, GPS, and eCompass, are easy to use too.

Keep in mind that the TG-6’s image quality and small zoom lens are slight drawbacks for this model. Olympus only gave the TG-6 a 12-megapixel, 1/2.3-inch image sensor, which is a common image sensor size in point and shoot cameras, but which is at the low end of the current digital camera market. You will have the option of shooting in the RAW image format with this model, which isn’t common in this portion of the market. You also have 4K options for high-speed movie and still image recording, which is nice to find.

The Stylus TG-6’s tough features include the ability to use it in 50 feet of water depth, work after a fall of 7 feet, and survive 220 pounds of crush pressure. With an extra waterproof case that Olympus offers for this model, you can extend its water depth rating to 150 feet. These are impressive tough features to find in a point and shoot camera.

View on Amazon – $399.00

#4 Pick Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS – Best Canon Point and Shoot

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS Camera
The ELPH 360 from Canon is a very easy to use point and shoot camera, offering a low price and a nice 12X optical zoom lens.

point and shoot camera under 300Price: $209.00  Read Full Review: Canon ELPH 360 ReviewOptical Zoom: 12X | Resolution: 20.2 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: A quick as lightning camera available at a budget price point.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS offers those looking to shoot photos on a budget a pretty nice camera with decent image quality. Not surprisingly, considering the ELPH 360 features a 1/2.3-inch image sensor, it struggled during my tests in terms of low light image quality. Many point and shoot cameras that have such small image sensors struggle in this area. But this model does a very nice job with outdoor photos, creating sharp images. It also is a fast-working camera, yielding almost no shutter lag, which is rare to find in such an inexpensive camera.

The PowerShot ELPH 360 has 20.2 megapixels of resolution, which again sets this model apart from many cameras in the $200 price range. But the best feature of this model is its 12X optical zoom lens, which helps to set the Canon ELPH 360 apart from smartphone cameras that don’t have an optical zoom capability. This model offers built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity, a 3.0-inch LCD screen, and a host of fun special effect options.

View on Amazon – $209.00

#5 Pick Sony Cybershot HX99 – Best Point and Shoot Camera for Video

The Sony Cybershot HX99 provides very impressive features for a point and shoot camera, including 4K video capability.

 best point and shoot camera under 200Price: $448.00 Optical Zoom: 30X | Resolution: 18.2 MP

WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: 4K movie resolution and large zoom found in this camera.

The Sony Cybershot HX99 offers some strong features for a point and shoot camera, including an impressive Zeiss 30X optical zoom lens, the ability to record in 4K video resolution at 30 frames per second, and a 180-degree tiltable LCD screen. This is not something that most point and shoot cameras can match, especially relatively thin cameras. Despite these above average features, the Cybershot HX99 remains easy to use, as you’d expect from this type of camera. This model does carry a pretty high price tag versus some of the other point and shoots on this list, but the strong features on this model are deserving of an elevated price, making this one of the best point and shoot cameras.

The Sony Cybershot HX99 offers 18.2 megapixels of resolution in a smallish 1/2.3-inch image sensor, which means its image quality is only average. It does include built-in WiFi, NFC, and Bluetooth connectivity, which is helpful for those wanting to share photos immediately after shooting them on social media. The tiltable LCD screen is a very nice feature to find in a thin zoom camera, as it can be difficult to hand hold the camera steady while using the long zoom. So you can attach the HX99 to a tripod and tilt the LCD at 180 degrees, allowing you to see the scene without having to bend over continuously.

View on Amazon – $448.00

3 Things to Avoid in a Point and Shoot Digital Camera

Lousy Image Quality:When trying to justify upgrading to a dedicated digital camera versus using a smartphone camera, image quality is key. Some point and shoot cameras just don’t have an image quality that’s good enough to truly provide separation from a smartphone camera.

Small Zoom Lens: When looking to find the best point and shoot camera to take the place of a smartphone camera, the zoom lens also is important. Smartphone cameras have no optical zoom. Look for a good zoom lens to find the best point and shoot digital camera on the market.

Read: Best Digital Camera Under $200

Poor Low Light Performance: One of the biggest drawbacks to both easy to use cameras and inexpensive cameras is their performance in low light photography. Such cameras can work slowly in poor lighting conditions, leading to shutter lag and below average image quality. Look for a point and shoot model with a good flash unit to improve its performance in low light.

Key Indicators of a Good Point and Shoot Camera

Ease of Use: Because point and shoot cameras are aimed at beginning photographers, they need to be easy to use. Leave all of the buttons and switches and manual controls for a great DSLR camera; a best point and shoot camera shouldn’t have many buttons, allowing you to pick up the camera and use it immediately out of the box. A touch screen display can make a camera easier to use too.

Optical Zoom Lens: Point and shoot cameras will offer a variety of optical zoom measurements, anywhere from 5X to 50X. A large optical zoom will give you the ability to shoot a larger variety of photos, especially of wildlife, but a smaller optical zoom camera will be compact enough to fit in a pocket or purse.

Read: Best Travel Camera

Extra Features: Point and shoot camera manufacturers often give their models fun features to use, such as WiFi connectivity, tough features, a touch screen display, or colorful camera bodies. Don’t base your purchase decision solely on these extra features, but finding the best point and shoot camera with these features can provide extra value for you.

Most Important Point and Shoot Camera Features

  • Image Sensor: If you understand how a digital camera works, you know that image sensor size plays a key role in image quality. A point and shoot camera with a small 1/2.3-inch image sensor will produce average image quality, but if you can find a larger sensor in this type of camera, you’ll receive vastly improved image quality.
  • Resolution: The number of megapixels of resolution the camera records plays a role in image quality, but not quite as heavily as image sensor size.
  • Optical Zoom Lens: Optical zoom lens measurements are far more important than digital zoom measurements. Using digital zoom can actually lead to a loss of image quality, and the digital zoom measurement is best ignored.
  • Read: Best Compact Digital Camera
  • Movie Recording: Most point and shoot cameras cannot record in 4K resolution yet, so look for a full HD video recording option.
  • Flash Unit: A point and shoot camera often will contain an embedded flash unit in the corner of the camera, but if the easy-to-use model has a popup flash, it will provide better performance.
  • Articulated Display Screen: If you want your point and shoot camera to compete with a smartphone camera in terms of shooting selfies, a display screen that can tilt is a great feature.
  • Touch Screen Display: A point and shoot camera is even easier to use if it has a touch screen display.
  • Wireless Connectivity: Modern easy-to-use cameras often will include WiFi and NFC connectivity.
  • Fun Features: If camera body color, special effect shooting options, and tough features are important to you, you’ll find quite a few point and shoot cameras with such options.

Which Point and Shoot Digital Camera Is Right For You

As you can see from our top 3 in the list of the best point and shoot digital camera, plenty of versatility exists in this portion of the market, even if manufacturers have cut back on the total number of point and shoot models they’re offering. Whether you want a large zoom lens, great image quality, tough features, or an articulated screen for selfies, you can find a solid candidate in the point and shoot category. Because a point and shoot model is very easy to use, it’s a great starter camera. If you then find that you like digital photography, you eventually can move to a more advanced camera, such as one on our best cameras of 2019 list.

Kyle Schurman

Kyle has been a freelance writer for 20 years, focusing mainly on technology related topics. He's written product reviews, product overviews, how-to articles, product best of lists, and other types of articles.

Related Articles

Back to top button