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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. If you’re interested in more great products like this, then you need to read our best digital camera.
In the end, we found that the Nikon Coolpix B500 Point and Shoot is a versatile and high-quality point-and-shoot, fine Nikon digital camera. 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.
The 40X optical zoom lens on the Nikon Coolpix B500 sets it apart from other point-and-shoot cameras.
Award: Editor’s Choice/Best Point and Shoot Camera for the Money
Price: $256.95 | Optical Zoom: 40X | Resolution: 16 MP | Read Full Review: Nikon Coolpix B500 Review
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, making it a great digital camera for beginners. Additionally, for beginner photographers 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 point-and-shoot camera for birding
The Coolpix B500 also ranks as the 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 looking only for the basics.
Related: Check out our best point and shoot under 500.
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
Award: Best Advanced Point and Shoot Camera
Price: $649.00| Optical Zoom: 4.2X | Resolution: 20.1 MP | Read Full Review: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Review
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 pop-up 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. Plus, its exhilarating performance and speed are combined with a smart compact design. This compact camera is ideal for travel, events, or anywhere on the go. 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. As good as it is, it is not the best underwater camera, so get the right model for water adventuring.
View on Amazon – $649.00
Award: Best Compact Point and Shoot Camera
Price: $399.00 | Optical Zoom: 8X | Resolution: 12 MP | Read Full Review: Olympus Tough TG-6
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, much like its older brother, the Olympus Tough TG-5. This tough compact camera is made to survive the toughest conditions. 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 compact camera’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. This compact camera has impressive tough features hard to find in a point-and-shoot camera.
View on Amazon – $399.00
Award: Best Canon Point and Shoot
Price: $209.00 | Read Full Review: Canon ELPH 360 Review | Optical Zoom: 12X | Resolution: 20.2 MP | Read Full Review: Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS Review
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. It also uses a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor optimized for use in compact cameras plus a sophisticated light-capturing design that provides high sensitivity for improved high ISO capture with reduced noise. So you get all that in a slim and compact camera. 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
Award: Best Point and Shoot Camera for Video
Price: $448.00 | Optical Zoom: 30X | Resolution: 18.2 MP | Read Full Review: Sony HX99 Review
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. And despite being a super compact camera, it delivers outstanding performance, with high-quality images and high-level features. It also uses a high-sensitivity CMOS sensor optimized for use in compact cameras plus a sophisticated light-capturing design that provides high sensitivity for improved high ISO capture with reduced noise. So you get all that in a slim and compact camera. And 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.
Note: Other very good, actually premium, point and shoot cameras not included on our list include the Leica Q and Leica Q2, Fujifilm FinePix XP140 and Fujifilm XF10, the Ricoh GR-Series including the Ricoh GR III, Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II, Sony RX100, and Panasonic Lumix FZ1000.
The Leica Q is a 24.2-megapixel camera, and the upgraded Leica Q2 is a 47.3 MP camera that can easily capture top-quality images. These are high-end cameras that cost over $4000, and with features that match the price. The Ricoh GR III costs much less at just under $900 but still offers amazing features such as a 24 MP CMOS Sensor with an accelerator unit that helps capture amazing images. The Ricoh GR III also features wireless LAN functions to enable pairing with smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II has a slightly lesser 20.1 MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor and is compatible with iOS and Android. The Sony RX100 offers a 20.1-megapixel camera and exquisite image quality.
View on Amazon – $448.00
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.
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; the 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.
As you can see from our top 3 in the list of the best point-and-shoot digital cameras, 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 finest instant film camera list or our leading digital camera for filmmaking if you like video better.
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