Compare Compact Digital Cameras

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Updated July 27, 2022

If you are shopping for a new gadget, you may start to compare compact digital cameras. Many of the best digital cameras, after all, fall into this category. Keep reading to learn all about compact cameras and the many subcategories.


  • Compact digital cameras, otherwise known as point-and-shoot cameras, are designed for amateurs.
  • As such, they feature smaller image sensors and allow for automatic adjustments to exposure and zoom, though may lack manual controls.
  • There are several different types of compact digicams, including action cameras, zoom cameras, and advanced compact cameras.

What is a Compact Digital Camera?

Compact digital cameras, as the name suggests, are small and lightweight cameras that are made for amateur photographers. As such, they are extremely easy to use, with an autofocus mode and an auto-exposure mode. The image sensors are on the smaller side, so they won’t produce image quality in line with mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, or medium format cameras. Still, they are inexpensive and generally considered to be decent enough for many kinds of photographers. If you are looking to compare digital cameras, you could do worse than a compact, even if they lack manual controls.

Insider Tip

Just because your camera automatically zooms and focuses your images, does not mean it lacks a manual focus feature. Check the settings.

Types of Compact Digital Cameras

There are many types of compact digital cameras to suit different consumers, each with varying sets of features. You’ll find key differences in specific brands and models, like the PowerShot SX530 HS 16 and the PowerShot SX530. The differences may be subtle, so they will not be as stark as when comparing, for instance, CMOS vs CCD digital cameras.

Travel Cameras

Travel cameras, otherwise known as action cameras or adventure cameras, are rugged and durable designs that are made to withstand the rigors of travel. In other words, they are perfect for outdoor adventures, as they tend to feature durable enclosures that are often waterproof or at least highly water-resistant. These are great digital cameras for vacation time. Due to the nature of the design, travel cameras do not integrate with interchangeable lenses, as the lens is typically shielded behind a protective barrier. Many of these cameras allow for video capability.

Advanced Compacts

Advanced compact cameras tend to include some high-end features in line with mirrorless cameras and DSLR cameras, such as manual zoom and manual exposure. This puts them somewhere between traditional compact cameras and higher-end cameras. Advanced compact cameras are still lightweight and small, but they tend to be more expensive than regular point-and-shoot models.

Zoom Compacts

The primary difference when it comes to zoom compact cameras is that they tend to include a powerful optical zoom functionality, making them an ideal choice for macro photography or for shooting subjects at a distance. Zoom cameras will not allow for interchangeable lenses, due to the nature of the optical zoom design. In other respects, the image quality will be in line with regular compact cameras.


Always check out the specs before purchasing a camera, to ensure that the image sensor is decent enough to take high-quality photos.


How do point-and-shoot cameras work?

Point-and-shoot cameras, such as the Sony Cyber-Shot, are extremely easy to use. Just point and shoot, as the name suggests.

How to protect your camera?

We would suggest investing in a decent storage case for your camera to protect its various components.

Are medium format cameras good for beginners?

Medium format cameras are for pros, as they allow for a high maximum aperture, feature larger sensors, an excellent dynamic range, incredible optical zoom ranges, electronic viewfinders, and the capacity for high-end video recording. All of this adds up to superior image quality.

STAT: “A DSLR camera typically has a much bigger sensor than a point and shoot camera – a point and shoot typically has a sensor area that is only about 3-5% of a full-frame DSLR sensor.” (source)

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