June 21, 2024

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The 5 Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras of 2024

5 min read

A great compact camera should have a relatively large sensor, be small enough for you to carry anywhere, and allow you to capture images that would be impossible to replicate with your smartphone. Whether that means the architectural details of European cathedrals, your child speeding across a soccer field, or dinner at your favorite restaurant, the Sony RX100 VII is a far better option than your phone’s camera.

Its 8.3x zoom lens makes it a perfect traveling companion, as it’s capable of capturing wide scenic vistas or zooming in for stunning portraits and delightful architectural details.

Plus, its tilting touchscreen makes shooting up high or down low easy, and the physical controls can help even experienced photographers feel at home while teaching novices the art of photography. Best of all, its autofocus tracking is the best we’ve ever seen in a compact camera.

Note: Many of the high-end compact cameras we recommend in this guide are produced in small batches that sell out quickly. These models may be backordered or out of stock at the stores we link to—an unfortunate side effect of the hype surrounding them. However, none have been discontinued, and if you place an order, you will eventually receive a camera. Just be prepared to wait, or buy one used instead.

Our pick

This camera isn’t much bigger than a pack of playing cards, yet it captures beautiful images and video in nearly any situation, offers ample customizable controls, and has a great pop-up viewfinder.

The Sony RX100 VII isn’t cheap, but it is made to handle almost anything you’re likely to photograph (above water, anyway). Whether you’re an experienced photographer and a parent of a champion field-hockey player, say, or a novice learning more about photography while capturing the landscapes and cuisine of the French countryside, this camera delivers. And it’s a camera that you can grow with as you enhance your skills.

Its focus tracking is the best you can find in a compact camera, and its pop-up electronic viewfinder makes composing shots on sunny days easier. Crucially, its 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor delivers sharper images, with more realistic color and better background blur when you want it, than the best smartphone cameras can produce.

The RX100 VII’s 24–200mm lens is both wide enough and long enough to handle the vast majority of photo opportunities. Due to its relatively narrow maximum aperture range, it sacrifices a little background blur and low-light shooting ability in comparison with some larger compact and mirrorless cameras, but its telephoto capabilities and diminutive size make it the best all-around travel companion.

Its 4K footage is colorful and sharp, as well, and it can output live, uncompressed 4K footage via HDMI. (That said, vloggers should look to our pick for vlogging.)

Also great

This powerful point-and-shoot doesn’t have the most zoom or megapixels, but it does provide the best balance of reach, image quality, and features of all the superzooms we’ve tested.

If you primarily shoot sports and wildlife but prefer the simplicity and affordability of a point-and-shoot over the complexity, bulk, and cost of an interchangeable-lens camera system, choose the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300. This camera’s 24x zoom lens (25–600mm) has a much wider range than those of our other picks, providing ample reach for birding, capturing stadium sports, and even documenting your travels (though our other picks are better for long trips, since they’re much more portable).

Its image quality is superior to what you can get from other small-sensor superzooms thanks to its f/2.8 constant-aperture lens, and with its blazing-quick autofocus and burst shooting, you can easily capture fast-moving action. It has a great electronic viewfinder and a touchscreen that can swing out to help you shoot selfies or capture shots at odd angles. And its weather-sealed, DSLR-like body is both comfortable to hold and stuffed with customizable controls.

Also great

This camera looks like a classic soap-bar-style point-and-shoot but packs a big APS-C sensor and a seriously sharp lens. But it shoots only wide-angle photos, and it lacks a viewfinder.

This camera is identical to the GR III, except that its lens is a “normal” 40mm equivalent rather than wide-angle. Which model suits you better comes down to how and what you like to photograph.

The Ricoh GR III is the Platonic ideal of a street-photography camera, especially if you like to shoot quickly and covertly. Its minimalist design won’t catch anyone’s attention, you can easily slip it into and out of a pants pocket, and its wide-angle field of view and unique Snap Focus feature let you quickly shoot from the hip. If you want to take more time with your compositions, it’s a great all-around travel camera, too.

But skinny-jeans pocketability comes at a cost: This camera lacks an electronic viewfinder (an optical viewfinder is available separately), its rear display doesn’t tilt, and its wide-angle lens doesn’t zoom.

If you prefer a field of view closer to that of a classic “normal” lens, Ricoh makes a variant called the GR IIIx. It’s exactly the same camera as the GR III but with a 40mm f/2.8 lens. The company also recently announced the GR III HDF and GR IIIx HDF, variants that replace the built-in neutral density filter with a highlight diffusion filter that you can switch on for a dreamy, old-school look.

Also great

This retro-styled camera offers loads of tactile control dials, evocative film simulations, and a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, all of which combine to create a unique shooting experience.

Fujifilm’s X100VI is another popular choice for street photography thanks to its fixed 35mm f/2 lens. But instead of encouraging a run-and-gun mentality, its retro-inspired design pushes you toward a slower, more thoughtful shooting style.

This camera is packed with features not found on most other compact models, including a unique hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder with an electronic rangefinder, a 40-megapixel stabilized APS-C sensor, and Fujifilm’s wide array of film simulations, which aim to re-create classic film stocks in digital form. And it’s encrusted with tactile dials that provide manual control over every aspect of the shooting experience.

It’s quite pricey, especially for a camera that can’t zoom or change lenses, and if you want to pocket it in your jeans, they’d better be JNCOs. But it delivers excellent image quality and an overall shooting experience that no other compact camera can match.

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