Point-and-shoot cameras can be tremendously appealing to both novice photographers and experienced users looking for a portable backup to their dedicated mirrorless or DSLR camera. Their compact size and built-in lenses make them well-suited for taking photos in busy environments, but their dedicated controls, typically larger image sensors, and fast autofocus systems make them more versatile for this kind of use than most smartphone cameras.
We've tested over 60 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best point-and-shoot cameras to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. You can also check our recommendations for the best compact cameras, the best mirrorless cameras for travel, and the best cameras for beginners.
The best point-and-shoot camera we've tested for travel is the Sony RX100 VII. It's an incredibly portable compact camera with a 1-inch sensor. Despite its small size, it comes equipped with a pop-up electronic viewfinder for more precise framing and a built-in pop-up flash. It has a bright touchscreen that can flip out for low-angle shots or all the way up for selfies or vlogs. It also has a built-in 200mm equivalent zoom lens, so you can zoom in on far-away subjects.
It delivers excellent out-of-the-box image quality, with JPEGs that look relatively noise-free at higher ISO levels and have fantastic dynamic range to bring out a wide array of details in high-contrast scenes. That said, its RAW noise handling capability is mediocre due to its smaller sensor, so it's not as well-suited to low-light photography at higher ISO levels. Its overall video quality is alright, though you may notice some grain in dimly lit conditions.
Unfortunately, it has a disappointing battery life, and it can overheat and shut down quite easily, particularly when recording 4k video. On the upside, it has a fantastic autofocus system that quickly and reliably keeps moving subjects in focus, whether you're shooting video or taking photos. All in all, this is a great option for travel due to its compact size, excellent image quality, and superb autofocus system.
If you'd prefer a camera with an optical/electronic rangefinder, check out the Fujifilm X100V. It doesn't have a zoom lens like the Sony RX100 VII, so it's less versatile if you want to capture far-away subjects, but it has a hybrid optical/electronic rangefinder that gives you an unfiltered view of your subjects. It's not quite as small as the Sony, but it's still very compact and has a larger APS-C sensor that delivers superior noise handling capability for low-light photography. It also has a good autofocus system for photography, though it's not as reliable at tracking moving subjects in video. That said, its 4k and 1080p video quality are excellent overall, and unlike the Sony, it's weather-sealed as long as you buy a lens adapter and filter; however, it's worth noting that we don't currently test water resistance.
Overall, the Sony is a better choice for travel because of its smaller size and versatile zoom lens, but if you're looking for a premium rangefinder camera with better overall image quality, the Fujifilm is a great alternative.
The best point-and-shoot camera that we've tested for vlogging is the Sony ZV-1. This compact point-and-shoot features a fully articulated screen, allowing you to monitor yourself while self-recording. It also delivers amazing video stabilization performance, which should let you capture handheld video without overly disruptive levels of camera shake. If you plan on shooting outdoors, it also comes with a windsock for its integrated mic, though we don't currently test its efficacy.
This camera is comfortable to use and has a small textured handgrip that makes it easier to hold when the camera is pointed at you. Its autofocus system is remarkably effective when it comes to tracking moving subjects, too. Its 'Background Defocus' function lets you quickly toggle between a deep and shallow depth of field, while its 'Product Showcase' function adjusts the autofocus behavior to allow for smooth transitions between subjects' faces and objects held up within the frame. However, we don't test either of these functions. Video quality in 4k is well-rendered and sharp, though some noise might be noticeable when shooting in dimmer environments.
Unfortunately, this camera is susceptible to overheating during longer recording sessions, especially when shooting in 4k, though this can vary in the real world. Also, like many compact cameras, its battery life isn't impressive. Thankfully, you can charge the camera while in use via USB. Thanks to its portable design and dense feature set, it's one of the best cameras for vlogging that we've tested.
The best point-and-shoot bridge camera we've tested is the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000 II. While they're not as portable as other point-and-shoots, bridge cameras typically combine the convenience of a built-in lens with the larger and more comfortable feel of a DSLR-style camera. This model feels well-built, with a large rubberized handgrip and a fully articulated screen to help you shoot from different angles.
It has a 1-inch sensor and long zoom lens with a 400mm equivalent max focal length that gives you the versatility to shoot wider angle shots or zoom in incredibly far and capture faraway subjects like birds or other wildlife. Image quality is great overall, although its small sensor makes it less suited to low-light photography, as photos lose a lot of sharpness at higher ISO levels. It also has a decent autofocus system and a fast continuous shooting speed to easily capture moments of fast action.
Unfortunately, its video features are more limited. It can shoot in 4k at up to 30 fps, but doing so incurs a severe 1.45x crop. In FHD, it shoots at either 30 fps or 60 fps without a crop, which is great for natural-looking video or fast-moving action, respectively. However, it can't shoot at 24 fps. Video quality is decent overall, although once again, it's limited by its smaller sensor. All in all, this is a great point-and-shoot if you're interested in a bridge camera with a built-in superzoom lens.
The best ultracompact point-and-shoot camera that we've tested is the Panasonic LUMIX ZS80. This lightweight camera has a very small body that you can easily carry around in a coat pocket or a small bag. It's also quite comfortable to use, with a small handgrip and a compact viewfinder, the latter of which is helpful for users who don't like using the flip-out touchscreen to compose their shots.
This camera's autofocus system is impressively effective in tracking moving subjects in still photography and delivers decent overall performance in FHD video. Image quality is also satisfactory, with its wide dynamic range and relatively good noise handling capability, though image sharpness can drastically decrease when shooting at high ISO levels. Its built-in Leica lens has a fairly wide focal range, allowing you to frame both wide-angle landscape shots and clear images of far-away subjects.
That said, this camera's video recording capabilities are somewhat limited. Video quality is disappointingly soft and noisy whether you're shooting in FHD or 4k, and it's only capable of recording 4k footage at 30 fps with a severe 1.35x crop. Autofocus tracking performance is also poor in this resolution. Still, its highly compact size and decent image quality help make it a somewhat versatile choice.
Sep 03, 2021: Replaced the Fujifilm X100V with the Sony RX100 VII as the 'Best Point-And-Shoot Camera For Travel' and made the Fujifilm a 'Rangefinder-Style Alternative'.
Aug 13, 2021: Reviewed availability and accuracy of picks; no change to recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best point-and-shoot cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the US).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for compact, ultracompact, and bridge cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.