Best point-and-shoot cameras

Camera & Photo

The most important difference between point-and-shoot cameras and smartphone cams is the ability of the point-and-shoot to deliver high levels of optimal zoom for pictures that put cameras that only have digital zoom to shame.

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Which point-and-shoot camera is best?

Advancements in smartphone technology made point-and-shoot cameras nearly obsolete for people who only take selfies and snapshots. Those who want to take better photographs need more zoom. Smartphones have digital zoom, not optical zoom, and the difference is like night and day. 

If you want one of the most powerful zoom lenses available in an affordable point-and-shoot camera, the 20.2 megapixel Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera With 25x Optical Zoom shoots videos and photos without blur and connects easily to social media sites.

What to know before you buy a point-and-shoot camera

Lens

Point-and-shoot cameras are of the fixed-lens variety, meaning the lens is built directly into the body of the camera. You can’t swap out lenses like with an SLR camera. Point-and-shoot cameras have two very different types of zoom measurements. Read the product specs carefully so you know which type of zoom the manufacturer is claiming, because sometimes they add the two together to show you a bigger number.

  • Optical zoom lens: This lens type magnifies your images without losing any image quality and produces photos and videos that are clearer and sharper. It gets you closer to the action than you see with your own eyes. Most cameras with optical zoom lenses produce 5x, 10x and 20x sized images, while some have optical zooms of up to 50x.
  • Digital zoom lens: Digital zoom lens cameras can reduce the image quality, displaying images that are fuzzy and pixelated. They cost less because they do less.

Megapixels

Most people know pixels are the tiny dots that make up images. Generally, the more megapixels you have, the better the quality of your photos and videos. Most point-and-shoot cameras deliver between 12 and 24 megapixels.

Screen

The bigger the display, the easier it is to compose outstanding photos and videos and to scroll through your menus. Higher-end point-and-shoot cameras have screens that tilt and pivot to allow you to shoot from different perspectives, including selfies.

Camera body

Most point-and-shoot cameras are slim and lightweight for slipping into a pocket or small bag. Point-and-shoot cameras with greater optical zoom capabilities have larger lenses that add to their overall size.

What to look for in a quality point-and-shoot camera

Photos or videos?

All point-and-shoot cameras can take photos and videos. Newer and higher-priced point-and-shoot cameras can record at 4K resolution. Inexpensive models deliver 1080p or even 720p levels.

Modes

Every digital point-and-shoot camera has an automatic mode. All you have to do is aim and press a button because the camera does the rest. As people get interested in taking higher-quality photos, they look for better point-and-shoot cameras that have manual settings they can customize to get exactly the effects they’re looking for. 

Wireless capability

Most point-and-shoot cameras connect by way of Bluetooth or near-field communication. Better quality point-and-shoot cameras connect via Wi-Fi, so you can share your photos on social media sites as soon as you shoot them.

Special effects

Most point-and-shoot cameras offer several types of special effects for those who want to add extra zing to their photos or touch them up afterward.

How much you can expect to spend on a point-and-shoot camera

Point-and-shoot cameras with lower levels of image quality and fewer features are available for less than $125. Models with midrange optical zoom lenses cost anywhere between $125-$300. Full-featured, Wi-Fi-capable point-and-shoot cameras with powerful optical zoom lenses cost between $300-$1,000.

Point-and-shoot camera FAQ

Why do my photos always come out blurry?

tripod

A. In most cases, blurry photos are the result of a camera that’s moving while you’re shooting. One way to eliminate blurry photos is to brace yourself against a wall or a tree and exhale slowly as you take the picture. Another is to use a tripod. A surefire way to eliminate blurry photos forever is to buy a point-and-shoot camera that autocorrects for unwanted camera motion.

What is the best way to take a perfect picture?

A. The best way is to take as many photos as you can without trying to be perfect. Because you are using a digital camera, the photos cost you nothing to take. Your chances of taking great pictures increase by taking lots more than you’re taking now and deleting the ones you don’t like.

What’s the best point-and-shoot camera to buy?

Top point-and-shoot camera

Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera With 25x Optical Zoom

Canon PowerShot SX620 Digital Camera With 25x Optical Zoom

What you need to know: This 20.2 megapixel camera captures high-def images and videos that share easily through user-friendly connections.

What you’ll love: The point-and-shoot camera takes stills, pans, action scenes, intense zoom photos and low-light scenes while eliminating camera movement and motion blur. It’s iOS and Android compatible and connects easily to social media sites.

What you should consider: It’s a pricey camera with a limited battery life.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top point-and-shoot camera for the money

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly FZ53-RD Zoom Digital Camera With 5x Optical Zoom

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly FZ53-RD Zoom Digital Camera With 5x Optical Zoom

What you need to know: This compact and intuitive 16.1 megapixel point-and-shoot camera shoots still and panoramic photos in low light while on full zoom.

What you’ll love: It features a bright 2.7-inch LCD screen, a 28 mm wide-angle lens and more optical zoom than most point-and-shoot cameras in the category. It auto-detects faces, smiles and blinks to ensure you capture the perfect moment. This point-and-shoot camera has a lithium battery, takes standard SD memory cards up to 32GB and comes in three colors.

What you should consider: You have to remove red-eye manually.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Nikon COOLPIX W100

Nikon COOLPIX W100

What you need to know: This digital wonder is shockproof, dustproof and waterproof to a depth of 33 feet.

What you’ll love: Nikon’s SnapBridge app works with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC to upload your photos and videos to your compatible smart device for easy storage and sharing. Use this point-and-shoot camera to add cartoon, bubble and neon effects to your high-resolution photos. Shoot full HD videos with stereo sound. With the battery and memory card installed, this point-and-shoot camera weighs only 6.3 ounces.

What you should consider: With only 13.2 megapixels, this point-and-shoot camera is better for social media uploads than for prints.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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