Point and shoot cameras are excellent options for people who want a camera that is more powerful than the one in their phone but not too bulky to carry around. And just because they’re small in size, it doesn’t mean they can’t also be incredibly powerful! The best compact/point and shoot cameras can do many of the things that a larger DSLR or mirrorless camera is capable of but they do it with a much smaller body. These cameras combine portability with robust shooting capabilities.
As the cameras on phones have continued to improve, camera companies have had to up the ante on what their smallest cameras can do. Compact cameras take beautiful photos, stunning video, and offer low light capabilities and control options that most phones can’t match.
With a wide variety of compact cameras on the market, it can be hard to know which is best for you. We’ll talk about some things to consider when choosing a compact camera and then show you some of our favorites.
5 Awesome Compact/Point and Shoot Cameras
How to Choose a Good Point and Shoot for Travel or Vlogging
If you’re looking or a point and shoot camera, you probably want something that performs better than your average smartphone but isn’t as big or cumbersome as a standard camera. Here are the specs to pay attention to when deciding…
For most uses, a camera that shoots at 12 MP or higher is enough to let you print your photos in standard sizes and share online. If you plan to make large prints, look for a camera that can shoot at 18 MP or higher. For video, many cameras – even small ones – are able to shoot 4K for at least long enough to capture a short scene. Look for 4K, knowing that you may be choosing to shoot 1080p in many situations.
A camera’s shooting speed, measured in frames per second (FPS), is the number of photos a camera can take in a second. The higher the shooting speed, the more chances you’ll get to nail your shot. This is especially helpful when shooting things like sports and wildlife. Look for a camera with a frame rate of around 8 FPS or higher (10 or higher if you primarily shoot sports).
Many point and shoots try to fit as much zoom into their systems as possible but it may be at the expense of quality. If you primarily shoot street scenes, have a wide zoom is less important than having high image quality or good low light performance. Anything with an equivalent of about a 24-70mm zoom range is going to be flexible enough for most situations.
Size and Weight
Not all point and shoot cameras are small. Some are known as “bridge cameras” and have fixed lenses but otherwise weigh as much as DSLRs. Bridge cameras offer more features but are larger and often more expensive. For true portability, look for a camera that weighs no more than a pound.
Most point and shoots are not going to offer a battery grip option. Some will charge off of USB with pass-through charging. Always expect to purchase or rent a spare battery! A Lithium Ion battery with an mAh capacity of 1800 is quite good but many compact camera batteries have capacities of around 1200.
Low Light Capabilities
Due to their smaller sensor sizes, compact cameras won’t perform as well as most DSLRs or mirrorless cameras in low light — but they’re still a lot better than your typical camera phone. If low light performance is very important to you, try to choose a point and shoot with as big a sensor as possible (knowing that most of them will be around 1″) and has the widest possible ISO range.
Nearly all modern compact cameras have built-in WiFi, allowing you to pair the camera with your phone for remote triggering or transferring images. This is good for backing up on the go or getting your stuff up on social right away.
|Camera||Sony RX100 VI||Panasonic ZS100||Canon G7 X II||Fuji X100F||Sony RX1R II|
|Resolution||20.1MP/ UHD 4K at 30p/24p||20.1MP/ UHD 4K at 30p/24p||20.1MP / Full HD 1080p at 60p||24.3MP / Full HD 1080p at 60p||42.4MP / Full HD 1080p at 60p|
|Sensor Size||1″||1″||1″||APS-C||Full Frame|
|FPS||24 FPS||50 FPS||8 FPS||8 FPS||5 FPS|
|Format (Stills / Video)||JPG, RAW / MOV, XAVC S, AVCHD||JPEG, RAW / MP4, AVCHD||JPEG, RAW / MP4||JPEG, RAW / MOV||JPEG, RAW / MOV, XAVC S, AVCHD|
|Battery||1240mAh (330 Stills / 80 Mins Video)||1025mAh (300 Stills / Video Unknown)||1250mAh (Real World Life Span Unknown)||1260mAh (Real World Life Span Unknown)||1240mAh (330 Stills / 80 Mins Video)|
|Lens / Digital or Optical Zoom||24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 (32x Zoom)||25-250mm f/2.8-5.9 (20x Zoom)||24-100mm f/1.8-2.8 (4.2x Zoom)||35mm f/2 Prime Lens (No Zoom)||35mm f/2 Prime Lens (8x Zoom)|
|Connectivity||WiFi, Micro HDMI, USB 2.0||WiFi, Micro HDMI, USB 2.0||WiFi, Micro HDMI, USB 2.0||WiFi, 2.5mm Remote Port, Micro HDMI, USB 2.0||WiFi, 1/8″ Microphone, Micro HDMI, USB 2.0|
|LCD||3″ Tilting Touchscreen||3″ Touchscreen||3″ Tilting Touchscreen||3″ Screen||3″ Tilting Screen|
|Flash||Built-In Only||Built-In Only||Built-In Only||Built-In, Hot Shoe||Hot Shoe Only|
|Dimensions||4″ x 2.3″ x 1.7″||4.4″ x 2.5″ x 1.7″||4.2″ x 2.4″ x 1.7″||5″ x 2.9″ x 2.1″||4.5″ x 2.6″ x 2.8″|
|Weight||.66 lbs||.68 lbs||.70 lbs||1.03 lbs||1.11 lbs|
Sony RX100 VI ($106 for 10 Days, See More)
The Sony RX100 VI is the best all-around point and shoot for covering the most subject matters. It shoots UHD 4K, has a 1000 FPS “High Frame Rate” mode, and allows for 8.29MP stills to be pulled from 4K footage. The long zoom is complemented by Optical SteadyShot image stabilization. It’s fast enough for sports and wildlife and offers a Touch Focus feature that allows for focusing by simply touching the LCD screen. It’s extremely lightweight and only 4″ long.
Panasonic ZS100 ($69 for 10 Days, See More)
The Panasonic ZS100 is extremely fast (50 frames per second) and has a very high max ISO for a point and shoot (25,600). This is helped further with a “Low Light AF” feature, allowing the camera to autofocus in the dark. If you didn’t quite nail your focus, there is a handy “Post Focus” function that allows you to correct small errors. Like the RX100 VI, you can pull 8MP stills from your 4K footage. This is the ideal point and shoot for evening sporting events or for capturing any lower-light action while traveling.
Canon G7 X Mark II ($76 for 10 Days, See More)
A very popular point and shoot among vloggers, the Canon G7 X Mark II improves on its predecessor with enhanced tracking, “Dual Sensing” built-in stabilization (including one designed specifically for macro), and a touchscreen LCD. The lens can be controlled manually and declicked for video. It has great expanded ISO (up to 25,600) and is fast enough for action (8 FPS). It does not shoot 4K but the lens has a really wide range and the maximum aperture is the fastest of the bunch at f/1.8. It’s an extremely versatile option.
Fuji X100F ($112 for 10 Days, See More)
The Fuji X100F is equipped with a prime lens, meaning that there is no zooming capability. You’re stuck using the equivalent 35mm lens unless you opt to also use the conversion lenses, which will provide you with 28mm and 50mm angles of view. For this reason, the Fuji X100F is better suited for street photographers or for folks who only like to take street photography-style candids while traveling. For this, it excels. The X-trans sensor of this camera (which is beefy compared to typical compacts) mimics the look of film for nuanced colors and smooth tonal transitions. It features advanced film simulations, such as Provia, Velvia, Astia, and a relatively new ACROS mode for beautiful black and white shots. It’s not the heaviest of the bunch but it is a little bit larger – which folks with larger hands might actually welcome.
Sony RX1R II ($251 for 10 Days, See More)
Like the Fuji X100F, the Sony RX1R II is better suited for landscape or street photographers. The prime 35mm lens makes it less versatile but it makes up for it with an amazing 42MP full frame sensor. While it doesn’t do 4K, it will shoot 1080p up to 60 FPS and even sports a slow motion mode that will do 120 FPS in 720p. It also accommodates an external microphone via the 3.5mm port, allowing vloggers to get better sound easily. The extended ISO goes up to an incredible 102,400 and there are nearly 400 autofocus points. This is a fantastic camera if you’re comfortable shooting at one focal length the entire time. 35mm is sufficiently narrow enough for candids and portraits while also being wide enough for landscapes and some interiors. It’s a good length for most video projects as well. Marvelously large prints could be created from the shots taken with this camera. It is the heaviest of the bunch but only just. It’s still much more portable than your average full frame camera.
These point and shoot cameras are available to rent for your next vacation or if you’re shopping around for the perfect, portable vlogging tool. Learn more about the renting process here. bluehillco is made up of folks who love photography and filmmaking. We use cameras every day for our own side hustles and passion projects and are happy to answer any questions you might have about cameras, lenses, and more.
*All pricing as of this writing and subject to change.