Best Beginner Point-And-Shoot Camera

A point and shoot camera is a really handy bit of kit if you don’t want to carry anything heavy or fuss about with complicated settings. They can fit in your pocket so you can take them everywhere with you and lots of them come with a built-in flash for when it’s dark. You’ll instantly notice the upgrade in image quality compared to shooting on a smartphone but you won’t need to spend any additional money on lenses.

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Best Beginner Point-And-Shoot Camera

The Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras for 2022

Unwilling to haul a heavy SLR or mirrorless camera? If you prefer using a camera to a smartphone, we’ve got some recommendations for quality point-and-shoot cameras for photographers of all skill levels. By Jim Fisher Updated December 9, 2021

  • Related Camera Picks:
  • Best Cameras
  • Best Bridge Cameras
  • Best Mirrorless for Beginners
  • Best SLRs and Mirrorless
  • Best Full-Frame Cameras
  • Best Action Cams

OUR 7 TOP PICKS

Rangefinder Style for Street and Travel

4.5Outstanding

Fujifilm X100V

$1,399.95 at B&H Photo Video See It$1,899.00 at Amazon  The Fujifilm X100V is the camera to get if you like the idea of a Leica rangefinder, but also want modern amenities like autofocus and video. Read Our Fujifilm X100V Review

Waterproof and Rugged

4.0Excellent

Olympus Tough TG-6

$449.00 at AmazonSee It$379.00 at B&H Photo Video  The Olympus Tough TG-6 is a modest update to our favorite underwater point-and-shoot camera thanks to its tough design, bright lens, and excellent macro capabilities. Read Our Olympus Tough TG-6 Review

Sharp Zoom Lens and Pop-Up EVF

4.0Excellent

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII

$1,298.00 at AmazonSee It$1,299.99 at Best Buy  Free Shipping The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII point-and-shoot is a modest update to the RX100 VI, offering better autofocus and video stabilization for a bit more money.Read Our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII Review

Live Stream Support for Vloggers

3.5Good

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III

$749.00 at AmazonSee It$749.99 at Best Buy  Free Shipping The Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III is a good pocket camera with a big 1-inch sensor, a bright zoom lens, and 4K video, but it faces strong competition from smartphones and cameras alike.Read Our Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III Review

A Pocketable Zoom for Travel

3.5Good

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200

$647.99 at AmazonSee It$647.99 at Walmart  The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 marries a long zoom lens to a premium 1-inch image sensor. It’s a very good pocket camera, but we wish the screen offered tilt. Read Our Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 Review

Bright Lens for Low Light

3.5Good

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VA

$998.00 at Amazon See It$999.99 at Best Buy  Free Shipping The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VA sports the same bright lens and image sensor as the RX100 V, with improvements limited to its menu system and JPG engine. Read Our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VA Review

Made Just for Vloggers

3.5Good

Sony ZV-1

$749.99 at Best Buy See It Free Shipping The Sony ZV-1 is a pocketable camera with strong still image quality and features geared specifically toward vloggers. Read Our Sony ZV-1 Review PROS & CONS COMPARE SPECS

Our Experts Have Tested 86 Products in the Cameras Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)

Digital point-and-shoot cameras were the preferred tool of many a family a photographer, but smartphones have overtaken them in popularity, ease of use, and imaging acumen in recent years. If you’ve got the latest iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel in your pocket there’s little reason to shop for a basic compact.

But there are still reasons to buy a camera with a fixed lens. You may opt to use a no-frills smartphone, and if that’s the case you can enjoy an upgrade from a real camera. Ergonomics are another, even smaller cameras are a bit more natural to hold for photography than smartphones.

Dedicated cameras offer more zoom power than phones too, and some include larger image sensors to add a bit of soft background blur to your photos. Others are built tough to survive drops and go underwater without worry.


Shopping on a Budget

Compact cameras come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from pocketable models with zoom lenses to premium fixed-lens entries from Fujifilm and Leica. We’ll cover the high-end options further down the page. For this story we’re covering fixed-lens cameras with modest zoom power. If you’re after a superzoom model, check out our picks for the best bridge cameras.The Olympus Tough TG-6 sets itself apart from smartphones with its rugged, waterproof build (Photo: Paul Maljak)

Mere mortals shopping for a basic camera should be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars to get one of quality. Most of these cameras are older—it’s been a few years since Canon refreshed its basic PowerShot Elph line, and other brands have seriously scaled back the number of models available.

The past year saw more retraction, the camera market has become a victim of our ongoing chip shortage, and manufacturers are more prone to devote manufacturing resources to higher-priced interchangeable lens models. Many of the small cameras we’ve recommend in the past to budget customers have vanished.

The Best Point-and-Shoot Camera Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our partner, Tech Bargains

  • Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens — $479.00
  • Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera Bundle — $599.00
  • Sony RX100 VII Premium Compact Digital Camera — $1,298.00
  • Sony W800/B 20MP Digital Camera — $99.99

https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.501.0_en.html#goog_10433111750 seconds of 1 secondVolume 0% 

We recommend you shop based on brand when trying to find a camera in the $300 and under price range. You’ll have the best luck with a camera from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic, Ricoh, or Sony. We recommend you skip cameras from other brands, including famous photo names Kodak and Vivitar—these are licensed products, and not of high quality.


Spending More Is Worth It

You’ll have more options and walk away with a better camera if you can afford to spend a bit more. For around $400 you can get our favorite waterproof model, the Olympus Tough TG-6. It’s not indestructible, but it’s close, and is a good fit for divers with a 50-foot waterproof rating, and offers high magnification macro and an f/2 lens for use in dimmer light.The Panasonic ZS200 has a 1-inch sensor and long zoom lens (Photo: Zlata Ivleva)

If you don’t need a tough camera, you should look for a model with a 1-inch class image sensor when shopping for a midrange or luxury compact. The Panasonic LX10 is the most affordable 1-inch camera that you can find in stock—it’s selling for around $500 at press time. We missed reviewing it, but it has a solid reputation and a bright F1.4 lens. You can spend more on a Sony RX100 series, Canon G7 X Mark III, or Panasonic LX10 for better optics and more features. We also love the Canon G5 X Mark II, but it’s out of stock at most retailers, and we don’t know when it will go back on sale.

On the very high end you can opt for a camera with a sensor as large you get with interchangeable lens models. The Canon G1 X Mark III and Panasonic LX100 II have zoom lenses, while the Ricoh GR III and IIIx and Fujifilm X100V use primes. These cameras match consumer APS-C and Micro Four Thirds mirrorless models in image quality.The Fujifilm X100V uses an APS-C image sensor and includes a hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder (Photo: Jim Fisher)

And if you’re a luxury shopper you can go full-frame. The Leica Q2 and Q2 Monochrom, Sony RX1R II, and Zeiss ZX1 represent the current crop of fixed-lens cameras with full format image sensors. They’re all multi-thousand dollar propositions, but enthusiasts who can afford them are sure to enjoy the experience and walk away with stunning photos.


Beyond the Confines of Your Pocket

For a look at every camera we’ve reviewed, and not just those that are easy to slip into your pocket, feel free to peruse all of our camera review. If you’re looking for something a bit more capable than a pocket camera, you can check out our overall favorites from across all categories, or you can think about smaller mirrorless camera with swappable lenses to document your life.

The best point and shoot camera in 2022: easy to use cameras to fit every pocket

There are so many point-and-shoot cameras to choose from. Whether you need a budget-friendly option with less advanced specs or you’re prepared to pay a little more to have features such as RAW images, a larger sensor and a faster burst rate there really is something for everyone. If you want to get into photography as a hobby but don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on kit, point-and-shoot cameras make a lot of sense. They’re also great for taking on holidays, day trips or special occasions for casual snapping. 

Even the priciest point and shoot cameras will cost you less than expensive DSLR and mirrorless systems. Lots of professional photographers will own a point and shoot that they keep on them at all times just in case a photo opportunity arises and they don’t have their main kit with them. They provide an excellent way of capturing high-quality images without having to carry heavy kit around. 

We think the cameras on our list are fantastic value for money. There’s a mix of older and newer models because we think some point and shoots just can’t be beaten such as the Panasonic ZS80/TZ90. What you want to shoot and how much time you want to spend processing them after using some of the best photo editing software will define which camera to go for. 

To make navigating the guide easier we’ve split it into three sections:

Cheap and simple – Even the most basic point-and-shoot cameras will offer better image quality and more zoom capabilities than your phone. They might not have some of the more advanced features of more expensive models but at they’re affordable and will get the job done. 

Waterproof – Whether or not you’re an outdoorsy person, a waterproof camera is a great option as they’re more robust and can be used near water or in the rain without any qualms. They’re great for beach holidays, using by the pool or taking on adventures as they are rugged enough to handle getting dropped. 

Longer zooms – One of the advantages of point-and-shoot cameras with a smaller sensor is that often they have longer zoom ranges. Most basic cameras will have a zoom range of 3-5x but some of the more expensive models will give you a 30x optical zoom. These larger zoom ranges are great for taking on holiday where you might want to photograph objects in the distance.

Better quality – The best point and shoot cameras will have larger sensors which make them better in low light, the lens is often capable of wider apertures down to f/2.8 and sometimes you can even set the camera to shoot in raw – perfect if you didn’t quite expose an image properly. The more advanced cameras do cost more but the features often make it worth it. 

Now that the best camera phones produce such good quality images you might wonder why you’d bother investing in a point and shoot but believe us, there is a massive difference in image quality. Even the smallest sensors in the cheapest point and shoots are usually bigger than the tiny ones in your smartphone. Features such as the built-in flash will also be much better quality than a phone flash and the zoom will cover a bigger range. 

If you are looking for a really high-end point and shoot, check out our guide on the best compact cameras which covers more advanced and more expensive models. However, if you’re just looking for a camera that is a step up from your phone camera and won’t cost you much, scroll below to see the best point and shoots available. 

Best Point And Shoot Camera In 2022

CHEAP AND SIMPLE

If you don’t want to pay a fortune and just want a camera that’s straightforward and capable, these are the ones to buy.

1. Canon PowerShot Elph 180 / IXUS 185

This little Ixus has an 8x zoom and bags more style than its price suggests

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 20MPLens: 28-224mm f/3.2-6.9LCD: 2.7in, 230k dots Maximum continuous shooting speed: 3fpsMax video resolution: 1280×720 (HD)User level: Beginner

There are so many point-and-shoot cameras to choose from. Whether you need a budget-friendly option with less advanced specs or you’re prepared to pay a little more to have features such as RAW images, a larger sensor and a faster burst rate there really is something for everyone. If you want to get into photography as a hobby but don’t want to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on kit, point-and-shoot cameras make a lot of sense. They’re also great for taking on holidays, day trips or special occasions for casual snapping. 

Even the priciest point and shoot cameras will cost you less than expensive DSLR and mirrorless systems. Lots of professional photographers will own a point and shoot that they keep on them at all times just in case a photo opportunity arises and they don’t have their main kit with them. They provide an excellent way of capturing high-quality images without having to carry heavy kit around. 

We think the cameras on our list are fantastic value for money. There’s a mix of older and newer models because we think some point and shoots just can’t be beaten such as the Panasonic ZS80/TZ90. What you want to shoot and how much time you want to spend processing them after using some of the best photo editing software will define which camera to go for. 

To make navigating the guide easier we’ve split it into three sections:

Cheap and simple – Even the most basic point-and-shoot cameras will offer better image quality and more zoom capabilities than your phone. They might not have some of the more advanced features of more expensive models but at they’re affordable and will get the job done. 

Waterproof – Whether or not you’re an outdoorsy person, a waterproof camera is a great option as they’re more robust and can be used near water or in the rain without any qualms. They’re great for beach holidays, using by the pool or taking on adventures as they are rugged enough to handle getting dropped. 

Longer zooms – One of the advantages of point-and-shoot cameras with a smaller sensor is that often they have longer zoom ranges. Most basic cameras will have a zoom range of 3-5x but some of the more expensive models will give you a 30x optical zoom. These larger zoom ranges are great for taking on holiday where you might want to photograph objects in the distance.

Better quality – The best point and shoot cameras will have larger sensors which make them better in low light, the lens is often capable of wider apertures down to f/2.8 and sometimes you can even set the camera to shoot in raw – perfect if you didn’t quite expose an image properly. The more advanced cameras do cost more but the features often make it worth it. 

Now that the best camera phones produce such good quality images you might wonder why you’d bother investing in a point and shoot but believe us, there is a massive difference in image quality. Even the smallest sensors in the cheapest point and shoots are usually bigger than the tiny ones in your smartphone. Features such as the built-in flash will also be much better quality than a phone flash and the zoom will cover a bigger range. 

If you are looking for a really high-end point and shoot, check out our guide on the best compact cameras which covers more advanced and more expensive models. However, if you’re just looking for a camera that is a step up from your phone camera and won’t cost you much, scroll below to see the best point and shoots available. 

Best point and shoot camera in 2022

CHEAP AND SIMPLE

If you don’t want to pay a fortune and just want a camera that’s straightforward and capable, these are the ones to buy.

1. Canon PowerShot Elph 180 / IXUS 185

This little Ixus has an 8x zoom and bags more style than its price suggests

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 20MPLens: 28-224mm f/3.2-6.9LCD: 2.7in, 230k dotsMaximum continuous shooting speed: 3fpsMax video resolution: 1280×720 (HD)User level: Beginner

The Canon IXUS range of simple little point-and-shoot cameras has been going steady for years. The cameras have a rep for being reliable and affordable, and the Canon IXUS 185 / Elph 180 is very much that. This beginner’s camera delivers20MP from a relatively small 1/2.3in sensor, which isn’t much of an upgrade from a smartphone at all. The zoom, however, is a different story, offering a respectable 8x optical range, starting from a usefully wide setting equivalent to 24mm. This is longer than most cameras at this price point, which makes the IXUS 185 a tempting choice.

The camera’s light sensitivity runs from just ISO 100 through to ISO 1600, with the camera limiting itself to a maximum ISO 800 when left on Auto setting. Even with the Program mode implemented, operation remains pared back, although there are some creative digital filter options available for anyone choosing to dig deeper into the menus. So, no prizes for specs, but for this kind of money the Canon IXUS 185 does pretty much all you would expect. If cheap and simple is what you want, this is the best point and shoot camera right here!Advertisement

Other popular Canon PowerShots:
• Canon PowerShot SX740 HS review
• Canon PowerShot SX70 HS review

2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W800

A compact point and shoot perfect for anyone upgrading from a smartphone

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 20.1MPLens: 26-130mm f/3.2-6.4LCD: 2.7in, 230k dotsMaximum continuous shooting speed: 0.5fpsMax video resolution: 1280x720User level: Beginner

The Sony W800 is another handy little point-and-shoot that puts itself just about far enough ahead of a smartphone to be worthy of consideration. Once again, the lens is the star of the show here, a 26-130mm f/3.2-6.4 model that gives you a decent amount of shooting flexibility. It’s not got much in the way of burst shooting, but provided you aren’t going after fast-moving subjects, the W800 will get the job done. It’s ridiculously affordable too, consistently cheaper than the Canon IXUS 185.

The Sony W800 is another handy little point-and-shoot that puts itself just about far enough ahead of a smartphone to be worthy of consideration. Once again, the lens is the star of the show here, a 26-130mm f/3.2-6.4 model that gives you a decent amount of shooting flexibility. It’s not got much in the way of burst shooting, but provided you aren’t going after fast-moving subjects, the W800 will get the job done. It’s ridiculously affordable too, consistently cheaper than the Canon IXUS 185.

(Image credit: Olympus)

3. Olympus Tough TG-6

You might be suprised at the picture quality of this robust, waterproof camera

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 12MPLens: 25-100mm f/2-4.9LCD: 3in, 1,040k dots. Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fpsMax video resolution: 4KUser level: From kids to adults. If you want a camera that does what it says on the tin the Olympus Tough TG-6 is exactly what you need. It might have a small 1/2.3-inch sensor but all things considered, it produced good image quality and it can shoot in 4K video. It has a 25-100mm with an aperture of f/2 at the wide end and f/4.9 when its at its maximum zoom. It includes lots of interesting features that really come to life when shooting in clear water such as Macro and Microscope modes which allow you to get up close and personal. The ability to capture RAW stills and shoot at up to 20fps also make this camera a very good choice. The best thing of all is that it can really take a bashing making it perfect for families with little ones. It’s a superb travel camera that benefits from excellent waterproofing – perfect for the more adventurous (or clumsy) type.

4. Fujifilm XP140

Shockproof, waterproof and freezeproof it’s a true adventurers camera

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 16.4MPLens: 28-140mm (equiv) f/3.9-4.9LCD: 3in, 920k dotsWaterproof: 25m/82ftShockproof: 1.8m/5.9ftFreezeproof: -10ºC/14ºFMax video resolution: 4K

The Fujifilm FinePix XP140 can pretty much handle anything you throw at it. Whether you’re taking it 25m underwater, accidentally drop it from heights of 1.8m or want to use it in sub-freezing temperatures, this is a camera that won’t let you down. Not only has it got a really tough build, it also delivers high-quality images no matter what the lighting conditions, it can shoot UHD 4K and it’s really easy to operate. Even someone who isn’t particularly tech-savvy could capture some really nice images. One of the downsides is you can’t shoot in Raw and there isn’t a manual mode so if you’re a bit more of a serious photographer it may not be the camera for you (check out the Olympus TG-6 instead). However, if you just want a camera that you won’t break, won’t get water damage and can take some pretty pictures, the Fujifilm XP140 is ideal.

5. Panasonic Lumix ZS70 / TZ90

This pocked-size point-and-shoot has a massive zoom range and excellent stabilisation

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: CompactSensor: 1/2.3inMegapixels: 20.3MPLens: 24-720mm 3.3-6.4LCD: 3in tilting, 1,04k dotsMaximum continuous shooting speed: 10fpsMax video resolution: 4KUser level: Beginner to intermediate

Remember when we said we wouldn’t be biased against older cameras? Well this is the perfect example of why we still think they’re great. Released in 2017, the Panasonic ZS-70/TZ-90 still has one of the best zoom lenses available. Part of Panasonic’s long-running ZS range (‘TZ’ in the UK), these feature stuffed point and shoots are ideal cameras for traveling with. It’s wifi ready so you can transfer images on the go, has an impressive 30x zoom (24-720mm full-frame equivalent) and has the option of shooting in raw.

Unlike other point and shoots it has an electronic viewfinder, albeit a small one, but it’s nice to have the option to use one. It has a 49-point autofocus system which is speedy enough, image quality is pretty good and its metering system helps to balance exposure in a variety of scenes. The ZS70 is without a doubt one of the best point and shoot systems for balancing versatility and portability with a low price point.

There are newer versions in the ZS70 range but for the price, we think the ZS70 is pretty unbeatable. You may also want to consider the Panasonic Lumix ZS200/TZ200 which has a bigger 1-inch sensor but only has a 15x zoom. It all depends on whether you want better low light capabilities or be able to zoom in more. We still think the ZS-70 has the edge which is why we have included it in the list.

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