Digital indicate-and-shoot cameras were the preferred tool of many a family a photographer, just smartphones have overtaken them in popularity, ease of utilize, and imaging acumen in recent years. If you’ve got the latest iPhone, Milky way, or Pixel in your pocket there’s little reason to shop for a basic meaty.
But there are still reasons to buy a camera with a stock-still lens. You may opt to use a no-frills smartphone, and if that’due south the instance you can savour an upgrade from a real photographic camera. Ergonomics are some other, even smaller cameras are a bit more natural to hold for photography than smartphones.
Dedicated cameras offer more than zoom power than phones besides, and some include larger prototype sensors to add a bit of soft background mistiness 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-cease options farther downwardly the page. For this story we’re covering stock-still-lens cameras with modest zoom power. If you lot’re afterwards a superzoom model, check out our picks for the best bridge cameras.
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 take seriously scaled back the number of models bachelor.
The by year saw more retraction, the camera market has become a victim of our ongoing chip shortage, and manufacturers are more than prone to devote manufacturing resources to higher-priced interchangeable lens models. Many of the small cameras nosotros’ve recommend in the by to upkeep customers take vanished.
We recommend you shop based on brand when trying to find a camera in the $300 and under price range. You lot’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 photograph names Kodak and Vivitar—these are licensed products, and not of high quality.
Spending More Is Worth Information technology
You’ll have more options and walk away with a ameliorate camera if you can afford to spend a bit more than. For around $400 you can get our favorite waterproof model, the Olympus Tough TG-6. It’due south non indestructible, just it’due south close, and is a good fit for defined with a 50-foot waterproof rating, and offers loftier magnification macro and an f/2 lens for utilise in dimmer light.
If you don’t need a tough camera, you should look for a model with a ane-inch form epitome sensor when shopping for a midrange or luxury compact. The Panasonic LX10 is the most affordable 1-inch camera that y’all can find in stock—it’south selling for around $600 at press time. We missed reviewing it, but information technology has a solid reputation and a brilliant F1.4 lens. You tin can spend more on a Sony RX100 serial, Canon G7 X Mark III, or Panasonic LX10 for amend optics and more features. We also dearest the Canon G5 10 Marker II, simply it’s out of stock at nigh retailers, and we don’t know when it volition become back on auction.
On the very high finish y’all can opt for a camera with a sensor as large y’all get with interchangeable lens models. The Canon G1 X Marking III and Panasonic LX100 II have zoom lenses, while the Ricoh GR 3 and IIIx and Fujifilm X100V use primes. These cameras lucifer consumer APS-C and Micro Iv Thirds mirrorless models in image quality.
And if you’re a luxury shopper you tin 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-g dollar propositions, but enthusiasts who can afford them are sure to enjoy the feel and walk away with stunning photos.
Beyond the Confines of Your Pocket
For a look at every camera nosotros’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 photographic camera, you can check out our overall favorites from across all categories, or you lot can think about smaller mirrorless camera with swappable lenses to certificate your life.