It’s easier than ever these days to capture a certain moment and have it with you forever. Whether you use the camera of your smartphone, a DSLR camera
, a camcorder
for recording high-quality video footage, or other types of cameras, you’re just one button away from immortalizing a genuinely exciting experience or scene! Such pictures or videos can be shared online on social media, sent to friends by email, or in the case of photos, you can print them and have them framed if that's what you prefer.
However, being surrounded by so many types of cameras might put you in a bit of difficulty when you want to buy a point-and-shoot one, especially if you’re not an ace in photography. That's why we created this guide! Before anything else, a point and shoot camera is basically designed for for easy operation and it is also known as a compact camera.
Such digital devices do most of the work for you and are suitable for people who just want to snap good photos, without having to manually focus the camera or change any lens settings. On the other hand, more sophisticated cameras such as DSLR ones come with tons of accessories (lens, tripods, etc) and they allow more customization options. However, if you just want a simple camera and you don't consider yourself a professional photographer, a point and shoot camera is exactly what you need!
Buying a camera shouldn’t be a hard task, and if you take into account the aspects we’re going to share with you, you’ll see that it's not. Once you learn how to buy the right camera for your needs, you will be able to make better decisions when it comes to shopping for camera accessories such as memory cards, camera bags
, tripods, lenses, and others.
Without further ado, let's dig deeper into this review and decode the "mysteries" of buying a good-quality point-and-shoot camera.
When shopping for digital devices such as cameras, the price is an important aspect to take into account. Some devices can cost as low as $100 or $120, while higher-end point-and-shoot cameras can have price tags around $650 or even close to $1000. Why is this? As you will see later on, certain point-and-shoot cameras are designed for people who don’t want or need too many features and thanks to this, they’re more affordable.
On the other hand, if you’re a professional photographer and want a camera with more bells and whistles, you'll eventually have to take more money out of your pocket, but you'll end up with a more capable product. At the end of the day, you'll also find a plethora of excessively cheap point-and-shoot cameras on the market (usually below $90 – $100), but be advised that these products don’t offer a decent picture or video quality, or have serious reliability problems.
Buying a point-and-shoot camera is easier when you know what to look for. That's why we invite you to take a closer look at the following aspects:
- Sensor - this is basically the heart of the camera and it’s accompanied by a number of pixels (usually 16, 20.1, or more. Theoretically, the more pixels the camera has, the better, but this is not the only aspect which contributes to the quality of a picture.
- Video - some cameras can shoot in high-definition (HD), with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels. The video footage is quite sharp, but it doesn’t beat any records. If you want better results, a full HD camera would be more suitable for you as it’s capable of shooting videos with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. For the best results, go for a 4K camera.
- Connectivity - higher-end cameras incorporate Wi-Fi connectivity nowadays as well as NFC. This means that you can transfer pics and videos to other devices such as your tablet, smartphone, or laptop directly, without requiring a computer. Cameras which don’t have these features are on the lower price scale.
- Display - most cameras have a 3-inch LCD display, but obviously, there are exceptions. Sometimes, the display itself is touchscreen which makes the camera more user-friendly.
- Optical Image Stabilization - this is a fancy name for a simple feature; if you shake the camera, the built-in sensor will also move inside, compensating for your tiny hand movements, resulting in a clearer, sharper image or video footage.
These are the basics when it comes to point-and-shoot cameras, but of course, you might find picture-taking devices which come with more bells and whistles.
Now, what do you do with this information? Well, you can start prioritizing your needs. For example, take out a pen and paper and write your requirements in order of importance. To help you out, ask yourself these questions: Do you need 4K video recording or is full HD sufficient? Are you willing to invest in a higher-end camera with Wi-Fi connectivity which will result in faster picture transfer? What is your current budget and how flexible is it? Finally, would you also invest in a protective camera bag?
The answers to these questions will give you a better idea of the type of camera you need. Also, think about the fact that you'll use this camera for a couple of years—so you should make a decision you’ll be happy with in the long-run as well.
Construction and Design
When it comes to design, most cameras usually come in several color options such as red, white, blue, or the timeless black. These gadgets are also built from premium materials such as aluminum, so they’re lightweight and pleasant to touch.
Regarding construction, we want to draw your attention to the lens manufacturer. In some cases, various brands make their own lenses, but you’ll also find many companies which collaborate with prestigious lens manufacturers to supply these components for them. For example, Sony takes its lenses from Zeiss, which is renowned worldwide for creating some of the best and most versatile lenses on the market. Similarly, Panasonic takes its lenses from Leica, another important name in the lens industry.
Most cameras today come with a built-in flash, so you shouldn’t worry about that. Further, the batteries used by point-and-shoot cameras are usually lithium-ion ones which can be recharged quickly, so you don’t have to go out and buy rechargeable batteries for them.
Performance and Ease of Use
The actual user experience for each camera is quite different, depending on the number of features provided by the device. For example, we want to point out that some cameras have numerous scene modes for you to choose from, depending on the situation. A scene mode is a collection of settings which will enhance the quality of the image, and such modes can be used when you’re shooting in low-light conditions, when you do macro photography, when you snap pics of a particular landscape, etc.
Higher-end cameras also come with better-developed autofocus which is usually faster and more accurate, resulting in better-quality pictures. If you’re a beginner when it comes to photography, we recommend you go for a basic model and upgrade your gear afterwards, when you’ve learned the ropes and experimented with multiple shooting situations.
Lastly, remember that it isn’t a bad idea to get a camera bag to protect your investment, particularly if you travel a lot with your camera. Point-and-shoot cameras are protected by warranty periods, usually for 1 year, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it? Be sure to check for this important feature before purchasing your camera.
As you can see, buying a point-and-shoot camera isn’t that difficult once you know what to look at and how to prioritize your requirements. Now let's observe the cameras we’ve chosen and find out which one is best for you.
We all know Canon; it’s one of the largest and most popular manufacturers of digital cameras and accessories for them. This company also makes great printers, both black & white and color ones. The popularity of the Canon brand grew thanks to its highly advanced photography products, and we couldn’t have a review about cameras without including a model from Canon. This company also specializes in DSLR cameras, if you’re looking for more professional picture-taking gadgets.
For now, let's take a look at the Canon PowerShot HS Digital Camera model, which is available in black. This camera comes with a CMOS sensor of 20.3 Megapixels which is more than enough for most people. Thanks to its optical image stabilization function, you’ll also be able to capture great photos, even if you’ve had too much coffee and your hands are shaking!
If you’re more into video footage, then this camera will put a smile on your face: it can record 1080p full HD video clips at 60 frames per second. Your videos can be checked on the 3-inch LCD display this camera features as well, and next time you see a UFO, you’ll probably be the first person to snap a video recording of it in full high-definition!
We’ll end this short review of the fabulous SX720 model by mentioning its built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities. These features will allow you to easily transfer pictures and videos to your other gadgets. And if you’re wondering about warranty, it comes with 1-year period for parts and labor, which is highly reassuring.
Nikon is another great name on the photography scene, offering high-quality digital cameras, accessories, and scopes to its customers worldwide. Regardless of your knowledge of photography or your skill as a professional photographer, Nikon has the right camera for you, allowing you to learn more and snap better pictures each time! Similarly, if you want to go bird watching, we highly recommend the binocular lineup by Nikon.
For this review, we selected the Nikon Coolpix S7000 Digital Camera which comes with built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, making your pictures and videos transfer smooth as silk. Another advantage of this gadget is the Target Finding Autofocus function which basically makes the autofocus behave more intelligently and capture all the details of your objects.
We also have to mention that this camera comes with 20x optical zoom as well as 40x Dynamic Fine Zoom, which enhances the amount of data you can capture on camera. If you want to record video, you’ll enjoy full HD videos at 60 frames per second with stereo sound. This can be really useful if you’re filming your kid's first steps, your favorite outdoors sports match, or your dog trying to bite its own tail.
Another advantage you get is represented by the 18 scene modes you can select from when you want to snap a pic of a beautiful landscape. These preset scene modes are designed to help you extract the maximum amount of details from each photo, whether you shoot in the dark, during the day, on a mountain, or with a group of friends.
Panasonic is a prestigious brand, known for making high-quality electronics such as shaving machines, earphones, cordless phones, batteries, smartphones, and of course, digital cameras. This brand sells thousands of electronic products worldwide and its wares are renowned for their reliability and advanced feats.
Therefore, if you’re looking for a high-quality point-and-shoot camera, we wholeheartedly recommend the Panasonic LUMIX 4K Digital Camera which comes with a generous 20MP sensor. This camera also comes with a large, 3-inch LCD display which can tilt upwards at 180 degrees, allowing you to snap gorgeous selfies. The lens is provided by Leica, which is a trusted name in the camera lens industry.
When it comes to video recording, you’ll be able to capture beautiful 4K video clips, and if your subject is far away, you can take advantage of the built-in 3x optical zoom to obtain clearer images. The camera is also capable of macro photography, which is necessary for those who want to capture the minuscule details on flowers, leaves, or even the density of their cats' whiskers!
Ricoh might not sound like a familiar company, but this brand creates a plethora of attractive and interesting digital cameras, printers, and printing supplies. For example, apart from digital cameras which can record 360-degree video footage, Ricoh also makes shockproof, dustproof, and weatherproof cameras which are suitable for those who like adventure. In a similar fashion, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Ricoh also makes macro lenses, if that's something you’re looking for.
Before anything else, let's take a look at the Ricoh Theta S Digital Camera and find out what makes it unique. This gadget is equipped with 2 cameras on each side, which are capable of 180-degree panoramic recording. The microchip inside this device combines the 2 images or videos to create beautiful 360 degree spherical pictures! That's something really interesting, and you'll definitely amaze your friends next time you show up with this camera to your weekly gatherings.
Best of all, this camera is also capable of recording full HD videos at 30 frames per second, and it comes with a live view feature. This means that you can see live what the camera is filming. Moreover, thanks to its Wi-Fi connectivity, you can transfer your pics and videos directly to your smartphone, without requiring a computer.
We couldn’t have a review about cameras without including a camera from Sony, one of the most appreciated manufacturers of digital cameras worldwide. Not only does Sony make super cameras (entry-level ones, DSLR cameras, and even waterproof ones), but this brand is renowned for putting technologically-advanced sensors on its smartphones as well. Those of you who have a Sony Xperia smartphone know what we’re talking about.
In this review, we’ll talk about the Sony W830 Compact Camera, which is available in black or silver color options. You also have the possibility to buy it with a protective camera bag or without it. This camera isn’t designed for 4K, ultra-sophisticated video recording; it’s only capable of 720p video footage, but its price reflects that. If you’re the type of guy who wants a good camera to take beautiful photos, without too many bells and whistles, then this camera is for you!
For your money, you get a 20.1 MP sensor, which is also capable of 8x optical zoom, image stabilization, and the ability to select between a few scene modes. The LCD display is 2.7-inches large, and we think it’s sufficient for most purposes. Best of all, this camera is more compact than others, which means you can easily carry it with you, even in your pocket.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you'll find it helpful when you shop for a point-and-shoot camera. Remember that a good picture-taking device helps you gather memories and share them with your loved ones, so if you’re leaving on vacation soon, getting such a digital camera is an absolute must!