Updated February 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Panasonic LUMIX FZ80
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

Travel camera with a little extra strength for those aspiring photographers who want professional equipment.


Eighteen-megapixel camera with 4K images, 60x zoom, a 20-1200mm Vario Lens, stabilizer, and touch-enabled LCD screen for easy setup. Buyers laud the bargain price compared to 4-figure competitors. Excellent video capture.


Low light settings suffer where more expensive cameras may thrive.

Best Bang for the Buck
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W800 Classic Bundle
Cyber-Shot DSC-W800 Classic Bundle
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Easiest to Use
Bottom Line

A quality pick for beginners, this camera comes in a bundle, is easy-to-use, and has great value for the price tag.


Easy to learn and use, kit provides helpful tools, great for gifting to amateurs. Takes beautiful images for being a simple camera. Shoots 720p HD video. Includes 16GB SD Memory Card and camera case.


Users who struggle with technology might spend some time learning to transfer images.

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W830 Digital Camera
Cyber-Shot DSC-W830 Digital Camera
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Simple Yet Solid
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Simple features and an easy set up make this an option for someone wanting a straightforward camera.


A reliable camera with good quality. Features like panorama shooting, image stabilization, and advanced flash make this camera much more useful than expected for the average user. Fun effects (like "Toy Camera" and "Pop Color") add personality to photos.


A very simple camera that might not be the best for those looking for more professional features and quality.

Kodak PIXPRO Friendly Zoom Digital Camera
PIXPRO Friendly Zoom Digital Camera
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Bargain Pick
Bottom Line

Conveniently-sized camera that takes great beginner photos and can serve as a compact stand-in for heavier DSLRs.


Clear, sharp images. Small size makes it easy to bring anywhere. Easy to use and download photos. Includes 180º panorama capture, built-in flash, and 9-point autofocus modes. Features 4x Optical Zoom and a nicely sized LCD screen. Beginners enjoy the included kit accessories.


Doesn't come with a manual, users have to view it on the Kodak website.

Canon Crystal Canon Elph 180
Crystal Canon Elph 180
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Bottom Line

This little camera packs a nice range of features for taking nice pictures, and is a great on-the-go choice.


8x optical zoom great for beginner macro photography. Auto setting has helpful pre-selections. Capable of 720p video recording, and provides options for visual effects such as Monochrome, Toy Camera, & Fisheye. Bundle includes 2 - 16GB SD Memory Cards, cleaning cloth and camera case.


Doesn't include USB/transfer cables. Some users believe a phone camera is capable of comparable images.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best point-and-shoot cameras

As smartphone cameras have become popular, they’ve absorbed a large chunk of the entry-level section of the digital camera market. As a result, point-and-shoot cameras are less common than they were several years ago. However, you can still purchase these simple cameras, which are easy to use and perfect for traveling, at an affordable price.

The biggest benefit? Point-and-shoot cameras come with an optical zoom lens, giving you clear pictures even when you zoom in — something your smartphone can’t do. But before you buy, there’s plenty to consider. Do you want a camera that can fit in your pocket, or is a bulkier option with a larger optical zoom lens more important? Are you interested in features such as special effects, high-resolution videos, and WiFi connectivity, or is a simpler, more affordable model more your speed? 

To better understand the advantages of a point-and-shoot camera, our handy guide has all the information you’ll need. When you’re ready to buy, check out our top picks.

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Point-and-shoot cameras are easy to use, as photographers can just place them in fully automatic mode and start shooting.

Key considerations


A point-and-shoot camera is also known as a fixed-lens camera. Because the lens is built into the camera body, you cannot change it out for another lens. You should give serious consideration to the lens at the time of purchase, because, if you decide you’re unhappy with it later, you’re stuck.

This type of camera will have an optical zoom lens measurement, designated with an x. A larger optical zoom measurement means you can significantly magnify the scene. One of the advantages of a point-and-shoot is that, unlike the digital zoom found in a smartphone camera, the optical zoom on a point-and-shoot doesn’t cause a loss in image quality. Optical zooms of 5x, 10x, and 20x are common, but some cameras have optical zooms up to 50x or higher.


Point-and-shoot cameras sometimes have bodies close to the size of a deck of playing cards. A thin digital camera may fit in a pocket, making it easy to carry with you anywhere.

Those with a big optical zoom lens are quite a bit bigger and closer in size to a DSLR camera.


The term megapixels, or MP, refers to the number of pixels in each photograph. Pixels are tiny dots that, when combined together, create the photo. As a general rule, the more megapixels available in the camera, the better. Anywhere from 12 megapixels to 24 megapixels is common. However, if you’re looking for the best photo quality, a larger image sensor (in physical size) is more important than megapixel count. Point-and-shoot cameras often have a 1/2.3-inch sized image sensor. Larger options include 1/1.7 inches and 1/2 inches.


Display screen size is an important feature for certain photographers. A screen that measures 3 inches diagonally is a common size for a fixed-lens camera. Some screens are able to tilt or swivel away from the camera body, which allows for odd-angle photos or selfies.


  • Modes. Typically, a beginning photographer will operate the point-and-shoot camera in automatic mode. However, if you are looking for more control, many offer manual settings as well.
  • Special effects. Point-and-shoot cameras often include multiple special-effect options. For example, you can turn a color photo into a black-and-white image, or you can blur certain parts of the scene.
  • Movies. All point-and-shoot cameras can record videos as well as photographs. Inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras may be limited to 720p or 1080p HD recording. Newer, higher-priced fixed-lens cameras can record at 4K video resolution.
  • Wireless connections. Certain point-and-shoot digital cameras have WiFi connectivity capabilities. With WiFi, you can share your photos on social media sites as soon as you shoot them. Others will be able to make a connection over NFC or Bluetooth.
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Did you know?
The majority of point-and-shoot cameras run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, but some models can use alkaline disposable batteries.

Point-and-shoot camera prices

Inexpensive: One nice thing about point-and-shoot cameras is that they often have a low price point. This is important for beginners who are seeking an inexpensive way to start with photography. The least expensive point-and-shoot cameras will cost $25 to $125. These will be thin cameras with tiny image sensors of 1/2.3 inches or less. Image quality will be spotty, especially in low-light situations.

Mid-range: For $125 to $300, you can find some point-and-shoots with mid-range zoom lenses. Occasionally, you’ll find a 1/1.7-inch image sensor in this price range, but oftentimes, these cameras have 1/2.3-inch image sensors.

Expensive: The priciest point-and-shoot cameras run from $300 to $1,000. These will have at least one high-end feature. You may find a large zoom lens in this price range, such as 30x or greater. Image sensors often will be 1/1.7 inches in size, but some will be as large as 1 inch.

In addition to the camera, there will be some extra costs as well, such as a memory card to store your photographs on (about $5 to $25, depending on storage size). You may also want to purchase a second rechargeable battery for the camera (about $30 to $50, depending on the model).


To have more fun with your point-and-shoot camera, it’s important to maximize image quality. Here are some tips we’ve collected to help you have better success when shooting photos with your fixed-lens camera.

  • Brace yourself when shooting. A point-and-shoot camera is susceptible to camera shake. This occurs when the photographer slightly jostles the camera while recording a photo. To avoid this issue, tuck your elbows tight to your body and lean against a door frame or tree when shooting.
  • Use a tripod with the camera. When shooting with a big zoom lens, having a tripod is important. Large zoom lenses magnify any shaking that may occur in the hands of the photographer. The tripod holds the camera steady.
  • Shoot plenty of photos. Unlike with a film camera, you can store an almost unlimited number of photos with a fixed-lens camera on a memory card. Take plenty of shots and sort out the best images later.
  • Pay attention to the handgrip. Extremely thin point-and-shoot digital cameras can be difficult to hold comfortably. Larger fixed-lens cameras, on the other hand, have a curved grip area for the right hand, which helps you hold the camera steady.
  • Using WiFi drains the battery quickly. Having WiFi connectivity in your fixed-lens camera is handy for sharing photos as soon as you shoot them. However, using WiFi continuously will greatly shorten the battery life of your point-and-shoot.
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One of the biggest weaknesses of a point-and-shoot camera is its performance in low-light conditions. These images will sometimes have a bit of a blur.


Q. Why would I want a point-and-shoot camera when I have a smartphone camera?
Smartphone cameras have replaced a majority of the point-and-shoot cameras at the beginner end of the market. Smartphone cameras certainly have a lot of nice features. However, point-and-shoot cameras give you an optical zoom lens, something smartphone cameras cannot duplicate. Dedicated digital cameras give you a bit more control over the shooting settings than smartphone cameras, too.

Q. What type of flash do I want with my point-and-shoot camera?
A flash unit embedded in the corner of the camera body is typical in a lower-priced camera, but its image quality is uneven. Slightly more expensive models may have a pop-up flash that extends out of the top of the camera body. These work nicely for good image quality. Occasionally, a point-and-shoot camera has a hot shoe bracket on top, which allows you to add an external flash unit. This is the best quality you’ll receive from a flash.

Q. Can I move a memory card from one camera to another?
Yes, as long as the memory card is the proper size for both cameras. You may want to format the memory card when using it with the new camera. Formatting the card will erase all pictures from the card, giving you a clean slate in the new camera.

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