What is the Best Compact Camera?

Best Compact Cameras

You may ask why I’m on a quest to find the best compact camera in 2017 on a site like Shotkit. After all, Shotkit caters mainly for professional photographers with business budgets and arguably no need for compact cameras.

The truth is, Shotkit also attracts many amateur and enthusiast photographers from around the world, who aren’t able to justify expensive camera purchases, or who may just prefer a simple compact camera to a complicated dSLR.

Often referred to as ‘point and shoot’ cameras, Wikipedia defines compact cameras as:

a still camera, also called a compact camera, designed primarily for simple operation. Most use focus free lenses or autofocus for focusing, automatic systems for setting the exposure options, and have flash units built in,

In other words, if you want the simplest way to take a photo which is a lot better than your mobile phone, this list of the best compact cameras (aka the best point and shoot cameras) is for you.

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[Click here if you’re interested in the best compact cameras under $200 and here if you’re interested in the best instant cameras.]

How to Find the Best Compact Camera

Finding the best compact camera is difficult since the decision is entirely subjective. I can tell you about the compact cameras with the best features which offer the best value of money, but the decision in the end will be based on your needs and wants.

Having said this, I wanted to present a definitive list of what I consider to be the best compact cameras available in 2017.

To compile this list, I investigated a number of factors. First I looked at sales of compact cameras on Amazon to give me an indication of which cameras were selling best. Then I filtered compact cameras that I deemed affordable for most, those from reputable manufacturers, and most importantly, those with lots of positive reviews.

Sites like Amazon are great for honest reviews from real users, and this is most important when making a camera purchase. I’ve even written an entire post on why I think Amazon is the best option for where to buy cameras.

Finally I investigated compact camera purchases by Shotkit visitors, which gives a good indication as to what compact cameras fans of this site are using.

I hope these short reviews helps you make a balanced decision as to which is the best compact camera to invest in. Let us know in the comments if I missed any other good ones.

What is the Best Compact Camera in 2017?

Compact Camera #1 – Fuji X70

Fuji X70 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 16.3
Sensor Size: APS-C sized X-Trans II Sensor
Weight: 0.62 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Fuji X70 Review

Fuji’s X-series cameras have been a runaway success ever since their introduction a few years ago. Each year one or two new versions are released, and you’d be forgiven in being completely confused as to which compact camera in their line up is right for you.

Fortunately for the sake of this review of the very best small cameras, there’s only one Fuji X-series camera in the line up that we can deem truly compact and affordable – the Fuji X70.

I’d go as far as to say that the Fuji X70 is the best compact travel camera in their line up, simply because it offers the same great Fuji sensor that renders beautiful, sharp and vivid images as its more-expensive siblings, housed inside a lightweight, compact housing.

Small and lightweight cameras are the best for travel, but finding one with a great image sensor is a huge plus.

This Fuji is in fact the smallest and lightest X-Series model available in 2017, and deserves its spot on this site as the best mirrorless camera under $500.

The Fuji X70 has a neat trick up its sleeve which will appeal to the ‘selfie-generation’, but also opens the door to new angles and creativity with your shooting – a touchscreen display that rotates 180 degrees, giving you the versatility to shoot from up high, down low, and of course, take those popular selfie shots!

compact cameras - the fuji x70 with tilt screen

Whilst other cameras in the Fuji X-series line up may offer the ability to change lenses, with the Fuji X70 this is not the case. However, in my mind this is actually a good thing. When Fuji has released cameras with fixed lenses in the past (e.g. the Fuji X100 series), the image quality is arguably better than inter-changeable Fuji lens cameras.

This is due to the fact that the lens can be calibrated to the exact standards of the camera body, resulting in the perfect combination. The lens on the Fuji X70 is a fixed 18.5mm f/2.8 wide-angle, which equates to 28mm on a full frame camera.

28mm is wide enough for most situations, and can equally be used for wide panoramic landscape vistaas as well as for portraits of people, as long as you keep them to the centre of the frame. Experimenting with close ups, or off-centre portraits can also be fun, yielding a slight distortion which isn’t so crazy as to be displeasing to the eye.

Fuji X70 compact camera sample picture
Image Copyright Jonas Dyhr Rask

This single focal length lens distributes light evenly across the entire frame, producing a sharp and contrasty image from the centre right to the edges.

The auto-focus in older Fuji X-series cameras has been something of a joke, but they’ve stepped up their game as of late and the Fuji X70 is no slouch in that department. The camera’s Intelligent Hybrid AF system combines the excellent autofocus speed of Phase Detection AF with the strong low light performance of Contrast AF, meaning it can acquire focus lightning fast.

There are 6 different AF modes to choose from, with technology borrowed from the more expensive Fuji cameras, and squeezed into this compact camera body. AF-S and AF-C is available in Single-point, Zone and Wide/Tracking, making the Fuji-X70 flexible enough for most everyday situations and fast moving subjects like photographing children.

Fuji X70 autofocus modes
The new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes ensure that sideways movements are captured.

The best thing about the auto-focus on the new Fuji X70 is the face + eye detection mode, which means that the camera will automatically search for and focus on not only the faces in your shot, but also on the eyes. This means that the eyes will always be in sharp focus and you even have the ability to tell the camera to focus on the nearest eye when taking advantage of the lens’ f/2.8 bokeh.

Another great feature is wifi, which allows you to both transfer your images to your mobile devices, as well as control the Fuji X70 from a distance.

Wifi is included in more and more compact cameras in 2017, and opens up possibilities such as super-stable low-light shooting (via remote shutter trigger while your camera is mounted on a tripod), or more simply, remotely triggered group shots which include you in the photo!

compact camera with wifi

Film simulation on Fuji cameras has been one of their major draw-cards and the Fuji X70 is no different. Over decades of film manufacture, Fuji has been at the forefront of colour reproduction, with pleasing skin tones, natural blues and greens and the ability to perfectly record the diversity of white balance conditions throughout the day. This translates to the most authentic film simulation in the Fuji digital cameras.

Even if you haven’t had experience shooting film in the past, you’ll love the various film simulation modes on the Fuji X70. Being able to add these filters to your shots while you shoot (so the effect is displayed before you actually take the shot) is a really fun experience, and also means you won’t waste any time editing your images to have that coveted ‘vintage – look’ afterwards on your computer.

Sample image Fuji X70
Image copyright Norifumi Inagaki

It has to be said that one of the big reasons for choosing a Fuji compact camera such as the Fuji X70 is its looks. Available in either silver or all-black, the Fuji X70 is one sexy little camera, that wouldn’t look out of place dangling from the most stylish traveler’s wrist!

The design isn’t just eye-candy though of course – the build is rugged and hard-wearing, with direct control dials for aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation on the Fuji X70‘s metal body. Dedicated physical dials to all the main controls will satisfy the enthusiast photographer, and the simple, easy to navigate menu on the camera’s LCD will mean the X70 is simple for a beginner to use as well.

All in all, the Fuji X70 is a great value compact camera that gives you access to the features and technology of the more expensive Fuji X-series cameras in the smallest and lightest X camera in the lineup. It’s a great pick-up-stuff-in-your-back-pocket compact camera and deserves its spot in this roundup.


Best Compact Camera #2 – Sony DSC-RX-100/B

Sony RX100

Sony RX-100/B Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 16
Sensor Size: CMOS (13.2 x 8.8mm)
Weight: 0.53 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Sony RX-100/B Review

The Sony RX-100 series is a hugely successful range of compact cameras from a company that’s arguably leading the way in the camera game. I even included it as one of the best cameras under $500.

There are several iterations of the Rx-100, but this, the Sony DSC-RX-100/B is by far the most popular, with over 629 positive reviews by photographers on Amazon.

Released a few years ago, you may be wondering why I’ve chosen to add it to this list of the best compact cameras in 2017. Well, even though technology does advance quickly, these advancements in compact cameras has been only incremental, with sensor technology remaining largely unchanged.

In addition to this, price drops have brought this amazing compact camera under the $500 mark – incredible value for a point and shoot camera of this calibre.

The Sony DSC-RX-100/B combines the image quality benefits of a larger-sized sensor, housed in an attractive, lightweight and small camera body.

Aimed at the serious hobbyist, the Sony DSC-RX-100/B includes features that will keep even the professional photographer happy, including full manual controls, fast operation and Raw image capture.

The 28-100mm equivalent f/1.8 – 4.9 zoom lens provides a useful range of focal lengths with a wide aperture able to suck the most light out of a situation. ISO’s are able to climb from 125 – 25,600, but the useable range is more like 125 – 6400 for clean files.

Here’s an example by an amateur photographer on Flickr of the shallow depth of field (sharp foreground, blurred background) that you can achieve with the f/1.8 lens.

Best compact camera - Sony RX100
Image taken with the Sony RX100 | Copyright: Shig

If you’re looking for the best compact camera for video, the Sony DSC-RX-100/B is arguably it. With class-leading full HD 1080/60p video with manual control and dual record of stills and movies, you can shoot both at the same time!

Other impressive features of the Sony DSC-RX-100/B include face detection,10fps shooting, optical steady shot and auto portrait framing – see here for more details on all the functions.

The star of the show is really the 1″ Exmor CMOS sensor with 20.2 mp captures, taking full advantage of the razor sharp Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* lens.

This sensor enables advanced column A/D processing that reduces noise levels, resulting in impressive low light images with smooth and clear details.

Take a look at the shot belw taken at dusk as an example of the capability of the Sony DSC-RX-100/B to retain good colour and sharpness even in low light.

Sony RX100 Sample Photo-2
Image taken with the Sony RX-100/B | Copyright Fred Min

Despite newer, more expensive RX100 models appearing every couple of years, owners of the Sony DSC-RX-100/B remain very happy in 2017, with recent comments such as:

“Make no mistake, this is as good as current technology allows for a pocketable camera.”

“Absolutely love this camera! Unbelievable what it is capable of. The photos are amazing.”

“The picture quality is great! It is a bit heavy, and doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles that other cameras might offer (wi-fi), but quality pictures are what count. I don’t always want to haul my whole DSLR camera and case around. This is the perfect substitute. Worth every penny.”

Negatives of the Sony DSC-RX-100/B include a shorter battery life to some of its competitors and a slightly heavier weight (this is to be expected of a robust body).

However, if its the best image quality you want from a point and shoot camera that fits in your back pocket, the Sony DSC-RX-100/B should be at the top of your list.


Best Compact Camera #3 – Nikon COOLPIX L830

Nikon Coolpix L830 - best compact camerasNikon Coolpix L830 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 16
Sensor Size: CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Weight: 1.12 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Nikon Coolpix L830 Review

This Nikon Coolpix L830 is without doubt one of the best point and shoot cameras ever produced. Thanks to a long 34x zoom range with a high quality NIKKOR Lens, this Nikon point and shoot is an ideal travel camera.

It also features excellent full HD 1080p video recording with stereo sound for impressive home movies. One reviewer actually called the Nikon Coolpix L830 the best compact camera for video.

My first favourite aesthetic feature of the camera is actually the external styling, reminiscent of a dSLR, with sturdy grip and good weighting.

Sometimes a compact camera needs to have some size/weight to it, and this Nikon Coolpix L830 will make you feel like you’re holding a ‘real’ camera.

My second favourite external feature is the flip out high-resolution LCD screen which makes it easier to get candid shots without your subjects noticing, and is helpful for video recording too, where unusual angles are easier to capture.

On top of the 34x optical zoom (i.e. zoomed with the lens as oppose to the camera’s internal computer), the Nikon Coolpix L830 also features an amazing 68x Dynamic Fine Zoom – essentially a high quality digital zoom which allows you to get even closer to your subject.

One happy owner of this camera gives an example of the incredible zoom:

Nikon COOLPIX L830 zoom example
Images by Msluvtodraw

And here are a couple of examples from an amateur photographer on Flickr of the amazing close up photos that the zoom on this Nikon Coolpix L830 allows you to capture:

Nikon Coolpix L830 Example image
Image taken with the Nikon Coolpix L830 | Copyright: Clarissa Rutter
Nikon Coolpix L830 - best compact camera
Image taken with the Nikon Coolpix L830 | Copyright: Clarissa Rutter

Pretty impressive from a camera that costs less than $200, right?! Here’s what some users have said about the Nikon Coolpix L830:

“I always get compliments on my photos. This camera is everything I had hoped for and more.”

“This is an excellent point and shoot camera and it was consistently reviewed as being among the best in a very competitive price category. In fact most reviews I saw compared this to $400 and $500 cameras and it came out on top.”

“I love my new camera! It takes very sharp and clear pictures. I can take a picture with the flash in a pitch black room and it looks like all lights are on. I didn’t need all the functions and buttons like a regular DSLR camera so I picked this one. It is point and shoot with a great zoom! I am very pleased.”

The only complaints I could see about the Nikon Coolpix L830 were that there’s no RAW support, and some users found it a little large and heavy for a compact camera.

You’ll have to decide whether these are issues for you or not. RAW files are only really necessary if you’re interested in doing post processing on your computer with your photos, and the size is only an issue if you’re after a camera that can fit in your back pocket I guess!

Due to the popularity of the Nikon Coolpix L830, Amazon is currently able to offer refurbished models. Refurbished means that whilst the camera may have been pre-owned, it has had a full diagnostic test, thorough cleaning and inspection, and software updates where necessary.

The good news is that you can take advantage of a heavily discounted price on a camera that looks and operates like new, with an Amazon quality guarantee.

If you’re on a budget, this is a great option at less than $140, so make sure you don’t miss out since this camera is somewhat difficult to find now.


Best Compact Camera #4 – Canon PowerShot G16

Canon G16 Powershot - best compact cameras for professional photographersCanon PowerShot G16 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size: BSI-CMOS1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm)
Weight: 0.78 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon PowerShot G16 Review

I included the excellent Canon PowerShot G16 in my Shotkit roundup of the best cameras under $500, and it continues to impress me as a high grade compact camera. The price is almost double that of the Nikon above, but for that increase, you get a lot of features which in my opinion more than justifies the price.

Thanks to its stellar image quality, small form factor, powerful zoom and robust build, the Canon PowerShot G16 has been named many times as one of the best compact cameras for travel.

Not only do you get a 5x optical zoom, a razor sharp 12.1mp CMOS sensor and 1080p full HD video recording, but also included in the Canon is wi-fi.

I love having wi-fi on my dSLR as it allows me to wirelessly transfer my images to my iPhone to edit, then to social media as soon as I’ve taken them, so I appreciate the inclusion of wi-fi on more and more compact cameras too.

Canon has its own Android and iOS app which makes image transfer fast and very easy.

As for my favourite aesthetic element of this camera, it has got to be its ruggedness and general good looks. The Canon PowerShot G16 just has a certain feel about – the design, weight, solidness – it all adds up to a very high quality camera that will withstand many years of knocks in your pocket.

The stand out feature of the Canon PowerShot G16 is the bright and fast f/1.8 lens which allows you to capture photos with that ‘dSLR look’ that every amateur wants – the blurred background and sharp subject that is impossible to achieve with mobile phone cameras. This makes the PowerShot G16 one of the best compact cameras for low light.

Here’s an example of the bokeh (soft, out of focus areas), taken by an amateur photographer on Flickr:

Canon G16 Powershot Review
Image taken with the Canon Powershot G16 | Copyright: 吉姆 林

The f/1.8 lens combined with high ISO performance up to 12800 means you can take photos in low light without having to resort to the flash – something else that a mobile phone or lesser quality camera can’t do.

The 12.1mp of the Canon PowerShot G16 is more than adequate for you to capture all the detail necessary to make prints of your photos too.

Check out the detail captured in this images from aother amateur photographer on Flickr:

Canon G16 Powershot Review
Image take with the Canon Powershot G16 | Copyright: Claude Herrada

An additional benefit of the Canon PowerShot G16 is that it can shoot in RAW. This may not be necessary for the average amateur who just wants a simple photo processing experience, but for those who want to experiment a bit and really push what the files out of the camera are capable of, RAW files allow you to create vibrant and powerful images like this:

Canon G16 Powershot Review
Image taken with the Canon Powershot G16 | Copyright: Saeb Khatib

The ability to shoot in RAW also makes the Canon a popular choice for pros who want a smaller, throw-in-the-bag camera. Incidentally, check out this post for a great small camera bag or two.

If you needed any more evidence of what this incredible little camera is capable of, here are the comments from some of the recent reviews of the Canon PowerShot G16 on Amazon:

“Build quality is excellent, it feels extremely durable in your hand while holding it. I would not be afraid to throw it in my backpack on the go.”

“I usually use my Canon 6D for photography, but I needed something small to carry around that shot in RAW. This fits the bill. A great improvement over my G10, the G16 image quality is top notch.”

“The first thing you’ll notice about the G16 is its ability to capture a great photo in low light. I attribute that to the sensor being the largest of all its predecessors.”

“This camera really has no nasty surprises to it. It takes excellent photos and decent video, is a great performer, well-built, great ergonomics, and has an easy to use interface. In other words, a typical Canon.”

As for complaints, there aren’t many to be honest. Some users wanted touch screen, and others missed not having 24p movie filming capability, but in my opinion, these are rather minor quibbles for a camera at this price.

I know several pros who use this camera on holiday and love the images that it produces. Also, the autofocus is very quick, which is especially important for those who come from using dSLRs that are often 5 times the price.

The Canon PowerShot G16 happens to be the camera I usually recommend to any friend who asks me what camera they should buy for less than $500, it really is one of the best pocket cameras out there. In fact, on Amazon right now you’ll get quite a bit of change from $500, so check out their latest price by clicking the button below.


Best Compact Camera #5 – Olympus Stylus SZ-16 iHS

Olympus Stylus SZ-16 ReviewOlympus Stylus SZ-16 iHS Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size: CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Weight: 0.5 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Olympus Stylus SZ-16 iHS Review

The Olympus SZ-16 iHS is another of the best point and shoot cameras that has stood the test of time, remaining a popular and affordable choice since its release.

I love how small and slim this compact camera feels, despite having a 24x zoom tucked away neatly into its body. This equates to a 25-600mm wide-angle to super-zoom lens, meaning you can capture wide group shots and subjects far away in the distance without moving your feet – how lazy of you!

Copyright: Jim Hodge

The iHS of the Olympus SZ-16 iHS refers to a powerful, dSLR-like CMOS image sensor and processor which in short means much better image quality than your mobile phone.

It also means you’ll be able to capture more low light photos without having to resort to the flash.

Olympus SZ-16 iHS review
Image taken with the Olympus SZ-16 iHS | Copyright: Ernie Jr

Also in built is Image Stabilisation technology which is essential when you use the 600mm zoom, meaning less blurred images and more razor sharp captures.

The Olympus SZ-16 iHS also shoots 1080P full HD video and has a rather cool panorama features not dissimilar to that of the iPhone – you just pan the camera across the scene and it stitches the images together, matching exposure and erasing seams.

In practice, I actually found it much better than the one on my phone.

Image taken with the Olympus SZ-16 iHS | Copyright: Ernie Jr

The Olympus is much cheaper than the Canon above despite its excellent CMOS sensor.

However, it should be noted that the speed of the lens is f/3 (as opposed to f/1.8), meaning you’ll have to work harder to get that soft and creamy bokeh look many photographers crave.

It can of course be achieved in other ways though, such as by zooming in on the lens of the Olympus SZ-16 iHS.

Here’s what users are saying about the Olympus Amazon:

“I’m really very please with the camera – the zoom is amazing, the shutter is fast, it does really well in low-light situations – I’ve rarely need the flash. Plus it has some fun features, for taking “dramatic” or “pop art” photos.”

“I can say that there is just simply no better bang for the buck in a camera that I could find with these features. You get a camera with CMOS sensor that does 1080p video and has a 24x zoom…in a comparatively small form factor.”

“If you are looking for a digital camera with great quality image, great zoom, easy to use, feature full and flexible for traveling that you can slide in your pocket, then you shouldn’t look any further.”

I actually struggled to find negative points about the Olympus SZ-16 iHS. One user mentioned that the time to write to the memory card during continuous shooting can be slightly long, although this will depend on the speed of memory card you are using.

That was pretty much it! I guess that explains its popularity despite its age.


Best Compact Camera #6 – Nikon Coolpix S33


Nikon Coolpix S33 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 13.2
Sensor Size: CMOS 1/3.1 inch
Weight: 7.84 lbs
Average Customer Rating: 4 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Nikon Coolpix S33 Review

In the sub $200 waterproof compact camera category, there’s not a great deal of competition. All the big name manufacturers seem to have ticked the box by releasing their waterproof compact camera offering, but to be completely honest, none of them have been really impressive.

I thought twice about including the Nikon Coolpix S33 on this Best Compact Cameras of 2017 post. Despite its huge popularity as a waterproof digital camera, its performance as a regular compact camera didn’t impress me all that much.

Then I remembered how cheaply the Nikon Coolpix S33 can be found for on Amazon. For just over a hundred bucks, you’re actually getting a lot of performance, and considering this camera can be used underwater opens the doors to a whole new world for your photography.

Nikon Coolpix S33 Sample Image
Nikon Coolpix S33 Sample Image

It seems like every compact camera owner has experienced that horrible feeling when it slips out of your hands and onto the hard concrete. Whether its kids playing with your camera or just a case of butter fingers, it’s inevitable that one day you’ll have a slippage.

Thankfully, compact cameras such as the Nikon Coolpix S33 are not only waterproof, but shockproof and even freezeproof too (although I’ve never heard of someone accidentally leaving their camera in the freezer before…!)

In practical terms, this means that your Nikon Coolpix S33 can be with you whatever the circumstances, ready to capture some memories.

I usually recommend the Nikon Coolpix S33 to mums and dads who have absolutely no interest in taking up photography as a hobby, but want an easy to use, no-nonsense camera that won’t be broken by the kids. When they want something to throw in their swim shorts on holiday, this is the best pocket camera for them.

The Nikon Coolpix S33 actually bills itself as the most family friendly of compact cameras. Aside from its unbreakable nature, it features oversized buttons and simple menus which mean that anyone can have fun toying around with the Nikon Coolpix S33.

Other quirky features such as the ability to create slideshows with music right in the camera will appeal to the kids, and makes something fun to play with on the plane journey home from your hols :-)

As for the performance of the actual image-taking, the Nikon Coolpix S33 has a 13.2 mega-pixel CMOS sensor which produces the colourful jpeg images that has made Nikon a firm favourite with the casual photography crowd.

Nikon Coolpix S33 Sample Image | Copyright ePhotozine
Nikon Coolpix S33 Sample Image | Copyright ePhotozine

Obviously in this price range you can’t expect razor-sharp images, but as you can see from the photo above, colours, tones and detail are more than adequate for your informal holiday snaps.

There’s a 3x optical zoom and face recognition which makes it easy to focus on your subject’s face even with one hand. On a compact camera of this size, I always recommend using face-recognition to speed up the focusing, allowing you to concentrate on just getting the shot.

One battery charge of the Nikon Coolpix S33 will get you around 220 photos, which means it’s more suited to a day at the beach rather than an extended shooting session. Remember to pack your charger if you’re going away for a few days.

The Nikon Coolpix S33 is available in white and blue, which I find quite amusing since it’s meant to be used underwater. Surely white would be the sensible option, especially if you do have butter fingers!?

On that note, I’d also invest in one of these floating straps – just because your compact camera is waterproof, it doesn’t mean you can’t lose it underwater!

In summary, if you want the most fool-proof compact camera that’s cheap, rugged and takes a decent photo for the price, get the Nikon Coolpix S33. It’s hard to complain about a camera that looks this cute but can still take a beating!

Here’s what users are saying about the Nikon Coolpix S33 on Amazon:

“Love this camera – I’m a novice in photography, but this camera makes taking photos easy…..”

“Got this camera for an Alaskan cruise. Camera worked well and waterproof feature was useful in the rain. It is easy to use and I like the large buttons along the left side.”

“Bought this for recent cruise. It worked great, took fabulous pictures underwater and above.”

“So this is obviously not meant to be a professional camera and of course there are many better waterproof cameras…just not anything this good at this price. I purchased this for a vacation and it did not disappoint.The video is 1 button, very easy to use. and seems to take good movies, too.”

As you can see from the comments above, the Nikon Coolpix S33 is clearly aimed at the holiday-goer who wants something really simple. The only negative comments I found about the camera seemed to revolve around users saying that they were expecting more, but then remembered about how cheap the camera is.

This pretty much sums up my review – for around a hundred bucks, you’re not going to get a better camera that can be used underwater and won’t break when you drop it. Know the limitations of a budget camera and you’ll be pleased with your purchase of the Nikon Coolpix S33 ;-)


Best Compact Camera #7 – Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

samsunggalaxycamera2Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 16.3
Sensor Size: CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Weight: 1.15 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 Review

I have to admit I found this camera-cum-tablet rather confusing when I first saw it in the Amazon Best Compact Digital Cameras list. I almost didn’t include it in this list of the best point and shoot cameras.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 seems to be a great step towards what some people think will be the ultimate camera phone, which is why I decided to talk about it here.

So what is this strange looking camera and why is it so goddamn popular?!

If we look at the camera features to start with, you have an impressive 16.3mp CMOS sensor combined with a fast f/2.8 aperture lens and incredible 21x optical zoom.

It also records movies at 30fps in full HD 1080p.

The feature that distinguishes the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 from the others in this list are the huge LCD screen (4.8″) which is easily the biggest you’ll find on any digital camera.

It makes the camera a lot of fun to use, much like you’re poking the display of a mobile phone screen, albeit one with a huge zoom lens attached to the rear!


Then there’s the integrated Android OS with snappy 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, allowing the Samsung to run various apps on Android 4.3 ‘Jelly Bean’.

This means you can use any number of powerful image editing apps directly on the camera, then upload them via the built in Wifi to social media.

The Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 also has built in NFC for any mobile devices you own that support this convenient form of data transfer.

All in all, the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 is basically like a smart phone that’s traded its ability to make phone calls for the ability to take decent quality photos!

Image taken with the Samsung Galaxy Camera | Copyright: Michał Zmonarski

As a stand-alone camera, its image quality can’t stand toe to toe with the other point and shoot cameras recommended here.

However, the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 should be thought of as a hybrid camera, trading off some image quality for the enormous flexibility of a smart device and the fun of using a camera with such a big LCD screen.

I have to admit I haven’t shot any photos with this camera yet, so instead I’ve included some recent reviews on the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 from Amazon, in the hope that it’ll give you more of an idea of what this unusual camera is capable of:

“So instead of having the tablet with the camera built in…You have an even better camera with the tablet built in. Complete Android operation and wireless connectivity give you unprecedented control of taking, editing, and sharing all in one device. The 21x telephoto lens is amazing. And unlike other users here I find the picture quality to be just as amazing as well. The operation of the camera is simplified and intuitive thanks to it’s 2gb of ram and 1.6 ghtz processor.”

“Takes really nice pictures and is very easy to use. I love that I can put apps on it to edit my pictures and videos and then upload them to Facebook and Instagram right from the camera itself without having to connect it to my computer.”

“The pictures are so vibrant and clear best camera I have had. Took 550 pictures on my trip to france. . The picture settings are so easy to use, just select night and it takes great pictures at night. The 21 zoom is awesome. I love that I can do all the editing on the camera before I down load to my computer. This saves a lot of time, it’s so time consuming to manipulate pictures on the computer. I used to lug around a SLR when traveling but now I just take this, light weight, super zoom, superb pictures, easy to use, the best camera I have owned yet.”

I have to admit being very surprised at the number of positive reviews for this camera on Amazon. The negative comments seem to revolve around the surprising size/weight of the camera, disappointing low light performance and a somewhat unusual 16:9 photo size.

If you already use an Samsung Android smart phone, the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2 would no doubt have a very short learning curve.

I guess you’ll know immediately if this camera is for you or not. I hear it’s very popular in Asia where they love the latest tech gadgets!


Best Compact Camera #8 – Fujifilm FinePix S9200

Fujifilm FinePix S9200 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 16.3
Sensor Size: CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Weight: 1.48 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Fujifilm FinePix S9200 Review

The Fuji FinePix series has been popular for many years now, with the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 being the most popular FinePix camera to date. It features a 16.2mp CMOS sensor with an incredible 50x optical zoom lens, meaning you can cover everything from wide angle (24mm) to super zoom (1200mm).

Here’s an example of the kind of photos you can take using a zoom like this:

fuji S9200samplepic
Image taken with the Fujifilm Finepix s9200 | Copyright: Les Day

These types of point and shoot camera are sometimes referred to as ‘bridge cameras’, presumably since they are the perfect bridge from a small compact to a larger dSLR.

Their size and weight is actually similar to the entry level dSLR cameras out there, but their trump card is the motorised super zoom that many of them house.

When fully extended, the zoom on the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 really is something to behold!


With such a huge zoom, it’s necessary to have effective built-in image stabilisation – something that the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 excels at with its lens shift IS technology.

The lens aperture goes from a reasonably fast f/2.9 to f/6.5 when the zoom is fully extended – surprisingly fast for a zoom of this length.

Combined with a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12,800, you’ll be able to take low-light images much easier with this Fuji.

Two features that I love about the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 – first, that huge 3″ 460K dot LCD screen which is sharp and clear even in bright sunlight.

Then there’s the start up speed of the camera – it can go from off to ready to shoot in under a second.

Autofocus is also very fast indeed, with Fuji quoting speeds of less than 0.3 seconds.

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Image taken with the Fujifilm Finepix S9200 | Copyright: Ashley Heeks

The speed at which a camera can go from off to ready to shoot is very important if you want to capture the moment, and it’s something many point and shoot cameras fall short on.

Luckily the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 is no slouch in this department.

As with the other cameras here, the Fuji offers full HD videos recording as well as some creative filters that can add fun effects to your movies.

I used to scoff at the art filters available in cameras, but I have to admit that they’ve come a long way from the horrible selective-colour modes we used to see.

They also save a lot of time editing your photos on your computer which is a great thing for us time-poor people!

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Image taken with the Fujifilm Finepix S9200 | Copyright: Yongy Bongybo

The Fujifilm FinePix S9200 also has a very impressive macro mode and an entertaining 360 degree sweeping panorama mode too.

Here’s what some users of the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 are saying about it on Amazon:

“The amount of features this camera packs for its prices staggering. As someone who knows very little about photography, i’ve been messing with this camera for hours the past couple days learning how to use the features correctly and fully. If you’re getting this to use JUST the Auto mode and shoot pictures, you’d be happy, but do yourself a favor and take the time to learn what this camera can truly do. Take FULL advantage of the long list of awesome features this camera has, and im sure you’ll be catching moments you never thought you could before.”

“I love this camera. It may not have the big name like Canon or Nikon, but it sure takes great pictures. The versatility and sharpness it has is more than enough for a novice like myself. Great macro shots and the colors are out of this world. Lots of extras that a lot of cameras don’t have.”

“I have to say this is a pretty amazing hybrid camera, small, light weight… takes amazing closeups, has an amazing zoom capability, really more of a camera then I ever imagined. I got it to have something in between my small point and shoot camera and my big Canon.”

Note that the Fujifilm FinePix S9200 is encroaching into dSLR size, and shouldn’t be considered a compact camera at all.

Having said that it is still a point and shoot camera – very simple to take photos, but also with added functionality for those wanting to explore photography a little bit more.

Note also that the Fuji doesn’t shoot RAW – this will be a deciding factor for those wanting to spend time editing their photos using Photoshop or Lightroom on their computers, but less so for those who want to take photos and that’s it.

If you want the simplest, hassle free photography experience, you’ll be very happy with the JPEG quality straight out of the Fujifilm FinePix S9200. Find out the latest price on it by clicking the button below:


Best Compact Camera #9 – Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50K

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size:1/2.3 inch (6.2mm x 4.6mm)
Weight: 15.2 ounces
Average Customer Rating: 4 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 Review

We’re creeping back up the price bracket slightly here again but I wanted to include the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 for good reason – it really is an excellent point and shoot camera that deserves consideration. It was also named as one of the best compact digital cameras of 2015.

I know several pros who use this camera as their main holiday camera, or the one they use to take snaps of their kids.

That’s not to say that the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 can’t do more than just the odd snap – it can actually hold its own in many circumstances as you’ll see.

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Images taken with the Panasonic LUMIX ZS50 | Copyright: Altus

I love the look and feel of this camera. In my opinion, a point and shoot compact camera only deserves its name if it can be slipped into a jacket pocket easily, and the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 passes this test due to its svelte body and light weight.

Packed into that good looking body is a surprising long 30x zoom, built-in flash, wifi and EVF viewfinder. The camera will sense your eye and switch to the EVF automatically, helping you to frame your image more accurately.

It also allows you to shoot easier in sunny outdoor conditions where you might not be able to see the LCD screen.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50‘s lens matches the field of view of a 24-720mm lens, with an aperture of f/3.3.

Whilst that’s not the fastest aperture on offer here, it will allow you to create some nice depth of field and capture low light pictures without resorting to the flash.

Panasonic LUMIX ZS50-sample
Image taken with the Panasonic LUMIX ZS50 | Copyright: Altus

One feature I particularly loved in this camera is the impressive macro focusing which allows you to lock on to tiny subjects which are placed very close to the camera lens.

Another design feature I appreciate is the control ring around the lens and the flat control dial on the back. For many photographers coming from dSLRs, manual (tactile) controls such as these are deal breakers.

The lens ring allows easier manual control for exposure, zoom and focus, allowing you to concentrate on getting the shot.

Another great feature is the 10fps rapid fire shot capability of the Panasonic. This allows you to capture fast moving subjects, or at least, to ensure at least one of your photos is one you wanted.

Here’s an example of how the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 can freeze action:

Panasonic LUMIX ZS50-sample3

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 also features full HD video recording as well as up to 200fps (in VGA, 100fps in HD) high-speed video capture, allowing you the option of high quality slow motion play back – very entertaining.

The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 features certain pro grade features that really set it above other compact cameras in this price range.

These include manual focus peaking, offering a zoomed in picture-in-picture view of your subject, 5-axis optical image stabilisation for blur-free captures and RAW format recording.

Panasonic LUMIX ZS50-sample3
Images taken with the Panasonic LUMIX ZS50 | Copyright: Altus

As I mentioned before, some hobby photographers are happy for their camera to output solely in JPEG format. However, if you’d like to take your photo editing to the next step, RAW format is essential to be able to accurately correct white balance, and really push the files.

You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you enjoy spending time in front of your computer examining and playing with your photos. If not, don’t worry about the RAW format, but just be happy the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 includes this as an option just in case!

RAW files also allow you to experiment properly with HDR photography, such as the example below from one Flickr photographer.

Panasonic LUMIX ZS50-sample
Taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 | Copyright: Altus

So what of the user comments of the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50? Let’s take a look at the recent Amazon reviews:

“The images were all well balanced in highlights, shadows, color, sharpness, etc. Panny has done a great job in balancing out the images. The 5 Axis stabilization worked incredibly well even out to the maximum 720 distance.”

“The much improved electronic viewfinder is what ultimately makes this camera so good. No, it doesn’t quite equal my Fuji X100S EVF, but it’s remarkably good. It adjusted very clearly to my aging eyes and even worked well with my sunglasses on in bright sunlight.”

“Great size and great Zoom. Nice pics for 8 X 10 and very good in dim light.”

“Have had the ZS50’a few weeks now..Takes great pictures and has many useful features. Great Travel Camera that has to be one of the best ultra zoom compacts on the market if not the best!”

As for the dislikes, there’s a bit of a learning curve with the menu system. This is probably due to all the features crammed in to the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50, but it’s still something to consider. Also the flash’s position can mean you can accidentally cover it if you have big hands.

Nevertheless, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 remains a very popular compact camera amongst both Shotkit readers and Amazon reviewers, so I recommend you include it in your buying decision.

You can find the latest price on the camera by clicking the button below.


Best Compact Camera #10 – Canon PowerShot SX700 HS


Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Specifications

Type: Compact Camera
Megapixels: 12.1
Sensor Size: BSI-CMOS 1/2.3″ (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Weight: 0.59 pounds
Average Customer Rating: 4.5 stars
Price: Click here to find the latest price

Canon PowerShot SX700 HS Review

Here’s another compact Canon that made the list of the best point and shoot cameras – the amazing allrounder that is the Canon Powershot SX700 HS.

Included in this rugged, good looking camera body is built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, a 30x optical zoom, optical image stabiliser, 1080p HD video recording, external mic jack and a high sensitivity CMOS sensor.

Just look at the astounding level of detail captured in this macro shot by a Flickr user:

Canon Powershot SX700 HS-sample
Image taken with the Canon Powershot SX700 HS | Copyright Ted Roger Karson

It goes without saying that this camera can produce phenomenal macro shots, especially combined with the use of the built-in flash.

On compact cameras, you really should be investing in the best sensor you can get.

The Canon Powershot SX700 HS features a 16.1 CMOS with a DIGIC 6 image processor, providing excellent detail and colour even in low light.

Canon Powershot SX700 HS
Image taken with the Canon Powershot SX700 HS | Copyright Agnès Laure

I love the addition of Wi-Fi and NFC which allows you to transfer images to your smart device to upload to social media in seconds.

If you have an Android device, all you need to do is to touch the Canon Powershot SX700 HS to it and your images transfer via NFC (Near Field Communication). Surely this is the future of simple image transfer.

The 30x optical zoom is equivalent to a 25-750mm lens. This is the advantage of compact zoom cameras such as the Canon – a similar range lens on a dSLR would be enormous and very heavy.

Here’s what you can do with such a long zoom range:

Canon Powershot SX700 HS-sample2
Image taken with the Canon Powershot SX700 HS | Copyright Ted Roger Karson

The HS in the Canon Powershot SX700 HS‘s name refers to ‘high-sensitivity‘. Canon says that the sensor in this camera is engineered specifically for high quality shots in low light, even at ISO speeds of up to ISO 3200.

The images straight out of camera show minimal noise and lots of detail in both highlight and shadow areas.

Canon Powershot SX700 HS-sample3
Image taken with the Canon Powershot SX700 HS | Copyright Stephen Llevares

One other addition on the Canon Powershot SX700 HS is a mode called Hybrid Auto. Users of the iPhone 6s will recognise this ability to capture up to 4 seconds of video every time you shoot a still image.

You’re able to view the captured clips as a video ‘highlight reel’ – very entertaining for holiday snaps that you can’t wait to view on your plane home!

Unfortunately the Canon Powershot SX700 HS doesn’t shoot in RAW. If you really want to heavily edit your files on your computer, you’ll have to go for the aforementioned Canon Powershot G16 which offers RAW output.

Here are some exerts of the recent reviews of the Canon Powershot SX700 HS on Amazon:

“After having taken several thousand pictures with this camera I do love it. I take primarily outdoor scenery and wildlife pictures so this is perfect. I was also able to get what I consider great pictures of the full moon eclipse in September 2015 with this camera and no tripod.”

“An excellent all purpose camera that’s small enough to carry in a pocket, but has significantly more features than a cell phone camera.”

“I am SO glad I purchased this camera for my recent trip to East Africa! The 30x zoom allowed me to take some incredible photos of the animals that were far away from our vehicles and it was very easy to use.”

As for minor quibbles, some users noted that there’s no panorama mode, which is unusual for a ‘travel’ camera, and also no custom buttons which can be popular for setting your most frequently used settings.

Also white balance can be a little off at times – considering this camera doesn’t have the option of RAW output, you’ll need to keep an eye on this.

All in all though, the Canon Powershot SX700 HS is a very popular camera that’s in the pockets of many avid travellers, and for good reason.

You can find the latest price by clicking the button below:


Final Words on Choosing the Best Compact Camera

So there you have it – my pick of the some of the very best compact cameras available in 2017. Each point and shoot camera above excels in a particular field, so you’ll have to decide what features are most important to be able to choose the best compact digital camera for you.

Need an extra long zoom for that family safari holiday? Go for the Nikon Coolpix L830 or the Fujifilm FinePix S9200.

Need the best image quality, particularly in low light without flash? I’d recommend the Canon PowerShot G16.

Always have your face glued to social media and want a way to easily edit the photos you’ve just taken? Maybe you should consider the Samsung Galaxy Camera 2.

Want a great all-rounder with RAW support? Again, the Canon PowerShot G16 or the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS50 would be a good choice.

If I had to choose out of all these cameras for my own needs, I’d probably opt for the Canon PowerShot G16. I don’t need a long zoom for my type of shooting, plus I really love the looks of the Canon camera. Also I like to shoot with as fast lenses as possible, and the f/1.8 of the Canon PowerShot G16 fits the bill for me perfectly.

That’s just my preference though. Which of the best point and shoot cameras will you go for?

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.


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