Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras of 2015
Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras of 2015
Everyone seems to like Samsung’s easy-to-use functionality, and the electronics giant is making a push in digital cameras. The Samsung WB350F is a winner on most fronts: it has an impressive zoom range equivalent to 23-483mm, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and a nice design with range of color options to choose from. We also like that the WB350F can slide into your pocket for travel and photography on the go.
Sensor Size: 41 sq. mm
What we like: Larger image sensor than other entry-level models.
What we don’t: Fairly marginal video.
Canon's S90–S120 models have been popular for years, offering great image quality in lightweight and durable camera bodies that fit in your pocket. We recommended the Canon S110 when it was first released as a nice mid-range option, and love it even more now at a discount (the newer Canon PowerShot S120 is selling for a whopping $399).
Experienced photographers know that sensor size is more important than megapixels, and the S110 boasts a 41 sq. mm sensor that is a noticeable step up from the entry-level options. You also get a fast f/2.0 lens, built-in Wi-Fi, and Full HD 1080p video. What are the shortcomings of the Canon S110? The battery life is subpar and the video quality isn’t as impressive as some of the pricier point-and-shoots below. But in the $200 price range, you would be hard pressed to find a better camera.
Sensor size: 28 sq. mm
What we like: Huge zoom.
What we don’t: Smaller image sensor than the Canon S110 above.
Powerful zoom is one way that point-and-shoots can differentiate themselves from smartphone cameras, hence the rise of the compact superzoom. The Canon PowerShot SX700 HS is one of the leading cameras on the market under $300 and checks all the boxes for most consumers. For travel, kids, and sports, the camera reaches an equivalent of 25-750mm, shoots Full 1080p HD video, and has built-in Wi-Fi. At only 8.2 ounces, the SX700 HS also easily fits in your pocket.
It’s a tough call between this camera and the Panasonic DMC-ZS40S below. Both have similar zoom ranges, image sensors, and apertures, with the Canon SX700 HS coming in about $70 cheaper. However, the Canon lacks a viewfinder, meaning that you must line up your shots using the rear LCD screen. If you want a viewfinder, go with the Panasonic. If not, we recommend saving some dough and choosing the SX700 HS.
Sensor Size: 41 sq. mm
What we like: Great image quality and feature packed.
What we don’t: For $450 you can buy a decent mirrorless camera.
The Canon PowerShot G16 is a feature-packed compact camera geared toward enthusiasts. First and foremost is the lens, which has a handy zoom range of 28-140mm and maximum aperture of f/1.8, producing great images when natural light is low. You also get Full HD 1080p video, an optical viewfinder, and a number of manual controls. Despite all the functionality, the Canon G16 still is pocketable (to achieve this, Canon went without a flip-out screen that was on previous models).
Given the image quality and controls, the G16 is a nice option for those who own a DSLR but also want a smaller camera option too. The addition of Wi-Fi from the older G15 is a nice touch, although connectivity has become fairly standard in this category. If you want a compact camera from Canon with a larger sensor, check out the new Canon G7 X below.
Sensor Size: 58 sq. mm
What we like: Fujifilm color.
What we don’t: Not everyone loves the retro styling.
Fujifilm is known for its accurate color rendition and retro styling, and it’s a brand that we use for personal use. For travel and street photography, the Fujifilm X30 can go head-to-head with any compact camera on the market. With a fast 28-112mm f/2.0-2.8 lens, electronic viewfinder, Full HD 1080p video, and RAW capability, the images produced by the FujiFilm X30 are superb.
Given the price, you can think of the original Sony RX100 as a competitor (that camera is now under $500). It’s a tough call between the two as the RX100 has a considerably larger sensor but no electronic viewfinder. If you’ve shot with Fujifilm in the past and want a viewfinder, the X30 is a nice option. If you prefer a more modern-feeling camera, try the RX100.
Sensor size: 225 sq. mm
What we like: 4K video and impressive image quality overall.
What we don’t: Again, $800 is a lot to spend for a point-and-shoot.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 is a polarizing camera: it has tons of upside but notable shortcomings too. Its big feature here is 4K Ultra HD video—the LX100 is the only point-and-shoot on the market that shoots 4K and one of only a handful of cameras of any type. It also performs extremely well in low light with a Leica f/1.7-2.8 lens and comes with built-in Wi-Fi. The price tag is a bit tough to swallow, but with 4K video and advanced features like an electronic viewfinder, the LX100 is an intriguing option for enthusiasts and professionals.
Given that this is the first version of the camera and Panasonic was aggressive with the new functionality, there have been issues. Some users have reported receiving lemons, and others have had problems with the automatic level feature. And if you take out the 4K video factor, we wonder how much better the image quality is than the trusty LX7 that is less than half the cost. We look forward to future versions of the camera and hopefully an LX8 as well.
|Canon PowerShot 340 HS||$149||16||28 sq. mm||25-300mm||f/3.6-7.0||5.2 oz.|
|Samsung WB350F||$165||16.2||28 sq. mm||23-484mm||f/2.8-5.9||7.6 oz.|
|Canon PowerShot S110||$195||12.1||41 sq. mm||24-120mm||f/2.0-5.9||6.1 oz.|
|Canon PowerShot SX700 HS||$279||16.1||28 sq. mm||25-750mm||f/3.2-6.9||9.5 oz.|
|Panasonic DMC-ZS40S||$340||18.1||28 sq. mm||27-720mm||f/3.3-6.4||8.5 oz.|
|Canon PowerShot G16||$449||12.1||41 sq. mm||28-140mm||f/1.8-2.8||12.6 oz.|
|FujiFilm X30||$499||12||58 sq. mm||28-112mm||f/2-2.8||14.9 oz.|
|Canon PowerShot G7 X||$699||20.2||116 sq. mm||28-112mm||f/1.8-2.8||10.7 oz.|
|Panasonic Lumix LX100||$750||12.8||225 sq. mm||24-75mm||f/1.7-2.8||13.9 oz.|
|Sony RX100||$498||20.2||116 sq. mm||28-100mm||f/1.8-4.9||8.5 oz.|
|Sony RX100 II||$598||20.2||116 sq. mm||28-100mm||f/1.8-4.9||9.9 oz.|
|Sony RX100 III||$798||20.2||116 sq. mm||24-70mm||f/1.8-2.8||
Sensor Size and Megapixels
Low Light Performance
What About Mirrorless?
Some of the links on Switchback Travel are affiliate links, meaning that we may receive a small commission on purchases. All of our recommendations are made independent of affiliate relationships. You can support by shopping through the links below or visiting our Support Us page.