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Take photos you can’t capture with your phone — no experience required. As their name strongly implies, point-and-shoot cameras are very easy to use. Here are our faves.

All products featured here are independently selected by our editors and writers.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

You probably think your phone takes great photos. But even with advancements, your phone’s camera is pretty average. Think about snapping pictures at a concert. Zoom in even a little, and it’s grainy. By the photos, there’s no way to tell if you saw Post Malone or Harry Styles. And forget about trying to take pictures of the moon on a phone. We all know how frustrating that can be.

Phones aren’t equipped to capture low-light and zoomed-in images. They’re great for everyday pictures of foam art and sunsets, but they can’t truly capture your favorite events or even make the most of those sunsets. 

We seem to have forgotten the middle ground between phone photography and a DSLR (those big cameras with all the lenses). A point-and-shoot camera may seem like a relic from family vacations, but camera manufacturers have worked to maintain this compact camera’s relevance, and they’re particularly good for travel. So don’t just use this list to buy a gift for your aunt Cynthia. Maybe you could use a point-and-shoot camera too.

What to look for in a point-and-shoot camera

One of the biggest differences between your phone and a point-and-shoot camera is the zoom capability. Imagine sitting in the nosebleed seats and still capturing a performer’s facial expressions. It’s a little creepy how far some of these cameras can zoom.

If you want crisp, low-light photos, pick a camera with a high ISO capability. A large ISO maximizes the light available, so pictures after the sun sets are still vibrant and sharp.

Cameras are now built with Instagram in mind. Many have Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can get the photos onto your phone ASAP. 

If you frequently have photos printed and framed, you’ll want to pay special attention to the number of megapixels the camera offers. The more megapixels, the larger your photos can be printed.

And some occasions call for a good video. New parents have this skill down, capturing every birthday and step. Most advanced cameras can record in 1080p, but for stunning quality, look for those with 4k video capability.

Here are seven of the best point-and-shoot cameras:

Ease of control • Excels in low light • High-quality images • Great reviews by pros

No zoom • No 4k video • Pricey

Stunning, high-quality images come at the cost of zoom capability and well, price.


This compact camera can give professional results, but you’ll need to buy conversion lenses if you want to zoom.

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    Fixed focal length
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Show off your world with this small yet powerful camera. It allows you to get creative with your photos using dials to change shutter speed, ISO, or the focus. 
The standard focal length is 35mm, like the standard iPhone focal length. But you can crop photos extensively and still get a detailed, precise picture. Conversion lenses are available to help zoom in, priced at around $350.
FUJIFILM goes back to its roots with this camera, providing 15 film simulation options. Deepen the photos with the classic chrome filter or bring colors to life with a vivid setting.
This well-reviewed camera captures images in less than a second, making tedious family photos as quick as possible and snapping even difficult action shots.
It’s the small details that set this camera apart. 

Great value • Extremely impressive zoom

Low-performing ISO • Average megapixel count

Hits all key features for less than you’d expect.

Canon PowerShot SX530

The Canon PowerShot SX530 shows that sometimes you get more than what you pay for, with 50x zoom and 16M megapixels.

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If affordability is a top priority, the Canon PowerShot SX530 should be your next purchase. It connects to WiFi and delivers high-quality photos.
The main drawbacks are an average number of megapixels, meaning your images won’t retain their quality when enlarged, and poor functionality in low-light situations. The ISO still beats an iPhone, but it’ll still leave you turning on the flash.
Amazon customer Mary Hight says:

“Wasn’t sure I liked this camera when I first got it. But went out one night and took pictures of the moon and they looked like a professional took them from space! I got so many comments about the awesomeness of the pictures! Did MUCH better than my digital SLR which doesn’t have the zoom capability that this has. Also took a picture of a sunflower from over a friend’s shoulder while I was sitting on a chair on her patio using the zoom function (the sunflower was at least 50 yards away) and it came out crisp and clear and every hair on the stems and leaves showed in perfect focus. It was an awesome picture too! This camera can’t take the place of my digital SLR, but it has its place in my camera repertoire that is matched by nothing else. This is my first Canon product (I was a diehard Nikon user) and I like its ease of use. I am a hobby photographer and I’m very glad I invested in this camera.”

Waterproof • Durable • Ultra compact • Selfie screen • High quality video

Tiny screen • Low battery life

Small and powerful camera the size of a keychain with better quality than a GoPro.

Sony RX0 II

This tiny camera packs a punch in under five cubic inches with 4K video and eye-catching photos.

  • Zoom:
    2x zoom
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This camera pairs well with wanderlust. If kayaking, hiking, and pine tree sleeves are your thing, then you should upgrade your GoPro to the Sony RX0 II.
It measures 2.38″ x 1.63″ x 1.19″, or a little more than the size of half a stick of butter. It can be dunked in water and dropped from six and a half feet, making it your next adventure buddy.
Purchase the video-stabilizing camera grip for vlogging masterpieces. The screen rotates 180 degrees, so selfie mode is as quick as flipping the screen. The camera includes a microphone jack, so you can connect an external microphone for crystal-clear sound. (If vlogs are your thing, check out our .)
Reviews on Sony’s website complain that the camera can overheat or run out of battery quickly with continuous video, but the crowd is overall pleased.
Amazon customer Erin says:

“I received this product to try as a Sony Ambassador and have been blown away. I spend a lot of my time outside and on the road, and am excited to continue working this camera into my process. As an outdoor and travel photographer, it is often important for me to be discreet when shooting. I have also always felt awkward vlogging with a big camera–– this one definitely makes that less of an issue. It’s easy to add to your kit because of the small size, even on a grip. The flip screen is such a great option to have on a camera of this size. I also have to mention that the camera is waterproof and dust proof, for anyone with a more adventurous style of traveling/creating. Overall this camera is a powerhouse and an excellent investment for anyone looking to add something new to their tool kit. I don’t even know what could compete with it right now.”

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity • Sharp images • Ease of use

Great camera for beginners with a stylish appearance and wide range of features.

Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II

Mid-range price combined with high-quality performance make this small and stylish camera a great choice for new photographers.

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The old-school styling on this model makes point-and-shoot cameras cool again. It’s not going to function like a DSLR, but it gives you the quality phones can’t quite beat.
This camera has a setting for every occasion. Switch on portrait mode for smooth skin and bokeh backgrounds or test out landscape to capture your travels. You can even geotag your location into the file.
The size fits in your back pocket. It’s like your mom’s old camera amplified to modern expectations.

Great value • Far zoom • High-quality video • Touch screen • Rotating screen

This camera imitates top-of-the-line models without the high price.

Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS70K

This small camera fits high functionality into a compact frame.

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Panasonic enters the scene with an awesome mid-range camera. Small details like the 180-degree rotating touch screen are meticulously planned. And it’s one of the few cameras at this price range to combine high-quality photos with 4k video.
The lens barrel has a ring to twist to perfectly focus the image, giving the feel of a DSLR without the bulk. The camera can fit in the palm of your hand and in your not-at-all-tacky traveler’s fanny pack.
The shutter speed can stretch to 30 seconds, perfect for photographing the night sky (just have it propped up or on a tripod, please).
Amazon customer Rick says:

“Picked up this camera last-minute for the increased zoom (my other point n shoot is a ZS100) to take to a concert. Ended up recording ~70 minutes of video at 1080P and the results are fantastic. I had i.zoom turned on and enjoyed fairly stable close-up zooms of various members of the band from half way across a 30,000 seat arena. Audio and Video are clear and distortion free. I’m AMAZED. As for photography, it’s decent, about the best you’ll get out of a sensor this size. The ZS100 definitely takes sharper pics, but that’s expected out of a sensor 4x the size. Out of the two cameras, I find myself reaching for the ZS70 more than the 100, both are fine examples of 2017 technology packed in a point n shoot case. Would HIGHLY recommend.”

Great value • Far zoom • Quick shutter speed

An affordable and versatile choice.

Nikon Coolpix B600

Get the best bang for your buck with the Nikon Coolpix B600, maximizing sought-after features on a budget.

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The 60x optical zoom and 120x Dynamic Fine zoom on the Nikon Coolpix B600 is impressive for any price range, but it happens to be under $330. It also looks like a DSLR from afar, if that’s something that’s important to you. The camera is also lightweight with good grip, which makes it easy for travel.
Flip between 19 scene modes and 36 filters and quickly upload photos to your phone with WiFi connectivity. The Coolpix B600 can also fix red eyes and soften skin, so no FaceTune required.

Spectacular zoom • High-quality video • WiFi connectivity

Pristine images and superior zoom make this camera a winner.

Nikon Coolpix P1000

There are many features to love in the Nikon Coolpix P1000, but the 125x zoom overshadows them all.

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The zoom on this camera goes beyond creepy-paparazzi level. Nikon advertises it as so good you can see the craters on the moon, and on Nikon’s site confirmed this capability. The shutter speed can slow to a full minute, making these night shots possible.
Reviewers seem to love to get out in nature with this camera and its super-zoom lens. It’s a great tool for birding and detailed shots of plants, but it’s not a compact travel companion. It will certainly beat your iPhone, but it’s not as portable.
The screen flips around to give you the best selfie of your life and is Bluetooth-enabled to send those pictures straight to Facebook.
Amazon customer Mike Goss says:

“I bought my last Nikon camera ten years ago. I bought this one because I wanted better moon photos. When I extended the lens all the way to 3000 mm on my original tripod, the tripod almost went face-first onto the ground. (I fixed that problem with a new Manfrotto tripod.) Once you have the right tripod, or you have extremely steady hands, your moon pictures will be the envy of the neighborhood. The next morning, if you want to take close-up pictures of your flowers, you’ll use this camera in macro mode at 1 centimeter away. Purists will say you could have a bigger sensor, or more lens control, or blah blah blah. Tell them to go jump in the lake. This is a “bridge camera;” it delivers superb pictures up close, and it delivers mind-blowing moon pictures, all without stopping to change lenses. P.S.: I also record training videos with this camera. Did I mention it can record at 1080 resolution and in 4K resolution? I added an Audio-Technica shotgun mike to the accessory shoe on the camera, to record my granddaughter’s orchestra concerts. Stop reading, and buy your own Nikon Coolpix P1000. You’ll be glad you did.”

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