Hello everyone and welcome to the Best Point and Shoot Camera Guide! My name is Brad and I work for the US Navy SEALs Recruiting Directorate as a professional Video Production Specialist (civilian). I’m part of a three person team that does all of the video, pictures and graphics for the official Navy SEAL & SWCC website. The reason I started this website was to help my family and friends find the best point and shoot camera to buy. There are a ton of options available at every price point. That’s why I’ve decided to create this best point and shoot camera guide to help you easily find the best camera for you. The table below makes it easy to search for cameras by what’s important to you. If price is the most important factor, then search by price. If video resolution is what you’re interested in, then search by the video category.
I’ve included links to Amazon for all of the products listed on this site. I like to buy from Amazon because of their well documented customer service. They make it incredibly easy to ship back to them if you have any problems. And because I’m an Amazon Prime member, most of the shipping is free! Actually, that might be a problem for me these days. I think that I might be addicted to the Prime!
The Best Point and Shoot Camera Guide
Included in the Best Point and Shoot Camera Guide are 6 Columns:
- Product Image
- Name of Camera
- Video Recording Resolution
- Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com. Amazon prices vary frequently due to promotions, availability and other factors. | $= Under $200, $$= $200 – 400, $$$= $400 – 1000, $$$$=$1000 and up.
- Rating – This is the average user rating on Amazon.com. This number can be helpful as a quick reference to how other people have rated the camera.
Click here for a comparison chart of over 50 cameras.
Click here for a comparison chart of over 50 cameras.
In order to find the best point and shoot camera, it’s essential to have a good working knowledge of what these cameras do. Unlike the more expensive DSLR cameras, a point and shoot enables you to do exactly what the name implies. In other words, you can simply point your camera at the desired object or person and press the shutter button down to take a picture. These cameras do not require you to change lenses, and you will not need to have any specialized knowledge about photography in order to get decent results. However, it is important to understand the basic functions that these cameras have in order to determine which one is the best value for your money. Some point and shoot cameras offer more advanced features that someone that’s familiar with cameras might enjoy and look for in their next purchase.
Breaking Down the Major Steps that are included in Camera Reviews
Most camera reviews place an emphasis on 11 different features. Although this is very helpful for people who have a strong working knowledge of point and shoot cameras, it can become confusing for individuals who are unsure what they are reading. Therefore, we will break down each of the components of a typical camera review to help you make a more informed decision.
1.) What is a Megapixel?
Every camera review and advertisement will list the camera’s megapixel capacity, but they never bother to explain what a megapixel is. In layman’s terms, a megapixel is equal to one million pixels, and each pixel is an important component of your photographs. In other words, the higher the camera’s megapixel capacity, the better your images will look when they are printed.
2.) Shooting Modes
There are a wide variety of different shooting modes that are offered by the best point and shoot camera manufactures. The automatic mode is the easiest to use, but you should also consider branching out into other specialized options. For example, if you will be taking photographs of something that is moving very quickly, you should select the sports mode. Simply put, the number of shooting modes that your camera has will enhance your ability to take high quality pictures.
3.) Image Stabilization
It is very important to ensure that your camera comes equipped with image stabilization. Without it, you are likely to need a tripod in order to take photos that are not blurry. After all, it is nearly possible to hold a camera completely still while you are taking a photo, and image stabilization helps to compensate for any movement. All of the best point and shoot cameras have this feature.
4.) Menus and Controls
The complexity of a camera’s menus and controls should be carefully considered before you purchase it. Therefore, most camera reviews will include information about these features to help you determine if you will be able to easily navigate throughout the menus and controls to take your desired photos. If the controls or menus are too cumbersome, you are likely to become frustrated, and this could render your camera useless.
5.) Lens Length
Having the ability to zoom in on objects or people will definitely enhance your camera’s usefulness. After all, you will not always be close enough to get the perfect image if your camera does not have a solid telephoto feature. Keep in mind that each point and shoot camera only has one lens option, so you need to make sure that you select a camera that has an appropriate zoom lens for your needs.
Your digital camera’s sensor size will have a large impact on the type of photographs that you can print. Modern sensors are compared to the old standard 35 mm frame, and your camera’s crop factor will enable you to determine how much you will be able to capture in a photograph when compared to a 35 mm camera body. This information might seem too confusing for many hobbyists, but it is important to ensure that your point and shoot camera has a sensor that is capable of producing a sharper image with a large scope than the camera on your cell phone.
7.) Frame Bursts
The type of photography that you are planning to do will have a big impact on whether or not frame bursts are essential. To put it simply, the frame burst rate of your camera indicates how many photos can be taken in a row. For example, your camera might be able to take 10 photos in a quick burst before it pauses to write the information to its memory card. If you are planning to shoot sports, children or anything else that will move quickly, it is a good idea to look for a point and shoot camera that has a high frame burst rate.
8.) Video Quality
Most point and shoot cameras now include the ability to take video in addition to photos. This option will make your camera more versatile, but it will only truly be useful if the video quality is high enough to make it worthwhile. Video quality should be looked at in the same method as megapixels. In other words, the higher the resolution, the better the results will be. However, you should also pay close attention to the sound quality. After all, buying a camera that provides gorgeous videos with inaudible sound isn’t good for anybody!
9.) Battery Life
Point and shoot cameras can either come with disposable or rechargeable batteries. If you want the best possible battery life, it is usually best to go with an option that includes a rechargeable battery. Either way, most camera reviews will give you an indication about what you can expect from the battery life, and you should carefully consider this information before you make a purchase.
10.) Image Processor
Your camera’s image processor will be responsible for quickly converting all of the data into a usable format. However, instead of simply transferring the exact image to the memory card, an image processor will also clean up certain aspects of each photo. For example, the image processor is responsible for sharpening images and reducing some of the noise that is caused by taking photographs in low light conditions. Anyone who plans to take a large quantity of photographs in one day should pay attention specifically to the speed of a camera’s image processor. If the speed is too slow, it will hinder the process of taking quick photos.
11.) Miscellaneous Features
Many of the best point and shoot cameras include extra options such as a built-in GPS and social networking features. To ensure that you get the most out of your camera, you should look for options that include extra features that you will actually use. In other words, if you do not have a Facebook account, you probably do not need a camera that is equipped with a specialized social networking function. However, having a GPS is always useful. Either way, you should carefully consider the information that is included in the miscellaneous section of a camera review to help you make the right choice.
What’s the Highest Megapixel Point and Shoot Camera on the Market Today?
The world of photography is constantly changing, and there are also various options available at every conceivable price point. However, if you want to stick with a point and shoot camera, you should consider the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX200V 18.2 MP Waterproof Digital Camera. This camera was released with much fanfare in 2012 when it became the first compact option to offer 18.2 megapixels. As an added bonus, the DSC-TX200V is also dust proof and waterproof, and it utilizes touchscreen technology to make it easier for smartphone users to navigate through the menus and controls. Click here to see a full review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX200v.
Looking For The Best Point and Shoot Camera On The Market?
Canon PowerShot SX500 IS 16.0 MP
The PowerShot SX500 has been designed as an advanced point and shoot, and I greatly enjoyed all of the additional freedom that this gave me. However, if you are a beginner, this camera might be too advanced for you. The SX500 includes a robust 30x wide-angle zoom, and it also has a high quality resolution of 16 MP. I was impressed with the performance of the wide-angle lens, and it is perfect for taking photos of landscapes, wildlife and large groups. The addition of intelligent image stabilization was also a nice touch, and this makes it much easier to take clear photos during any situation.
Camera enthusiasts who are looking for the best point and shoot camera that has advanced features should strongly consider the SX500. The solid body has 15 different shooting modes, including low light, portrait, aperture priority, shutter priority and discreet mode. The DIGIC 4 image processor provided the speed that I was looking for, and the HD video quality definitely made this point and shoot camera stand out.
One of the best aspects of the SX500 is that it includes so many advanced features without the need for an exorbitant price tag. In fact, the list price for this model is less than $300, and that makes it a very affordable option for anyone who is ready to take their photography hobby to the next level. I recommend this camera for individuals who have experience with other point and shoot cameras. The menus and controls are very intuitive, and the battery life stands up to extended usage. Therefore, it is definitely worth the investment, and it can also act as an introductory model for people who are interested in eventually upgrading to a DSLR.
Nikon COOLPIX S9200 16 MP CMOS
The COOLPIX S9200 is a solid point and shoot camera that even a novice will be able to use. The camera features a 16 MP CMOS sensor, and it also includes an 18x optical zoom to bring distant items into focus. Although there are several other cameras available in the S9200’s price range, I would suggest this model to anyone who wants to learn how to fully utilize the power of a point and shoot camera. However, it is important to note that the included image stabilization does not always yield the best results.
The S9200 excels when it is used as a video camera. In fact, the compact body includes full HD capabilities, and you will be able to take advantage of the 18x optical zoom while you are shooting video. Additionally, the camera includes stereo sound, and this provided me with results that were above average for the camera’s class.
I upgraded to the GPS enhanced model, and it geotagged every photo and video that I took. This is very useful when you are traveling through multiple states or countries, and it also makes it easy to share images with various sites and software applications such as Google Earth.
The rechargeable battery has a long life, but you might want to consider buying a backup if you will be shooting for an extended period of time. Fortunately, the image processor is fast enough to properly render up to seven frames per second, and this means that you never have to worry about missing an important moment. With all of these perks, I would not hesitate to recommend the S9200 to anyone who wants an easy to use a point and shoot camera without paying an exorbitant price.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS 12.1 MP CMOS
Canon’s PowerShot series is one of my favorite point and shoot options, and the SX260 is no exception. Although the 12.1 MP CMOS sensor might not produce the highest resolution in its price range, the compact body and 80x combined zoom makes up for it. Canon’s optical image stabilizer is also the perfect touch, and it made it easy for me to take clear photos even in low light settings.
The most impressive aspect of the SX260 is the inclusion of more than 30 different shooting modes. I was especially excited by the underwater mode, and the necessary optional case worked perfectly. Other highlights include handheld night scene, high-speed burst HQ, fisheye effect, smooth skin, smart auto and live view control. Fortunately, it is not necessary to understand these options in order to use the camera. However, anyone who leaves the SX260 permanently in auto mode will miss out on some of the camera’s best features.
The HD video camera provides an impressive 1080p, and it is also equipped with stereo sound. This made it easy for me to capture several videos, and the battery life held up to my demands. Another nice touch of the sleek SX260 is the built-in GPS. This means that users will never have to try to figure out where they took each photograph. Instead, that information will be preserved for future reference.
The SX260 includes a DIGIC 5 image processor, and this is one of the best available processors in this price range. Therefore, you will never have to worry about slow processing, and you will also be able to enjoy the same high quality results that made me love this camera.
Canon PowerShot SX150 IS 14.1 MP
The PowerShot SX150 provides a good stepping stone between a basic point and shoot camera and the more advanced options. Therefore, I recommend this option for hobbyists who are interested in taking their images to the next level, as this is one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market. The SX150 is equipped with a 14.1 MP image sensor, and it utilizes a DIGIC 4 image processor to provide quick and clean results. The 12x wide-angle optical zoom is not as advanced as other options, but it prevents images from becoming distorted or overly pixelated, and this is an important feature to look for in any camera.
The included video function will enable you to capture HD video with stereo sound. Although the resolution is only 720p, the results that I got were still very high quality, and I loved the large 3″ LCD viewing screen. The only downside to this camera in my opinion is the fact that it uses regular alkaline batteries. Although this makes it easier to replace them quickly, it also makes it necessary to purchase highly rated expensive alkaline batteries in order to get the lifespan that I am used to from Canon’s products.
The SX150 includes 27 different shooting modes, and this makes it easy to get the right photo each time. I am especially fond of the following modes: low light, kids and pets, foliage, landscape, snow and discreet mode. Because there are so many different options, every user is certain to discover a mode that is perfect for each of their special occasions.
One of my favorite features of the SX150 is the intelligent image stabilization technology. This feature enables you to select from six different shooting modes to ensure the optimal results. Therefore, you will never have to worry about your images or videos being blurry. Because of this and all of the other perks that are included in the SX150’s body, I recommend this camera to anyone who is ready to start shooting with a slightly advanced point and shoot.
GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition
The Outdoor Edition of the HERO2 has been specifically manufactured to enable sports lovers to capture all of the action. However, instead of simply using the 11 MP sensor to take photos of your favorite sport, you can actually mount the camera on your body or equipment to get amazing images of your most exciting adventures. I tested this camera while surfing, and the results proved that GoPro has invented a truly unique point and shoot body.
The Outdoor Edition is waterproof and shockproof, but if you are planning to spend a lot of time on the water, it might be a good idea to consider the Surf Edition. Either way, this camera held up very well in the water, and it provided me with high quality images and video. The camera can take up to 10 photos per second, and it can also shoot up to 120 frames per second when it is set to WVGA mode.
Although the images that I got with this camera were not as clean as those that I have taken with other point and shoot cameras in this price range, the HERO2 Outdoor Edition definitely excels at letting you get closer than ever before to the action. The menus and controls are extremely easy to use, and the camera comes with a rechargeable battery that will last for 2.5 hours of continuous shooting.
In order to give you the best selection of photographs, you will need to select the appropriate optional mount. However, sports lovers will definitely find the added expense to be worthwhile. Overall, this is not a camera that I would recommend for casual usage, but it is perfect for people who want to use it to capture sports related imagery and videos.