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Once known as the camera your mom would buy on vacation at the kiosk, compacts have come a long way.
With smartphones offering increasingly capable photo and video specs, point and shoot (P&S) cameras had to transform. They moved from inexpensive and toy-like to affordable, portable, easy-to-use cameras. They're an excellent choice for casual shooters and beginners and great for trips and holidays.
Looking to get a compact? Read on to learn what the best point and shoot camera is in 2021.
The 8 best point and shoot cameras in 2021
Let's jump straight into it!
1. Fujifilm X100V
The Fujifilm X100V is a 26MP APS-C sensor, prime-lens compact camera with a tilting LCD touchscreen.
This P&S comes in a dust- and splash-proof body with a classy, retro look. It offers refined ergonomics and a hybrid, 3.69M-dot optical-electronic viewfinder.
The X100V captures wonderful images, and it's easy to use for beginners. It records class-leading 4K video and has impressive low-light autofocus capabilities, even though the AF speed tends to be a bit slow.
The lack of in-body stabilization means you'll need steady hands when on the go, but if you can make your peace with that, this Fujifilm X100V delivers outstanding performance.
2. Sony ZV-1
It's a capable P&S for both stills and video. It captures 4K video at 30fps, or Full HD up to 120p.
The Sony ZV-1 provides excellent autofocus and has decent connectivity with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This camera is rated at 260 shots per charge, which isn't great for longer day trips. It can be charged via USB while in use, however.
If you're looking for the best point-and-shoot camera for vlogging, the Sony ZV-1 is the one for you.
3. Panasonic Lumix TZ95 / ZS80
Our only contender from Panasonic for the best point-and-shoot camera is the Panasonic Lumix TZ95.
Released in April 2019, this compact camera's got a 3-inch tilting touch screen, intuitive controls, and a 2.3M-dot electronic viewfinder.
The TZ95 can shoot 4K video at 30fps and takes stills in RAW format. It also comes with a 30x stabilized zoom, perfect for travelers or shooting sports or wildlife. It has a quick and accurate AF and great connectivity through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
If you're looking for a point and shoot with amazing video and zoom capabilities, consider the Panasonic Lumix TZ95.
4. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VI
With a 20MP CMOS sensor and 5-axis image stabilization, the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI is a versatile compact for anyone looking for a great all-rounder. It has accurate and fast on-sensor phase-detection AF and captures UHD 4K at 30fps.
It offers expansive zoom capabilities with an F/2.8-4.5, 24-200mm equivalent lens.
The RX100 VI is light and compact, offers outstanding dynamic range, and has an excellent built-in EVF. While its low-light performance is limited by its lens, it can be a versatile choice for a budding photography enthusiast.
Having this much speed and performance will cost you quite a bit though. Renting a camera can be an alternative worth considering!
5. Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II
With a 1-inch sensor, crisp lens, and an excellent DIGIC 7 processor, the Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is a worthy candidate for the best point and shoot camera.
This compact features an ultra-compact, sturdy build and an intuitive LCD screen with a smartphone-like interface. The streamlined controls are easy to use, even for complete beginners.
The G9X II has a built-in 3-stop ND filter, and it captures vivid, vibrant color. It does, however, struggle with poor battery life at times. It doesn't offer a versatile focal range, but it's still an excellent choice as a first, high-performance compact.
6. Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II
The Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is another small P&S with a secure grip, high-performance sensor, and versatile lens. The latter is an f/1.8-2.8, 24-120mm equivalent lens that captures great detail and has an in-built ND filter.
The camera is built for a secure grip, good ergonomics and features a pop-up EVF that's relatively small but still bright. With a polished interface and comfortable direct control, the G5X controls like a dream and shouldn't be a hassle to get used to.
Canon's autofocus is as reliable and simple as ever, but it won't turn any heads. This compact also lacks a microphone jack and 24p video capture.
This Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II is perfect for still-focused creators who look for a premium feel.
7. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII
Successor to the aforementioned RX100 VI, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII is capable, although pricier alternative to its predecessor.
It features the same 20MP sensor and F/2.8-4.5 lens, and an improved and intuitive autofocus system. It also comes with a mic socket for improved audio.
This compact camera has a bit of a complex UI but a great electronic viewfinder and 4K capability. It also shoots with excellent color and dynamic range.
Overall, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII combines excellent speed, autofocus, and a versatile zoom into a highly portable body. For a decent price, of course.
8. Canon PowerShot SX740 HS
The Canon PowerShot SX740 is not much better than a high-end smartphone when it comes to imaging capabilities. There's one area where it clearly has your smartphone beat: optical zoom.
This P&S comes with 40x zooming capabilities in a lightweight body that easily fits into your travel luggage.
The camera's 20.3MP sensor takes stunning images but struggles in low-light conditions with a sensitivity of ISO 100-3200. It records 4K video at 30 fps and can continuously shoot at 10fps.
The SX740 has a flippable LCD screen well suited for selfies and provides overall adequate performance. If you're looking for excellent zooming capabilities, you can consider the Canon PowerShot SX740.
The best point-and-shoot camera is one that fits your needs and budget perfectly. Many strong contenders impress with their speed, autofocus, and size, like the Fujifilm X100V, the Sony ZV-1, or the Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II.
Any compact cameras from this list would be fantastic for casual photographers. What will you pick?
Should I rent a camera?
Rent Camera Gear: Access Pro Equipment
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Which is the best point and shoot camera?
The best point and shoot cameras today are the Fujifilm X100V, the Sony ZV-1, the Canon PowerShot G9X Mark II, and the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 VI.
Are point and shoot cameras worth it?
Point and shoot cameras are worth it for photography enthusiasts, and those who value a portable and versatile camera. For more advanced applications, it's worth looking into a mirrorless or DSLR camera.