Best Compact Camera
A compact camera can be seen as the perfect upgrade from smartphone photography.
If you enjoy the flexibility of having a light photo-taking device, then a compact camera is exactly what you need.
Unlike with heavier cameras, with a compact camera you should be able to take photos from all angles without needing a tripod to hold it steady.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best compact cameras
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Compact Camera
- Best of the Best: Fujifilm x100v
- Runner Up: Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III
- Best on a Budget: Panasonic LUMIX LX10
Best Compact Camera Reviews
Fujifilm x100v (👑 Best of the Best)
Our top pick for the best compact camera is the sleek and stylish Fujifilm x100V.
You’ll be as impressed with the exterior of the Fukifilm x100V as much as you are with the quality of the photos it takes. This is one fine-looking camera, and that should count for a lot, since carrying around a plastic-looking device doesn’t quite feel right. The camera comes in both a silver and a black option, and looks every bit as professional as you’d expect from a camera in this premium price range.
Providing you have the budget to invest in this top-tier compact camera, you won’t be disappointed with its performance and features. If you’re used to using a smartphone for all of your photography needs, this might just be the best camera to upgrade to, since it has a similar shape and profile but is loaded with premium features and a powerful image sensor for stunning stills. This is one of the main appeals of this camera, since you can quickly and easily store it away in your pocket, which can’t be said of most top-tier camera bodies. This means if the idea of spontaneous photo missions interests you, this is an excellent camera that you can whip out at a moment’s notice.
This camera isfitted with a 23mm F2 lens which gives you ‘maximum resolution and minimal distortion’, according to the manufacturer. You can also expect fantastic close-up performance, an area in which this camera is a clear step-up from its predecessors. The X-Trans CMOS 4 image sensor is paired with a powerful X-processor 4 for outstanding image quality and camera performance. There’s 26.1 Megapixels in the sensor, and quad-core CPU which offers up a wide dynamic range, ultra-fast processing, and precision AutoFocus performance. To the layman, this means you can expect crisp stills in a flash, even if you’ve just taken the camera out of your pocket.
One of the most impressive features for this compact camera is the inclusion of smooth 4K video at a frame rate of 30fps or 1080p at 120fps. 4K with a camera of this size isn’t easy to come by, and especially given how portable it is, this is a hugely attractive feature. You’ll be able to record cinematic-quality videos on the go, so the world will be your oyster. If you’re looking for something a little different, recording in 1080p at 120fps will allow you to play around with effects like slo-mo and capturing fast-moving subjects clearly.
- X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor
- X-Processor 4
- 26.1MP sensor
- 4K video 30fps, 1080p at 120fps
- Tilting LCD touchscreen
- Available in 2 colors
- 23mm F2.0 lens
- Wide angle lens
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III (🥈 Runner Up)
The Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III is our runner up pick for the best compact camera.
It’s probable that if you’re familiar with cameras or the brand Canon, you’ll have heard of its PowerShot series before. This is a compact camera that’s ideal for shooting vlogs on the move or capturing fast-moving action. For the aspiring filmmakers and YouTubers, this is an excellent option, and a camera that’s small enough to feel comfortable for those used to shooting video on their smartphones. Even if you’re not as interested in recording video, there’s plenty to like about the PowerShot G7X Mark III.
Let’s start with the camera’s strongest feature: its video-recording prowess. The first thing you need to know in this regard is that the PowerShot G&X Mark III offers stunning 4K uncropped video. This means you can record cinematic videos or vlogs in incredible 4K at a smooth frame rate of up to 30p. What’s more, you can record in full HD at an ultra-smooth 120fps, which is perfect if you want clean playback without a hitch, top-quality close-up shots, or are curious about various shooting effects such as slo-mo. But perhaps one of the most unique features of this vlog-friendly compact camera is the ability to live stream. With the live stream feature, you can make mobile-ready vertical videos and stream them live to an audience with minimal fuss. This is huge if you want to start a YouTube channel or capture vlogs, tutorials, or anything else of that nature that’s best when shared live.
The tilt LCD allows for creative selfie-style angles for your videos too. The touch panel LCD screen is 3 inches wide, and offers 180 degrees of tilt which lets you set up your camera on a desk or other surface for the best angles. There’s also external mic support, so if you need to capture your voice or other audio with the highest level of quality, you can simply plug in your own microphone.
Video isn’t the only thing the PowerShot camera has to offer, though, since it is also great for taking stills. The 20.1 Megapixel 1.0 inch stacked CMOS sensor is paired with a powerful DIGIC 8 Image Processor which gives you stellar performance even in low light. There’s also a 20fps continuous shooting mode, so you can capture crisp photos with minimal blur even if the action is unfolding quickly.
- 20.1 MP
- DIGIC 8 Image Processor
- 1 inch stacked CMOS
- ISO 125-12800
- 20fps continuous shooting
- 3 inch tilt touch screen
- 4K 30fps or full HD 120fps
- Live stream feature
Panasonic LUMIX LX10 (💎 Best on a Budget)
Our best budget pick for compact cameras is the Panasonic Lumix LX10, which proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get your hands on a compact device with top performance.
This is a camera with an excellent feel in the hands and a high-performing zoom lens with a wide aperture range. If you’re looking for a great all-round camera with superb performance, even at long distances, this should be a strong contender. It’s a camera that feels great in your hands and has an advanced AutoFocus system, so you should have no trouble getting the photos you want with minimal fuss.
This compact camera from Panasonic is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras if you want top long-range performance. This is in no small part due to the excellent 1 inch 20.1 MP MOS sensor that’s fitted out with a 3x zoom LEICA DC VARIO-SU milimeter ILUX lens. While that may just seem like a bunch of letters, this zoom lens is one of the best you can find on a compact point-and-shoot camera, so you can take crisp stills from a long distance away. If you’re worried about the image blur from shaky hand, don’t worry, Panasonic thought of this. The Power Optical Image Stabilizer is there to mitigate shaky hand blur and deliver bright and color photos, whatever the distance from the subject. There’s also a quality lens-mounted control ring which helps you control the exposure to the extent you can with a DSLR.
The Panasonic Lumix LX10 is also capable of recording high-quality video, in case that’s something you value. There’s 4K video capture, 4K photo and 4K post focus with internal focus stacking which means you can record photos up to 30fps and select where the focus is after you’ve taken them. These features combine well with the tilting touch-enable 3 inch LCD display, so you can take clear selfies in a moment’s notice.
- 1 inch 20.1MP MOS sensor
- 3x zoom LEICA DC VARIO-SU milimeter ILUX lens
- Power Optical Image Stabilizer
- 4K video capture, 4k Post Focus, 4k Photo, and internal focus stacking.
- Lens-mounted control ring
If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range compact camera, you need to know what to look for.
Here are some of the important features to pay attention to if you want to make the best decision for your preferences.
Most people when looking to invest in a new camera want to know that they’re going to get high-quality photos, that’s a no-brainer.
But how exactly do you know whether or not the photos will be of a good standard?
Well, it’s difficult to know for sure until you get your hands on the camera, given how many factors can play a significant role.
However, the most important factor will be the image sensor.
If you get an image sensor that’s large, you’ll be able to capture more light which will lead to a better image, even in low light conditions.
You also want to pay attention to the number of Megapixels in the image sensor, and the type of processor.
The amount of Megapixels a camera has will determine what resolution the photos will be in. The more Megapixels, then, the more detail you will find in the photo even if you decide to print it out.
Video recording isn’t a priority for everyone, but if you want to be able to shoot great video on the go it’s worth paying attention to the following factors.
4K is the gold standard of video, and this resolution will produce stunning footage.
However, the framerate is important too as it determines how smooth the footage will be. Generally, if you’re looking for the best video you don’t want to go below 30fps with 4K. But, if you’re looking to capture fast-moving subjects or play around with slo-mo, find a camera that can record in 120fps, even if the resolution is limited to 1080p.
Some compact cameras like Canon’s PowerShot will even allow for live streaming, so if you’re looking to make video tutorials or vlogs and broadcast them live to an audience this is a feature worth looking out for.
Factors To Look For When Buying The Best Compact Camera
You can find many best compact cameras in the market to suit every budget and style of shooting. Compact cameras differ from each other in their specifications and features, which also affects the quality of the images they produce.
Most compact cameras also offer a great blend of portability, features and performance, while most also have additional features that set them apart to produce amazing results. Before buying a compact camera let’s understand their different specifications and factors so that we can get the best results from the cameras.
Some of the factors that you should consider while buying the best compact camera are.
1. Optical Zoom
Zoom in is used to capture objects or subjects far into the distance. Often we can’t get very close to the subject we want to shoot, which is when the zoom feature in a compact camera becomes highly useful.
The zoom feature of a camera is identified by x times the zoom factor so a camera with 4x zoom implies the difference in zoom between the zoom out and zoom in settings of the camera.
A 4x zoom camera will make an object appear 4 times bigger. The higher the zoom the better close up image you can capture from your camera. Compact digital cameras with long zoom lenses generally do the best in good light Make sure that you check the quality of the zoom before you buy one.
2. The Aperture
While amateur photographers and beginners may not be so aware of the role an aperture plays in the image and quality, it would be a good idea to get an idea of the same before buying a compact camera. Apertures are usually denoted by the symbol f followed by the aperture number, so the symbol f/2.8 – 5.6 refers to the maximum and minimum aperture setting of the camera.
A higher aperture is denoted by a lower number while a lower aperture is denoted by a higher number. The size of the aperture can be controlled manually to decide the amount of light the camera sensor needs to be exposed to.
The wider the aperture the better it is since you can also then shoot images in low light conditions. The aperture size of 3.5 – 5.6 is considered ideal for pocket-size compact cameras.
3. Video Recording
In today’s times, videos have taken over photos as the preferred sharing mode on social media platforms, since they offer longer and better perspective of the place visited. Videos with sound tell much more about the place visited and its different sights and experiences.
Usually, the best compact cameras for professional photographers have a video recording facility, in-built in them. Video recording is possible at different resolutions with HD quality videos starting at 720 pixels.
Look for a camera that offers HD quality video recording and maybe even 4k recording, if it fits your budget. As the name suggests 4K video recording quality is four times more sharper and clearer than 1080 HD quality.
4. Image Stabilization
This is a necessary feature especially while planning to use the best handheld camera for a lot of night time photography. This is because the camera needs to be held steadily for a long time to let in the necessary amount of light for a good quality image to be developed.
Unfortunately, holding the camera still for long periods without a tripod is not easy resulting in blurred and shaky images.The image stabilization feature not only corrects blurred images but also helps correct images that may occur due to the camera shaking accidentally while use.
Image stabilization is also important while using zoom mode in the camera, as the higher you zoom more visible are the camera shakes and blurs.
The sensor is the heart of the camera, as it is where the images are created on exposure to light. The bigger the sensor, the better the quality and resolution of the image. Large sensors are also best suited for shooting images under low and dim light conditions.
6. Wi-Fi or NFC Connectivity
No longer do you need to connect cables and look for a computer to download images or use a memory card to copy images from your camera and then manually share them with others, thanks to Wi-Fi & NFC connectivity.
Most of the latest compact cameras have built-in Wi-Fi / NFC facility which lets you share the photos on social media and with your group easily.Thanks to Wi-Fi you can also connect your best handheld camera remotely and even send the pictures directly to a printer for printing hard copies.
Make sure that the compact camera you are considering is Wi-Fi / NFC enabled and offers seamless connectivity to your smartphone and PC.
7. Manual Override
Many photographers like to experiment with their cameras and adjust the settings to suit different modes. Those in the creative field especially need to have better control over the settings, so that they can shoot their subjects more creatively and get better than standard results while shooting.
A manual setting option helps photographers adjust the aperture or shutter speed of their camera to click pictures that are more in tune with their requirements and help them to express themselves more artistically.
While compact cameras give good results on auto modes, being able to adjust their settings will help you explore and click better looking and impactful images.
8. Battery Life
Battery life is of primary importance especially when you are traveling on a holiday to a location where you may not find many easy options to recharge the camera battery. Many opportunities for great looking shots and videos are lost, just because the battery runs out of power at that precise moment.
Make sure that the best portable camera you buy has a substantial battery life which will give you at least 90 minutes of power so that you can capture images and videos for a longer period.
9. Other Extra Features
Just plain photos shot with standard old cameras will not impress anymore, as the latest compact cameras come packed with features never seen before.
Multiple burst shooting that clicks up to 10 photos per second, face recognition, wherein the camera automatically clicks a photo when someone smiles and even beauty touchups that add a glamour quotient to your selfies is the current norm.
Another great feature that would help you shoot different images is the camera being waterproof and suitable to shoot with underwater, giving you a chance to explore and shoot the underwater marine life and corals to share their beauty with the world.
An all-weatherproof camera will help you operate the conditions in all conditions without worrying about the camera getting damaged.
Do make it a point to check out the extra features available on the compact camera and consider a camera that has features you could use to improve your photography results and make your videos and photos more appealing.
10. The Build
The best mini cameras refer to the small-sized cameras that can easily fit in your pocket. Hence, make sure that the compact camera you are considering is small, light and strong enough to fit comfortably in your pocket without getting damaged.
Additionally, if you are planning to do a lot of outdoor shooting; make sure it comes with a strong build and body design that can protect the camera in all weather conditions.
Now that you are more familiar with the features to look for in the best small cameras, you can suitably decide the one best suited to your requirements.
When you decide to buy a compact camera, you will discover that there are many different models in the market with varied features at different price points. Even though you can research all the different cameras and understand how they work, making the right decision for you may still not be easy for you.
To help you, we have listed some of the best compact cameras available in the market.
Tips For Capturing Stunning Images With Your Compact Camera
Being a good photographer starts with knowing your camera in detail and then using its different features effectively in different environments to click photos and videos that capture those natural moments and people perfectly. To help you get the best out of your camera, here are some great tips that will help you on your photographic journey.
1. Study Your Camera & Its Manual In Detail
This is the first and foremost thing that you should do whenever you buy a camera, as it helps you to understand the intimate details about your camera, its different parts and the different modes you can operate it in to click stunning images.
Learning how to use your camera and being comfortable with all its buttons and features is very essential as you never know when a great photographic moment may occur in front of you.
Setting up a tripod, shooting in low light conditions and how to capture fast moving objects and action scenes are some of the things that you need to pay special attention to while reading the manual.
2. Understand Composition Techniques
While using a compact camera is all about pointing it and shooting a subject, what makes for a stunning and impactful image is the way it has been composed. Composing refers to seeing that all the elements you want to capture are being covered and are in a manner that brings out the beauty within them.
The rule of thirds, which is basically dividing the image you are planning to shoot into 3 horizontal and 3 vertical lines crossing each other, is a great way to compose good looking pictures.
Once you mentally divide the image into these lines, try and shoot your images with the main subject being located/placed at the points that these lines intersect with each other.
Apart from the rule of thirds, professional photographers also look out for lines leading to the main subject to give the image a more multi-dimensional look and allow the eyes to follow its natural movement while scanning the image.
3. Try Editing Your Photos
No matter how well you compose your image or the settings you use to click the image, the end result may not match up to your expectations. In such scenarios being able to edit your image and having some basic editing knowledge will help you a great deal.
As a beginner and hobbyist photographer, you don’t really need to have high-end editing software for a great output.
The basic software built in your PC or tablet will help you easily refine the colors and contrasting scenes in your image for better results. You can also crop and trim the image to eliminate the parts of the image that you don’t need or are not in line with the composition of the image.
4. Get A Few Accessories
Once you are comfortable with the use of the camera and all its features, you could consider investing in a few accessories that will help you click better photographs and also help you be ready to capture images whenever a good photo opportunity arises. Some of the accessories you can consider are.
- Tripod: A tripod is a great way to ensure that your camera is stable and steady when you need to click many images at one go and even for high action movements. Our hands invariably shake when we hold the camera for a long time, resulting in blurred and shaky images, which sometimes even the camera’s in-built image stabilizers may not be able to correct. Tripods are of great value even while shooting in low light conditions when the shutter speed needs to be slower to process the image.
- Extra Batteries: A very important accessory that we sometimes forget to stock up on. While traveling one tends to click a lot of images and videos, looking for the perfect shot and video. This, unfortunately, drains up the battery and ends up with our camera having almost no power while shooting important images and videos. A spare battery is of great help in such situations and a must have for those planning on exploring remote locations, where there might not be adequate facilities to recharge your batteries.
- Memory cards: Another great accessory to have while traveling, as HD images and videos tend to take up a lot of space. Deleting images from the memory card until you have transferred them to your PC may not be possible, resulting in you not being able to shoot images and videos when it matters. Ensure that the class of the spare memory card you buy matches the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Camera Strap: Using camera strap is the best way to ensure the safety of your camera while traveling and clicking photos on the go. Dropping your camera by mistake may end up damaging its lens and sensors, leading to costly repairs or worse the camera no longer being usable.
Avoid such situations by buying a sturdy camera strap and always wearing it around the neck while shooting with your compact camera.
Frequently Asked Questions About Compact Cameras
Which compact camera should I buy?
To decide on the perfect compact camera, you need to first determine what you want from one.
It isn’t enough to want good photos, you have to dig a little deeper into the reasons you have for wanting a camera and what features you could benefit from.
This includes factors such as whether you need a high-performing zoom lens for photos at a distance, and whether or not you want to be able to record high-quality 4K video.
Which budget compact digital camera is best?
In our view, it doesn’t get much better than the FujiFilm x100v.
This camera looks as good on the outside as the photos it takes do. It’s incredibly stylish, and anyone would be proud to have it on their person.
Looks aren’t all this camera is good for, though, since it has an incredibly powerful processor and image sensor for such a compact model.
Is a compact camera worth it?
A compact camera is worth it if you’re used to taking photos with your smartphone, but now you want to take a step towards more serious photography.
It’s a significant step up from smartphone photography, but also a wonderfully convenient device due to its small size.
If you like the idea of spontaneous photo shoots while you’re out and about, a compact camera is perfect as it can slip into your pocket.
Are compact cameras as good as professional DSLR cameras?
While compact cameras may not give you the same image quality and resolution as DSLR cameras, due to the quality of the lenses and features available in DSLR cameras, their results are often comparable to them. What matters are the skills of the photographer and his composition of the images to make them stunning and attractive.
Can I change the lenses on the best pocket cameras?
No, you cannot change the lenses on compact cameras. This is the main feature that distinguishes them from DSLR cameras that have interchangeable lenses.
Are compact cameras waterproof?
No. Not all compact cameras are waterproof and need protection from water. Some high-end models are designed to be used in all weather conditions and even underwater.
Do compact cameras have a flash?
Yes, some models of the best pocket cameras have a flash built-in that gets activated automatically in low light conditions.
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Free Quiz: Find Your Ideal Gear Setup in 1 Minute or Less 📷
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
Compact cameras are a perfect gadget to capture memorable moments while on a holiday to an exotic place or any other special occasion. You can not only capture images and videos but also share them with your friends and family. Knowing the different features in your camera is of great help and ensures that you click great images whenever you wish.
If you’re looking for a high-quality compact camera, take a look at those listed in this guide and see if any of them are right for you.
Consider all of the features you prioritise, from the image sensor to the AutoFocus and anything else that might help you snap epic shots.