The best compact cameras

Do you have the best compact digital camera? If you don't want a large camera, choose a top performer from our shortlist

The best compact cameras

by Kirk Schwarz |

Tired of relying on your smartphone for photos? Want something with a wider range of features without reducing portability? Sounds like you’re in the market for the best compact camera. Alongside innovative tech, you’ll also get all-in-one lenses, boasting huge optical zooms that cover a wide range of focal lengths, from wide-angle up to super-telephoto - ideal for capturing landscapes, portraits and even wildlife.

Related: The best cheap DSLR cameras with super high resolutions

Though the image sensor is often either the same size or slightly larger than camera phones, many compact digital cameras boast electronic viewfinders, tilting touchscreens and RAW file capture, allowing you more flexibility when editing your photos. You’ll be able to shoot in automatic modes, or even full manual in most cases, letting you take charge of your settings and get underway to creative photography techniques.

These best compact cameras come in a range of shapes and sizes, and some can even go underwater, making them great for travelling and adventures.

What is a compact camera?

A compact camera, also known as a point-and-shoot camera (P&S), is a camera specifically designed for easy use. Suitable for all experience levels, these devices usually have autofocus and automatic system to ease those technicalities (exposure, focus etc).

What is the benefit of a compact camera?

There are many benefits of compact cameras. Not only are they small and compact as suggest in its name, but they are also super easy to use, quiet, and very straightforward to use with their automatic functions. They too have fixed lenses with built-in flashes. The quality of these features determines the cost and affordability of the best compact cameras.

Are compact cameras as good as DSLR?

Compacts can be as good as DSLRs depending on the purpose of your camera. If you want a straightforward point-and-shoot device that allows you to concentrate on your subject and framing without having to worry about minor technicalities, a compact camera is the way to go. Despite its size, in most cases, a compact will come out with the same picture quality as one taken on a DSLR.

What type of photography can a compact camera be used for?

Compact cameras can be used for almost every type of photography. This could include taking landscapes, portraits, and even underwater photos in most cases. However, compact cameras are not ideal for photography types such as astrophotography and night photography which require bigger sensor sizes and features for low light settings.

What to read next:

The best cameras for beginners

The best digital cameras

The ultimate gear guide for beginner photographers

The best action cameras: digital and video

Kirk Schwarz is one of our resident tech experts. A tech-addicted photographer with more than a decade's experience, Kirk's used to putting new gear through extreme field-testing.

Subscribe to the What’s The Best Newsletter to keep up to date with more of the latest reviews and recommendations from Kirk and the rest of the What’s The Best team.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us