Snap and go: The best point and shoot cameras of 2024

Ditch the iPhone and bulky DSLR – grab a pocket-sized slice of high-quality photography instead.

a woman in a city with some of the best point and shoot cameras

by Chris Duffill |
Updated on

Sometimes, the best camera isn't the one with the most features, manual controls, and interchangeable lenses – it's a point and shoot camera. Photography newcomers, casual snappers, and those escaping their iPhones can instead own one of these little wonders. Even seasoned pros need to keep things light and simple now and then.

But surely, an automatic camera that you just aim and click is sort of boring, isn't it? Not at all. Just because a camera does some of the work for you doesn't mean you can't get creative. And we're not just talking about framing and zooming in or out. The beauty of these handheld wonders is that you can go fully automatic in all kinds of lighting conditions and use them as regular compact cameras. But if you're intrigued by photography and want to explore concepts like ISO, shutter speed, and more, you absolutely can too.

The best point-and-shoot cameras let you tweak things or dive into the standard settings that photographers use on DSLR cameras. That said, as simple as they can be, these devices all have their differences – from zoom lenses to automatic features.

Best point-and-shoot cameras of 2024 at a glance

• Best overall: FUJIFILM X-S20 – View at Argos
• Best Sony: Sony RX100 VII – View at Amazon
• Best budget: Canon IXUS 285 HS – View at Amazon
• Best Canon: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III – View at Wex

So, which one is best for you? We've compiled a guide, FAQs and jargon explainer at the end of the article to help you choose. Our experts have aimed their viewfinders at a range of easy-to-use cameras that can give more control to those who need it. We've also looked at budget camera options for beginners alongside high-end models; some can even give DSLRs a run for their money.

With lenses trained and fingers poised over the shutter release, let's snap to it and find the best point-and-shoot cameras of the year.

Best point and shoot cameras of 2024

Best overall

Argos / FUJIFILM
Price: £1,249.00

www.argos.co.uk

This FUJIFILM X-S20 is a top-notch mirrorless yet compact option with a 15-45 mm lens. While on the pricier side, there's a good reason – the 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor delivers cutting-edge images and 4K/60P video quality. It also has a 3.0-inch LCD touchscreen and an advanced Hybrid Viewfinder.

Additionally, its enhanced IBIS stabilisation, AF eye and face detection, and larger, better-positioned buttons make for a more comfortable experience capturing photos and videos.

Mode-wise, you can keep things simple and automatic. But there are numerous extended settings and, true to its brand, some inventive film simulation modes that faithfully recreate the tones, colours, and contrast of its famous analogue film stocks. These simulations provide an inexpensive way to experiment, removing the need to buy ever-pricier film stocks – a seriously stunning piece of kit from FUJIFILM.

Pros

  • Highest megapixel count in this list
  • Super-fast 425-point autofocus system
  • Weather-sealed body

Cons

  • No built-in image stabilisation, so buy a tripod

Best Sony

Amazon / Canon

Sony is no stranger to a solidly built and feature-packed camera kit, and the RX100 VII is a prime example. Here, you'll find a 1-inch sensor with a 20MP resolution and a 24-200mm zoom lens. You can simply aim this at something and trust the automatic modes, backed up by an incredibly responsive and accurate autofocus system.

The autofocus has 357 points of hybrid phase detection, with Real-Time tracking and Eye autofocus – all features typically found on Sony's flagship full-frame cameras. There's a hidden pop-up viewfinder, and the large touchscreen tilts upwards to 180 degrees to become a front-facing selfie screen. If you like to take the odd video, you're spoiled here too. The RX1000 VII captures 4K footage at 30fps, and 1080p Full HD at 120fps.

A bonus for anyone using this for more serious photography (and yes, the manual modes and features will let you do that) is that it supports RAW files. RAW files are unprocessed by the camera's internal circuitry, which makes for more options when editing the images later. As a true hybrid of simple, no-fuss point-and-shoot and an advanced compact DSLR rival, this takes some beating.

Pros

  • Hugely capable zoom lens
  • Advanced autofocus system with eye-tracking
  • Cutting-edge performance on automatic settings

Cons

  • No built-in flash (use external via hot shoe)

Best budget

Amazon / Canon

The Canon IXUS 285 Digital Camera is the best budget-friendly alternative for camera enthusiasts. It's fully automatic, so beginners to photography will love its simplicity. There's a practical 12x zoom lens here, and also the addition of a useful macro mode. Anyone who likes to get up close with anything from bugs to flora and fauna will be able to see every detail.

As with many of the more compact cameras on the market, the low-light performance isn't always top-notch due to the limitations of the lenses and sensors. That said, as a budget option, this IXUS 285 performs admirably in most low-light situations. Features that sometimes don't make it into budget cameras, Wi-Fi and NFC for convenient file sharing, are here. So, if you want to take 20.2-megapixel shots when you're out and about, this is your go-to budget choice.

Pros

  • Great 12x zoom lens for such a slim camera
  • Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for easy sharing on the go
  • Good macro feature

Cons

  • Not as good as others for low light

Best Canon

Wex / Canon

If there's one company that people associate with quality cameras it's Canon. The Powershot G7 X Mark III really is a solid piece of kit, with a large tiltable touchscreen to make framing things a breeze. The autofocus also has your back, so when you're shooting your 20.1-megapixel snaps, the camera should have no trouble keeping up with the action. And the same goes for overcoming camera shake. Its incredible 5-axis internal stabilisation system will keep things smooth and level. One automatic feature that really shines on the G7 is the 58-scene Smart Auto mode that will work out what you're going for and help things turn out the way you want them to.

Of course, if you are delving into the nitty gritty of photography, there are enough manual controls here to help you learn. There's RAW support again, for anyone who likes to control and polish the image after the event. All in all, this is a typically robust Canon product with a lot of flexibility and ease of use.

Pros

  • Typically excellent Canon image quality
  • Responsive autofocus
  • Large tiltable touchscreen

Cons

  • No viewfinder (but not many casual snappers need one)

Best with 4K video

Sony Alpha ZV-E10L APS-C Mirrorless interchangable-lens vlog camera with 16-50mm lensAmazon / Sony

The Sony ZV-E10 is a nifty little point-and-shoot that is as competent at capturing stills as it is video. It can shoot videos in 4K/30fps and has a good selection of audio ports for mics and headphones.

Designed for vlogging, it also includes Real-Time Tracking, Real-Time Eye Auto Focus, and support for direct-to-PC live streaming, making it a user-friendly option for easily snapping fast-moving subjects.

It has an in-built directional microphone with an additional windshield to best capture clear audio. Likewise, the hot shoe mount allows for external microphone attachment, a must for content creators.

The ZV-E10 is an excellent, user-friendly all-rounder that provides you with great flexibility over your footage and photography. It's a great choice if you want to capture impressive videos and stream live without compromising quality.

Pros

  • Excellent 4K/30fps with AF tracking
  • Compact and lightweight body for easy handling
  • Impressive in-built microphone with added windshield

Cons

  • Lacks built-in image stabilisation

Best for outdoors

Jessops / Ricoh

Offering exceptional value for its features, the RICOH WG-6 is perfect for capturing memories in locations that would otherwise be unsuitable for a typical electronic device. If you're concerned about your smartphone's durability in harsh weather, the WG-6 is the camera for you.

Its rugged construction can withstand the harshest conditions. It's waterproof up to 20 metres for two hours, shockproof from falls up to 2.1 metres, dustproof, and can handle temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees. So, whether diving, hiking, or skiing, the WG-6 is ready to go with you anywhere you take it.

It comes with a built-in GPS module and electronic compass, making it perfect for documenting the exact locations of your photos while travelling, particularly while on trails. Its 5x optical zoom (28-140mm) and minimum focusing distance of just one centimetre make it an incredibly versatile camera for capturing everything from vast landscapes to extreme close-up shots.

Pros

  • Exceptional durability
  • Impressive high-quality image and video capabilities
  • Built-in GPS and electronic compass

Cons

  • Suffers in low-to-no light conditions

Best underwater

Amazon / OM SYSTEM

Here's a camera that really looks the part – the OM System TG-7. But it doesn't just talk the talk – this sports more protection than the average small car. It's waterproof to 15 metres, shockproof for drops up to 2.1 metres, crushproof for up to 100 kilograms, and freezeproof to minus 10 degrees. It's certainly not the highest resolution camera here though at just 12MP, but what you lose in pixels you gain in its ability to survive almost anything.

The high-quality video allows you to shoot full HD in 4k at 30fps or 120fps for super-slow motion. Bundled with an equally impressive underwater case, you could take this diving down to 45 metres. A four-mode macro system also comes in handy for snapping small sea creatures and the like. This really does tick a lot of boxes when it comes to action cameras, too. Brilliant for the point-and-shoot adventurer.

Pros

  • Waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, freezeproof
  • Excellent macro functionality
  • Bundled with waterproof housing for depths up to 45m

Cons

  • Relatively low megapixel count compared to some

How to choose the best point and shoot camera for you

Keep things light and simple

If you're looking to buy the best point-and-shoot camera, it probably goes without saying that you're looking for something that just works. Larger expensive cameras are great, but aside from costing a lot more, they're heavy and cumbersome for casual day trips or evening out.

The benefit of a lightweight digital camera is that it's always at hand when needed and can often outshine the average smartphone camera. The features that make all the difference are the flexibility of the zoom lens, the ease of use and the quality of the shots – particularly in low light. So, although spending a few hundred pounds on the next model might be tempting because it has more advanced features, always stop to consider if you're likely to use them. Budding photographers might want that extra depth and manual control, but those who want the same convenience as an iPhone (but with more flexibility and better results) may not.

Consider where and when you'll use it

Focusing on the core features of a simple-to-use camera ensures that it'll always be up to the task. But you do need to know what that task actually is. What are you likely taking shots of, where, and when?

A woman taking a picture of a tree trunk on one of the best point and shoot cameras
©Unsplash / Sonnie Hiles

This may seem like asking you to look into a crystal ball, but we're really looking at generalities like day or night, outdoors or inside, and whether you're into landscapes or macro close-ups of flowers and so on. For instance, if you know you're going on holiday and love landscapes and city skylines, you should look at the lens measurement. Here's a quick look at the key things to consider:

Zoom lens measurements Normally measured in millimetres, the lowest number (e.g., 18mm) represents the broadest possible view the lens can give you. The lower that number goes, the wider the view. Conversely, the higher number (e.g., 55mm) represents the closest you can get to your subject at maximum zoom.

Macro lens function If you're really into photographing insects, flowers and other close-up subjects, you'll need to look for the best point-and-shoot camera with a macro lens function. This will let you get extremely close without losing focus.

Low light performance Returning to the questions of when and where you'll be using your new camera, not all can handle low-lighting conditions without adding a lot of noise and grain. This is all down to the sensor inside the camera and the light passing through the lens. If, for instance, you're into shooting at night – either skywatching or partying into the small hours – you'll want a camera that can minimise that grain and allow you to take photographs free from motion blur.

So, if you're taking a photo of someone in very low light, the camera will artificially boost the light it can detect. It may reduce the shutter speed or aperture to let as much light into the camera as possible. Depending on the camera's capabilities, this can result in slow shutter speeds – and if someone moves a little as the shot is being taken, it'll capture motion blur instead of the fun moment you intended. So, if low-light photography is your thing, pay attention to the relevant camera specs.

Connectivity on the go

The real fun of having the best point-and-shoot camera is its portability and stress-free snapping when you want it. And that means you'll likely want to share, print, or quickly transfer your shots while out and about. Many cameras have Bluetooth connectivity built-in or even Wi-Fi. This can allow you to connect with phones, photo printers, and more. If you want the convenience of sharing quality shots without resorting to a smartphone lens, you can.

Protect your investment

Small and handy they may be, but equally droppable too. Leave room in your budget for a sturdy carry case or camera bag.

A man holding a black LUMIX camera
©Unsplash / Iswanto Arif

FAQs

Can point-and-shoot cameras record video?

Yes. They're equally well-suited to taking quick and easy videos. One benefit of using a point-and-shoot camera here (aside from the quality) is that you can record without filling your smartphone's storage to the brim. Video files, particularly at 4K resolution, are enormous. So, if you have spare SD cards handy, you could shoot a whole movie if you wanted to. Of course, dedicated video cameras are always available for anyone who prefers motion pictures over stills.

Are point-and-shoot cameras better than an iPhone?

As mentioned above, you'll typically get much better lenses on the best point-and-shoot cameras because they have deeper mechanical zoom capabilities and larger glass. That means more light can reach the sensor, helping avoid the grain and artificial image gain often seen in smartphone photography.

Why are the FUJIFILM X100V and X100VI so hard to find?

Are you looking for an incredible point-and-shoot camera and wondering why the FUJIFILM X Series isn't on our "best" list? Let us clear that up for you. Trust us; we would include them if we could! The FUJIFILM X100V and VI are hot commodities right now. Thanks to social media buzz and global acclaim, their sleek design, film simulations, and versatility have won over amateur and professional photographers alike.

So, what's the catch? The demand for these cameras is not just high, it's off the charts. Despite FUJIFILM's best efforts, they can barely keep up. Production has doubled since the X100V's release back in 2020, but there are still rumours of a 500,000-unit backlog. It's a headache for customers, but it also shows how much these cameras are loved worldwide. The good news is that FUJIFILM plans to ramp up production.

What can you do in the meantime? Well, besides going for an earlier model or a different brand altogether, you have a couple of options:

Buy second-hand now: You can purchase a second-hand X100 series, but many buy these to resell at a higher price. Frustrating, we know. Some are being sold at even more astronomical prices, so be cautious and consider if the latest model is worth the unreasonable pricing.

Join the waiting list: Alternatively, you can join the waiting list like many others. FUJIFILM has a slow but steady stock flow. It's just a question of how long you are willing to wait.

A man holding one of the best point and shoot cameras, the FUJIFILM X100VI, in his hands
©Unsplash / Konrad Hoffman

Best point-and-shoot cameras of 2024: Jargon buster

Thankfully, there's not much jargon with this kind of camera. But it does come with its own set of modes and features that are worth knowing about.

Portrait mode

Portrait Mode is often an option with a point-and-click camera button. This mode automatically adjusts the camera's settings to limit the field of focus behind your subject. So, as the name suggests, if you're taking a portrait shot of someone, that shot will look a lot more professional if the background falls out of focus.

Sport mode

Sport mode is another mode that makes it onto these cameras, often accompanied by a running-man icon. This is just shorthand for a fast shutter speed, which means you can capture fast-moving objects without motion blur. Because the shutter opens and closes in a fraction of a second, you will need more light to get a correctly exposed photo. So, a school sports day outside or motorsports on a bright afternoon will be perfect for this mode.

Manual mode

As the name suggests, this can give you complete manual control over photographers' core features. While a full-size DSLR camera will have manual focus rings and dials for these adjustments, a small camera will likely have fewer. Some settings will need to be made via the menus on the screen, but it should still give you control over shutter speed, sensitivity to light ('ISO'), and aperture (F-stop).

Shutter speed

When taking a photo, shutter speed refers to the length of time the camera's shutter remains open. The longer the shutter is open, the more light enters the camera. If the shutter speed is too slow, anything moving will have motion blur.

Exposure

Exposure relates to how light or dark your photograph is. If your shutter speed is too slow and the light too bright, it'll wash out the shot. If the shutter speed is too fast and the light too dim, it'll be underexposed. The ISO setting (or sensitivity to light) will, of course, also affect the exposure. Thankfully, unless you want to learn about photography, the best point-and-shoot cameras will sort this out for you.

The verdict

We think the FUJIFILM X-S20 is the winner due to its exceptional build quality, sleek body, ease of use, and incredible additional features. It's perfect for beginners and casual photographers and a must-have for professionals looking for a break from manual shooting and the ability to be creative, thanks to the famous film simulations. If you're on a budget, the Canon IXUS 285 HS HS is an excellent choice for someone who needs to throw a camera into a pocket before travelling or partying. It delivers hassle-free point-and-shoot photos without breaking the bank. And if you prefer an old-school, hands-off approach to simple photography, instant cameras like a Polaroid are a great option.

Chris Duffill is a Senior Tech Writer and Reviewer for What's The Best. His background includes writing, editorial, marketing, design, video production and photography.

He specialises in home entertainment and audiovisual tech, including speakers, amplifiers, turntables, streaming media players, and TVs. He is also one of our resident experts in computing (PCs, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches), DSLR photography and all kinds of digital cameras. He also writes about retro gaming, game consoles and various electronic gadgets. If it plugs in, lights up or makes a noise, he’ll write about it.

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