A Guide To Finding The Best Compact Cameras Currently Available

There are many different types of cameras that you will come across, and there are even more subtypes of these cameras. Going all the way from the barely visible Daguerreotype (the first publicly available form of imaging) to the most modern of cameras that are mounted on space probes.

Over the course of today's article, we are going to be taking a look at some of the best compact cameras that are on the market. We will be going over five different options, and we will split our cameras into three groups.

The first of these groups will concern the best compact camera under 500 dollars, while the second will search for the best compact camera under 300 dollars. As you may have guessed, there is a bit of a pattern developing, and it is completed with the third product category: best compact camera under 200 dollars.

You may be wondering why we have decided to write so many compact camera reviews when we could just provide a single winner in each of the categories. We believe that our readers should have as many selections as possible when reading our reviews, as different people will have differing preferences.

When it comes to photography, you will find that people tend to be particular about the cameras they like. This is as it should be; photographers are artists, and they have a right to be as picky about their cameras as painters do about their paints and brushes.

So we have decided to present five different options. We guarantee that each of these cameras represents each of the qualities that you would expect to find in the best compact camera for travel.

Another thing you may be wondering is why you shouldn't just opt for a full-size camera; they tend to feature better quality for a lower price, after all. Well, there are a few reasons why the compact digital camera is an excellent choice for many photographers.

While there are many reasons why you would wish to opt for a smaller camera, the primary motivation is often for convenience in transportation. If you find yourself moving around a lot, you will see that a compact camera is the best option as it is less likely to get damaged in motion.

Related Reviews: Best Motorcycle Batteries

Best Compact Camera Reviews 2019: Top 5+ Recommended

Best Compact Camera Under $500

Here are our top recommendations for the best compact camera under $500:

1. Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera

This is by far our favorite camera on this list. Sony is well-known for their production of quality electronics, but even we were surprised by this camera. While it may be a little bit on the pricey side of things, you will find that this compact camera is unmatched, even by many models on this list.

  • Features an APS-C CMOS sensor that can shoot up to 24.3 megapixels
  • Focus sensitivity ranges from EV 0 all the way up to EV 20
  • Features hybrid auto-focus with 25 different contrast detection points
  • Can shoot continuously at 11 frames per second
  • The tilting LCD is 3 inches in size and features over 900 000 dots
  • The electronic viewfinder provides full coverage
  • Features an excellent ISO range of 100 - 25600 for shooting in the dark

This is by far our favorite camera on this list. Sony is well-known for their production of quality electronics, but even we were surprised by this camera. While it may be a little bit on the pricey side of things, you will find that this compact camera is unmatched, even by many models on this list.

Sale
Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Black) w/16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
  • 24 MP APS C CMOS sensor and Focus Sensitivity Range: EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F2.8 lens attached)
  • ISO 100 25600 (expandable to 51200). Lens compatibility: Sony E mount lenses
  • Hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • Up to 11 FPS continuous shooting. Battery Life (Still Images): Up to 360 shots.Metering Type:1200-zone evaluative metering
  • 3 inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots.Viewfinder Type: 0.39 in type electronic viewfinder (color)

The first thing you will notice about this camera when you take it out of the box is that it is small. If you have larger hands, you may have difficulty holding this camera comfortably, so check the dimensions against the size of your hands before you decide to make a hasty purchase.

This camera makes use of a 24.3 mp image sensor that is similar to the ones that you will find on some of Sony’s full-size DSLRs. While this camera will not be able to rival top-range cameras, it is ideal for daily use, especially if you are an admirer of high-quality photography.

Of course, if you would instead put this camera through its paces, you can also do that. This model features an ISO range of 100 to just over 25000, meaning that you can shoot in low light conditions without having to worry about blurriness or your photos looking washed out.

This camera also features advanced auto-focus that won't give you the issues typical of the system on other relatively affordable DSLRs. While the auto-focus can't match the sophisticated systems present on some of the top digital cameras, it is capable enough for daily use and even more rigorous shooting.


2. Canon PowerShot SX710 HS

If you prefer a quality compact camera that is still more effective than the vast majority of models yet is a little more affordable than the Sony a6000, then you will want this model from Canon.

  • Optical zoom goes up to 30X for long-range shooting
  • Features a CMOS sensor with high sensitivity that can shoot 20.3 mp
  • Features wifi connectivity for more straightforward image transfer
  • Capable of recording in 1080p with a choice of 60, 30, or 24 frames per second
  • Features a 3-inch screen for display of images
  • Intelligent IS system automatically stabilizes your shots and removes blur
  • Features an excellent ISO range of 100 - 25600 for shooting in the dark

As you may already know, Canon and Nikon are the two big Japanese optical companies, and they have been in fierce competition for years.

Many features help elevate this camera above the status of a simple point-and-shoot, which is thankful, as the exterior is somewhat dull. While the Sony model featured a bit of a retro aesthetic, this model looks like an early-2000s digital camera, which ends up being its most noticeable downside.

Sale
Canon PowerShot SX710 HS - Wi-Fi Enabled (Black)
  • 30x Optical Zoom (25–750mm)
  • 20.3 Megapixel High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor combined with the DIGIC 6 Image Processor
  • Built-in Wi-Fi allows wireless transferring of images and video to compatible mobile devices
  • Capture stunning 1080p Full HD video (60p/30p/24p options) with a dedicated movie button
  • Large 3.0-inch LCD with a screen resolution of 922,000 dots allows easy viewing even from a wide angle

While this camera may be more affordable than the winner in this category, you will find that it still comes equipped with a wide range of features that make it very user-friendly. For example, you can omit the tripod when you use this camera because it features Intelligent IS auto-stabilization.

Another surprising feature of this camera is that it features a zoom that goes up to 30X. If you like taking pictures of birds or airplanes, then this camera may be a decent choice for a day-to-day shooter. This camera is capable of so much more than high-quality photography, however.

For example, this camera can connect to other devices using wifi or even NFC to transfer images and videos. If you want to start editing a photo that you took with this camera, you don't even have to take the microSD card out of it.

Aside from its connectivity, this camera also features remote shooting capabilities if you have the Camera Connect app installed on your smartphone or tablet. As you can see, this camera sacrifices a few capabilities when it comes to the imaging process itself, but makes up for it with compatibility and user-friendliness.

If you are looking for a compact camera that is relatively affordable yet remains advanced, you have found the right one in this model from Canon.


Best Compact Camera Under $300

Here are our top recommendations for the best compact camera under $300:

1. Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Camera

Our next competitor for the title of the best budget compact camera is the ZS50 from Panasonic, another one of the world's better-known camera companies. While Panasonic doesn't have quite the pedigree of Canon or Nikon, you will find that they produce quality mid-range products.

  • Features zoom that goes up to 30X for long-range capabilities
  • Features a MOS sensor that is sensitive to low-light conditions for improved versatility
  • Uses a 24mm Leica Vario-Elmar DC lens
  • Live viewfinder is ideal for use in harsh glare conditions
  • Features a control ring around the lens
  • Records up to 100 fps in HD and up to 200 fps in SD
  • Can shoot bursts up to 10 fps

This camera is an excellent choice for customers who want to take quality images on a budget. While this model usually retails for around 450 dollars, it can be found on Amazon at a discounted price of only $229.00. Aside from the excellent value for money, there is quite a bit to like about this product.

The MOS sensor means that this camera is suited for use in low light conditions. If you are looking for a camera that can take photos during the day or the night, then this is the one for you. This is a capability that is rarely present on compact cameras in this price range as it is usually too costly.

Sale
Panasonic Lumix ZS50 Camera, Black
  • LUMIX 30X Travel Zoom Camera with Eye Viewfinder
  • Enhanced low-light sensitivity for improved sharpness even without a flash
  • Built-in eye viewfinder eliminates outdoor glare on sunny days
  • Intelligent Zoom 60x
  • Lens:12 elements in 9 groups

Even more impressive is the ability to record in slow motion at two different speeds. If you want to record HD slow-motion footage, you will have to opt for 100 frames per second. If you don’t mind sacrificing quality, you can opt for slow-mo that is twice as fast, at 200 frames per second, in VGA format.

This model can zoom up to 30X, which makes it suited for use at longer ranges than most other cameras that you would compare this product to. While viewfinders have primarily become a thing of the past thanks to large LCD screens, the one featured on this model is ideal for use in harsh lighting conditions.

The inclusion of burst shooting at ten fps means that you will be able to catch most fast targets. Since this camera features Light Speed auto-focus, you will be able to catch subjects that are moving fast, like birds, cars, and more. This is an excellent camera for beginners and advanced users alike.


2. Canon PowerShot SX720 HS Digital Camera

Up next on our list of compact cameras reviews, we are going to be looking at Canon’s PowerShot SX720, which is an excellent option for customers who need something affordable. While this camera may not be overly expensive, you will find that it is still much more capable than many other options.

  • Features 40X optical zoom for precise, long-range shooting
  • Comes equipped with Intelligent IS for stable image shooting
  • Features wifi coupled with NFC capability for wireless image transfers
  • Features a CMOS 20.3 mp sensor combined with a DIGIC 6 image processor
  • Capable of shooting video at 1080p and 60 frames per second
  • 3-inch LCD screen makes it easy to see what you are shooting
  • Features Zoom Framing Assist functionality to keep your subject in focus

We understand if you are apprehensive about a compact DSLR under 300 dollars, but this camera can do away with all of your concerns. Unlike many other budget compact cameras, this model comes with a set of features that put it a cut above most of the other models in this price range.

For instance, this camera has Intelligent IS capabilities, which make it ideal for use without a tripod or a bipod. If you are a little on the shaky side when it comes to taking photos, this will be the best camera for your needs. There are many other features, some of which are not explicitly related to taking pictures.

Canon PowerShot SX720 HS (Black)
  • Powerful 40x Optical Zoom with Intelligent IS helps optimize image stabilization for virtually shake free images
  • Built in WiFi and NFC allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos
  • 20.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor with DIGIC 6 Image Processor helps deliver stunning image quality even in low light
  • Capture spectacular 1080p Full HD video at 60p with stereo sound
  • Large 3.0 inch LCD (approx. 922,000 dots) allows easy viewing even from a wide angle

For example, once you have finished shooting and you want to get your images on a different device, you don't even have to slot out the memory chip. Instead of doing so, you can just turn on NFC or wifi, and the camera will be able to connect to the nearest device with similar capabilities.

This camera can also compile story highlights. With this feature, it will put videos and images together from a particular day and play a slideshow accompanied by music and effects. While this feature is nothing special compared to dedicated editing programs, it is still an appreciated inclusion.

If you need a model with impressive video capabilities, you will find that the PowerShot SX720 is an excellent option. You can take videos with this camera at full HD and 60 frames per second. All in all, this is an excellent camera for customers who are on a budget and don't want something overly complicated.


Best Compact Camera Under $200

Let's take a look on our top pick for the best compact camera under $200:

Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera

Last but not least, we have the most affordable compact camera model on this list, and it is another product made by Sony. This particular model is more of a point-and-shoot, but it is still capable and provides excellent value for money. You will find that this camera comes equipped with many extra features.

  • Available in a choice of two colors: black and silver
  • Features an automatic image stabilization system to eliminate blur and shakiness
  • Capable of recording video at 720p in mp4 format
  • Features 360-degree panorama image capability
  • Features a shutter speed of 1/30
  • Comes equipped with several picture effects and filters

First off, this camera features a 20.1 mp sensor, which is better than what you would expect on a product with such a low price point. Speaking of the price, you can typically find this camera for around $145.00, which makes it one of the best budget compact cameras around when you account for value per dollar.

This camera is not only capable of taking images, but it can also shoot video at 720p. The videos that are taken with this camera are compatible with both Final Cut Pro X and Apple iMovie as they are in the mp4 format. Aside from shooting video, this camera is also capable of 360 panorama images.

Sony DSCW830/B 20.1 MP Digital Camera with 2.7-Inch LCD (Black)
  • 20.1 Megapixel Plus 8x Zoom
  • Optical Steady Shot image Stabilization with 2-way Active Mode
  • 720p MP4 HD Movie Mode ; This product is compatible with Final Cut Pro X and iMovie.
  • Panorama Shooting: 360 Sweep Panorama; Minimum Illumination: Auto: 22.0 lux Shutter Speed 1/30
  • Picture Effect: Still images: Toy camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key, Panoramas: Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key, Movies: Toy camera, Pop Color, Partial Color, Soft High-key

Unlike many smaller, more affordable cameras, this model comes with built-in image stabilization, making it one of the best options for those of us with a shaky camera hand. Better yet, the images will come out looking crisp and clear thanks to the surprisingly capable 20.1 mp sensor.

While the 2.7-inch LCD screen is nothing special, it acts as both a viewfinder and an image browser, as you would expect on a small camera such as this one. Unfortunately, this model is not equipped with a viewfinder, so you will have to make do with the LCD screen even in harsh light conditions.

We believe that this is the best camera on this list for beginners as it doesn’t take too much of an investment and it offers excellent capabilities in return for your money. If you want to shoot video in full HD or you need a viewfinder, however, you may wish to opt for a different model.


Why You Should Choose Your Compact Camera Carefully

You may be wondering exactly why you should put so much effort into finding the best compact camera around, and there are a few reasons. First off, cameras are pricey, and you don’t want to end up wasting money on the wrong model.

The next reason for opting for the best camera possible is that digital cameras can last a long time, and you don’t want to be stuck with a subpar model for the next year or two. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or more advanced, photography is a serious pursuit that takes the right equipment.

On What To Pay Attention When Choosing Your Compact Camera

You can take the most beautiful photos ever, but if they are shot with a camera that is unclear, your achievement will be diminished through no fault of your own. It is for these reasons that you will want to be as careful as possible when choosing the right camera for your needs.

Photo Quality

Of course, the most crucial aspect of a camera is the quality of the photos it can take. This resolution is often expressed in megapixels. You will want your camera to feature better quality as the pictures will look clearer when taken with a camera that is capable of higher resolution photography.

Keep in mind that photos of higher quality will take up more storage room, however.

Lens

The lens is the medium through which all of your photos will be shot, so you will find that its quality matters more than almost any other component of the entire camera. Some cameras will be sold without lenses, so be careful if you a product seems suspiciously cheap, as you just end up with the body of a camera and no lens.

Mirrorless/DSLR

The difference between a mirrorless camera and a DSLR is that mirrorless models tend to be much more compact at the cost of fewer accessories and lenses. Most compact cameras that are mirrorless will be able to feature excellent quality, and they will be far more portable.

If you value versatility, you will very likely wish to opt for a DSLR instead of a mirrorless camera.

Video Quality

While this may come as a bit of a surprise, video quality is separate from image quality. Even though a camera is capable of shooting at a higher quality, it is not necessarily able to do so at a high enough shutter rate to take video.

In addition to the difficulties involved with making the shutter move fast enough, you will also find that megapixel-quality video would take up far too much storage room.

Speed

The shutter speed of a camera is how long it takes for the camera to snap a photo. A faster shutter speed means that you will be able to take images of moving objects without them getting the characteristic motion blur that you may have seen when trying to shoot at low shutter speeds.

Zoom

You will also want your camera to feature a sufficient level of zoom. There are two different types of zoom. First off, optical zoom zooms in and maintains the quality of your image with the help of a lens. On the other hand, digital zoom simply zooms into the image itself, losing resolution as you move closer.

Conclusion

We hope that we have been able to provide a proper list of some of the best compact cameras on the market today. As you can see, there is a wide selection, and it is still difficult to choose from the best of these products. Feel free to let us know your thoughts down in the comments section.

Resources:

WikiHow
BBC
ItStillWorks
HowStuffWorks

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: