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Smartphone cameras are getting better every day, but they’re still not good enough to replace most mid-range point-and-shoot cameras. In most cases, these compact cameras still win out where it matters: sensor size, and lens optics.

Megapixels don’t matter that much: it’s among the things you should know before buying a digital camera 8 Tips You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Digital Camera 8 Tips You Should Know Before Buying Your Next Digital Camera Regardless of what you have been told, there is no such thing as a "do-it-all" camera. If there was a "do-it-all" camera, competition in the industry would suffer, seedy patents would be made, one company... Read More . And one camera is never going to meet all of your requirements. Some people may want the most stylish camera, others may want superior zoom, and some may be on a strict budget. Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Budget Buy: Canon Powershot SX280 ($188)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Budget-Buy-Canon-Powershot-SX280

It’s hard to believe that the Canon Powershot SX280 is available for less than $200 given all that it packs, but hey, you know what they say about gift horses. It has the works: GPS, Wi-Fi, manual modes, 60 fps video shooting and more. It’s also got a cool slow-motion video mode to shoot in VGA. There’s no touchscreen, but who’s complaining when you get a 20x zoom lens in a compact form factor? If you don’t want to spend more than $200, this is your best bet.

  • Sensor: 12 megapixel, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 20x optical, 25mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO: up to 6400
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: No
  • HDR: No
  • GPS: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 60 fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 461k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 210 shots per charge

Stylish: Fujifilm XF1 ($199.99)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Stylish-Fujifilm-XF1

If you had to take a photograph of the camera itself, you’d be hard pressed to find a better model than the Fujifilm XF1. Fujifilm went to work on this with lightweight aluminium for the thin and sleek body, and wrapped it with synthetic leather in three distinct colours, giving it a va-va-voom retro look. It’s got enough oomph inside too, excelling in low-light photography thanks to its larger-than-normal sensor and large aperture. And while it only has 4x optical zoom, the enthusiasts among you will be happy to know that it’s manually controlled. Oh yeah, it also shoots in RAW.

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  • Sensor: 12 megapixel, 2/3″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 4x optical, 25mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/3.5
  • ISO: up to 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: Yes
  • HDR: No
  • GPS: No
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 30 fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 461k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 300 shots per charge

Superzoom: Panasonic Lumix FZ70 ($279)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Superzoom-Panasonic-Lumiz-FZ70

Superzoom cameras are mostly used when you’re out of the house, so battery life is crucial. And when you are taking these far-away scenes, the ability to shoot in RAW helps. Because of these two factors, the Panasonic Lumix FZ70 outpaces two great and popular superzoom choices: the Canon Powershot SX50 and the Nikon Coolpix P520. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the FZ70 is a good $50 less expensive than either of those! It falters on movie recording, but it’s got 60x optical zoom, RAW shooting, wider aperture, 1 cm macro mode, better wide-angle lens, and fantastic battery life.

Note: The newly-released Nikon Coolpix P600 is worth watching out for, but it hasn’t been reviewed yet.

  • Sensor: 16 megapixel, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 60x optical, 20mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • ISO: up to 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: Yes
  • HDR: Yes
  • GPS: No
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 30 fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 461k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 400 shots per charge

Rugged: Panasonic Lumix TS5 ($279)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Rugged-Panasonic-Lumix-TS5

Things haven’t changed since we rounded up the 5 best cameras that can take a beating The 5 Best Rugged Cameras That Can Take A Beating The 5 Best Rugged Cameras That Can Take A Beating When you want to capture life around you, you don't want to be thinking about whether it's raining, what will happen if you lose your grip on the camera or any such disasters. Read More . The Panasonic Lumix TS5 is still the best rugged camera around with its “5-Proof Protection”: waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and pressure resistance. Of all the point-and-shoot rugged cameras, reviewers reckon this one has the best image quality, especially in colour reproduction. It’s also got good auto-focus and an intelligent automatic mode, plus the best video shooting in rugged shooters.

  • Sensor: 16 megapixel, 1/2.5″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 4.6x optical, 28mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/3.3
  • ISO: up to 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: Yes
  • HDR: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 60 fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 461k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 370 shots per charge

Best Optics: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II ($698)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Optics-Sony-DSC-RX-100-ii

It’s safe to say that the Sony RX100 II is the best point-and-shoot camera ever made. Its hardware is actually comparable to entry-level DSLRs, except the form factor is that of a point-and-shoot. The best sensor in a compact camera, adequate zoom and great aperture, all the features you’d ever need, a brilliant screen and long battery life. This is almost a DSLR in your pocket. And it’ll burn a hole through it when you buy it.

Note: Watch out for the recently announced Canon G1X Mark, which looks better on paper than the Sony DSC-RX100 II. It hits retail shelves in May.

  • Sensor: 16 megapixel, 1/2.5″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 4.6x optical, 28mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/3.3
  • ISO: up to 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: Yes
  • HDR: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 60 fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 461k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 370 shots per charge

Feature Packed and Overall Favourite: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V ($302.99)

Best-Point-and-Shoot-Cameras-Feature-Packed-Sony-Cyber-shot-HX50v

The only thing that the Sony Cyber-shot HX50V falls short in is that it doesn’t have a touchscreen—and many of us prefer it that way, to be honest. Apart from that, this camera is packed to the rim with anything you might want, whether it’s a superzoom lens, low-light photography, fantastic battery life, GPS or Wi-Fi or HDR, and even 3D shots—all without breaking the bank. The HX50vV is what you want when you need performance for the right price.

  • Sensor: 20 megapixel, 1/2.3″ CMOS
  • Zoom: 30x optical, 24mm wideangle
  • Aperture: f/1.8
  • ISO: up to 3200
  • Image Stabilization: Lens-shift
  • Panorama: Yes
  • HDR: Yes
  • GPS: Yes
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Video: 1080p FullHD at 60fps
  • Screen: 3-inch, 921k dots, no touchscreen
  • Battery: 400 shots per charge

Compare Before You Buy

If you still want to look for more options before making your purchase, then I’d suggest heading to Snapsort to compare several cameras SnapSort: Compare Digital Cameras Side by Side SnapSort: Compare Digital Cameras Side by Side Read More , including the ones listed here. Once you’ve made your decision, drop a line in the comments with what you picked.

Image Credit: XanderLeaDaren

  1. Predator-X
    January 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    i dont believe that sony does 1080 60fps

  2. Mike
    March 31, 2014 at 8:17 am

    SX280 has a battery problem which Canon is not going to fix for you... http://forums.usa.canon.com/t5/PowerShot/bd-p/powershot Based upon the replies I would not suggest this camera.

  3. DaveAfrica
    March 24, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    I believe the Panasonic FZ70 is the only camera in the bunch that comes with an electronic viewfinder. That feature is pretty much essential to get good results when framing photos in the sun and when using any wide range zoom lens.

  4. Alek Davis
    March 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Can any of the listed cameras handle shallow depth of field?

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