Best Compact Point-and-Shoot Cameras: Top 10 Compacts 2013
Here Are Some of the Best Point and Shoot Cameras
Not every occasion demands a professional-quality lens, and in those circumstances a compact point-and-shoot can make life a whole lot simpler - especially when they sport advanced features such as manual controls, electronic viewfinders, and Raw image recording.
Small enough to slide into your pocket, loaded with fun firmware, and quite suitable for capturing memorable images of picnics, parties and petting zoos, these best-in-class cameras more than suffice for quick, casual duty.
A slender silver (or black) beauty, Canon's premium point-and-shoot screams elegance and simplicity. It features a wide range of smart auto scenes and creative filters to placate novice photographers while catering to enthusiasts with a broad range of manual controls, Raw image recording and multiple image stabilization settings.
Its 12.1-megapixel image sensor captures full-HD movies, and images are location-tagged via built-in GPS. All this, and it slides into a pocket as easily as a smartphone.
Canon S100 on Amazon
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Deciding to buy a point-and-shoot camera is the simple part, but with hundreds of models with varying price points and feature sets to choose from, selecting the best one is no easy feat.
There are a daunting number of point-and-shoot cameras to choose from. To help narrow down the options, start by deciding what type of camera you want: a basic point-and-shoot, a mega zoom or pocket mega-zoom, a rugged camera, or a camera with advanced controls.
Fujifilm Finepix F550EXR
Available in black or red, this premium compact has a wide-angle (24 to 360 mm) 15x optical zoom lens, a 16-megapixel EXR-CMOS sensor, and can capture up to 11 frames per second in high-speed shooting mode. Built-in GPS capabilities means the camera will automatically tag each shot with the nearest of more than half a million points of interest, making it easy for on-the-go photographers to search out images based on location.
Bonus: Pet-detection mode makes snapping shots of dogs and cats a piece of cake.
Fujifilm Finepix F550EXR on Amazon
Nikon COOLPIX P7100
The Coolpix P7100 matches its 10.1-megapixel CCD sensor with a "five-way VR image stabilization system" that works to reduce blur by automatically shifting lens elements, altering shutter speed and sensitivity, and taking multiple shots. Its 7.1x wide-angle optical zoom Nikkor ED lens offers decent reaching-out power without adding much girth to the frame, and its built-in optical viewfinder should appeal to composition perfectionists.
The P7100, a mild update of the P7000 is slightly larger and slightly heavier. The notable difference is that the new model has HDMI output.
Nikon COOLPIX P7100 on Amazon
Olympus' cream-of-the-crop manual-control compact has a 4x optical zoom iZUIKO lens and a 10-megapixel CCD sensor that's paired with a TruePic V processor for strong low-light performance. Its accessory port can accommodate a wide range of add-ons, from an electronic viewfinder to a mic, which should come in handy should you need improved sound while capturing 720p video in Motion JPEG format.
Several handy in-camera art filters, meanwhile, take the "post" out of post-production.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5
Panasonic's top-of-the-line compact sports a classic, minimal body likely to appeal to enthusiasts. Some other features they're likely to appreciate: a 10,1-megapixel CCD image sensor, a 24-mm wide-angle Leica lens with 3.8x optical zoom and optional optical image stabilization, and full manual control.
It can also capture 720p video at 30 frames per second in a legitimate video codec, AVCHD Lite, it's the kind of compact that alleviates the stress often associated with leaving your DSLR at home.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 on Amazon
Samsung's latest dual-display camera features a 3-inch screen on the back and a smaller 1.8-inch display on the front to help subjects compose themselves. Gimmickry aside, the ST700 sports a 26-mm wide-angle Schneider-Kreuznach lens with 5x zoom and a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor capable of recording 720p video at 30 frames per second.
Touch controls should prove intuitive for casual photographers, who will also appreciate Samsung's facial recognition feature for frequently captured subjects, which makes it easy to find photos featuring specific subjects.
Samsung ST700 (Amazon)
Samsung ST700 Featured with Smart Touch 3.0
The second in Fujifilm's X line, the X10 carries the X100's retro styling to a more affordable price level. It has a 4x zoom lens with manual override and an optical viewfinder as well as a 2.8-inch LCD screen (but no EVF overlay like the X100).
The X10's 2/3-inch sensor is big for compact camera standards with a resolution of 12 megapixels, but smaller than the APS sensor used in the X100.
Fujifilm X10 (Amazon)
Nikon COOLPIX S100
This shooter's slimness - it weighs 138 grams and is just 1.8 centimeters thick - belies its versatility. It has a 16-megapixel sensor with a 5x optical zoom and it will shoot up to 1080p HO video at 30 fps.
There are very few buttons on the camera: settings are accessed through the touch-screen interface of the 3.5-inch OLED display.
Easy Panorama and a host of innovative scene modes
Just press the shutter and pan the camera - the S100 will take care of the rest. It automatically stitches together each frame to produce a high-resolution panoramic photo.
Nikon COOLPIX S100 (Amazon)
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V
Among Sony's more expensive point-and-shoot cameras, the DSC-HX7V is loaded with fun features, including stereoscopic and panorama modes plus smile and anti-blink functions to help ensure subjects are captured at their best. A 10x optical zoom lens helps pull distant subjects in close, while the Exmor R CMOS sensor captures 16.2-megapixel stills and 1080p video - both of which look lovely displayed on the camera's spacious, 3-inch LCD, which delivers exceptional resolution via nearly a million dots of light.
This model is quite similar to the older HX9V ($399). The main difference is that the HX9V has a 16x zoom lens.
Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-HX7V on Amazon
This oddball is a little on the outrageous side - if for no other reason than its stratospheric price - but it's guaranteed to turn heads. An obstinately retro, mechanical-looking black and silver body - complete with a hybrid offset optical / electronic viewfinder - is stunning, but stretches the definition of compact. However, the extra girth might be worth it, given the quality of images captured by its 23-mm Fujinon F2 lens and 12-megapixel APS-CMOS sensor.
If nothing else, it's a fun showpiece for deep-pocketed picture poppers.