Best point and shoot cameras 2019: simple cameras to suit your budget

Our roundup of the best simple – and affordable – point and shoot cameras currently on the market

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Despite the fact that the smartphone has put a huge dent in the point-and-shoot category of the camera arena, there’s still something to be said for having a dedicated camera to hand.

For a start, even in today’s advanced smartphone world, optical zooming is still relatively restricted. Not to mention the fact that the best smartphones can set you back several hundreds of pounds – if you don’t have that kind of budget but still want to get snapping, a well-featured but simple-to-operate point and shoot camera could be just the thing you need.

If you want to pack something for holidays and nights out that you don’t worry about too much, a point-and-shoot camera is also good for that reason, too. As such, we’ve rounded up the best of those still available on the market, most of which are available at a tasty low price.

How to buy the best point and shoot camera

The average user for this kind of camera is not going to be an expert in photography, but just wants the opportunity to take nice pictures relatively simply. 

Therefore, we’ve looked for cameras that don’t require any specialist knowledge, they just allow you to quite literally point and shoot to get the shot you want. 

Zoom is a big thing which dedicated cameras still have over smartphones, and we’ve got some here that offer up to 40x optical zoom – such as the Canon SX730. The Panasonic Lumix TZ80 runs just slightly shorter at 30x, but can be picked up for less than £220 . We’ve also included one, the Panasonic Lumix LX15 which has a larger than average sensor, showing that you can get higher image quality at this end of the market, too. 

If you’re after something which offers an all-round good shooting experience, the Sony WX350 is a smart and stylish small point and shoot which you can chuck into a bag or pocket and forget about it. You get something similar from the Canon IXUS 185 and the Sony WX500.

If you like to be a little rougher with your electronics, take a look at the Fujifilm Finepix XP130 which is waterproof and is perfect for beach holidays.

Finally if you want the look of something a little more advanced, without the steep learning curve, the Panasonic Lumix FZ82 is a good simple bridge option.

1. Canon SX730

A great point and shoot for your next holiday or family day out

Specifications
Sensor: 20.3 1/2.3-inch CMOS
Zoom: 40x (24-960mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 250
Video: 1080p
Weight: 300g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Long zoom+Tilting screen+Bluetooth connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K video-Screen not touch-sensitive

If you’re looking for a simple camera but don’t want to skimp on zoom capability, then the SX730 makes a lot of sense. Offering a 40x optical zoom, it’ll get you nice and close to distant subjects, while a host of automatic and scene modes will do all the hard work for you. It’s got Bluetooth connectivity to maintain an ‘always on’ connection with your phone for quick and easy social media sharing, while the tilting screen is ideally placed for selfies and family portraits.  

2. Panasonic TZ80

A slightly older travel zoom available at a great price

Specifications
Sensor: 18.1MP 1/2.3-inch MOS
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 320
Video: 4K
Weight: 282g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-FI
Reasons to buy
+4K video+30x optical zoom+Viewfinder 
Reasons to avoid
-Fixed screen-Not great in low light

You can pick up the TZ70 for under £220, making it a great last-minute travel buy for your next trip or holiday. It gives you a 30x optical zoom and comes with a range of automatic and scene modes that makes taking pictures super easy. It’s also got Panasonic’s innovative “4K Photo” modes which allow you to extract action shots from short video clips in-camera. It’s got a small – but useful – viewfinder which comes in handy when shooting in bright sunlight and you can share your shots via the inbuilt Wi-Fi.

3. Canon IXUS 185

A super cheap compact for nights out and day trips

Specifications
Sensor: 20MP 1/2.3-inch CCD
Zoom: 8x (28-224mm)
Battery Life: 210
Video: 720p
Weight: 126g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Super cheap+8x zoom+Easy-to-use
Reasons to avoid
-Image quality not amazing-Low-resolution video

If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful point and shoot camera that comes in at under £90, then the IXUS 185 is a good option. It features an 8x optical zoom lens which should give you enough flexibility for most situations, while it’s easy-to-use operation means it’s good to go right out of the box. You shouldn’t expect the finest image quality in the world from this model, but it’s a great option for sticking in your bag and not worrying about it in situations where you might be concerned about more expensive models. At under 130g, you might not even notice it’s in there, too. On the downside, there’s no connectivity here so you’ll have to wait until you get home to share your images.

4. Fujifilm Finepix XP130

Waterproof and shockproof for all your family can throw at it

Specifications
Sensor: 16.4MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS
Zoom: 5x (28-140mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 240
Video: 1080p
Weight: 207.5g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Bluetooth
Reasons to buy
+Tough construction+Easy-to-use
Reasons to avoid
-Low image quality-Low zoom-No 4K video

This budget tough cameras is a great option for beach holidays and general family usage. With its simple controls and hard to crack construction, it’s the perfect model for slinging in your bag before a day at the pool, or for snorkeling and the like. It’s unlikely to set the world alight when it comes to image quality, but it’s there for situations that your smartphone (or other point and shoot cameras) just can’t cope with – such as deep underwater. You might also want to give it to young children to allow them to capture some memories without worrying about breakages, too.

5. Sony WX350

A simple point and shoot offering 20x optical zoom

Specifications
Sensor: 18.2 1/2.3-inch CMOS
Zoom: 20x (25-500mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 470
Video: 1080p
Weight: 164g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi & NFC
Reasons to buy
+Decent battery life+Cheap+20x optical zoom
Reasons to avoid
-Full HD video only

This older model remains a best-seller because it offers a lot of value for money. At under £150, it doesn’t represent too much of a dent in your finances, but gets you 20x closer to your subjects. Well-suited to travel and day trips, it’s got a range of fun features such as a panoramic mode, 14 scene modes and a range of digital filters to spruce up your shots. Most smartphones might outshine cameras like the WX350 at the wide-angle end of the lens, but even the most advanced smartphones can’t offer such an extensive zoom, making it a great value flexible option.

6. Panasonic Lumix LX15

A one-inch sensor point and shoot camera for those with a little more to spend

Specifications
Sensor: 20.1 MP 1-inch CMOS
Zoom: 3x (26-78mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 260
Video: 4K
Weight: 310g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Reasons to buy
+Large sensor+4K Video+High image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Limited zoom range-Relatively expensive 

Although you might find the Lumix LX15 on some “premium” compact camera lists, it makes it here because although it offers some advanced functions, it’s also got a number of easy-to-use automatic, scene and creative modes that anyone can get involved with. It’s a nice option for those looking for something pocket friendly without skimping too much on image quality, thanks to its larger than average one-inch sensor. The zoom is a little more limited, but it’s still flexible enough for most ordinary situations – while the tilting screen is great for selfies and the like. It’s also got 4K Video and 4K Photo which make it great for any budding videographer looking to get something small and light.

7. Sony WX500

A teeny tiny point and shoot camera packing a 30x optical zoom

Specifications
Sensor: 18.2MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS
Zoom: 30x (24-720mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 400
Video: 1080p
Weight: 236g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi & NFC
Reasons to buy
+Super small size+30x optical zoom+Great battery life
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K video-No touchscreen

If zoom is your thing, but a lot of real estate isn’t, then Sony’s WX500 is a fantastic option. It somehow manages to cram in a 30x optical zoom into something that’ll squeeze into even the skinniest of skinny jeans. Furthermore, it’s also got a very generous battery life and a range of shooting modes which make it ideal for first-time buyers looking for a small and sweet travel camera. If you’ve got particularly large hands you may find the cramped size a problem, but otherwise, it’s a feat of engineering not to be ignored.

8. Panasonic Lumix FZ82

A bridge camera with 60x optical zoom but beginner friendly controls

Specifications
Sensor: 18.1MP 1/2.3-inch MOS
Zoom: 60x (20-1200mm equivalent)
Battery Life: 330
Video: 4K
Weight: 616g (inc. battery and memory card)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi
Reasons to buy
+60x optical zoom+4K Video+Automatic modes
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky-Viewfinder small 

If you’re looking for something to take on your holidays without the fuss of learning how to use a myriad of different complicated settings, then the Lumix FZ82 is a good option. While it has manual controls available, it’s also got plenty of automatic, semi-automatic, scene and creative modes for those who just want to point and shoot. However, it’s also got a seriously long lens, coming in at a whopping 60x for plenty of flexibility when it comes to shooting those distant subjects. On top of that, there’s also 4K Video and 4K Photo, plus a small viewfinder for using when bright light puts the rear screen out of action.

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