Smartphone cameras can produce breathtaking photos, but they still can’t do everything. When you need a point and shoot camera for traveling, there are several choices depending on your budget and photography needs.
Point and shoot cameras are still a better option when you need flash, optical zoom, and image stabilization.
Even though smartphone camera technology like the iPhone X catches most of the headlines, a new pocket-sized mirrorless camera can be better than a DSLR camera from a few short years ago.
Depending on how much you’re willing to spend for a camera and what type of photos and videos you’ll be taking, we have several different recommendations for you.
Best Budget Camera
For a quality point and shoot camera, you should expect to spend between $300 and $400. When you just want a camera to buy for your child or a cheap investment in case it gets wet or broken, the Sony DSC-W800 is a good option.
Sony DSC-W800 Specs:
- 20.1 megapixels
- 5x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom
- 720p HD Video at 30 FPS
- Battery Life: 200 shots
- USB chargeable when connected to computer
Best Mid-Range Point and Shoot Camera
To get a “good” point and shoot camera, plan to spend around $300. The Canon PowerShot SX720 fits the bill.
Canon PowerShot SX720 Specs:
- 20.3 megapixels
- 40x optical zoom
- 1080p HD Video at 60p with stereo sound
- Battery Life: 250 shots (350 shots with ECO mode)
- Built-in Wi-FI and NFC technology
The SX720 has an impressive 40x optical zoom with image stabilization to help you get crystal clear shots. To ensure you get the whole picture, the camera also comes with a 3″ LCD screen with maximum visibility.
Although this camera doesn’t come with built-in GPS, you can link it to the Canon app on your smartphone to tag your photos based on your apps current location. The app also lets you take pictures hands-free.
If you plan on capturing video, the PowerShot SX720 films 1080p HD quality video with stereo sound which can also be saved in MP4 format. The video record button is also placed on the topside of the camera which makes it easier to start or finish a recording session when you are recording yourself.
While most cameras only have a 200 shot battery life, you can get up to 350 shots when you enable the ECO mode. If you’re out traveling all day and don’t have time to recharge, the extra 100 shots can make all the difference in the world.
Best Point and Shoot Camera for Vlogging
If you’re a YouTube vlogger, you will need a camera that can record video in addition to taking videos. You will want a camera that can record in either 1080p or 4K with image stabilization.
The Panasonic Lumix LX100 gives your 4K recording capabilities at a reasonable price.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 Specs:
- 12.8 megapixels recommended (maximum 16.8 megapixels)
- 6.2x Intelligent Zoom
- 4K Ultra HD video
- Battery Life: 300 shots
Besides the multiple aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, and 16:9) for still shots, you can also record up to 15 minutes of 4K video at once. If you decide to record in 4K video, be sure to use an SD card with UHS Class 3 rating. You can also pull still shots from your 4K videos when you are preparing to edit and upload your video and need a featured image.
You can always record in 1080p HD video as well if you need more memory card space.
When taking photos, it takes the LX100 approximately 0.2 seconds to focus–this isn’t the fastest rate but it’s still pretty quick for its price range.
To get the most out of this camera, you will need to be an experienced photographer. Novice photographers and vloggers can still get high-quality media but there is a small learning curve to learn all of the capabilities.
What makes the LX100 unique among compact cameras is that it still has a manual viewfinder. While you can certainly use the 3″ LCD screen, it’s not required if you need to focus on a special shot or want to conserve battery power.
The battery life for the LX100 is also impressive as you can get up to 350 shots without flash. Otherwise, you can expect to get between 270 and 300 shots depending on how much flash you use.
Best Waterproof Camera
Backpackers and divers will want to consider the Nikon Coolpix AW130 when they want a camera that’s shockproof, waterproof, and freezeproof. And, it’s priced in the mid-$300s.
Nikon AW130 Specs:
- 16.0 megapixels
- 5x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom
- 1080p HD Video at 30 FPS
- Battery Life: 370 shots
- Built-in wifi, NFC, and GPS
The AW130 is waterproof up to 100 feet and shockproof for 7 feet. This camera takes excellent shots on dry land when you don’t have it submerged.
While it doesn’t have 4K video capability (yet) the HD 1080p is the next best thing. Especially since it has a 5-axis vibration reduction technology to ensure you get the best pictures and video shoots.
Pictures can also be taken with your smartphone thanks to the near field communication (NFC) capability. The built-in GPS will automatically geo-tag your photos so you know exactly where you were when you share the shots on your blog or social media.
It’s also extremely easy to point and shot with the 3″ OLED screen.
Best Overall Point and Shoot Camera
Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the Sony RX100V that prices just below $1,000 for the base unit. Whether you want to take photos or vlog in 4K, this is camera gives everything you want without the bulky space of a DSLR camera because the RX100V is mirrorless!
Sony RX100V Specs:
- 20.1 megapixels with 1″ RS stacked back-illuminated CMOS sensor
- 3.6x optical zoom
- 4K Video with capability to record at 960 FPS
- Battery Life: 220 shots
With a retractable 3″ OLED viewfinder, you can flip the screen 180 degrees when you need to take selfies. The RX100V also has the world-fastest zoom rate of 0.05 seconds.
For the adventurous, you can also purchase underwater housing that allows you to take photos at depths up to 130 feet (40 meters).
If you dismissed point and shoot cameras as being impractical, think again. While you’ve either been using your smartphone camera for convenience or clinging to the bulky DSLR with the lens add-ons, compact cameras pack the features of high-end cameras with pocket-sized convenience.