Which point-and-shoot camera is the best? A lot of the time it is the smartphone you’re carrying in your pocket. Thanks to improved camera tech, iPhones and the like have overtaken the traditional digital camera as everybody’s favorite go-to gadget for capturing our everyday moments, essentially becoming today’s modern point-and-shoot. It appears that neither adding Wi-Fi nor lowering prices can stop the declining sales of the pocket camera of yesteryear.
Indeed, a few short years ago, we thought the point-and-shoot’s days were over. (What’s a point-and-shoot? The term describe s an all-in-one pocket camera with a fixed lens that’s easy to use, but it could also include larger long-zoom shooters or advanced models that could rival DSLRs in image quality.) Companies were cutting models or pulling out of the sector entirely. Sony, which manufacturers a significant percentage of camera sensors, saw overall sales of point-and-shoot cameras continue to decline — year over year — based on its research.
But despite the gloomy forecast, there is a bright spot. While sales are down at the very-low-end, there’s an uptick in premium point-and-shoot models that offer advanced features and high-end specs. Many of these cameras offer larger sensors, not to mention telephoto zoom, rugged build quality, and other specialty components not found on today’s smartphones. This growth could be attributed to step-up users who are upgrading from smartphones and low-end point-and-shoot cameras in an effort to improve their photography, without having to opt for an interchangeable lens camera that might require a greater level of expertise.
Of course, some of these premium point-and-shoot cameras carry a price tag to match, but there are plenty that cost less than $500 – all offering greater performance and features than the digicams of yesteryear. Meet the new generation of the point-and-shoot cameras. Here are our nine favorites for 2017.
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV
Why should you buy this: This super compact is a jack of all trades.
Who’s it for: Photographers who want a small but high-performance camera.
How much will it cost: $1,000
Why we picked the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 IV:
If you had to pick one compact camera that does it all, it’s this one. Sony’s RX100-series defies the limitations of a tight space. With every new model, Sony demonstrates its engineering chops. This pocket rocket is highly compact, yet it has a large, 20.1-megapixel, 1-inch sensor that uses a new “stacked” design that provides faster performance, like 40x super-slow-motion at 960 frames per second (fps), 1/32,000th electronic shutter speed, 16-fps burst mode, and 4K movie capture.
If you’re looking for a versatile pocket camera with a hot-rod engine, this is the ultimate.