Digital cameras just aren’t that popular nowadays.
With the ubiquity of smartphones and smart devices in general, few people require a dedicated camera to take pictures. But there are more than a few scenarios where you’d be better served by a digital camera than by your smartphone shooter.
Compact cameras often take better pictures and are generally more versatile than smartphones. A high-end smartphone will rarely fail in good lighting, but put it in a situation with low light, and you’ll see the problem.
The other problem with smartphones is battery life. Since you’ll probably use your smartphone for loads of things, it may be dead or dying just when you need it. A dedicated digital camera, on the other hand, will not give out on you just when you need it.
If you’re a serious or semi-serious photographer and you’d like to experiment with professional photography, you need to stop relying on your smartphone and get yourself a digital camera.
And while a lot of us may not be able to afford the most high-end DSLRs, we can at least satisfy our photography desires using compact digital cameras.
Today, we’ve decided to help by curating a list of the five best compact digital cameras you can find on the market right now. We’re also giving you access to a buying guide that will help you know exactly which factors to take into consideration when buying a camera.
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The Canon PowerShot G7 Mark II is an excellent compact digital camera that will serve you well. It comes in two different versions: the base version with only the camera, and a video creator kit which is slightly more expensive but packs more features.
The Powershot G7 has a 1-inch, 20 Megapixel sensor. The CMOS sensor has wide dynamic range, allowing you to take pictures of views which contain extremes of both light and darkness.
The high megapixel count allows you to take photos that are ideal for printing and can even be cropped without losing resolution.
It uses Canon’s DIGIC 7 processor to deliver the best picture quality under all lighting conditions. This processor has phenomenal detection and tracking abilities and can easily keep even swiftly moving objects in focus. It also uses better face detection technology to ensure that your human subject remains the subject of your picture.
Its iris diaphragm contains nine blades, and the lens is equipped with battery image stabilization.
The camera can capture high-resolution photos continuously at eight frames per second. The pictures can be taken in either RAW or JPEG mode.
The camera also has a touch panel that is capacitive and can accept touches from all angles. The LCD panel can be tilted up and down to get the best angle for your picture.
You can also capture stunning FullHD video in 1080p in MP4 format. The Powershot captures videos with stereo sound, allowing realistic audio capture.
The camera also has WiFi and NFC capabilities that make sharing photos quick and easy. In fact, you can post images directly to social media from the camera itself.
Features at a Glance
- 1 inch, 20.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 7 image processing for sharper pictures better detection
- IS equipped lens
- Intelligent image stabilization mode
- Movable 3-inch touchscreen
- Eight preset picture styles
- Time-lapse movie functionality
- Panning mode available
The Nikon COOLPIX P900 digital camera has a number of features that will make your life much easier.
The camera’s main claim to fame is its 83x optical zoom which you can use to focus on extremely distant or small objects. And if the optical zoom isn’t good enough for you, you can quickly double your camera’s reach by using Dynamic Fine Zoom, which will give you 166x zoom.
The Coolpix has WiFi and NFC built in, which makes sharing pictures and videos incredibly easy. You can even use your smart device to control your camera.
The camera also gives you two different shot frames to choose from: a high-res viewfinder at eye level, and a swiveling multiple-angled LCD display. Pick whichever you prefer, depending on what type of shot you want to take and what you usually use.
The P9000 has a DSLR-like mode dial mounted on top. Like on a DSLR, you can control the camera’s aperture, shutter speed, and exposure to get the exact shot you’re looking for. But even if you have no idea how to tweak the exposure, you don’t need to worry since the camera will do all the work required for you to get the most optimal shot.
The camera also records exactly where you’ve taken each shot, creating a roadmap of sorts of where you’ve been and the pictures you’ve taken.
There’s also a Points of Interest feature in the camera which lets you know about nearby places you may want to visit.
Features at a Glance
- 83x optical zoom and 166x dynamic fine zoom
- Inbuilt WiFi and NFC
- Different shot framing methods
- Exposure control knob mounted on top
- Built-in GPS
- Nearby Points of Interest
The Panasonic LUMIX camera has tons of features that will come in handy for when you’re in the field.
The LUMIX has a 20.1MP 4K sensor working in conjunction with a Leica lens which will ensure that every photo you take is as fine as it can be.
The included Leica lens performs excellently even in low light and can add a beautiful bokeh effect if desired. You can also change focus after the shot is taken, allowing you to take your photographs without worrying about the details.
Focus stacking allows you to combine multiple images to help adjust areas in focus. This can be done even after shooting and makes macro-photography much easier.
The camera’s minimum focusing distance is 3 cm, allowing you to capture stunning close-up photographs, even when if you’re holding the camera in your hand, thanks to the spectacular optical image stabilizer on board.
The Depth From Defocus technology instantly calculates distances to subjects, allowing the camera to focus extremely fast.
The LUMIX can also record videos in 4k, enabling you to give viewers the best video quality available. It can build an image from recorded video by taking bright pixels and creating a dramatic and beautiful image.
The camera can record high-speed videos of motion that may not be visible to the naked eye, which can then be played back later in slow-motion to show exactly what happened.
The 3-inch display on the LUMIX can even be flipped 180-degrees and used to take selfie images. When flipped, the camera automatically sets up selfie mode.
Features at a Glance
- 20.1MP 4k sensor
- Excellent low-light performance
- After-shot focusing
- Focus stacking
- Suitable for macro photography
- Extremely fast focusing
- 4k video recording
- High-speed 120fps video recording
- Inbuilt selfie mode
The first Sony camera on our list, the DSC-RX100M is an excellent camera that packs great value for its price.
The RX100 features a 20.1MP 1-inch CMOS sensor which uses back-illuminated technology that doubles light sensitivity and greatly reduces noise levels. This is particularly useful when shooting in low-light situations, which are traditionally the hardest for photography.
The camera has a Zeiss lens which allows zooming between 24mm and 70mm. The mechanics of the lens make it perfect for taking portraits and macro shots, injecting a beautiful bokeh effect where necessary. The lens is also coated with a proprietary material which significantly reduces flare and ghosting caused by light reflection.
The RX100 has a control ring which you can use to control every aspect of how you take your picture. From basic features like zooming to complex functions like Picture Effects, the control ring gives you full control of your images.
The RX100 uses a retractable OLED viewfinder which is designed to faithfully reproduce outside views. The viewfinder also replicates effects put in place when you change settings, allowing you to see exactly how your picture will look even before you shoot it.
The LCD display on the camera rotates at extreme angles, allowing you to take selfies and photograph over crowds with ease. The display uses WhiteMagic technology, which ensures that the display is visible even under direct sunlight.
Live video output can be transmitted to an external device using HDMI technology, allowing you to see what you’re shooting on a large screen while you’re shooting.
The camera also has WiFi and NFC capabilities which allow easy connection and media transfer to and from mobile devices. The Smart Remote feature even allows you to control shutter response from your smartphone, allowing for true hands-free operation.
Features at a Glance
- 20.1MP 1-inch CMOS sensor
- Zeiss lens with anti-flare and anti-ghosting coating
- Control ring for full control over pictures
- Retractable OLED viewfinder
- Rotatable LCD display
- Live video transmission
- WiFi and NFC capabilities
The second Sony camera on our list, the DSC-RX100 is much more expensive than the previous model. Despite the similarities in their names, the two models are completely different, with this model giving you a truckload of extra functionality.
The RX100 boasts the world’s fastest autofocus technology, allowing it to focus on moving object in 0.05 seconds. The camera combines the two major autofocus technologies to come up with a hybrid implementation that is stunning in its speed and precision.
It has a 1-inch 20.1MP Exmor sensor with stacked back illumination. This, combined with the DRAM chip on board, provides blazing fast performance and unlocks a whole host of features, from super-slow motion videos to phenomenally fast shutter speeds.
The camera has a retractable OLED viewfinder which ensures faithful reproduction of outside views. It can deliver continuous high-speed shooting at up to eight frames per second, allowing you to experience the speed of an optical viewfinder while still getting the benefits of an electrical one.
Furthermore, the viewfinder gives you a preview of any image settings you may change when taking pictures, allowing you to see exactly how your fiddling will affect the final image.
The camera also allows you to extract high-quality stills from videos and store the images separately on the memory card.
The LCD screen on the camera rotates in multiple ways, allowing you to take selfies or closeup pictures by flipping the screen up or down. The screen lets you easily access different options and uses WhiteMagic technology to ensure heightened visibility, even in bright sunlight.
You can also get the camera in an ‘underwater’ configuration, which enables underwater shooting and gives you a few extra filters.
Features at a Glance
- World’s fastest autofocus technology
- 20.1MP, 1-inch sensor
- Retractable OLED viewfinder
- Rotatable LCD screen
In case you’re not really feeling any of the cameras on our list and are wondering what you should consider when looking for a compact digital camera on your own, here’s a buying guide that will take you through the major factors. By the time you’re done with our buying guide, you should be an expert on choosing the best compact digital camera for your needs.
There’s probably a reason you’re looking for the best compact digital camera. Make sure you confirm the dimensions of the camera you’re planning to buy, and you’ll avoid any nasty surprises when you get your item.
Make sure the camera fits well in your hand, and you can hold it for long periods of time without discomfort. The camera shouldn’t be so small that you won’t even notice dropping it, and it shouldn’t be so big that you can’t carry it around comfortably.
Unless you’re a complete newbie, resolution shouldn’t matter much to you. While camera resolution does affect the quality of the final image, there are a lot of other things which are just as important when it comes to picture quality.
Why do you need the camera? Different objectives require different cameras.
For example, a camera intended for casual use doesn’t require much in the way of specifics. There’s nothing it needs to be excellent at – it just needs to be decent at everything.
A camera intended for birdwatching, on the other hand, needs to have some specific features. It needs to have quick autofocus, in case you need to take a snap of a bird when it’s flying. It needs to have good zooming ability, since you may need to take a picture of a bird that’s far away from you.
All we’re saying is that you need to consider where and when you’ll mostly be using your camera before settling for any particular choice.
Sensor size is one of the most important factors that affects photo quality. Generally, the bigger the sensor, the better the image. Unfortunately, costs tend to skyrocket when sensor sizes increase, so you’ll have to strike a balance between cost and quality.
If you’re going to be shooting in the outdoors, you’ll need a camera that can stand up to outside conditions. Dustproofing and splash-proofing are essential, with complete waterproofing being a huge plus.
If you’re going to be shooting outside a lot, you’ll find a viewfinder really helpful. It’s not easy to see a screen in direct sunlight, which is when a viewfinder really comes in handy.
Most digital cameras nowadays are NFC and WiFi enabled, but you should definitely check whether there are any connectivity complaints. Having pictures on a digital camera but not being able to share them wirelessly may cause you a great deal of hassle when trying to transfer photos.
Now that we’re done with our buying guide and list of best digital compact cameras, it’s time for us to make a decision. What camera do we think is the best of the best?
While all the compact cameras on the list are loaded with features and will serve anyone well, the Nikon COOLPIX P900 Digital Camera has captured our hearts. It’s got loads of features, but the 166x zoom particularly stands out to us.
And now it’s time for you to make your decision. Which compact digital camera do you think is the best for you?
Do your research, and choose wisely!