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Buying Guide: Point and Shoot Cameras

Point-and-shoot cameras are affordable, practical and great for anyone who wants to capture images only. Images taken on a bright day can look great when you use this camera. This camera is not suitable if you want to take shots of moving objects or during dim light. If you are on a tight budget and looking for everyday shooting then point-and-shoot camera is a good option.

Point and Shoot Cameras

Don’t just buy Point-and-Shoot Cameras, know the types first!

There are too many point-and-shoot cameras to choose from. However, we have narrowed down the options to help you take the right decision.

Basic point-and-shoot camera

These cameras are suitable for anyone who wants to carry it anywhere and take ample amount of shots. Most of the basic point-and-shoot cameras are able to shoot 1080p HD video nowadays.


These cameras have good auto mode and scene selections. This helps you choose the right in-camera settings for the right shot.


You should know that these cameras have small sensors. Do not get duped by high megapixel counts. High megapixel in small sensors would lead to image noise.


Optical zoom in such cameras are not as good as the expensive ones, but you would still get a wide angle coverage (28mm usually). Taking group shots, landscape shots and arm's length self-portraits are possible with this camera.


• It inexpensive, easy to use, fits in your pocket and has large number of scene modes.


• Image quality is average, manual controls are not present and has inflated megapixel counts.

Advanced Point-and-Shoot Camera

Advanced point-and-shoot camera does not necessarily mean that it is comparable to DSLR, but yes these cameras are a good pick as it has certain manual controls like shutter, aperture and ISO. The shots are better than the basic point-and-shoot camera.


Manual settings are available.


The zoom range is not like the pocket megazoom, but the quality of the image is better. By this we mean that you won’t get distorted image as you would generally see when images are highly zoomed.


These cameras have wider apertures. This helps you shoot at higher shutter speeds.


• Image quality is better than most of the fixed lens camera. This can be a good secondary camera for the DSLR owners. Also, if you are newbie then you can start photography with advanced point-and-shoot camera.


• It has smaller optical zoom range, and can be a little complicated to handle. The price of these cameras is more compared to the basic ones.

Rugged point-and-shoot camera

Rugged means something strong, sturdy and tough. This is exactly how a rugged camera is.


These cameras are best suited for mountaineer, snorkelers and sports enthusiasts. Rugged cameras can be used in extreme conditions without being afraid of any damage.


These are freeze proof, waterproof and dustproof.


It is true that these cameras are not the first choice for everyday use because it is used for specific purpose only.


The image quality neither be too high nor too low.


• These cameras are highly durable and immune to weather conditions.


• It has fewer features and can be turn down for many. It do not has the best optics or big sensors.

Megazoom camera

These are and are supposed to be the most versatile fixed-lens camera.


Why are they called megazooms? This is because they offer a walloping 20x to 30x optical zoom lens.


They provide great wide angle shots.


Like DSLRs, megazooms too offer manual settings for shutter, aperture and image stabilization.


If you are inetersted in landscape photography, animal photography or sports photography then this is the camera for you.


• It has high optical zoom lens. Manual controls are available. Better lens is available as compared to standard point-and-shoot camera.


• This is bulkier and cannot fit in your pocket. You would require a purse or a backpack to carry it. Also, it is slightly expensive.

Pocket Megazoom Camera

These are compact cameras that offer optical zoom ranges from about 10x to 15x. Although the name is pocket megazoom, it is at times not possible to fit inside the pocket. A purse or a backpack serves best to keep such cameras.


Most of the pocket megazoom cameras have manual settings. Go through the features before buying as some cameras may lack manual settings.


These cameras have good optical image stabilization.


• It has a very high optical zoom range. You can carry it anywhere you want as it offers portability.


• Certain cameras are bulky and are expensive than the basic point-and-shoot cameras. It is recommended that you go to stores where you have more options. Online shopping is one such platform where you will get innumerable options.

Features you should look for


A high megapixel does not mean that you will get high quality images. You need to understand that the image sensor in point-and-shoot camera is relatively small. Packing high megapixel in a small sensor will never offer the best image. During low-light, image taken from such camera will result in increased noise. If you are looking for 4-by-6 photos then a camera with 6 megapixels or more will suffice.

The LCD quality

LCD should be saturated and sharp even during extreme brightness. Some inexpensive cameras have poor LCD. When you pan the camera, ensure that it is able to keep up with the motion. It is seen that most of the compact camera’s LCD are jerky and often delayed.For framing shots, you may look for LCD that has minimum 3 inch screen. LCD screen should also display the number of picture remaining, shooting mode, battery life, white balance setting, exposure compensation setting and current ISO setting.


A photographer looks through a viewfinder to compose and focus the picture. An optical viewfinder can be of help while shooting in bright light. Most of the compact cameras depend on the LCD as viewfinder. This does not include optical one. There are certain LCDs that can even tilt which make it easier to take pictures at awkward angles. The bigger the LCD, the better it is.


Also called image stabilization, this is one of the features you should definitely look for. You don’t want shake images right? Some cameras offer this feature where you can turn the mode on and off. Advanced cameras such SLRs offer two options. One is the optical image stabilization (the lens adjusts to compensate for movement) and the other is the sensor movement (the sensor moves to compensate for the shaking).

Wireless internet

If you are not a social freak or do not upload much photos on internet sites then you may skip this feature. For other people who love to share photos instantly should look for cameras that have built-in Wi-Fi.

Camera mode

Point-and-shoot camera automatically selects the mode based on the situation. For example a sport mode will be good for action shots. Look for a camera that has manual setting for different modes.

Face recognition

Face recognition automatically optimizes the exposure and focus on human faces in a frame. This helps in clicking the best picture possible with no extra effort. There is another feature called Smile recognition which immediately activates the shutter to click a picture when the subject smiles.

File formats

Cameras usually save pictures in JPEG format. There are few cameras that save pictures in raw files. The pictures are bigger than JPEG and are easier to edit. However, raw files take more space than JPEG and can fill up your memory card faster.

Zoom in

Always look for optical zoom and ignore digital zoom. Digital zoom do not offer good image quality compared to the optical zoom.

• If you are looking for compact camera and feel that 3x won’t be sufficient then look for camera that is above 8 megapixels.

• If you are interested in lots of sports or nature photography then consider a camera with 10x optical-zoom lens.

• When you choose a camera with long zoom lens, you need to make sure that it also offers optical image stabilization to minimize blurry images.

Memory cards

Memory cards can be frustrating at times if you don’t buy the right one. It is better to buy a higher GB memory card to fit in as many photos and videos you can. Of course, it won’t do any harm to you. It often happens that people get a lower GB memory card and later repent as it results in recurring cost.

Most cameras use SD (secure digital) or SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) format cards. The expensive one is the SDHC that offers space up to 32 GB.

There is a new format available today called SDXC. It offers whopping 2TB space. You should also understand the need for speed in any memory card. If the speed does not match with the camera, your images won’t be of good quality. For this, consider the class of the memory card. The higher the class, the faster it is. For shooting a video, you may look for class 4 or 6 or more.

Power play

Considering the type of battery is important. Certain cameras use AA batteries and others come with the rechargeable one. Of course, the rechargeable ones are better as they can carry the charge longer. If you plan to spend more time outside, then you need to have an extra battery to be at a safer side. Consider a lithium battery over other batteries.


Point-and-shoot cameras offer HD video quality either at 1280-by-720 or at 1920-by-1080. Most of the cameras let you record videos at 320-by-240 and/or 640-by-480 resolutions only. The video quality is above average but not as good as a camcorder.

Software bundles

Most of the point-and-shoot cameras can work with Image Capture Software or Apple’s iPhoto to import images from the camera. Do you have a card reader? Get one if you have difficulty in importing images. Simply take out the memory card from the camera and insert it in the card reader to import all the photos and videos!

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