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The smartphone cameras' massive leap in image quality and features over the past couple of years has made entry-level point-and-shoot snappers almost completely redundant. As a result, camera manufacturers have focused their efforts on developing compact cameras with significantly larger and more capable image sensors than the ones found in today's top camera phones.
Optics is another area where point-and-shoot cameras have an advantage over your smartphone, because phones have yet to match their optical zoom capabilities.
Because they don't have the adjustability of DSLRs with interchangeable lenses, it's important to pick a model that'll best suit your needs and lifestyle. If you're looking to take photos while out socializing with friends or of your restaurant meals, consider a compact camera. If you like taking nature photos, you should consider a superzoom camera that's slightly larger, but considerably more versatile.
No matter what you prefer, we've rounded up the best point-and-shoot digital cameras that take MUCH better photos than your phone.
The Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 packs the largest sensor of any point-and-shoot camera in its price range. Its massive 4/3-inch sensor is complemented by an equally impressive, highly versatile lens, whose aperture ranges between f/1.7 and f/2.8.
Abundant connectivity features, 4K video capture, and a handy set of manual controls are also on board the DMC-LX100. There are two colors to choose from — black and silver.
Best Budget Buy
The Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is reasonably priced, and it can still take vastly better photos than your smartphone. Inside its stylish and compact body lies a large 1-inch, 20 MP sensor that's capable of delivering excellent still images and Full HD video.
The point-and-shoot camera has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so you can easily transfer photos to your phone and share them on social networks. It has intuitive touchscreen controls, too. You can order the camera in silver or black.
The Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V by Sony is one of the best point-and-shoot cameras money can buy. The ultra fast camera fits in a jacket pocket, yet it can shoot 4K video and capture images whose quality rivals that of a pro-grade DSLR, thanks to its large 1-inch sensor.
The best compact option by quite a margin, the DSC-RX100 V is beautifully crafted and easy to use. It's a pricey but amazing piece of photography gear.
Best for Advanced Photographers
The PowerShot G5 X by Canon features a capable 1-inch image sensor and a superb set of manual controls, which are bound to appeal to photography enthusiasts. With a bright f/1.8 lens and a speedy image processor, the G5 X can capture 20 MP still photos that are among the best in its price range.
A robust 4.2-times magnification optical zoom range, Wi-Fi connectivity, and an electronic viewfinder round up the key highlights of this compact camera. If you're not hell-bent on shooting 4K video (the PowerShot G5 X can't), this is a solid point-and-shoot camera whose versatility is among the best in its class.
Best for Compact Size and Versatile Zoom Range
If you're looking for a compact camera with excellent zoom capabilities, look no further than the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX80. The well-priced camera has a versatile 30-times magnification optical zoom range, optical image stabilization, a tilting display, electronic viewfinder, and wireless connectivity for easily transferring photos to your phone.&
The DSC-HX80 captures 18 MP images with excellent quality for its price point, as well as Full HD video. With a maximum aperture of f/3.5, the camera is best suited for daylight photography.
Best Waterproof Option
The Olympus TOUGH TG-5 is the best waterproof camera worth your attention. Available in red or black, it's waterproof up to 50 feet, and it can capture 12 MP photos and 4K video with excellent quality via a 4-times magnification optical zoom lens with f/2.0 aperture.
The TG-5 has microscope mode for ultra close-up shooting, as well as the ability to capture panoramas and time-lapses. There's also the option to take underwater photos via a quartet of dedicated modes. Wi-Fi for smartphone connectivity, GPS, a built-in eCompass, and a temperature sensor are also on board.
Best Affordable Superzoom
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ80 is the best affordable superzoom camera worth your attention. It has a fantastic 60-times magnification optical zoom, as well as the ability to capture 18 MP photos and 4K video with great quality via a 1/2.3-inch image sensor.
The camera sensor is sitting behind a lens with optical image stabilization and bright f/2.8 aperture. A great set of manual controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and the ability to capture burst shots of up to 30 frames per second round up the camera's key features. Overall, this is a great point-and-shoot camera for nature photographers.
Best Splurge Superzoom
The latest generation of Sony's RX10 premium superzoom camera (24- to 600-millimeter range in a 35-millimeter equivalent) is the best of its kind. It captures 4K video recording and 20 MP photos with exceptional quality via a Zeiss lens and an advanced 1-inch sensor. It also has the fastest autofocus in the business.
Convenient manual controls, smartphone connectivity, and the ability to capture slow-motion video at an astounding 960 frames per second are also on the camera's long list of cool features. In case you don't feel like splurging, consider the older RX10 models. The first generation is available for less than half of the price of this iteration.