The 10 Best Compact Cameras of 2023

We love the Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M3 for its low light capabilities and versatile lens.

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Best Compact Cameras tout

Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington

If you’re hoping to capture memories with higher quality than your smartphone but aren’t looking for a bulky camera set up, a compact camera will get the job done. Compact, or point-and-shoot cameras, are small and portable, making them perfect for travel and everyday use. Their sleek, lightweight design makes them pocket-friendly so you’re not weighed down while exploring. There’s a compact camera fit for every interest as well, whether you’re planning to use it on a beach vacation, ski trip, or for taking portraits of your adorable pup.

Compact cameras generally don’t have interchangeable lenses, though with the advancement of technology there are some more expensive models emerging with this capability. Many still have zoom lenses and large sensors for producing high-quality images though, without breaking the bank. 

The Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M3 is our top pick for high quality photography and video capabilities, and it’s packaged in a sleek design that fits in your pocket. But to help with your compact camera search, we researched dozens of other options, too, and spoke to renowned photographer and Sony Artisan of Imagery Ira Block for recommendations and tips for capturing photos.

Best Overall

Sony RX100 III 20.1 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera

Sony RX100 III

Amazon

Why we love it: It’s a versatile compact camera that produces high-quality imagery for almost any situation.

What to consider: Image quality diminishes with the use of the optical zoom feature.

The Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100M3 snagged the top spot on our list for many reasons, but the low light capabilities and fast processing are a solid start. The F1.8-2.8 24-70 millimeter Zeiss lens not only performs well in lower light situations, but also provides a versatile focal length appropriate for all different types of photography. Whether you want portraits with beautiful bokeh blurring, macro of flora and fauna, or wider landscape photos, this camera can seemingly do it all, and fast, with the Bionz X processor.

Another exciting highlight of this Sony model is the revolutionary pop-up electronic viewfinder, something not found in compact cameras, until now. Battery life is approximately 320 shots, which is likely sufficient for most shooting opportunities before a recharge is needed. Another major highlight is the built-in 3-stop neutral density filter, which helps in harsh light conditions to avoid overexposing, and a shallow depth of field. The tiling LCD screen is great for selfies or video taking, and afterward, you can easily transfer to your phone via the built-in wifi with use of an app. This travel-friendly compact camera packs a punch with features and quality while staying small and lightweight, and won’t completely drain your funds either. 

Price at time of publish: $750

Megapixels: 20.1 | Sensor: 1.0 inch Exmor R® CMOS sensor, aspect ratio 3:2 | Lens: Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* 2.9 x 24-70 millimeter F1.8-2.8 lens | LCD: 180-degree tiltable LCD | Max video resolution: HD / 60p | Weight: 10.2 ounces with battery and memory card | Dimensions: 4 x 2.4 × 1.7 inches

Best Retro Look

Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X100V.

Adorama

Why we love it: It’s a throwback design with all the modern features you’d want in a compact camera.

What to consider: It has a fixed lens of 23 millimeters.

There’s more to love about the Fujifilm X100V than its retro-inspired design, though that is fantastic. It’s also a well-performing compact camera with pretty much all the bells and whistles you could want, right in your pocket. Get professional quality photos in JPEG or RAW, and 4K video with fast processing, superior auto-focus, and top notch low-light performance, to name a few highlights. The touch screen, electronic viewfinder, user-friendly and intuitive controls and settings, as well as a battery life of 350 images makes it a treat to shoot with. Play around with the 17 fun “film simulation” modes, like classic chrome, sepia, and classic negative, too. 

Price at time of publish: $1,400

Megapixels: 26.1 | Sensor: 23.5 x 15.6 millimeter (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS 4 with primary color filter | Lens: 23 millimeter F2 fixed lens | LCD: 3-inch 2-way tiltable LCD | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 16.9 ounces including battery and SD memory card | Dimensions: 5.04 x 2.94 x  2.10 inches

Best Budget

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360

4.6
Canon PowerShot ELPH three hundred and sixty

Amazon

Why we love it: It’s a classic and affordable thin, compact camera that still offers versatile features.

What to consider: The battery life isn’t as long as other models, at 180 shots per charge.

We like the focal range length of 25-300 millimeters on the Canon Powershot ELPH 360 for its versatility in a variety of shooting situations, from wider angle to telephoto. It offers fantastic value for the price point and features it packs into a small compact body, making it incredibly easy to tote around on all your ventures. 

“You don’t need to buy the newest and most expensive piece of equipment, buy what you will be comfortable with and really learn how to use it,” Block shared.

The optical image stabilizer is helpful in almost every situation — particularly low light since there’s also a specialized nighttime setting, producing photos with minimal noise. You can even capture 1080p HD video as well. Built-in wifi makes sharing easy, whether it’s to your own phone or with family and friends. This budget-friendly, compact camera is a great choice for a beginner with an easy-to-navigate operating system and fun modes like Hybrid Auto Mode which captures a few seconds of video before taking a photo. 

Price at time of publish: $299

Megapixels: 20.2 | Sensor: 2.3-inch CMOS sensor combines with the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor | Lens: 12 x 25-300 millimeter (35 millimeter equivalent) Optical Zoom Lens | LCD: 3-inch fixed LCD | Max video resolution: 1080p HD | Weight: 5.18 ounces  | Dimensions: 4.4 x 3.1 x 2.6 inches

Best Splurge

Leica Q2 Digital Camera

Leica Q2 Digital Camera

Amazon

Why we love it: It has all the features of the brand’s classic viewfinder, but with modern upgrades.

What to consider: There aren’t any ports for internal camera charging.

If you’re looking to splurge on a compact camera, Leica is the way to go. The Q2 digital camera is a fantastic choice for those looking for a full-frame camera that’s still compact. A whopping 47.3-megapixel lens and 4K video capabilities make this an extremely versatile camera with the ability to capture professional quality images. A prime 28-millimeter lens is fantastic for anything from landscape to portrait photography and the 3-inch LCD touchscreen paired with electronic viewfinder are a welcome pair of features. Low-light performance won’t be a problem thanks to the F1.7 aperture, and the solid battery life will keep you shooting in the field for up to approximately 350 shots. The higher price point aside, the Leica Q2 lives up to the brand’s reputation for excellent camera quality.

Price at time of publish: $5,795

Megapixels: 47.3 | Sensor: full frame CMOS sensor | Lens: F 1.7 28 millimeter | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen LCD | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 1.58 pound with battery | Dimensions: 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.6 inches

Best Full-frame Compact

Sony a7C Mirrorless Camera

Sony a7C Mirrorless Camera

B&H

Why we love it: It has a full-frame sensor in a small, lightweight camera poised for everyday use.

What to consider: The price point is for the body only — lenses must be purchased separately or within a kit or bundle.

The Sony Alpha 7C is a compact camera but packs in a full-frame sensor and interchangeable lens capability. “When it comes to the smaller cameras, my go to is the Sony Alpha 7C,” Block shared. “If you think you want to use a full-frame camera then it would be my choice for its balance of size and image quality.” 

With more than 50 lenses from wide angle to telephoto available in the Sony E-mount collection, the options are seemingly endless for what you can do with this camera. The intelligent autofocus and tracking is perfect for photographers looking to capture wildlife or other quickly moving subjects. Crisp detail and high quality images in both JPEG and RAW, as well as 4K video are some of the features that users will enjoy. This camera is for the creative at heart due to its versatile range, and it won’t take up too much room in your camera bag — unless you buy all 50 lenses, that is. 

Price at time of publish: $1,798

Megapixels: 24.2 | Sensor: 35.6 x 23.8 millimeter (full frame) CMOS | Lens: E-mount | LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen LCD | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 1.1 pounds with battery | Dimensions: 4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4 inches

Best Zoom

Nikon Coolpix A1000

Nikon Coolpix A1000

Amazon

Why we love it: The optical zoom allows for shooting in a wide array of situations.

What to consider: It doesn’t perform as well in low light as other options.

If a good zoom is key to your compact camera search, the Nikon Coolpix A1000 is a great option. The 35x optical zoom lens with macro capabilities is impressive for a compact camera, though at full zoom, you’ll naturally lose some image quality. Capture everything from wide angle to portraits and telephoto from the equivalent of 24-millimeter up to 840-millimeter. RAW shooting is a welcome addition to this Nikon model, as is the tilting touchscreen and electronic viewfinder. Built-in wifi and bluetooth makes sharing images a breeze with the SnapBridge app. For those that want an ultra wide range of zoom in a compact camera that’s easy to carry along on your adventures, this one is a solid option.

Price at time of publish: $480

Megapixels: 16 | Sensor: 2.3-inch-type CMOS | Lens: 35x optical zoom with macro capability | LCD: 3-inch, 1036k-dot LCD, tilting, touch-sensitive | Max video resolution: 4K at 30fps, 1080p Full HD at 60fps | Weight: 11.6 ounces | Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.8 x 1.6 inches

Best Waterproof

Olympus Tough TG-6

Olympus Tough TG-6

Amazon

Why we love it: It’s great for all outdoor activities.

What to consider: With a 12-megapixel lens, the quality of photos won’t be as high as other models.

For a rugged waterproof and shockproof point-and-shoot camera, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is a fantastic choice. Its excellent versatility allows users to capture everything from underwater photos while snorkeling to videos while snowboarding. The hearty handgrip makes it easy to hold onto while enjoying your adventures, but if you drop it, it’s no big deal. Rated as waterproof in depths up to 50 feet, it’s ideal for snorkeling, free diving, getting caught in the rain, or a worry-free day spent at the beach. The internal zoom includes a F2 25 to 100-millimeter lens within the watertight body and RAW shooting as well as 4K video are proof that you don't have to skimp on quality photos to get the protection this camera offers. 

Price at time of publish: $500

Megapixels: 12 | Sensor: 2.3-inch CMOS | Lens: Macro 25-100 millimeter | LCD: 3-inch fixed LCD | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 9 ounces | Dimensions: 2.6 x 4.4 x 1.3 inches

Best for Action and Sports

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100K

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS100
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Why we love it: The 5-axis image stabilization is helpful in sports photography and videography.

What to consider: The electronic viewfinder is smaller than most.

For action photography with a compact camera, the Panasonic Lumix ZS100 does a stand-up job. Internal stabilization helps to produce sharper images in situations with a lot of movement, like sports. The F2.8 Leica lens provides a 10x zoom with its 25-millimeter to 250-millimeter range, which makes it very versatile. The 4K video is ideal for quick action scenes with up to 30fps for burst mode and the quality is high enough to capture still shots from the video you take as well. Built-in wifi connection is easy to transfer images to your phone or computer and the port charging means you can charge via USB cable. 

Price at time of publish: $598

Megapixels: 20.1 | Sensor: 1-inch High-susceptivity MOS Sensor | Lens: Leica 25-250 millimeter (35 millimeter equivalent) with 10x zoom | LCD: 3-inch fixed touchscreen LCD | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 11.04 ounces | Dimensions: 1.7 x 4.4 x 2.5 inches

Best Film Camera

Canon AE-1 35mm Film Camera

Canon AE-1 Program 35mm Camera Body

Keh

Why we love it: It’s a classic Canon that delivers quality photography nostalgia.

What to consider: Since these are older models, it’s a good idea to make sure the camera has been tested and works.

Film photography is back in a big way and the Canon AE-1 is one of the best for getting into the world of 35-millimeter film. A film camera is a fantastic way to slow down with photography, carefully choosing which shots you want to take and how you’d like to set them up, creating more meaningful art. Celebrated for being the first SLR to feature a CPU (central processing unit), it was also the first to offer shutter speed-priority mode, something helpful for beginner photographers. This model is an excellent way to practice shooting in manual mode, too, for settings like shutter, aperture, and ISO, which spans from 12-3200. The focus is manual only; there is no autofocus available. Although this model is a compact camera, older film cameras tend to be a touch heavier or bulky. It’s worth it for the unique vintage look and you can’t go wrong with this revolutionary-for-its-time Canon model.

Price at time of publish: $269

Megapixels: 35 millimeter manual focus SLR | Sensor: CPU | Lens: 50 millimeter/FD lens mount | LCD: N/A | Max video resolution: N/A | Weight: 11.04 ounces | Dimensions: 6 x 4 x 5 inches

Best for Videos and Vlogging

Sony ZV-1F

Sony ZV-1F Vlogging Camera

B&H

Why we love it: It shoots in 4K movie quality with a side-articulating LCD touchscreen. 

What to consider: It has a fixed lens.

Whether you’re interested in vlogging or simply want a compact camera with superior video capabilities, the Sony ZV-1F fits the bill quite nicely. Beautiful 4K video with options for slow motion and hyperlapse settings, and a mic Jack for an external microphone helps create professional grade film. Active mode stabilization reduces shake, even when walking, and superior auto-focus tracking keeps the subject in focus as well. Features like “soft skin effect” and a separate background defocus (bokeh) button are fantastic for video filming, particularly vlogging. 

“If you intend to only do simple vlogging you can use a small, fixed lens camera like this one,” Block shared. “[It’s] very light and has a very wide fixed lens so you can hand hold it when you film yourself.” But video isn’t the only star of the ZV-1F – still shots shine, too, thanks to the large sensor and F2 20-millimeter wide angle lens, ideal for low-light situations. 

Price at time of publish: $500

Megapixels: 20.1 | Sensor: 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor, aspect ratio 3:2 | Lens: 20 millimeter F2.0 Wide-angle prime lens | LCD: 3-inch tiltable LCD touchscreen | Max video resolution: 4K | Weight: 10.37 ounces | Dimensions: 4.25 × 2.3 × 1.9 inches

Tips for Buying a Compact Camera

Prioritize quality

The lens and sensor are the most important things to look out for when shopping for a compact camera. If you’re looking for high-quality images and videos, it’s worth spending more on a camera that you’ll have for years to come.

“Typically, the more megapixels a sensor has, the better the quality,” Block said. “Full size sensors are typically better than aps-c sensors and those are better than a one-inch sensor. Keep in mind, the quality goes up with more megapixels, but so does the price and the amount of storage you need. So, the best camera will depend on how you plan on using it and what your budget is.”

Pick a camera based on your skill level and goals 

Are you a novice shooter, an expert, or somewhere in between? Choose a camera based on your experience as well as how, when, and where you plan to use it. Consider if you’ll be taking it on outdoor endeavors, using it underwater, or shooting portraits.

Understand the specs

It’s a good idea to be familiar with megapixels, sensor size, lenses, LCD screens, video resolution, and camera weight and size before making a purchase. This will help you make the most informed decision based on your skills and needs. Block explains that megapixels refer to the number of light gathering sites, while a sensor is where the photo sites reside. The lenses gather and focus the light and image onto the sensor, and the LCD is the liquid crystal display, which is the screen on the back of the camera where you see what you’re shooting. Video resolution is the quality of videos (and 4K is superior to HD).

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between a point-and-shoot camera and an SLR camera?

    “A point and shoot has a small sensor, usually about 0.35 by 0.47 inches, while a full frame camera’s sensor is 1 by 1.5 inches,” Block said. “It makes sense that the larger sensor will be clearer and sharper under more difficult photographic situations. But you pay for this larger sensor in both the size and weight of the camera, and in cost. The point and shoot cameras also have fewer controls or controls that are more difficult to get to.”

  • How should I choose a compact camera?

    “First hold it in your hand and see how it feels,” Block advised. “Then think about what you will be using the camera for: still photos, videos, vlogging, family vacations, or pictures of your children. Will you be shooting a lot under low-light-level situations? Pick a camera that works for you.”

  • Can a compact camera still take print-worthy pictures?

    “Absolutely!” Block said. “As you become more skilled as a photographer and understand how your camera works, you can get better quality photos. I have done prints that are 10 feet across taken with a 24-megapixel camera. I use the Sony Alpha 7C a lot and have no issues making large prints from its files. I don’t hesitate to take a compact camera with me wherever I go — the best camera is the one you have with you.”

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

A travel photographer herself, T+L contributor Lauren Breedlove used her personal experience, internet research, and advice from photographer Ira Block to gather expert insights. She then curated this list of the best compact cameras.

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