Tips for Picking a Point-and-Shoot Camera

Of all the digital cameras on the market, point-and-shoot cameras make up a large segment. This is because they are easy to use and affordable. These cameras are designed to be used by just about anyone. They are designed to automatically adjust their focus, shutter speed, and even light sensitivity to take the best picture possible. 

The pictures that these cameras capture are sharp and have exceptional color representation. This makes them one of the best kinds of cameras to start your photography journey with. Even within point-and-shoot cameras, there are many different kinds with various features available on the market. This can make choosing one a little complicated, but with proper knowledge of these cameras; you can easily pick the best one for your needs. 

What Is a Point-and-Shoot Camera?

A black point-and-shoot camera on a white background

A point-and-shoot camera is a simple, automated digital camera that is small and efficient. These cameras rely on autofocus and automatic exposure, which allow you to point your camera at the subject and shoot. They come with a built-in zoom lens and flash, enabling you to take high-quality images. Not only do they offer high-quality images, but they are much easier to use than fancier cameras. 

Unlike advanced cameras, point-and-shoot cameras do not come with interchangeable lenses. Still, they have a good zoom, which makes up for this. This feature also makes them better than smartphones, as the image produced by a point-and-shoot camera will be much clearer even when zoomed in.

They are also compact devices, which makes them ideal for carrying around with you in your bag. Since they are simple to use, they make for excellent beginner cameras. You can use them to learn the basics without spending thousands of dollars on advanced cameras. 

Important Parts of a Point-and-Shoot Camera

A camera with all its controls showing

Point-and-shoot cameras come with a variety of different options that allow you to use them in various ways. There are some parts and features in all cameras that you should know about before you start using them. Here are some of them.

1. Shutter Button

Shutter buttons are the most essential part of any camera as they are used to take a photo and are found on the top left of the camera. On most point-and-shoot cameras, shutter buttons have two stages to go through before taking a picture. 

First, you need to press the button slightly. Doing so will cause the camera to evaluate the screen. It will focus on the subject, and all settings will adjust to take the best possible picture. Then you need to fully press down on the button for the camera to take a picture. 

2. Zoom Buttons

One of the biggest reasons people prefer to purchase point-and-shoot cameras is that they have enough space to include a proper optical zoom. This feature allows you to take high-quality pictures of items far away. The optical zoom that your camera offers may differ based on the company and model. Still, most point-and-shoot cameras offer 3x to 40x zoom. It is suggested that you buy a point-and-shoot camera that has at least 8x zoom.

To control this zoom, most cameras have a toggle that you can push in one direction to zoom in and another to zoom out. It is usually on the top of the camera, near the shutter button, for easy access.

3. Mode Dial

Most cameras either have a mode dial or a mode button that is located on the back that allows you to access the quick setting menu. This is where you can adjust the most common settings. These settings are mostly relegated to the type of scene you are shooting. When using a compact point-and-shoot camera, it will detect the kind of scene you are shooting and then pick settings according to it. 

4. Flash Button

When using a camera, it is imperative that you can control when your flash goes off. Most point-and-shoot cameras have some kind of built-in flash. This is incredibly useful in certain situations and allows you to take a photo even if it is dark. 

Most point-and-shoot cameras come with a dedicated button on the back of the camera. Pressing it will show you a menu with a few options. These options vary from the flash being always on, always off, and automatic. 

5. Menu Button

Although many setting options can be accessed using the buttons and dials, various others are also available. These include time and date settings, the file size of your images, and image control options such as sharpness and saturation. Since it is impossible to put in an option for all of them, it is much easier for the manufacturers to hide these settings in the menu, where you can access them. 

Most cameras have dedicated menu buttons that make it convenient to access these images. This button is usually placed at the back of the camera. 

6. Video Button

Most point-and-shoot cameras come with a video button that can be used in multiple ways. You can use it to start recording a video or simply just toggle the video mode. If it does the latter, you can start recording videos by pressing the shutter button. Since this button allows you to quickly switch to video mode when needed, it makes it extremely useful.

7. Playback Button

A playback button makes it extremely easy to view all the images you have taken on your camera. This button looks like a play button that you usually find on a music player. By pressing it, the interface will bring up all the images you have previously taken on the device. Then, you can review them and delete the ones you don’t like to free up space. 

8. On-Screen Display Information

Almost all point-and-shoot cameras come with a screen on the back that assists you in composing your photo. Using them, you can review how your images look before you take them. They also display a bunch of important information. This includes the current mode of the camera, the battery percentage, the focus mode, and the flash status. If you own a more advanced camera, it may also display the aperture setting, shutter speed, and Wi-Fi status. 

What Should You Look for When Purchasing a Point-and-Shoot Camera

A man holding a point-and-shoot camera to take a picture

With so many different options available on the market, choosing a good point-and-shoot camera that fits your needs can be challenging. However, by focusing on a few factors, you can choose a compact camera that takes high-quality pictures without you needing to do much. 

1. Lens

One of the first things you should look for in a camera is its lens. The lens is what forms an image that the sensor then captures. Most point-and-shoot cameras come equipped with zoom lenses that are equivalent to 35mm lenses. The lens you should look for in a point-and-shoot camera depends on the type of photography you intend to do. If you like to do landscape or architectural photography, you will need a lens that wide. In such cases, a 24mm equivalent lens will work best. 

When purchasing a camera, looking at the aperture or f-stop ratings is good practice. The smaller the number, the better the lens will be. Additionally, you should look for a camera that has more glass. The more glass you see, the higher the quality of the lens will be. 

2. Size

Size is an important consideration when buying point-and-shoot cameras. This is because you want a camera that you can take with you on a photography adventure without taking up too much space. Generally, the smaller the camera, the more limited features it will have. If your camera is small, it will likely have a limited zoom range. Lager cameras have more space to pack a larger sensor, allowing you to zoom more and perform well in low-light situations.

Some point-and-shoot cameras offer plenty of features within a small package, but they tend to be more expensive. Depending on your budget, you may need to trade off some features to purchase a compact device.

3. Ergonomics

When purchasing a camera, you must take note of how comfortable it is to use. If you are buying it in a store, you should hold it as if you are taking a picture to ensure that you can reach all the buttons comfortably. Additionally, it should fit into your hands and be neither too big nor too small. 

4. Waterproof

Whether or not you plan to use this as a sports camera to capture action photography, your point-and-shoot camera must be waterproof. Cameras with this feature are much more rugged and robust, meaning you can take pictures near water bodies or in the rain without any issue. This makes them a lot more helpful as you can take them to take photos on beaches, near the pool. Etc.

5. Physical Buttons

One of the most valuable features of point-and-shoot cameras is that they have physical buttons that you can use to take pictures. This option allows you to have a much better and more authentic experience. When purchasing point-and-shoot cameras, ensure the buttons have a nice click. 

This is essential as it lets you know when you half-pressed the trigger to focus and fully pressed it to take a picture. If these two are not distinct, you may either miss a shit or not be able to take a good shot because you couldn’t frame your picture. 

The buttons should also have labels or be self-explanatory so that you don’t accidentally press the wrong image. Usually, dials are much easier to understand and use. 

6. Automatic Modes

An advantage of using a point-and-shoot camera is that you don’t need to worry about how to shoot a particular picture. Your camera will recognize the scene and set it automatically. This means all you have to do is focus and press the shutter button. If your camera comes with automatic modes, this process is much easier. Ensure that the point-and-shoot camera you choose has multiple automatic modes to adjust to whatever scene you want to take a picture of. 

7. Wireless Connectivity

When purchasing a point-and-shoot camera, ensure that it comes with wireless connectivity because it makes transferring your photos much easier. Suppose your point-and-shoot camera has Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities. In that case, you can easily send your pictures to your phone or your computer without dealing with many wires. 

Additionally, you can also secure them on an online database. That way, your photos will be safe online even if your memory card gets corrupted. 

9. Touchscreen

Having a touchscreen on your point-and-shoot camera makes it so much easier to use. The LCD monitor on most cameras is like that on the phone, meaning you can easily navigate through all the settings and focus on the image. Touchscreens feel much more natural and offer greater flexibility and range when framing a shot. 

Pros and Cons of Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Before you purchase a point-and-shoot camera, you must know the pros and cons to ensure you are purchasing the right camera for your needs. 



They are affordable.

You cannot change the lens.

They are easy to use

The camera will not focus automatically.

They are compact.

If you want it to be compact, you will have to trade off certain features like optical zoom and battery life. 


  • Is it worth getting a point-and-shoot camera?

If you want a small, easy-to-use camera, a point-and-shoot camera is the best option. These cameras are incredibly lightweight, meaning you can pop them in your pocket and bring them with you wherever you go. There is also no fuss about complicated settings as it is designed to adjust settings automatically.

  • Are phone cameras better than point-and-shoot cameras?

No. Point-and-shoot cameras come with excellent dynamic range and high-quality optical zoom that phone cameras cannot replace. This means that you cannot achieve the same quality if you use a phone camera. 

  • Why should I purchase a point-and-shoot camera instead of a DSLR?

Although DSLR cameras offer various options, such as advanced image settings and different lenses, they are bulky and difficult to carry around. If you want a lightweight and easy camera, you should definitely opt for a point-and-shoot camera.


Point-and-shoot cameras offer users the best versatility, and now that they’re coming equipped with high-end features such as waterproof, optical image stabilization, wireless, 40+ megapixels, and much more. This type of digital camera offers a much better experience than smartphone cameras and other portable variants, which means clearer images, better sharing options, and, overall, a much better photographic experience.

Not all point-and-shoot cameras are designed the same, which is why when purchasing one, you need to keep note of a few factors. These include their size, weight, wireless connectivity, and automated modes to ensure that you are choosing one that fits your needs best.