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15 Best Compact Cameras in 2021

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Photographers never want to miss a moment. We want to capture everything we can. But sometimes, it can feel like you’re carrying a whole photography studio around with you.

Sometimes you just want to be able to have fun without having a heavy camera around your neck. You want something easy to carry and compact. That used to mean a compromise. But not anymore.

There are some excellent pocket-size cameras on the market in 2021. And we’ve compiled a list so you can find the best compact camera for you.

photographer holding a compact camera
Photo by Iswanto Arif

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What Is a Compact Camera?

In the past, digital compact cameras had a bad name. They were seen as a bit amateur and naff. They were for holiday snaps and family vacations.

But things have changed. In 2021, compact cameras are serious machines. They’re powerful and robust. And they take outstanding photos. They pack a punch, but they’re still small and compact.

Sony, Canon, and Fujifilm all put a lot of effort into developing their compact cameras. And the effort is paying off. As a result, they all have excellent compact camera options on the market.

man holding a compact camera
Photo by Alexander Andrews

The 15 Best Compact Cameras in 2021

They have options for beginners, enthusiasts, and professionals. And we’ll take you through the best compact cameras in 2021.

Best Compact Cameras For Beginners

1. Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III

Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III

 

  • Sensor: 1-inch CMOS
  • Resolution: 20.1MP
  • Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 30fps
  • Video: 4K

The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III is a pocket rocket of the camera world. The camera body is small and slim. But this Canon has excellent image quality.

The name Powershot is not misleading. The sensor may only be 1 inch. But with 20MP, the images will surprise you. They’re sharp and vibrant with colour.

The burst speed is 8.2fps, which is rapid for a camera of this size. The in-camera RAW file processing is a brilliant feature, making images easier to work with in post-processing. And the Wifi and Bluetooth capabilities make it easy to move and share your images.

The Powershot G7 X Mark III has a good ISO range, from 125 to 128,000. And the DIGIC 7 image processor keeps noise to a minimum when you’re working in low light.

The 4K video quality is very good. And the video image stabilization will keep the quality high. It’s a great vlogging camera too.

It’s a great point and shoot camera for a beginner on the go. It fits in your pocket. And the images are impressive for a camera of this size. That makes the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark III one of the best compact cameras in 2021.

2. Panasonic Lumix FZ80

Panasonic Lumix FZ80

  • Sensor: MOS Sensor
  • Resolution: 18.1MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Touch-enabled LCD
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 1,170k dots
  • Burst: 30fps
  • Video: 4K

The Panasonic Lumix FZ80 is a versatile compact camera. It’s perfect for travellers who want to take great stills and videos when they’re on the road. And it’s great value for money.

The 18.1MP MOS sensor produces stunning images. And you get a rapid 30fps continuous shooting mode. It’s a function that’s great for capturing sports or action shots.

The Lumix FZ80 has a fixed 20-1200 (60x) optical zoom lens. So you can get close to the far-off. And the optical image stabilization will keep your images in great condition.

A function you might not expect in such a small camera is the ‘Post Focus.’ It allows you to set your focus after you’ve taken the photo. And you can even stake focus points to give yourself your creative freedom.

The Panasonic FZ80 has an ergonomic design. It fits nicely in your hand and never feels like a burden. It’s lightweight but full of functions. And the video and stills quality is fantastic. All that combined with a modest price tag make it one of the best compact cameras for beginners.

3. Fujifilm XF10

Fujifilm XF10

  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS
  • Resolution: 24.2MP
  • Screen: 3-inch LCD Touchscreen, 1.040 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 15fps
  • Video: 4k

The Fujifilm XF10 is a compact camera for beginners who are starting to take photography seriously. It’s more than just a point-and-shoot pocket camera. It does fit in your pocket. But there’s a lot of tech in that compact body.

The XF10 has an APS-C sensor with 24.2MP resolution. That’s the kind of power you’d find on DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. And that image quality is maintained when using the 15fps burst mode.

Low light conditions are no problem for this Fujifilm compact. The standard ISO is impressive enough, at 200-128,000. But when the light starts to fail, you can extend it to 100-512,00. And the resolution is so good you’ll experience minimal noise.

It has a lens with a fixed prime lens with a focal length of 18.5mm. Some people might find the lack of zoom capabilities limiting. But with a Fujinon lens, you can rely on the quality.

It’s not designed as a vlogging camera. But the 4k video quality is still highly usable. So it’s perfect for capturing footage on the go.

The battery life is good but not great. And the price is at the top of the beginner camera bracket. But it is worth the money if you have it. It’s one of the best point and shoot cameras in this area.

4. Nikon Coolpix P900

Nikon Coolpix P900

  • Sensor: 1/2.3 inch CMOS
  • Resolution: 16MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Articulating Touchscreen, 921k dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 7fps
  • Video: 1080p

The Coolpix P900 is an excellent entry into the compact market from Nikon. It’s for photography hobbyists with a growing passion for photography. It’s not the cheapest compact camera for beginners. But it is one of the best.

The 16MP sensor isn’t groundbreaking. But it’s a Nikon camera, so the image quality is still excellent. Although, the ISO has a ceiling of 6400, which is disappointing.

The strength of the Coolpix P900 is the Nikkor lens. It’s one of the most powerful zoom lenses you’ll find of a compact. With a zoom range of 83x, nothing is too far for this Nikon compact.

It’s not a vlogging camera. The lack of 4k video does let the Coolpix down for versatility. But the built-in Wifi and GP features are handy when you’re on the move. You can share your photos wirelessly with your smartphone.

The Coolpix gives you control of your shots. You can go manual using the PSAM dial at the top of the camera. You can play with apertures and shutter speeds so that you can improve your technical photography skills.

5. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX350

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX350

  • Sensor: 1/2.3 inch CMOS
  • Resolution: 18.2MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 10fps
  • Video: NA

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX350 is basic compared to others on this list. But sometimes basic is all you need. And basic doesn’t equal bad. This is an affordable compact camera.

The image quality is fantastic from the 18.2MP sensor. And it can handle itself when the lights go out too. Not only does it have a built-in flash, but the ISO range is also surprising. You might experience some noise at the higher end. But it can stretch to ISO 128,00.

The fixed lens has a focal length of 4,3-86mm, with a zoom range of 20x. And the 10fps burst mode isn’t bad either. Having no video capabilities does let the Sony Cyber-Shot down. But you have to remember this is a budget camera.

The Sony Cyber-Shot is a compact camera in the literal sense. It’s small enough to fit in your jacket pocket. And yet, it still processes excellent images. It’s not professional standard, but it’s not meant to be. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best compact cameras if you’re a casual snapper.

Best Compact Cameras of Enthusiasts

1. Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm X100V

  • Sensor: APS-C
  • Resolution: 26.1MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Fixed, 1.62 million dots
  • Viewfinder: Hybrid Optical/Electronic (3.69 million dots)
  • Burst: 11fps
  • Video: 4K

The Fujifilm X100V is a state-of-the-art compact camera with a retro aesthetic. It has the classic Rangefinder look, but with all the features to make it one of the best compact cameras in 2021.

You get 26.1MP image resolution from the APS-C sensor. So if you’re looking for stunning stills, the Fujifilm X100V has your back. You get a wide dynamic range. And the autofocus operates at a darkness of -5EV.

The X100V has a fixed Fujinon 23mm F2 lens. It’s a prime lens, so no zoom function. But Fujifilm makes some of the best prime lenses in the world, so image quality won’t be an issue.

It will also help with your latest blog post with its solid 4K video. You can even film in slow-motion by changing to the 60fps 1080p video mode.

Retro shooters and modern snappers will both enjoy the hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder. And the two-way tilting touchscreen gives you the power to frame those difficult shots.

Nostalgic photographers will love the film simulation modes. If you miss your film cameras, you can give your photos a retro flavour with the click of a button.

2. Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

  • Sensor: APS-C CMOS
  • Resolution: 24.2MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots
  • Burst: 7fps
  • Video: 1080p

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is a deceptive camera. It’s a small and compact camera. But it has power you wouldn’t expect from a camera of this size.

When you look at this Canon, you might be surprised to learn it has an APS-C sensor. These are more commonly found in large DSLR and mirrorless cameras. And the 24.2MP will give you superb image quality.

The fixed lens has a 24-72mm focal length, which gives you a zoom range of 3x. It’s not the most powerful zoom lens, but the optical image stabilizer keeps your images looking sharp.

The phase-detection autofocus is fast and reliable. But it also has a touch and drag function, so you can change the point of focus. You touch your finger to the screen and drag to focus to where you want it.

The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III is a versatile compact camera. The battery life is reliable, and the body is weather-sealed. It may be small, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.

3. Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII

Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII

  • Sensor: 1-inch Stacked CMOS
  • Resolution: 20.1MP
  • Screen: 3-inch tilt-angle touchscreen, 1.229 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 16fps
  • Video: 4k

This is the second Sony Cyber-Shot on the list. But the RX100 VII is worlds apart from the DSC-WX350. The latter version is for casual snappers. But the RX100 VII is for people who that their photography very seriously.

20.1MP of resolution might not look like much. But considering that’s from a 1-inch sensor, that is pretty powerful. That’s impressive image quality for a pocket-sized camera.

The autofocus system is very sophisticated for a camera this size. It uses 357-point focal plane detection or 425-point contrast detection. And it uses AI tracking to hone in on eyes and faces for both stills and videos.

You’ll find the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII in the pocket of many vloggers and videographers. The 4K video is excellent. And you can use the microphone jack for synced audio recording.

The Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII is expensive for a compact camera. But the features and functions belie this camera’s small stature. It’s a true compact with a lot of power.

4. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

Panasonic Lumix LX100 II

  • Sensor: Large Four Thirds
  • Resolution: 17MP
  • Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 1.24 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.764 million dots
  • Burst: 11fps
  • Video: 4K

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is a unique entry on our list. And it’s a landmark unit in the world of compact cameras. The LX100 II uses a Large Four Thirds sensor, which is larger than the 1-inch sensors commonly found in compact cameras.

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is a compact camera for genuine photography enthusiasts. The on-camera controls give it the feel of a larger mirrorless camera. But it is still compact and lightweight.

It has a Leica DC zoom lens with a focal range of 24-75mm. It gives you macro capabilities as close and 3cm. And the telephoto length is pretty good too. The zoom speed is noticeably slow. But you get optical image stabilization to compensate for any camera shake.

The electronic viewfinder has excellent resolution. But some people might not like the fact it’s non-adjustable. But that adds to the feeling that this is a camera for serious photographers.

The video and image quality is excellent. And the price is more than reasonable. So for a true enthusiast, this is one of the best compact cameras you will find.

5. Sony ZV-1

Sony ZV-1

  • Sensor: 1-inch CMOS
  • Resolution: 20.1MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 24fps
  • Video: 4k/30p

The Sony ZV-1 is often overlooked in favour of the RX100 II. This is because some of the specs are similar. But the ZV-1 is a camera designed for vloggers and videographers.

The image quality for photos is still excellent. The 20.1MP sensor has a lot of firepower. And you can happily snap away all day.

The strength of the camera lies in the autofocus. It’s incredibly responsive for still and videos. Even if your shots are full of movement, the autofocus system will lock on to people, so they stay in focus.

The electronic viewfinder is variable in all angles, so you can see yourself while you’re filming. And you even get a wind-protector, so the audio quality matches the image quality.

If video is your thing, then the Sony ZV-1 is one of the best compact cameras available. You can still capture some great shots. And it has a modest price tag.

Best Compact Cameras for Professionals

1. Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 RII

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 RII

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Resolution: 42.4MP
  • Screen: 3-inch Vari-angle touchscreen, 1.229 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.4m dots
  • Burst: 5fps
  • Video: 1080p

When you look at the specs for the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 RII, there’s one that stands out. And no, you’re not seeing things. This camera has an image resolution of 42.4MP.

It’s hard to believe that a full-frame sensor can be squeezed into a compact camera. But Sony has done it. The video is only 1080p. And the burst is a sluggish 5fps. But at 42.4MP, you can’t blame it.

Stills are the main focus of this camera. And with that kind of horsepower under the hood, you know that the image quality will be amazing. And it is. The camera has an incredible dynamic range, so the detail is excellent.

The DSC-RX1 RII has the first user-selectable optical low-pass filter. It gives photographs a new dimension of creative control over their images.

The hybrid autofocus system is one of the best we’ve come across. And not just in compact cameras. You get 399 points of phase detection with a 45% coverage. The AI system predicts subject movement to keep them in focus.

The Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX1 RII isn’t cheap. But if you need professional standard stills, it’s the best compact camera on the market.

2. Leica Q2

Leica Q2

  • Sensor: Full-Frame CMOS
  • Resolution: 47.3MP
  • Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.68 million dots
  • Burst: 10fps
  • Video: 4K

The Leica Q2 is something to behold. It almost doesn’t seem possible. But when you look at the price, and reality hits you pretty hard.

The 47.3MP full-frame sensor has redefined what’s possible with a point and shoot camera. This level of image quality is usually reserved for professional-level full-frame mirrorless cameras.

You get a fixed 28mm f/1.7 prime lens. No zoom lens is disappointing, but Leica lenses are renowned for their excellence. And the autofocus system is precise and responsive. So moving subjects aren’t a problem.

The video quality is very good, but not outstanding. The footage is perfectly acceptable. But this camera is designed for stills rather than video.

The Leica Q2 is the most powerful compact camera there is. There’s nothing better for exquisite stills. The problem is that the price is similar to the GDP of a small country. If you can afford it, go for it. But for the rest of us, it’s just not a possibility.

3. Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV

Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV

  • Sensor: Exmor RS stacked CMOS
  • Resolution: 20.1MP
  • Screen: 7-inch Touchscreen
  • Viewfinder: EVF
  • Burst: 24fps
  • Video: 4K

The Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV is an excellent all-round compact camera for professional photographers. It may not have the power of some of the previous options, but it is a more varied machine.

The stacked CMOS sensor gives you a 20.1MP resolution. That’s not bad, considering the size of the sensor. But the other features bring this camera up to par.

The autofocus system is one of the best you will find in a point and shoot camera. It has the world’s fasted acquisition speed of 0.03 seconds. That’s quicker than the blink of an eye. And it uses a high-density phases detection system that predicts movement, keeping your subject locked.

The autofocus also functions with precision when shooting at 24fps. And low light is no trouble for it either. So you can be assured of sharp shots in all conditions.

The RX10 IV has a fixed lens with a powerful optical zoom. It has an incredible focal range of 24-600mm. And the quality of the glass elements reduces chromatic aberration. So you can push the lens to full stretch without fear of quality loss.

The 4K video is also excellent if you’re into vlogging. All the great features make the Sony Cyber-Shot RX10 IV one of the best compact cameras for professionals.

4. Nikon Coolpix P1000

Nikon Coolpix P1000

  • Sensor: Exmor RS stacked CMOS
  • Resolution: 16.7MP
  • Screen: 3.2-inch Vari-angle Touchscreen, 921K dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2.36 million dots
  • Burst: 15fps
  • Video: 4K

The Nikon Coolpix isn’t the most powerful compact camera in town. But it does have a trick up its sleeve. It has one of the best zoom lenses you’ll find on a compact. And the other features are reliable too.

The sensor only gives you an image resolution of 16.7MP, which is a bit disappointing. But the image quality is still very good.

But the thing that sets the Coolpix apart is the monster optical zoom lens. It gives you the equivalent of a 24-3000mm focal range. That’s a zoom range of 125x. Geography is no limitation for this camera.

The lens also gives you macro photography capabilities, allowing you to focus on your subject as close as 1ft.

The viewfinder is excellent. And the autofocus system is fast and reliable, even when you’re stretching the zoom lens. The 4K video quality is solid, but nothing special.

The Nikon Coolpix P1000 is larger than most compact cameras. It looks and feels more like a small DLSR rather than a traditional compact camera. It isn’t the best in its class. But it does a lot well. And the price is very reasonable.

5. Leica Q2 Monochrome

Leica Q2 Monochrome

  • Sensor: Full-Frame (Monochrome)
  • Resolution: 47.3MP
  • Screen: 3-inch touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 3.68 million dots
  • Burst: 10fps
  • Video: 4K

The Leica Q2 Monochrome is similar to the standard Q2. But this model, unsurprisingly, only shoots in black and white. That gives the camera a niche appeal. And the price isn’t any more forgiving than the Q2.

The image sensor is a specialised full-frame monochrome sensor. It’s a state-of-the-art black and white sensor that gives 47.3MP of image resolution. Like the previous Q2, the image quality is spectacular.

ISO range has been increased from the colour model, being expanded to 100-100,000. That means low light conditions are no problem at all. The image quality is still excellent, and noise is kept to an absolute minimum.

The other features, such as the AF and video, match the original Q2. They aren’t spectacular, but it’s hard to find fault.

The Leica Q2 Monochrome is an interesting case. It’s a digital camera that shoots exclusively in black and white. That makes it niche enough. But when you factor in the cost, it reduces the appeal even further. The images are stunning. But so is the price.

Conclusion

That was our list of the best compact cameras in 2021. No matter what your level or budget, there is a compact for you. They are great fun and produce stunning images.

We hope it has helped you in your search for a great point-and-shoot camera.

If you’re ready to try out your new camera, check out our Magic Photography Spellbook eBook.

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