Best Point and Shoot Camera

best point and shoot compact cameraThe best point and shoot cameras today occupy a narrow space between encroaching smartphone technology on the one hand, and ever more compact Mirrorless and DSLR cameras on the other. But by combining image quality to rival a DLSR, and in a neat package that occupies a much smaller footprint than even many smartphones, when a modern point and shoot strikes the right balance it can be a genuinely formidable photographic tool.

There are many reasons to use a point and shoot camera. Whether you’re an avid traveler looking for a lightweight and compact solution for shooting on the road or a street shooter in need of an unobtrusive and discrete camera you can keep to hand at all times and everything in between, there’s a point and shoot model out there for you.

In this guide, we take a look at the top 5 best point and shoot cameras available in 2018 and consider the most important criteria to take into account when evaluating which model to choose.

The Threat from Below

Given that most of us already walk around with point and shoot cameras in our pockets in the form of our smartphones anyway, the reality is that point and shoots are something of an endangered species. But this doesn’t mean that they no longer have their specialist uses.

Instead, their uses have simply changed. Once they were a simple auto-everything option for those unwilling or uninterested in getting too deep into the technical side of photography. Now a point and shoot is a much more specialized niche for the serious enthusiast in need of a highly portable solution that will still produce top quality results.

Once upon a time, the advantage of a point and shoot was mainly just its portability, with image quality and features remaining something of an afterthought. But now a good point and shoot camera is one that offers some advantage – be this superior image quality or more sophisticated features – over the increasingly impressive cameras that smartphones have.  

Squeezed from all Sides

However, the point and shoot’s already narrow terrain is not only being eroded from below by smartphones, but pressure is also being applied from above, as DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras become smaller and more lightweight. And the argument that once a point and shoot has exceeded a certain size and weight, it would be better just to purchase a DSLR is certainly a convincing one.

Indeed, it makes little sense to accept the disadvantages typically associated with point and shoot cameras – not being able to use interchangeable lenses for example – if you’re not enjoying any of their advantages either. If the necessity to outdo smartphone cameras on image quality means that a point and shoot is almost as big and bulky as a DSLR, then it seems fair to ask why we wouldn’t just go for a DSLR and be done with it?

Clearly, the best point and shoot camera in 2018 is one that convincingly occupies this narrow strip of ground between the ever-growing sensor-size of high-end smartphones and the increasingly slim and lightweight options emerging from the Mirrorless and DSLR camps. In theory, we can already exclude any camera that produces inferior quality images just as we can strike off our list all those point and shoots that cannot easily be slipped into a pocket. While that leaves us with a very small niche, it’s thankfully one offering some extremely interesting options.

Back to the Old School

But hold on a second! We’re making quite an assumption here. Not everyone who wants to take photos owns a smartphone. Sure, those without a smartphone are in a clear minority in today’s world. But with increasing concern over data privacy, and even many high-flying and high-earning individuals choosing to go off-line, this is a minority that is perhaps set to grow significantly.

This being the case, we’ve also included in our list what we consider to be the best point and shoot camera for those just looking for a basic snapshot-recording tool to keep in the bottom of their bag. Cheap and cheerful, but unlikely to produce any award-winning masterpieces, our recommendation for the best old-school point and shoot would make the perfect companion for a classic Nokia handset and a chunky old iPod.

The Point and Shoot, Gentrified

That single, entry-level recommendation aside though, the emphasis here is on sophisticated, large-sensor cameras that blow even top of the range smartphones out of the water on image quality. But without feeling like a ball and chain when carried around all day. What we’re looking for here is something that could just as easily serve as a sole camera for producing candid and dynamic photos in a wide range of contexts as it would be suited for use as a second body in situations where a DSLR might prove too intimidating or intrusive for your subjects.

This shift in emphasis from just convenience, to convenience plus quality and features, means that the particular model, or models, that we recommend as the best point and shoot cameras today may be markedly different to those that took the top spot only a few years ago.

Nowhere is this more evident than in terms of price. Point and shoot cameras were once the cheap option for the casual amateur. But as they’ve become more of a niche product, aimed at the serious enthusiast or itinerant professional, you’ll now likely pay as much for a point and shoot as for an entry-level DSLR. If not considerably more.


1. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R II

Pros:

+ 42 MP full-frame image sensor

+ Sharp, 35mm Zeiss lens

+ Maximum aperture of f/2

+ Pop-up electronic viewfinder

+ Easy and accessible controls

+ Shoots RAW

+ Antialiasing filter can be switched off

Cons:

– No built-in flash

– Fixed, non-zoom lens

– Poor battery life

– No 4K video

– No touch-screen

Combining maximum image quality with extreme portability and ease of use, the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II is a slim, palm-sized point and shoot packing an incredible 42-megapixel full-frame sensor.

Sony pitches the RX1R II as a “the ultimate professional compact camera.” Although this may seem like a contradiction in terms, with its highly usable 35mm fixed lens and quick and easy controls, the RX1R II is certainly a fantastic all-purpose photographic tool. Indeed, while not cheap, and facing stiff competition from models by Leica and Fujifilm, the RX1R II is arguably the best point and shoot camera out there right now.

Sensor and Image Quality

With a full-frame 42 MP CMOS image sensor, it will come as no surprise to discover that the RX1R II produces outstanding quality images. Additionally, the RX1R II’s low pass (antialiasing) filter can be switched off for even sharper photos. However, bear in mind that deactivating the antialiasing filter will potentially leave images at risk of moiré when photographing scenes featuring intricate geometric patterns.

Images produced by the RX1R II exhibit fine grain and excellent detail right through to ISO 12800. Beyond this point however, some slight noise starts to become noticeable, even when shooting in RAW format. Nonetheless, with a fast maximum aperture, there’s very little reason why anyone would need to shoot at such high ISOs in the first place.

Size and Weight

Although by no means the smallest point and shoot we look at here, when you consider the incredible quality images the RX1R II is capable of producing, this thing is positively minute. In practice, this means dimensions of 2.6 by 4.5 by 2.8 inches and a weight of 1.1 pounds – roughly the same weight as a bag of coffee, only considerably smaller.

Optics and Focus

As if the top-class CMOS image sensor were not enough, the RX1R II features a pin-sharp Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f/2 lens. Maximum aperture is a very respectable f/2 and, unusually for a camera within this range, can be shut down as far as f/22.

However, while center sharpness is consistently good across the board, there’s some noticeable softness towards the edges – the sharpest results will be had when shooting between f/5.6 and f/11. Another minor gripe is that the lens exhibits noticeable barrel distortion. Although this can, of course, be fixed fairly easily in post.

The RX1R II features a physical aperture ring on the lens, alongside a control for selecting macro mode. AF is fast and there’s also a handy little dial on the front of the camera for switching between manual and autofocus settings.

If there’s one thing beyond image resolution that makes this camera stand out, it’s how nearly every essential function can quickly be accessed by using dials and controls on the body itself, without the need to go digging deep into menus. This makes operation extremely fast: precisely what you want from a point and shoot.

WiFi

WiFi is present and correct, allowing both remote control of the camera and the easy transferal of images to other devices.

LCD and Viewfinder

The 3-inch 1,228k-dot resolution LCD  is bright and easy to view even in direct sunlight. The screen offers a limited amount of up and down tilt but doesn’t pivot out to the side for photographing around corners or shooting selfies.

Meanwhile, one of the more significant upgrades from previous models in the series is the addition of a pop-up EVF. And with a resolution of 2.4-million dots, the viewfinder is exceptionally sharp and clear.

Video

Sadly the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II doesn’t offer 4K video but instead tops out at 1080p, available at 24, 30, 60, or 120 fps. While this may come as a disappointment, bear in mind that none of the cameras we look at here offer 4K. So let’s just say that video is not the point and shoot’s strongest point.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera
  • 42.4MP Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 35mm F2.0 ZEISS Sonnar T lens with macro capability
  • World's first user-selectable optical variable low-pass filter
  • Fast Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points
  • Retractable 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder w/ ZEISS T coating


2. Fujifilm X100F

Fujifilm X100F

Pros:

+ Pocket-sized dimensions

+ 24 MP megapixel APS-C sensor

+ Shoots RAW

+ Maximum aperture of f/2

+ WiFi

+ Optical viewfinder

+ Built-in flash

+ Easily customizable functions and controls

Cons:

– No 4K video

– Fixed, non-zoom lens

The Fujifilm X100F is an attractive, retro-styled point and shoot, reminiscent of the classic age of 35mm film cameras. Offering an impressive 24 MP sensor with a versatile 35mm equivalent lens, there’s a lot to like here.

Sensor and Image Quality

Packing a 24 MP sensor and improved processing power when compared with previous models, the X100F produces impressive noise-free images, even at relatively high ISOs. Indeed, in terms of results, there’s very little reason to go for an entry-level DSLR over the X100F.

Size and Weight

The X100F weighs barely a pound and measures a mere 2.9 by 5.0 by 2.1 inches, making it a truly discrete and portable option. And this is despite the fact that its 24 MP sensor makes it a higher resolution camera than many considerably bulkier DLSR options.

Optics and Focus

The X100F’s  23mm lens is approximately equivalent to a 35mm focal length in the full-frame format, offering an excellent compromise between standard 50mm and wider 28mm points of view. Those upgrading from a smartphone – which typically feature ultra-wide lenses – might at first find the narrower field of vision somewhat restrictive. However, I think that if a camera must have a fixed lens, then 35mm is a much more useful focal length than a 28mm. Lenses of 28mm and beyond invariably leave the subject very small in the frame, and with their distorted perspective tend to dominate every scene they photograph.

The lens is fast and versatile, offering apertures from F/2 through to f/16 with a physical aperture ring on the front of the lens itself, further adding to the old-school manual feel. With up to 325 focus points available, AF is also fast, efficient, and highly customizable. Closest focusing distance is 3.9 inches, making the camera quite suitable for macro work (although bear in mind that the moderately wide fixed 35mm lens won’t make this camera anybody’s first choice for macro photography).

Some softness is detectable towards the corners of images, but central sharpness is overall very good, especially when shooting somewhere between f/2.8 and f/11.

WiFi

The X100F comes with onboard WiFi, allowing both easy remote operation via an Android or iOS app and the quick transferring of images to smartphones and other devices for sharing on social media.

LCD and Viewfinder

The bright, sharp 3-inch display is not touch-sensitive but easily navigable via the joystick controls on the back of the camera. Additionally, users have the option to switch between either an optical or digital viewfinder, with the latter permitting you to visualize how your final image will look once processed with any film simulation option you may wish to apply.

Video

While not capable of shooting 4K, the Fujifilm X100F's 1080p footage is nonetheless sharp and attractive looking. The lack of lens stabilization doesn’t make this the ideal solution for video anyway, unless used with a tripod or gimbal stabilizer.

Sale
Fujifilm X100F 24.3 MP APS-C Digital Camera-Black
  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with no low-pass filter and X-Processor Pro
  • 8 way focus lever + the number of focusing points has been expanded from 49 in previous models to 91 (up to 325 points).
  • Built-in Iso dial, incorporated into the shutter speed dial. LCD monitor: 3.0-inch, aspect ratio 3:2, approx
  • AF mode(single / Zone / wide-tracking). New np-w126s lithium battery.Battery life for movies : Consecutive movie recording : approx. 80 min. (Face detection is set to OFF) Individual movies cannot exceed approx. 14 min. on Full HD mode, and approx. 27 min. on HD mode in length
  • Focus distance : Approx. 10cm - Infinity / 3.9 inch - Infinity


3. Leica Q

Leica Q

Pros:

+ Full frame image sensor

+ Fast AF

+ Shoots RAW

+ Sharp 28mm lens

+ Maximum aperture of f/1.7

+ Touch-screen

+ WiFi

Cons:

– Fixed, non-zoom lens

– Relatively heavy and bulky

– No built-in flash

– No 4K video (yet)

Sturdily built, and boasting a full-frame sensor behind premium-grade optics, the Leica Q is an intimidating contender for the title of the best point and shoot camera of 2018. Just be aware that you could buy a top of the range DSLR for the same price.

Sensor and Image Quality

The Leica Q comes with a 24 MP CMOS sensor, with no antialiasing filter: making for some very sharp images indeed. And don’t forget that we’re talking 24 megapixels on full-frame here, so the effective image resolution is far superior to the same 24 MP spec as stated for a camera such as the Fujifilm X100F (above).

Size and Weight

The extra image sensor real estate comes at a corresponding cost in bulk and weight, as the Q is by far the biggest and heaviest of all the cameras we look at here, measuring 3.2 by 5.1 by 3.7 inches and weighing 1.4 pounds.

Optics and Focus

Leica has always been synonymous with superior optics, and the Q is no expectation, featuring as it does a 28mm Summilux f/1.7 lens that produces enviably sharp images. And while a wide angle lens will never allow for an exceptionally shallow depth of field, the full-frame sensor and fast maximum aperture go some way towards compensating for this. Consequently, a certain amount of pleasing bokeh is present when shooting with the lens wide open.

A 28mm will never be my first choice of lens. In fact, I only ever use one if there is genuinely no other way of including all the necessary information in the frame. While this will not be an issue for many people, for those who share my prejudice, the Leica Q offers a solution of sorts: the user can select a magnified crop mode, allowing you to shoot on a simulated 35mm or 50mm lens.

All the Q is doing here is zooming in on an image shot with the 28mm (in fact, even if you choose to shoot in crop mode, your RAW files will still show the full 28mm field of view). This is something you could easily do for yourself after the fact, with the advantage of choosing the precise crop from the comfort of your own home.

And naturally, just as if you were to crop and compose in the editing stage, zooming into the image like this reduces effective image resolution. For example, using the simulated 35mm lens gives you files of only 15 MP and drops even further to 7.5 MP when shooting at 50mm. In short, if you want a narrower field of vision, your top of the range Leica now produces files with a resolution that’s little or no better than a smartphone. Given the price of the camera, this strikes me as a rather unconvincing gimmick.

This issue aside, when shooting with the 28mm field of view uncropped, lens performance is excellent, producing sharp images throughout the aperture range, with only some slight fall-off towards the edges. Shooting can be done in either AF or MF mode, both of which are fast and precise (faster even than the Canon Rx1R II, above). Finally, the aperture is selected using a ring on the lens itself and a second ring allows selection of the macro function, permitting shooting as close as 6.7 inches.

WiFi

WiFi is highly efficient, and its activation can be assigned to user-selected buttons for convenience, making this a fast camera not only in terms of shooting but also connectivity.

LCD and Viewfinder

Despite being the overall largest camera we look at here, the Q’s LCD is no larger than any of its competitors in the point and shoot category. However, as it is plenty sharp and bright, the 3-inch touch screen will not leave you wanting.

While many photographers still prefer the “direct” access to reality provided by an optical viewfinder, at 3.7-million dots, the Leica Q’s EVF is one of the clearest and sharpest around and can be calibrated to the user’s eye.

Video

With footage possible up to 1080p60 and onboard stabilization, the Leica Q is a moderately better option for video than some of the other point and shoots we look at here. Although the camera’s designers have stated that they hope to introduce 4K capability at some point once this is feasible, so far this promised improvement has yet to materialize.

Still, few people in their right mind would buy a point and shoot camera exclusively for making videos. Aside from the quality of footage itself, these smaller cameras tend to lack a lot of the most basic video features that are standard with even many of the cheapest DSLRs, such as an external mic socket, which is indeed the case here.

Leica Q 24.2 Megapixel Digital 35 MM Compact Camera (Black, Anodized, TYP 116)
  • 24.2 MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Leica Maestro II Image Processor
  • Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 ASPH Lens
  • 3.68 MP LCOS Integrated Electronic Viewfinder
  • 3.0" 1,040k-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor


4. Ricoh GR II

Ricoh GR II

Pros:

+ Pocket-sized dimensions

+ 16-megapixel APS-C sensor

+ Shoots RAW

+ Good remote control via WiFi

+ Sharp 3 inch LCD

+ Built-in flash

Cons:

– Fixed, non-zoom lens

– WiFi connectivity is poor

– No viewfinder

– Mediocre video facilities

The Ricoh GR II is a subtle update on the already very popular GR: considered by many to be the best street photography camera around. Minimally styled, and simple to shoot with, it’s a great little camera at a competitive price.

Sensor and Image Quality

The main draw of this camera is its excellent APS-C sensor, producing 16-megapixel images that are consistently sharp across the frame even at f/2.8. Photos are noise free up to 800 ISO and perfectly acceptable through to 3200 ISO. Beyond this point, there’s a sharp falloff in quality with digital noise becoming quite apparent.

Size and Weight

Measuring 2.5 by 4.6 by 1.4 inches, there’s an awful lot packed into a very small space here. This thing is tiny! And while the distinguishing mark of the pro-photographer is often acute lumbago, at a mere 8.9 ounces the GR II cannot realistically take the blame even for causing wrist pain, never mind putting your back out of place.

Given that the size of the sensor is the same as in many entry-level DSLR cameras, the GR II strikes an excellent balance between high-resolution imagery and extreme portability.

Optics and Focus

While some will love the 28mm (full frame equivalent) lens, a signature of the GR range of cameras, others will find this too wide for the majority of everyday shooting situations. Sure, a 28mm will guarantee that you get everything in shot most of the time, even in restricted spaces such as interiors. But it’ll also leave the average subject sitting very small in the frame.

If there’s one tip that would improve the average beginner’s photos, it’s ditching wide angles altogether and getting in close: cutting out all extra information. A 28mm lens certainly has its place, but shooting portraits or photographing the average street scene is generally not it. From this point of view, with its slightly shorter focal-length lens, the Fujifilm X100T makes for a better alternative to the GR II.

WiFi

On paper at least, the GR II improves on its predecessor with the addition of WiFi connectivity. However, this isn’t quite the radical evolutionary leap it might first appear to be. Yes, control of the camera’s functions from a smartphone app via WiFi works very well, and many people will likely find this feature very handy. But having gone to the trouble of adding WiFi to the GR, it seems strange that Ricoh hasn’t made more of an effort to take full advantage of the technology in allowing people to conveniently and effortlessly get their images off the camera without having to use a card reader.

Triggering the shutter via WiFi remote may be useful, but considerably more people will want to send a few photos to their tablet or other devices for uploading to social media than will need to do fancy trigger-shots from a distance. To be totally clear here, WiFi image transfer is entirely possible with the GR II; it’s just unnecessarily laborious and inconvenient.

Image transfer performance can be massively improved with the purchase of an Eyefi card. Just bear in mind that this add-on will set you back almost 50% of the initial cost of the camera itself. So if batch transfer via WiFi is a deal breaker for you, it might be better to go for a camera that is better specced in this department right from the outset.

LCD

As there is no viewfinder, the 3 inch LCD on the back of the GR II is not only for reviewing the images you’ve shot but also for framing them as you shoot. Thankfully the screen is very sharp and bright, so you’ll encounter little difficulty in this department, even in strong sunlight.

Video

While the Ricoh GR II's video performance is acceptable as a secondary feature, you certainly wouldn’t want to buy the GR II expressly for shooting video: this is primarily a stills camera.

Sale
Ricoh GR II Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
  • Battery Life(Approximately) - 320 shots for Still image or 190 minutes for Playback or 45 minutes for recording movies. Continuous shooting approximately 4 frame per second
  • The GR II comes equipped with Wi-Fi functions for wireless connection with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It is also compatible with NFC (Near Field Communication) functions for easy pairing with mobile devices
  • The advanced GR ENGINE V imaging engine offers high-sensitivity shooting with minimal noise and the GR II's anti-aliasing filter-less design produces supremely high resolution, color-rich images.
  • Capture both JPG and open-standard DNG RAW images. The GR II offers a variety of computer-free image processing functions, including in-body RAW-data development to output JPEG format files.
  • Capture full HD video in widescreen 1080p resolution with h.264 compression @ 30 frames per second. The Autofocus system remains active with movement as the camera continuously focuses subjects in the center of its angle of view..Lens Construction :7 elements in 5 groups (2 aspherical lens elements)


5. Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS

Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS

Pros:

+ Pocket-sized dimensions

+ 20 MP image sensor

+ 10 x zoom lens

+ Optical image stabilization

+ WiFi

+ Built-in flash

+ Face detection

+ Easy Auto mode

Cons:

– No true manual mode

– Slow maximum aperture

– 2.7 inch LCD

If you came to our guide looking for a snap-happy and worry-free alternative to a smartphone camera, this is the model for you: pocketable, cheap, easy to use, and boasting an impressive 10 x zoom lens. The only real drawback is that the ability to zoom comes with a significant compromise in maximum aperture, making the Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS less suitable for low-light photography than the average smartphone.

Sensor and Image Quality

In terms of megapixels, the ELPH 190 IS’s 20 MP image sensor is comparable to a mid-to-top end smartphone camera (although it falls far short of the Nokia Lumia 1020, which boasts twice the pixel count). However, the sensor being of the older CCD variety, rather than CMOS, images display a fair amount of noise.

Images are nonetheless well defined at slow ISOs, but display a certain amount of blurring when used beyond 400 ISO due to the camera’s built-in noise reduction software.

Size and Weight

The ELPH 190 IS is a truly pocketable, portable, point and shoot. Indeed, at 2.2 by 3.8 by 0.9 inches, and weighing only 4.9 ounces, they don’t come much slimmer or lighter than this.

Optics and Focus

The ELPH 190’s zoom is equivalent to an impressive 24 – 240mm zoom range in full-frame format. As with most zoom lenses, though, what you gain in focal length you lose in light-sensitivity: the ELPH 190 can only muster a variable aperture of  f/3 to f/6.9, meaning it’s not a great choice for handheld night photography without the use of a flash. Be aware that there’s unlikely to be a single smartphone on the market today that doesn’t outperform this. But then again, they won’t come with a 10 x zoom.

Also, be aware that the edges of images are noticeably soft throughout the aperture range. Though certainly no more so than with other comparably-priced point and shoots.

Despite a real lack of selectable AF points,the focus is nonetheless fairly quick and accurate. However, once the shutter is partially pressed, focus locks to a position and will keep that position if you continue to fire off further frames. This means it’s not ideally suited to burst shooting of moving subjects, where the desired focus point is likely to shift in relation to the camera.

WiFi

Given that most people who will potentially be interested in this camera won’t own a smartphone, Canon has done well to include decent onboard WiFi capability, allowing users to transfer images to another device for sharing online easily.

LCD

As this is the smallest camera we look at here, it should come as no huge surprise that the ELPH 190 is also a little less well-endowed when it comes to the LCD too, measuring as it does only 2.7 inches. The screen is also not especially sharp and nor is it touch-sensitive. None of these issues will stop you using the camera effectively though, and the LCD is plenty bright enough to get the job done.

Video

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 IS's video capability is a decidedly weedy 720p at a maximum of 30fps – inferior even to most modern smartphones. On the plus side, the camera’s built-in optical image stabilization keeps footage relatively shake free, even when using longer zoom settings.

Sale
Canon Cameras US 1084C001 Canon PowerShot ELPH 190 Digital Camera w/10x Optical Zoom and Image Stabilization - Wi-Fi & NFC Enabled (Black)
  • 10x Optical Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer helps you capture images with flexibility and ease
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC allows for easy sharing and transferring of images and videos
  • 20.0 Megapixel CCD sensor combines with the DIGIC 4+ Image Processor to help deliver stunning image quality. Shooting Capacity- Approx. 190 shots. Approx. 245 shots in ECO Mode. Video Recording Time- Approx. 50 min
  • 720p HD video capabilities. Hi-Speed USB (Mini-B); direct connection to Canon SELPHY, PIXMA Photo Printers & PictBridge compatible printers
  • Smart AUTO intelligently selects the proper settings based on predefined shooting situations


Final Thoughts

The one area where DSLRs – even quite cheap DSLRs – often beat even the best point and shoot cameras is in regards to lenses: although many of the models we recommend here come with very sharp glass, this often tends to be of the fixed rather than zoomable variety. If you only ever shoot on a 28mm or 35mm lens, clearly this is not an issue that will concern you. But for those photographers who prefer a 50mm, or want to have the option of switching focal length to suit the particular situation, a DSLR or Mirrorless camera might be the better option for you in the end.

The matter of lenses has also played a considerable part in influencing our ranking of the point and shoot cameras under review here. Given Leica’s reputation as a premium manufacturer, the reader can be forgiven for expecting to find the Leica Q in our number one spot. The fact that it is to be found further down the list reflects both its lens and its asking price.

As with Mac computers and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Leicas have shifted in status from simply being precision-made machines designed to meet specific practical needs, to become luxury fashion accessories. Not that they were ever cheap, but their appeal was once much more confined to professional photographers in the know than it is today, where they’ve become almost the photographic equivalent of a Louis Vuitton handbag.

This isn’t to suggest that a corresponding loss in quality has accompanied increased prestige and widespread public awareness of the brand. Nonetheless, I would encourage anyone considering purchasing a Leica to establish that their enthusiasm genuinely reflects the fact that it’s the best camera for their needs, rather than merely the early harbinger of a midlife crisis.

The Leica Q is undoubtedly a very good camera; in fact, it’s objectively the best one we look at here. And its optics are, unsurprisingly, also of the utmost quality. But at that price, so they should be.

Personally, I doubt that I’d ever be willing to spend such a large sum of money on any fixed-lens camera. The fact that in this case the lens also happens to be of a particularly wide variety only serves to rule out the Q altogether in my book – no matter how good it may be otherwise.

I realize however that this is a highly subjective, and not altogether uncontroversial, opinion. And if you’re the kind of street shooter who never uses any focal length other than a 28mm, clearly you’re more likely to drool at the prospect of finding such a piece of glass attached to so impressively specced a body. In this case, then yes, the Leica Q is going to be the best point and shoot camera for you. At least assuming you can afford it.

For everyone else, we’d argue that the Leica Q is an unnecessary status symbol, one that ultimately will not make you a better photographer. Here our advice would be to save your money and go for either the Sony Cyber-shot RX1R II or the Fujifilm X100F. Both are among the absolute best point and shoot cameras available today, and while certainly not cheap, are a lot closer to qualifying for this title than any Leica will ever get.

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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