Holiday Guide: Best Point and Shoot Cameras of 2013

by Reads (102)

This rapidly improving class of cameras includes both compact and “ultra-compact” systems that are primarily designed for quick and simple operation. Most of these cameras feature auto-focus-only lenses, various exposure options and a built-in flash.

Sometimes a Point and Shoot is all you want. Being able to slip a sleek, slim line camera into your pocket for a night on the town or a family get together is convenient and easy. Where DSLR’s can seem large and intimidating, point and shoots allow subjects to be relaxed and easily photographed. Also, more of the point and shoots are equipped with Wi-Fi technology making it easy to post your pictures to social media and image hosting websites. Check out our selection of top point and shoot cameras for this holiday season.

If you don’t see the perfect camera in the list we’ve provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our “What Camera Should I Buy?” discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best camera for you.

#1 Fujifilm X20

I love, love, love the Fuji X20. The manual zoom lens is perfect for those that shoot DSLRs. And the Fuji colors bring your image to life. The Fuji X20 comes equipped with an advanced 12MP 2/3 inch X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and the EXR Processor II to deliver the world’s fastest autofocus speeds in its class. The X20 also receives a new, advanced optical viewfinder. Additionally, a highly randomized and unique color filter array on the new sensor eliminates the need for an optical low-pass filter. The X20, like the X100S, has been given an Intelligent Hybrid Autofocus system that allows the camera to switch between phase and contrast detection to achieve the best image. 

The Fuji X20 uses the premium FUJINON F2.0-2.8 4x manual zoom lens. The lens also offers Super Macro Mode where users can get as close as 0.39 inches from a subject. The X20 has a 2.8-inch LCD screen with 460k dots. Like the X100S, Fuji also left the “Q” button function on this camera which allows users to easily access frequently used menu items.

The Fuji X20 is available for $550. Don’t need the new viewfinder? Check out the Fuji X10. It’s available for as little as $340! That’s a steal of a deal for this awesome camera.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10 (initial reaction)

Read the Fujifilm X20 Image Gallery (review in progress)

#2 Canon G15

Up until I reviewed the X20, the Canon G15 was my favorite point and shoot camera. What sent the X20 over the top in my opinion? The manual zoom lens and the beautiful Fuji colors.

But the Canon G15 is also a fantastic choice for a great point and shoot camera. The camera features a 12.1-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor with the latest generation Digic 5 Image Processor. This sensor is on the larger size for point and shoot cameras. Also, the Digic 5 has some pretty significant improvements over the last version. The Processor has increased speed and power. It also has improved noise reduction to help the camera reduce grain in high ISO images. 

The camera offers a ton of manual functionality for those that require it, but also can be used easily by those that don’t. The G15 is available for $450. Want Wi-Fi? Go for the new G16. It’s practically the same camera as the G15 with Wi-Fi added. It sells for $550.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Canon G15 Review

#3 Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100

Sony describes the RX100 as the new flagship of their compact digital line. The camera carries a newly designed 1.0-inch Exmor CMOS sensor (13.2 x 8.8 mm), the same physical size as the sensors in the Nikon 1 system cameras. But while the Nikon sensors carry 10 megapixels of resolution, Sony has squeezed 20.2 megapixels onto the RX100 sensor. The camera also features a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD monitor, offers fully automatic, scene and full manual shooting modes, full 1080 HD video and a 10 frame per second (fps) continuous shooting rate at full resolution. Images may be captured in JPEG, RAW or RAW/JPEG formats.

The stellar video and sound quality put this camera in the top five list. Very few point and shoots can offer the quality and sleek design packed into this small, but formidable camera. The Sony RX100 is available for $600 and it’s a beauty.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 Review

#4 Olympus TG-2

I never dreamt I would love a rugged camera–that was until I reviewed the Olympus TG-2.

Olympus decided to change the “rugged camera game” with their newest addition–the TG-2. I knew this would be a good camera when I first saw it at CES. But I didn’t realize how much I would love it until it was shipped to me for a full review. I immediately knew this was not your typical rugged camera. The TG-2 performs with the precision and speed of Olympus’ top rated cameras. It has a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 3-inch OLED screen. But the best part of this camera is the bright f/2.0 lens (an exceptional feature for a Point and Shoot at this price point) that does a great job of capturing images with good depth, color and contrast. It has a 4 times optical zoom and a 4 times digital zoom (if you absolutely must use it).

The Olympus TG-2 sells for $360 and is worth every penny. 

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Olympus TG-2 Review

#5 Samsung EX2F

The Samsung EX2F is an attractively understated camera with an 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor. It is small enough to be dropped in a jacket pocket and light enough to be used all day without fatigue. The EX2F features a robustly constructed magnesium body over a light-weight metal alloy frame.  The EX2F’s build quality is reminiscent of the precision machining and iconic mechanical engineering of premium quality German cameras from the fifties – it was clearly manufactured to withstand the rigors of heavy use.

The 12 megapixel Samsung EX2F is a well built imaging tool that was obviously designed for serious photographers. No worries, though, if you are not already a great photographer. This camera will make it easy to take a fantastic image. The Samsung EX2F sells for $320. It’s the least expensive camera in this category. Make no mistake. This camera is well built for years of use.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Samsung EX2F Review

Want to know which cameras are tops in the minds of DigitalCameraReview‘s readers? Check out our Most Popular Cameras list, based on traffic across our site!

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