It points. It shoots. It has a ridiculous number of megapixels. And it makes phone calls. It’s your smartphone, and with so much camera power, you might think dedicated point-and-shoots have been outmoded. But some of the new digital cameras out there can do things your smartphone can’t—plus they look great, and your snaps will never be interrupted by a call from your mom. Here are three cameras worth tossing in your tote, right next to your smartphone.
Ever notice that it’s hard to get a good cellphone shot in low light? That’s because a camera needs, among other things, a good sensor to make that happen. Your phone’s innards are already full up with tech that makes its computer run, so it’s no wonder it can’t fit a great big sensor, too. I had the pleasure of testing the Canon PowerShot G9X, which has a nice-sized 1” sensor, yet the whole camera isn’t much bigger than a pack of playing cards. It even features silver and tan retro styling. And as a bonus, it has built-in Wi-Fi, so you can upload pics just as you would with your phone.
Now in its fourth (and most expensive) edition, Sony’s Cyber-shot RX100 IV is known for taking outstandingly sharp video. That does mean that its battery life is shorter than some other cameras’, but if you’re the type that likes to shoot videos with your phone—the kind that become pixellated messes when viewed larger than a postage stamp—then the extra time spent charging this camera’s batteries will be worth it. The little camera also has a fun pop-up viewfinder and is noted for its fast shutter speed for continuous shooting, so you could not only take impressive videos but create some stop-motion movies if you felt ambitious.
The Panasonic Lumix ZS100 is the Cyber-shot RX100 IV’s direct competition. While the Cyber-shot’s video is its standout quality, the Lumix gets attention for its exceptional 10x zoom ability, which is particularly impressive given the camera’s small size. I could picture throwing this into my bag on a light hike and pulling it out to snap a shot of a beautiful bird or a distant tree on a hill. Like the Canon PowerShot, it has a 1” sensor, so you’ll also get nice pictures in lower light—perfect for shooting glowing sunsets or napping kids.
Did I miss your favorite compact camera? Hit me with your best shot, in the comments!