There are so many digital cameras on the market with so many varying features and specs, it can be difficult to know which is best for you. But one person’s treasure camera is someone else’s trash. Here are our best small digital cameras rated by feature.
Best Zoom Function
Though cameras will tout their digital zoom capability, always look for the optical zoom length when choosing a small digital camera. Optical zoom allows for the lens to capture what you see by actually bringing the lens closer to the image. A digital zoom punches in the image by cropping it, allowing for more digital grain. The Canon PowerShot SX280 is our top choice for zoom function, with a 20x optical zoom and a price point that doesn’t crop your finances.
Best Creative Filters
Most compact cameras offer a myriad of creative filter options in-camera. These make it easy to shoot interesting photos in varying conditions. Most compact models are Wi-Fi enabled for sharing, but be sure to scope out the menus to satisfy your artistic side. Look for fisheye, panorama, tilt-shift (miniature), self-timer, facial detection, red-eye removal, and GPS options. Our top choice is the Samsung WB800F, one of the only cameras in its class with all the above features. It also has a wide array of in-camera artistic editing options, boasts a 21x optical zoom, and can shoot 1080p HD video.
Best Low-Light Capabilities
Shooting on a compact camera will always have its drawbacks, and one of them is the prevalence of digital noise when shooting in low-light situations. If you’re planning on using your small digital camera for mostly indoor or late-night situations, you may have to shell out a bit more to get what you need. Be sure to look for a camera that has a flash you feel comfortable with—some users dislike pop-up flashes as they can be cumbersome or fragile. Our top choice for low-light shooting is the slightly more expensive Sony RX100, which many consider the best compact digital camera on the market in 2014. Its sensor is larger than most compact cameras, can shoot at an aperture of 1.8, and has a 20.2 megapixel resolution. It can also shoot in full 1080 HD video.