The best compact cameras in 2024: top quality cameras you can to take anywhere

The best compact cameras are perfect as a 'second' camera for DSLR or mirrorless camera owners who want to travel light now and again. They give little away in features or image quality, but they are small enough to slip into a jacket pocket. These are the ones we rate the highest.

With this guide, we have picked compact cameras that nevertheless have sensors large enough for high-quality images and the mix of automatic and manual controls that enthusiasts and experts will be looking for, and that we are used to getting in a DSLR or mirrorless camera. If you want something cheaper and simpler, we've got that covered too in our guide to the best point-and-shoot cameras.

The key point about 'compact' cameras is that the lenses are not interchangeable. The lens is built in which saves you having to think about which lenses to invest in and which lenses to pack. 

Sebastian Oakley

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.

The Quick List

The best compact cameras in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best compact camera overall

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
Best overall compact camera

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.3MP
Lens: 23mm f/2
Monitor: 3in tilting LCD, 1,620,000 dots
Viewfinder: Hybrid optical/EVF
Continuous shooting: 11fps
Max video resolution: 4K UHD
User level: Expert

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful design and controls
+
Sharper, closer focusing lens
+
Hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder

Reasons to avoid

-
Quite expensive
-
Prime lens only, no zoom
-
In short supply 

The Fujifilm X100V is styled like a classic rangefinder camera and is the latest model in a highly successful line. It has a new, sharper lens than previous X100 models, in order to do full justice to the latest sensor, and the tilting touchscreen on the back makes this camera much easier to use at awkward angles, without compromising its slimline design. The improved autofocus and 4K video capabilities bring this classic camera design right up to date and making it our best compact overall.

The X100V has external lens aperture, shutter speed, and ISO dials which, for those raised on film cameras like much of the DCW team, are just wonderful to use – and it's amazing how they encourage all the key exposure skills we still need but which are easily forgotten about with 'P' modes and digital interfaces. It also has a clever hybrid optical/digital viewfinder which is not just super bright and clear but lag-free too.

Read our full Fujifilm X100V review

Best compact camera for YouTube

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
Best for YouTube

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Supplied mic windshield
+
Super-fast AF
+
Vari-angle screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Small-ish rear screen and not 16:9
-
No viewfinder

Aimed at vloggers, the Sony ZV-1 might just look like another variant from the RX100 range but in reality, it's so much more. If you've used one of the RX100s, the sensor and lens will probably be quite familiar. 

Where this camera excels is the controls, rear screen, and body, making it perfect for YouTube. It too has the popular zoom range of 24-70mm with a variable aperture of f/1.8 - f/2.8 however, there is a big change in minimum focusing distance as you zoom which is annoying, especially if you're using it to record video.

The SteadyShot active stabilization wasn't the best however the autofocus is very impressive. It has a vari-angle, a rear tilting screen that means it's perfect for recording yourself or taking selfies and it comes with a mic-wind shield which means its audio quality even with the built-in mic is still pretty good. Unlike the Sony RX100 cameras, it doesn't have a viewfinder, but it produces high-quality images, is even better at video, and, best of all, it'll cost you less. 

Read our full Sony ZV-1 review 

Best for compact camera street photography

(Image credit: Liam Dunkley)
The best compact camera for street photographers

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: 40mm f/2.8 (equiv)
Monitor: 3-inch fixed touchscreen LCD
Viewfinder: Optional
Max video resolution: 1080p

Reasons to buy

+
Big APS-C sensor
+
Built-in ND filter
+
40mm f/2.8 lens

Reasons to avoid

-
Eye-level viewfinder costs extra
-
Only 1080p video
-
Luxury price tag

The Ricoh GR IIIx is a street-savvy version of the Ricoh GR III with a better-suited 40mm lens instead of the original 28mm. It does have a few other benefits to it including an optional 1.5x teleconverter lens which can be attached to the fixed lens for a more zoomed-in view. 

For an APS-C camera, it's incredibly compact making it ideal for street or travel photography, and with a wide f/2.8 lens, super fast eye AF plus sensor-shift stabilization, it's great for portraits too. It's pocket-sized but it's big on features boasting 2GB internal storage and built-in NDs. It truly is a compact camera aimed at photographers who want to have total control.

Read our full Ricoh GR IIIx review 

Best compact camera for stills and video

(Image credit: Panasonic)
Best compact camera for stills and video

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds
Megapixels: 17MP
Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8 (equiv.)
LCD: 3in fixed, 1,24 million dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Continuous shooting: 11fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Enthusiast/expert

Reasons to buy

+
Only compact with MFT sensor
+
Fast f/1.7-2.8 zoom lens
+
4K video, 4K Photo modes

Reasons to avoid

-
17MP is lower than some rivals

The trouble with big sensors is that you need big lenses to go with them, so there goes any kind of pocketability. Usually. But Panasonic has really hit the sweet spot with the Panasonic LX100 II giving you the best stills and video performance in a compact package. 

It combines a Micro Four Thirds sensor that's not much smaller than the APS-C sensors in mode DSLRs, with a miniaturized lens assembly that powers down into a camera body slim enough to carry around anywhere. The LX100 II is a brand new version of the original LX100, which was, admittedly, starting to show its age.

The new model has a 17-megapixel ‘multi-aspect’ sensor, which means you can use its native 4:3 aspect ratio, the 3:2 ratio used by most DSLRs and mirrorless models, or a 16:9 ‘wide’ format without losing lots of megapixels through cropping. With its external shutter speed dial, lens aperture ring, and aspect ratio switch, we just love this camera.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix LX100 II review

Best compact camera for all conditions

(Image credit: James Artaius)
Best waterproof camera overall

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.33in
Megapixels: 12MP
Lens: 25-100mm (equiv.) f/2.0-4.9
LCD: 3in, 1,040k dots
Waterproof: 15m/50ft
Shockproof: 2.1m/7ft
Freezeproof: -10ºC/14°F
Max video resolution: 4K
Colors available: Red or black

Reasons to buy

+
4K video recording
+
Generous optical zoom
+
Built-in GPS

Reasons to avoid

-
'Only' 15m waterproofing 
-
Virtually identical to its predecessor, the Olympus Tough TG-7

The Olympus TG-6 was our favorite waterproof compact camera - and this has now been reborn as the OM System TG-7. It is pretty much identical - but that is a good thing in our book, and ensures this newer version remains at the top of our recommendations for a rugged camera. Features we love include the built-in microscope setting that allows you to take amazing close-ups - and a Field Sensor System that records GPS coordinates and ambient temperature with your shots.

Producing 4K video at 30fps and offering the option to shoot Full HD video at 120fps for super-slow-motion, the TG-7 also has a generous 25-100mm optical zoom lens that lets you get closer and closer to the action. It's got an improved chunky handgrip providing a secure hold on the camera, while the internal zoom mechanism means the lens never protrudes from the body, protecting it from knocks and bumps. We found the camera straightforward but sophisticated, making the TG-7 quite simply the best waterproof camera around.

Read our full OM System Tough TG-7 review

Best compact camera for everyday photography

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
Best practical option

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1-inch
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-120mm f/1.8-2.8 (equiv.)
LCD: 3in tilting touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 30fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Enthusiast/expert

Reasons to buy

+
5x f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens
+
4K video

Reasons to avoid

-
Pop-up viewfinder feels fiddly
-
Only a 1-inch sensor

Compact cameras with prime lenses or short-range zooms can feel limiting. While a 24-72/75mm focal length is still pretty good, you'll still struggle to shoot anything that's a little way away. 

The Canon G5X Mark II comes with a zoom range that covers 24-120mm, however, and has a variable aperture of f/1.8-/2.8 which means that at the telephoto end of the zoom range, you can still use fast shutter speeds and achieve a shallow depth of field, making it the best practical solution for everyday photo taking or when you want to leave your more expensive gear at home when on your travels. 

It does have a smaller, 1-inch 20MP sensor but that can be expected with the longer zoom range. It also features 4K video, a super-fast burst mode of 30fps, and a tilting, LCD touchscreen. It has a pop-up viewfinder should you choose not to shoot in live view mode and also has a pop-up flash just in case you need some extra light. If you can live without a bigger APS-C or MFT sensor, this could be perfect.

Read our full Canon PowerShot G5 X Mark II review

Best compact camera for budget

Panasonic Lumix ZS80

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker)
Best budget compact camera for those who want a decent zoom

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1/2.3-inch CMOS
Megapixels: 20.3MP
Lens: 24-720mm equivalent, f/3.3-6.4
LCD: 3-inch, tilting 1040K-dot resolution LCD
Viewfinder: EVF
Max continuous burst mode: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Beginner / enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Massive zoom
+
4K video
+
Built-in flash

Reasons to avoid

-
Viewfinder is very small
-
Not great in low light 
-
Not a big upgrade from the SZ70/TZ90

When I worked at Wex Photo Video (a British camera retailer), the Panasonic ZS80/TZ95 was my top recommended camera for people who were after something compact, with a generous zoom that didn't break the bank. For such a tiny camera, it's hard to believe it has a zoom range of 24-720mm making it possible to shoot wide landscapes and objects far in the distance. With 4K video, a pop-up flash, a range of shooting modes you'd expect to find on a mirrorless camera or DSLR and a macro mode so you can focus as close as 3cm, it really is a jack-of-all-trades system. It might not have the fastest burst mode but at 10fps it's plenty quick enough if you're mostly looking for a camera to take on holiday or as an upgrade from your camera phone. 

Read our full Panasonic Lumix ZS80/TZ95 review

Best compact camera for stills only

(Image credit: Future)
Best compact camera for just stills

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: APS-C
Megapixels: 24.2MP
Lens: 24-72mm f/2.8-5.6 (equiv.)
LCD: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1.04 million dots
Viewfinder: EVF
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7fps
Max video resolution: Full HD
User level: Enthusiast/expert

Reasons to buy

+
Very compact for sensor size
+
Excellent image quality
+
Useful 3x zoom range

Reasons to avoid

-
Just f/5.6 at full zoom
-
No 4K video

The Canon G1 X Mark III might be pretty pricey but it's practically a DSLR in a compact body. It boasts an impressive 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, the same sensor you'll find in the Canon EOS 80D DSLR making this compact a great stills-only option.

The lens has a versatile 24-72mm focal range and retracts into the camera to make it perfectly pocket-sized when you're not using it. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a fixed aperture, so at 24mm you can shoot as wide open as f/2.8 but at 72mm the aperture will drop down to f/5.6, which isn't great.

The G1 X Mark III can only shoot 1080P video, not 4K, but that doesn't bother us much as it's not what we would buy it for. It can shoot at 7fps in continuous burst mode and has wifi connectivity for transferring images on the go. 

We do like this flagship PowerShot a lot, and the only thing putting us off is that it's been out for a while but the price has barely shifted. Maybe that's because of how good it is!

Read our Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III review

Best compact camera with a 1-inch sensor

(Image credit: Gavin Stoker/Digital Camera World)
Best compact camera with 1-inch sensor

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-72mm f/1.4-2.8
LCD: 3in tilting, 1,040k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
Max video resolution: 4K
User level: Intermediate/expert

Reasons to buy

+
F/1.4 max. aperture (at wideangle)
+
Swift and accurate AF system

Reasons to avoid

-
No electronic viewfinder
-
No proper grip

The Panasonic LX15, which goes by the name LX10 in North America, lacks a viewfinder, and rather than including a Micro Four Thirds sensor it has a smaller 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor which will reduce image resolution and performance.

However, it is capable of recording 4K video and it has a super-responsive touch screen which makes focusing really easy. It has a zoom range of 24-72mm and a really fast variable aperture of f/1.4-2.0, making it the fastest compact zoom lens available. 

Overall, it's a great little camera that has a perfect balance of features, performance, and pricing. It's small enough to fit in a pocket but is powerful enough to take some stunning photos. It's just that... having used both, we'd rather pay the extra for the LX100 II.

Read our full Panasonic Lumix LX10 review

Best compact camera for megapixels

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)
Best compact camera for megapixels

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor size: Full frame
Megapixels: 60MP
Lens: 28mm, f/1.7
LCD: 3in flip touchscreen
Viewfinder: EVF
Continuous shooting: 15fps
Max video resolution: 8K30p, 4K60p, 1080FHD120p
User level: Enthusiast/Expert

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 60MP image quality
+
8K video
+
Leica build quality and handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Luxury price
-
Prime lens, not a zoom

Leica cameras are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. No matter where you stand, you can't deny they are incredible cameras that offer exceptional image quality. The new Leica Q3 features an impressive full-frame 60-megapixel sensor. It has a fixed 28mm f/1.7 lens, making it one of the fastest prime lenses available on a compact camera. This update to the Leica Q2 now also shoots 8K video.

The biggest downside of this camera is the thing that will put most people off – the price. It's an insanely expensive bit of kit and it would probably be higher on our list if it didn't cost an arm and a leg.

You could pick up one of the best mirrorless cameras and a lens for less, but sometimes the experience of using a Leica is worth the money. Other than the price, they're relatively hard to get hold of so if you have your heart set on one, you might have to hunt for one first.

Read our full Leica Q3 review 

Best compact camera for autofocus

(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)
Great compact camera with big 8x zoom

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-200mm f/2.8-4.5 equivalent
LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 921k dots
Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps (90fps short burst mode)
Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30p, 24p
User level: Intermediate

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-high-speed shooting
+
Great 4K video
+
8.3x zoom

Reasons to avoid

-
Viewfinder is fiddly
-
Controls are small

This is the seventh generation of this high-spec Sony compact camera family. The RX100 VII uses a one-inch sensor, which allows it to pack in an 8x zoom lens into a small package - giving you an effective focal length range of 24-200mm. This gives you the scope to shoot a huge variety of subjects with ease. Incredibly it can capture action at up to 90fps in short bursts - or at 20fps for more prolonged periods – and then there is 4K video too. The autofocus uses the tracking system developed for the Sony A7 mirrorless series, with human and animal eye AF detection. This is a lovely camera, but we just wish it was a bit more affordably priced. 

See our full Sony RX100 Mark VII review

The best compact camera for vlogging

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)
The best vlogging compact camera

Specifications

Type: Compact
Sensor: 1in
Megapixels: 20.1MP
Lens: 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8
Screen: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 921k dots
Max video resolution: 4K
Mic port: Yes
User level: Enthusiast

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and compact
+
Very easy to use
+
Accurate eye detect autofocus

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor active stabilization mode
-
Average still image quality

During our review, It was hard to look at the Sony ZV-1F in isolation and not immediately compare it to the latest camera phone sitting next to me. After using it for a week, it is hard not to think that I already own a device that does a lot of what this camera does. However, there is still a lot to be said for having a dedicated camera, especially with an articulating screen, an edge on the quality of 4K footage, and it being this easy to use.

If you are a keen amateur vlogger, and you want a dedicated camera to record on, a run-and-gun camera that you can set up quickly and get shooting, and something you can toss in a bag or pass around among friends. This is the camera for you. 

This is a no-frills vlogging camera that will give you just what you need, a 4K video that is ready for social media, all contained in a tiny compact package, and at a hard-to-beat price.

Read our full Sony ZV-1F review

How to choose the best compact camera

You might imagine that one compact camera will be much like another, but there are three key features to take into account before you make a decision.

1) Prime vs zoom lenses:
With a compact camera is that the lens is non-interchangeable, so the one it comes with will have to do all the jobs you want the camera for. You may be happy with a single focal length prime lens, or you may prefer the extra scope of a zoom. The focal length range on these zoom cameras varies enormously - from 3x up to over 100x on a bridge camera.

2) Viewfinders:
If you find you use the rear screen on a camera most of the time, you may not need an eyelevel viewfinder – and this does give you more scope with cameras. Some photographers, though, would be lost without a viewfinder. 

3) Sensor size:
It is not just about megapixels, image quality also improves by using a larger sensor. Full-frame is the biggest size sensor found on compacts, but full-frame compacts are very expensive and have a fixed wide-angle lens. If you want a zoom, the biggest-sized sensor is APS-C which under half the size of full frame. But if you want a big zoom in a pocketable camera, then you will need a model with a 1in sensor (about a third of the size of an APS-C sensor). An MFT sensor is smaller than an APS-C sensor, but bigger than a 1in one. 

How we test compact cameras

We test compact cameras in real-world conditions - using the camera to shoot images in a range of different lighting conditions to see how they perform. Our reviewers have collectively tested hundreds of different models - and benchmark performance against results from current rivals and previous models. We pay particular attention to overall image quality - and to the detail captured in particular. These compact cameras are designed to be easy to use, and portable, so we also pay special attention to the ergonomics and handling of each of the models we test.

See more on how we test products at Digital Camera World

Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.

With contributions from