Compact/Point and Shoot cameras have come a long way in the digital era. There are a wide range of point and shoot cameras on the market, so this means there is a wide range of quality that is available. There are many very good compact cameras on the market, and many of them have functions that elevate them from being a simple “point and shoot” camera. These compact cameras are easy to use and many have very useful features and functions. Some of these features are easy to understand, and there are also often functions that can be taken advantage of by more experienced shooters.
“The best camera is the one that you have with you.” The advantage of point and shoot cameras is clearly it’s small size and convenience. I’m more likely to carry a camera with me all the time, if it is compact. There are definitely times when I want to have the ability to take pictures, but don’t want to worry about keeping up with my SLR camera. So, I usually pack both for a trip, and make sure those times that I don’t want to take the big camera, that I at least have my Point and Shoot.
There have also been times, when I have had both cameras with me, and I used the point and shoot for safety and security reasons, maybe I was in area where petty crime was a problem, and I didn’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention. Or, I was in a situation where I wanted to be more discreet with my camera, and didn’t want to stand out in the crowd.
Image quality can vary widely in the huge range of compact cameras that are available. I finally broke down and bought a compact camera when they started making some models that shoot 12 megapixel RAW files. I’m so glad I did, I love my little compact camera, because I can, and do, take it anywhere and everywhere. There are a few other features to look for if shopping for a compact camera that goes beyond point and shoot. The first would be exposure controls, preferably manual control. I recommend having at least shutter and aperture priority shooting modes, and exposure compensation. This gives you some control over motion and depth of field. Sure, there might be times when you set it to auto and forget about it, but there are other times where you really need the control over those settings to get the picture you want.