What Is A Point And Shoot Camera?

There are three types of cameras. These are point-and-shoot cameras, DSLR cameras, and mirrorless cameras. Each is unique, with its use, advantages, and disadvantages. However, of the three the point-and-shoot camera(also called the compact camera) ranks low, for professional usage.

In this article, we shall be looking at what a point-and-shoot camera is, how to use one, its key features, some of its pros and cons, and the difference between it and a camera phone. Finally, we will compare the compact camera to its closest competition, the camera phone.

Learn More About > How to Culling Photos.

What Is A Point And Shoot Camera?

A point-and-shoot camera is a compact camera, that comes with a built-in lens that is autofocus. What this means is that the lens is focus-free, hence automatic. All you need to do is to point and shoot without manually adjusting anything. They are lightweight and very mobile.

The point-and-shoot camera comes with little or no option to adjust its settings including the aperture, shutter speed, and of course as mentioned above, the focus. They range from cheap pocket-size brands to a few high-end types.

Because of their lightweight, and ease of usage, compact camera is the go-to camera for unprofessional photographers, which means everybody. They are useful for taking pictures during vacations or day-to-day activities. 

Unfortunately, their usage dropped back in 2010 as cameras for mobile phones got better. This pushed brands to begin manufacturing high-end compact cameras with a bit more flexibility in control. The comparison between a compact camera and a phone camera is discussed below.

How Does A Point-And-Shoot Camera Work?

Using a point-and-shoot camera is quite easy. You literally point your camera at your subject and snap High-end compact cameras do come with some features which may come in handy. A perfect example of this is a superzoom compact lens with 30x to 60x zoom capability.  

Another feature some high-end compact cameras have is PASM (program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes). This can be seen in the raw image format, Hotshoe, and the mode dial of the camera. These combined features give you a degree of manual control over the camera.

Features Of A Point-And-Shoot Camera

Like every type of camera, the point-and-shoot camera boasts key features that make it quite unique. Many have been discussed above, however, in this section, we shall highlight them.


This means it uses a system of sensors, control, and motor to focus on a manual or automatically selected point.

Light Weight:

This is why they are called compact cameras because they are usually small and lightweight. Most can fit into your pocket. 

Automatic Control:

The point-and-shoot cameras have no options to manually set the aperture, shutter speed, and focus

Low Cost:

Compact cameras rank among the least expensive types of cameras. They cost as low as $100. Of course, you can also get high-end compact cameras that cost between $800 and $1200.

Fixed Lenses:

The lenses on compact cameras are fixed. They cannot be replaced or changed. 


The top brands that produce compact cameras include Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm.

The Use Of A Point-And-Shoot Camera

Based on the features of a point-and-shoot camera, they are suited for specific usage. Some of its uses are discussed below.

Recreational Purposes

The compact camera is built for almost anyone who loves to take pictures for recreational purposes. If you love snapping random things for fun, then the point-and-shoot camera is your best choice

Budget Camera

If you are under the budget but prefer to work with a camera rather than your smartphone camera, then your best choice is a point-and-shoot camera. They come in varying low prices, for as low as $100

Automatic Camera Features

If you are not trained in manually adjusting the several features of a camera including aperture, and focal length, then a point-and-shoot camera is your best option. DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras also come with automatic control. 

Ease Of Use

Compact cameras are the easiest type of cameras to use. True to its name, you just point your camera at your subject and capture. The camera does all the work for you, and you will get pretty decent pictures depending on the type of compact camera you use.

For Practice

The point-and-shoot camera is perfect for practicing your craft. It’s a good place to start when it comes to camera. Another advantage is, you get to know if truly photography is for you after a while, which is way safer than starting with a really expensive camera and finding out you do not love photography.

For Mobility

With a point-and-shoot camera, you are spared the bulkiness of DSLR and mirrorless cameras. You are also saved the trouble of hauling multiple lenses across town for a leisurely shoot as the lenses on compact cameras are fixed.

Pros And Cons Of A Point-And-Shoot Camera

The compact camera has both benefits and disadvantages depending on who will be using it. The most important thing to understand is that the camera is market specific, hence you must manage your expectation. This way, you can get the best out of one, if you do purchase.

Pros Of A Point-And-Shoot Camera

  • They are very light, making them mobile and easy to carry around. The ease of simply taking one out of your pocket to quickly snap a picture makes it an ideal gadget for almost anybody
  • They are easy to use. All the essential settings on the camera are automatic. Hence, a complete amateur can take a decent picture without any prior knowledge of photography
  • They do not require extra lenses, since their lenses are fixed. This is an extra reason why they are the most mobile and least cumbersome cameras on the market.
  • They are quiet in usage seeing as they are digital. This means you can go covert on whatever subject you want to capture.
  • Compact cameras are the cheapest type of cameras. So, if you love photography but do not have the budget for expensive cameras, you can start with a point-and-shoot camera.

Cons Of A Point-And-Shoot Camera

  • The quality of pictures taken by compact cameras is low compared to those taken by DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
  • The lack of control over focus, aperture, and other features limits the degree to which a photographer can creatively capture a subject. 
  • It is not a recommended camera for professional photography
  • It has a limited depth of field
  • With a compact camera, you are stuck to the lens it comes with. This is unlike DSLR and mirrorless cameras that allow you to use a wide range of lens
  • A compact camera limits the style of photography you can practice. 
  • The camera is not built for low-light performance. What this means is you need a lot of light for you to get the best picture quality.
  • They can easily be replaced with a camera phone. 
  • You need to transfer pictures taken on a compact camera to another device before you can use or edit them.

Camera Phone Vs Point-And-Shoot Camera

Camera phones began to take the place of the point-and-shoot camera in 2010. The reason is not far-fetched. Camera phones are also compact, with irreplaceable lenses. They come fitted with a flash and they can be controlled to take pictures in several conditions. 

But, unlike a point-and-shoot camera, you can immediately post your pictures to social media or save them directly to the cloud or on your device when using a camera phone. Another big win camera phones have over a compact camera is that there are literally hundreds of editing apps on both the android’s play store and apple store that allows users to edit pictures taken with their phone. 

In response to camera phones replacing compact cameras, bands began to manufacture high-end phones. There are certain advantages the compact camera has over the camera phone. Some of these are discussed below.

Advantages Of Compact Phones Over Camera Phones

  • Camera phones are limited in that they are secondary functions on devices designed for communication. 
  • The thickness of a phone limits the thickness of the lens used with them compared to a compact camera. This relatively affects the degree to which you might be able to zoom in on objects on a phone compared to compact cameras
  • The pictures taken by some high-end compact cameras can be compared to some entry-level DSLR cameras. It will be hard to find phones that will conveniently give any DSLR camera a run for its money.

In the end, your choice between a compact phone and a camera phone will be dependent on your personal experience with both.

Top FAQ’s

01. What is point-and-shoot photography?

Point-and-shoot photography roughly describes photography that uses the point-and-shoot camera

02. What is the price of a point-and-shoot camera?

Point-and-shoot cameras rank among the least expensive type of cameras. You can get one as low as $100. 

03. What are the best brands of point-and-shoot cameras?

The top brands that produce compact cameras include Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm.

04. What are the benefits of a point-and-shoot camera?

Some of the benefits include mobility and ease of use. They are not pricey and are perfect for recreational photography.


The compact camera was one of the most bought types of the camera before the camera phone overtook it. However, it still retains its sport as a mobile, easy-to-use camera.

It isn’t recommended for professionals, however, if you are interested in photography and would like to start with something easy to use, cheap, and very mobile, we suggest you go for the compact camera.