The best compact cameras in the UK 2023

Despite the domination of the smartphone, 3 out of 4 English people use a camera on vacation. In this regard, the compact camera stands out for its price and discretion. The possibilities of the zoom, the sensor and the viewfinder allow to immortalize moments with the family or to complete a reflex. Panasonic, Canon, Sony, read our guide to the best compact cameras to find yours.

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 1

Best value for money

Panasonic Lumix TZ200

The best compact camera in 2021

The Panasonic Lumix TZ200 is undoubtedly the compact expert camera with the largest zoom on the market. On top of that, it records videos in 4K and Full HD format. Buy it with your eyes closed if you can afford it.

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Panasonic opens the ball with the Lumix TZ200, a compact expert with diabolical efficiency. Its large 1 inch sensor offers a resolution of 20 Mpx. The most impressive is its Leica zoom lens with 15x magnification and 24-360 mm focal length. So much precision in such a small body makes this digital camera a must have.

On the video side, the Panasonic Lumix TZ200 offers 4K format at 30p definition and Full HD at 60p. The features are numerous, a little too much if you are a beginner. Too bad for the non-rotatable LCD screen and the slight loss of brightness at maximum magnification. For less money, you could choose the Canon Powershot SX740 or the Nikon Coolpix B600.

Sony DSC-WX350 2

Best value for money

Sony DSC-WX350

The best entry-level compact camera

The DSC-WX350 is arguably the best consumer compact camera from Sony. With its 20x zoom, 1/2.3-inch 18.2MP sensor and Wifi and NFC connectivity, this APN is worth a look.

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For less than 100 euros, you could afford the Canon IXUS 185. But the Sony DSC-WX350 does much better in all areas. Starting with a very fast autofocus in good light conditions. Despite its ultra-compact size, this camera is not a toy. However, if you have big hands, you should handle it with your fingertips.

Sony opted for a 20x zoom lens with a focal length of 25-500mm f/3.5-6.5 and a 1/2.3 inch BSI CMOS sensor of 18.2MP. The chassis and screen are identical to those of the Sony WX300, and for wireless, Wifi and NFC are there. In addition, the Bionz X processor and an NFC chip make their appearance. Be aware that the delay between each shot remains quite high. In the same vein, there is also the Panasonic Lumix TZ70.

Sony RX100 VII 3

Best high end

Sony RX100 VII

The best high-end compact camera

Despite its underused screen, not simple menus and high price, the Sony RX100 VII remains the king of compacts in terms of performance. Moreover, its body is one of the most beautiful in the category.

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The Sony RX100 VII combines a 20.1MP Exmor RS CMOS sensor and a BionzX processor. The result? In burst mode, this compact expert camera reaches 20 fps in electronic shutter and 90 fps in Single Burst Shooting mode. For the autofocus, Sony had the good idea to add the detection of animal eyes.

On the video side, Sony offers the 4K HDR format. A headphone jack and a microphone jack allow better sound recording. In pure performance, even the DMC-LX100 M2 from Panasonic and the Nikon Coolpix P1000 are outdone. Indeed, the Sony RX100 VII has set the bar high with its retractable OLED viewfinder and powerful zoom.

Olympus Tough TG-6 4


Olympus Tough TG-6

The best waterproof compact camera

Also available in red and blue, the Olympus Tough TG-6 performs very well for both stills and video. This waterproof and shockproof camera will be perfect for kids and adventurers.

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The Olympus Tough TG-6 lives up to its name, tough. This compact camera is waterproof to a depth of 15 meters and can withstand drops of up to 2.1 meters. In addition, this little wonder offers many creative modes and automatic functions very well thought. Experienced photographers can rest assured that the advanced options are still available.

Of course, Olympus has sacrificed some of the ergonomics and magnification to provide this ruggedness. This is evidenced by the weight of the body and the 4x zoom of the 12MP sensor. However, the Tough TG-6 is easy to use. Even a child should have no trouble using it. Finally, the format is available and the camera can record videos in 4K, with a definition of 30p.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best compact camera

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The best compact camera in 2021

The best entry-level compact camera

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Comparison table of the best compact cameras

Panasonic Lumix TZ200 5
Sony DSC-WX350 6
Sony RX100 VII 7
Olympus Tough TG-6 8
Panasonic Lumix TZ200
Sony DSC-WX350
Sony RX100 VII
Olympus Tough TG-6
The Panasonic Lumix TZ200 is undoubtedly the compact expert camera with the largest zoom on the market. On top of that, it records videos in 4K and Full HD format. Buy it with your eyes closed if you can afford it.
The DSC-WX350 is arguably the best consumer compact camera from Sony. With its 20x zoom, 1/2.3-inch 18.2MP sensor and Wifi and NFC connectivity, this APN is worth a look.
Despite its underused screen, not simple menus and high price, the Sony RX100 VII remains the king of compacts in terms of performance. Moreover, its body is one of the most beautiful in the category.
Also available in red and blue, the Olympus Tough TG-6 performs very well for both stills and video. This waterproof and shockproof camera will be perfect for kids and adventurers.
Photo quality
Responsiveness and sensitivity

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Buying guide - compact camera

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How to choose your compact camera

You buy a compact camera for the price. The handling of the camera, the positioning of the control buttons and the ease of navigation in the menus are also to be taken into account. Not to mention the essential technical criteria.

#1 - The sensor

All digital cameras, even compact ones, have enough pixels for everyday use. More than the resolution, i.e. the number of megapixels, pay attention to the size of the sensor. A large sensor stores more light, which increases the possibility of bright pictures. In general, the size of a compact camera's sensor is expressed in millimeters or fractions of an inch. For example, a 1/2.5-inch sensor is smaller than a 1/1.6-inch sensor. Don't hesitate to ask experts or dedicated forums if the manufacturer doesn't provide the sensor size.

#2 - Zoom and focal length

Most of the time, the zoom ranges from 5 to 20x. Some expert compacts offer up to 50x, useful for capturing distant details. However, we don't recommend digital zoom, which degrades the image. Instead, use an optical zoom. In case of powerful zoom, the compact camera should have an optical or mechanical stabilizer, not a digital one. But image magnification alone does not guarantee good pictures. Go beyond the zoom and pay attention to the focal length range covered by the lens. Pay particular attention to the minimum focal length. A mini focal length of 28 mm or less provides a wide angle, which is essential for landscape and group photos.

#3 - Responsiveness and sensitivity

A compact DPP must be fast, both when it is turned on and when it is released. The delay between 2 shots is also very important. Be aware that manufacturers do not provide any data on responsiveness. But you can rely on user reviews, comparisons and the number of images per second in burst mode. In addition, you should consider the ISO sensitivity. The higher it is, the more efficient the compact camera will be in low light conditions. Sensitivity can be as high as ISO 6,400, 12,800, or even 25,600 for some expert compacts. However, high sensitivity tends to generate noise, i.e., grains that interfere with the image.

Battery powered or not?

Batteries minimize the risk of running out of power, which is useful when traveling or on vacation. But most of the recent cameras have a rechargeable Li-ion battery, which is cheaper to use. Given their limited autonomy, it is better to invest in a second battery and an independent charger if you take a lot of pictures.

#4 - The screen and connectivity


a large screen to make it easier to


and navigate menus when making adjustments. The resolution and contrast of the screen also count, as well as its ability to limit reflections. Orientation (vertical and horizontal) and touchscreen touch are a big plus, as is the presence of a viewfinder. Compact cameras don't take advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity in the same way. Some use it to trigger the shot from a smartphone. For others, Wifi is used to transfer photos to a computer or to the cloud. Still others use it to send photos by e-mail or on social networks. Some compacts have a web browser. This allows you to search directly on the Internet from the screen of your camera! Beyond Wifi, the ultimate remains the NFC link, which allows you to pair a smartphone to the camera simply by approaching it. And make sure the camera has an SD card input.

#5 - Practical functions

All compact cameras can record 720p or 1080p HD video. Some even do it in 4K. The more pixels there are, the more detail there will be on the video. But beware of the limits on recording time. With a DPA, you'll have to choose between stills and video. No camera does both well. Make sure the camera you want has HD video, burst shooting, advanced manual mode or GPS for geotagging. Expert compacts also offer RAW and hot shoe modes for the flash while offering very advanced settings (PASM modes, exposure compensation, ISO settings...).

How does a compact camera work?

A very easy to use device, the compact camera allows you to take beautiful pictures or videos. It has a few buttons to change from one function to another or make some adjustments. Depending on the model, it also offers the possibility to zoom the image to ensure the best result.

With the evolution of technology, the majority of compact cameras offer various interesting features such as WiFi connectivity and Bluetooth. However, the operation of Wi-Fi varies from one model to another. There are models with which Wi-Fi is used to establish a link between the camera and a smartphone to start shooting from an application or transmit the photos taken on the phone.

With others, it also allows you to transfer photos to a PC or to an online storage space in the cloud. It can also send the photo to a TV connected to the same network or to a printer. Photos can also be sent directly from the camera via email or social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

There are also cameras that integrate a browser to search the Internet directly on the camera screen. The ideal is a camera equipped with NFC, with which you just have to approach the camera of the smartphone to create a link between them.

As for the mode of operation, compact cameras operate on batteries and rechargeable batteries. If you chose battery power, you should make sure that you have a second battery and an independent charger to avoid the risk of running out of power.

Compact camera or hybrid camera?

Compact camera

The compact camera accounts for the bulk of DSC sales. This type of camera has a lens with a high zoom to capture distant details. They are very affordable, costing between 50 and 500 euros, although there are expert compacts that cost more than some SLRs. The expert compact is recommended for high quality shots.

Apart from the price, the compact camera's small size is another undeniable quality. Nothing beats this camera for traveling light. Some of them weigh less than 100g and are less than 2cm thick. In addition, the automatisms offered by a compact camera allow a beginner to succeed in his shots.

On the other hand, these automatic functions cannot always be disengaged on a compact camera. The APN also remains limited in terms of optics and sensor. Indeed, the lens cannot be dissociated from the body, i.e. not interchangeable. It will be necessary to choose well at the time of purchase, not to regret it later.

Hybrid camera

A high-end camera, the hybrid combines the best of the SLR and the compact. As simple as the latter, it is especially advantaged by the presence of an interchangeable lens. As a high-end camera, the hybrid offers video performance that is far superior to that of a compact camera.

The photo quality is on a par with that of SLRs and even surpasses those of mid-range SLRs. It must be said that, just like SLRs, most hybrids are equipped with gyroscopic supports, the famous 5-axis stabilizer. This technological marvel compensates for the photographer's movements and prevents blurred shots.

But the hybrid camera has the same recurring defects as the SLR. Starting with the price, which can exceed 2,000 euros. Then there are the problems of depth of field and lens adaptability. Not to mention the scarcity of the offer, the weight or the size of the cameras, especially if they are coupled with large lenses.


The compact camera is suitable for beginners and occasional photographers. Advanced amateurs looking for a reasonably priced backup camera that is always at hand are also concerned. Discerning amateurs with a big budget can choose a hybrid. For the small budgets, it will be necessary to wait until the prices fall!

Hybrid or compact, the choice will also depend on the criteria considered "predominant" by each person. In fact, it's not just the price or technical features that count. You want to take pictures? Start with the compact. Once you've reached its technical limits, move on to a hybrid or an SLR.

Why buy a compact camera?

The compact camera is the perfect tool to immortalize holidays and various family events. It must be said that it has many advantages.

The small size

The compactness and lightness of this type of camera offer many advantages when you travel. Many users don't hesitate to keep their compact camera close at hand. You can slip it into a bag or pocket and pull it out quickly to capture a subject. Plus, it's discreet.

Ease of use

Because of the many presets, shooting with a compact camera is very quick. The compact camera offers its user a combination of automatic technologies: point and shoot. It is the ideal camera if you are looking for a user-friendly, efficient and easy-to-use model.

Better photo quality than a smartphone

Sharing photos on social networks is great. Being able to store them in an album is even better. Compared to smartphones, the compact camera offers superior image quality, powerful optical zoom, wider dynamic range, and depth of field. In fact, the compact expert has nothing to envy to some SLRs.

Numerous functions available

The compact camera offers practical features such as video, HD in 720p or 1080p, or even 4K on some models. Note that the expert compacts record images in RAW format, which is essential for optimal use in post-processing. In addition, the wireless connectivity allows remote triggering from a smartphone.

Perfect if you have children

Some compact cameras have a shockproof and waterproof certified body. You can submerge the camera to 10m, or even more for some models. Such robustness is a considerable asset if you have children and are an adventurer. Easy to handle, it requires no special knowledge.

An affordable price

Yes, the quality/price ratio is often THE criterion of choice. Indeed, the compact is the cheapest DPP on the market! In a single body, you can enjoy satisfactory photo quality, a flash and a powerful zoom. If you want to take pictures with your family or on holiday without getting too excited, buy a compact.

Good to know

A good camera does not make a good photographer or a good picture. A common beginner's mistake is to choose high-end equipment that is too sophisticated to understand how it works. Start with a camera that's easy to master. Read up on buying guides and forums, and build up a photo project. Finally, you can try out the cameras of people you know to get a basis for comparison.

The best brands of compact cameras

In our opinion, the best brands of compact cameras in 2022 are :


The Japanese manufacturer is known worldwide for its Lumix cameras. A true institution for expert compacts, Panasonic is the best possible choice to reconcile price, performance and robustness.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant has an excellent reputation for its sensors, also used by Nikon. The dynamic range of Sony's compact cameras, i.e. their ability to handle large variations in luminance, is well known.

Nikon is mostly known for the quality of its SLR cameras. But the Japanese manufacturer also produces high quality compact cameras, including the Coolpix series which takes full advantage of the sensors provided by Sony.

Do you know about waterproof cameras? All brands considered, Olympus, via its famous compacts of the Tough range, makes the best. For use on holiday with children, it is the ideal brand.

As Nikon's main rival in the SLR segment, Canon also excels in compact cameras. Although inferior to the standards of its EOS range, the Powershot range offers excellent compact point-and-shoot cameras.

What is the price for a compact camera

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

50 £ to 250 £
250 £ to 500 £
more than 500 £
Price range diagram


Take lots of pictures.

Unlike a film camera, you can store an almost unlimited number of photos with a compact camera, provided you have a memory card with ample storage. Take lots of pictures and keep only the best ones.

Use a tripod for distant shots.


taking pictures with a large zoom lens, it's important to have a tripod. This is because large lenses amplify the shaking and hand movements of the photographer. The tripod helps to keep the camera steady.

Get ready to fire.


compact camera is sensitive to camera shake. This occurs when the photographer moves the camera, even very slightly, while taking a picture. To avoid this problem, place your elbows tightly against your body or lean against something when taking a picture.

Don't abuse the Wifi.


Wifi connectivity on your compact camera is convenient for sharing photos as soon as you take them. However, continuous use of Wifi will significantly shorten battery life.

Try different settings for your shots.

Most digital cameras come with fairly large memory cards. Professionals usually use memory cards with a capacity of at least 2GB. This way, you should have plenty of room to test different functions and light settings to get the best possible image.


What is the best compact camera?

The best compact camera depends on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide to find out more.

How to choose a compact camera?

The choice will have to be made according to the price, your tastes, the sensor, the zoom, the reactivity, the sensitivity, the quality of the screen, the connectivity and the available features.

Can I change the lens of a compact camera?

No. Like the bridge camera, the compact camera does not have an interchangeable lens. If you're interested in this feature, we suggest you read our guide to the best cameras, as well as the guide to the best SLR cameras and the guide to the best hybrid cameras.

What are the best compact camera brands?

Without hesitation, we recommend Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Canon and Olympus.

How much does a compact camera cost?

Prices range from 50 to over 1,000 euros. But never buy under 100 euros if you want to make quality photos.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Panasonic Lumix TZ200 9
Panasonic Lumix TZ200
Sony DSC-WX350 10
Sony DSC-WX350
Sony RX100 VII 11
Sony RX100 VII
Olympus Tough TG-6 12
Olympus Tough TG-6


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