What is the best point-and-shoot pocket camera? Bonnie

November 1, 2010 at 10:25 am  •  Posted in Q&A by  •  4 Comments

That’s a pretty broad question, Bonnie, and the answer depends on your budget, expectations as to feature set and the size of your pocket. However, many serious photographers own a digicam with a built-in zoom lens in addition to their D-SLR systems. They carry the small camera when they’re not specifically planning to shoot but want to be prepared for a quick photo opp.  During a photo seminar in Dubai most of the ten instructors—all professional photographers—carried a 10-megapixel Canon Powershot G10 or a Nikon Coolpix P6000 when we went out for dinner and a walk around the city.

Nikon's latest premium-grade camera, the Coolpix P7000, employs a built-in 28-200 mm equivalent lens for maximum versatility. Photo Courtesy of Nikon Canada

Both were very rugged, high-grade cameras with D-SLR-style controls and features, Live View and a small optical viewfinder plus a zoom lens of superb quality.  Canon’s current model is the Powershot G12 ($550) with a 28-140 mm equivalent lens and a flip-out rotating 2.8-inch LCD screen. The latest Nikon model, the Coolpix P7000 ($500), features a fixed 3-in. LCD with incredibly high resolution and a 28-200 mm equivalent lens. (With both cameras the lens retracts into the body when not in use.) Neither is tiny/lightweight but fits nicely into a jacket pocket or a medium-size purse.

Panasonic also offers a strong contender in the “premium-grade camera with built-in zoom” category. The new Lumix DMC-LX5 ($500) with a 3-in. fixed LCD and a very fast Leica DC 24-90 mm equivalent f/2-3.3 lens that you might prefer if you love wide-angle photography. The LX-5 is actually shirt-pocket size though it’s a bit heavy too because it also features a metal body. This one is not equipped with an optical viewfinder, but accepts an optional electronic viewfinder.

The DMC-LX5 is the most "pocketable" of the three cameras unless the optional electronic viewfinder is attached. Photo Courtesy of Panasonic Canada

I’m quite sure that most serious photographers would classify these three cameras as among the “best”  of the digicams with built-in zoom lens. They’re all equipped with a vast range of amenities such as 720p movie mode, image stabilizer, built-in flash plus hot shoe for external flash, many modes and overrides, a Raw capture mode and some unique functions. If your budget allows for spending $500+, check the Specs for all three and select the one with the feature set that will meet your own personal needs.


  1. Dave Corn / November 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm / Reply

    I like the Nikon CoolPix S8000 ….Lite weight, great zoom, great glass, and fantastic quality photography

  2. Dave Corn / November 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm / Reply

    I own and shoot the Nikon CoolPix S8000 ….Love it!

  3. John Sylwester / November 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm / Reply

    Now if at least one manufacturer who would produce a decent digital camera for the left-handed person. There are 100s of thousands, if not millions, individual who have no or very limited use of their right hand/arm. The next time you take a photo try doing so using just your left hand. Good Luck!

  4. Wayne Elliott / November 17, 2010 at 11:56 am / Reply

    As a result of this article and my need for a high end p&s camera, I have been checking out the Nikon P7000. Is it true that Adobe’s Camera Raw does not recognize the new .NRW raw designation that Nikon has come up with? If so, do I now need to purchase Nikon raw processing software? Any and all comments and help will be greatly appreciated.



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