Pros & cons of point-and-shoot digital cameras

Child with camera

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The digital Point-and-Shootir?t=mypull 20&l=ur2&o=1 camera has come a long way since the Apple QuickTake in 1994.

Every year since, these handy cameras get a bit smaller, a bit better, and a bit cheaper. Despite not measuring up to the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) in several categories, they still have their place — and in many cases can be preferable to their bigger cousins.
Point & shoot camera pros
  • Size & weight: The modern P&S is totally pocketable. My smartphone (which is a serviceable P&S itself, but that’s another story) is actually longer and taller than some of my compact point & shoot cameras. The worst camera is the one you don’t use, and the worst photo is the one you don’t take. Don’t underestimate the ability to always have a camera on hand.
  • Price: Unless the P&S you’re buying has the word “Leica” on it, in most cases you are going to pay less than even an entry-level DSLR.
  • Noise: Most P&S cams have two moving bits — the zoom lens and the itty bitty shutter inside the camera. Both are virtually silent in most cases. Great for taking candids.
  • Ease of use: Most of them are set up to take good photos right out of the box, no fiddling required. Controls and menus are simple and easy to understand.

Pros & cons of Point-and-Shoot Digital cameras

Point & shoot camera cons

  • Image quality: That little bitty image sensor the size of your index fingernail isn’t very good at capturing images in low light situations, and generally won’t produce great enlargements either.
  • Flexibility: Can’t quite zoom in enough on that far away subject? Change the lens… oh wait — you can’t. Sure, you can crop it later, but you’ll lose resolution that way.
  • Manual controls: Want to try picking your own aperture and shutter speed? Many P&S cams won’t let you.
  • Speed: Focusing is slower and there’s the notorious “shutter lag” problem (the slight but perceptible and annoying delay between pushing the button and the picture actually being taken). Trying to shoot a basketball game with anything but a high end P&S? Fuhgeddaboutit.
  • Lack of real viewfinders: Maybe I’m just an old curmudgeon (get off my lawn, you kids!), but I don’t like composing my shot through an LCD screen. Some people, though, may hate squinting through a tiny viewfinder. It’s just one more data point that depends on your personal preference.
Andy Warycka

Andy Warycka

Andy Warycka has been writing professionally since 2009. His work has appeared on sites such as,, and other top online properties.

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