Best cheap compact cameras - reviewed

Small snappers with big appeal

Amidst all the fevered excitement about the latest cameras’ lens-swapping, full-frame sensors and 4K video recording, it’s sometimes easy to forget about compact digital snappers. You know – the digital cameras that far more people actually buy and use.

And we shouldn’t discount the humble point-and-shoot, which has come a long way in recent years. Due to the rise of smartphones, we all already carry a decent camera in our pocket. That fact has meant traditional camera makers have been forced to up their compact game, cramming more performance and functionality into ever-smaller snappers.

We’ve collected some recent examples from four of the leading manufacturers, so let’s see how they shape up against each other and find out if they’re truly worthy of replacing a smartphone as your “main” everyday camera.

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Nikon Coolpix S7000Panasonic Lumix TZ57 | Canon PowerShot SX610 HS | Overall verdict

Overall verdict

Because all four of these cameras offer a proper optical zoom – and in all cases a substantial one – they all represent a big step up from your smartphone in terms of capabilities. Some go farther than others, though: the Panasonic TZ57’s front-flipping screen means it can take selfies that’ll blow snaps from your smartphone’s piddly front-facing camera out of the water.

Balancing price and performance with size and weight, though, has led us to pick the Nikon S7000 as our test winner. Barely bigger than a phone (and lighter in weight than many), it nevertheless offers a huge 20x zoom lens and reliable all-round performance.

It makes an ideal travelling companion for those times when you suspect your smartphone’s camera skills will come up short.

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Nikon Coolpix S7000 | Panasonic Lumix TZ57  | Canon PowerShot SX610 HS