compact digital camera stock
Whether you want to hop on the Y2K trend or want a simple standalone camera for on the go, these digicams by Sony, Canon and more are for you. Image Credit: Unsplash/Bruno Yamazaky

Sift through the electronics drawer at home and brush off your old family camera, because digicams are back in style. In the late 1990s and early aughts, point-and-shoot cameras were at the heart of every vacation. Blurry shots at a birthday party, grainy night-time portraits with the flash on - every picture taken on a digicam is associated with intense nostalgia.

If you want to capture memories the old-fashioned way, without the complications of a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera, then check out what these compact models can do for you.

Who is a compact digital camera for?

It's no secret that the young crowd is creating a renaissance of sorts, as they find interest in the vintage and classic. Film cameras and instant polaroid models enjoyed niche popularity among Gen Z, who soon realised they could get the same over-exposed, noisy images on a digitally ready SD card. Plus, compact digital cameras slip into our pockets and bags just as easily as smartphones today.

Unlike heavier cameras wielded by pros, compact digital cameras come with a fixed lens, says Anas Thacharpadikkal, Senior Visual Journalist at Gulf News. He explained: "You can change the lens on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but that is what makes the cameras heavy, and some people don't want to carry around all that weight. This is why point-and-shoot cameras are often used for travelling."

point and shoot camera
A fixed lens allows more room for experimentation and challenges one's creative vision. Image Credit: Unsplash/Vale Czamu

In fact, Mario Testino, arguably one of the world's best fashion photographers, is always seen with a Contax point-and-shoot camera on hand, says Thacharpadikkal. "Any photography enthusiast or a hobbyist will find these cameras convenient to use, and the results are much better than what you get from iPhone lenses," he added.

Don't let the low megapixels on a digital camera fool you. Popular point-and-shoot models peak at 20MP, and this number may be off-putting when we compare it to our smartphone cameras. But, our photography expert says that megapixels don't determine the picture quality, rather the size of the sensor does.

"My own professional camera is 18MP, and it performs far better than smartphones. Pixels should only matter when you need to make large prints of your photos, otherwise, low numbers are still perfect for social media and A4-size prints," said Thacharpadikkal.

One qualm with older models is that low-light photography might suffer. Due to minimal advancements in 'nightography' at the time, pictures and videos shot at night can turn out grainier than usual, Thacharpadikkal tells us. However, this can be good news for vintage lovers seeking similar effects on their photos.

We studied viral TikTok clips under the hashtag '#digitalcamera', which has raked up 486 million views in total, and asked our expert about the best point-and-shoot cameras you can shop for today. Fortunately, both old and new models are available on Amazon. Pricier options will include instant file transfer methods, via Wi-Fi, and 4K shooting.

Shop for these with a Prime membership, and get the digicam of your dreams delivered to you before the summer holidays begin.

1. Best Overall: Sony RX100 VII Advanced Premium Bridge Camera

Pros

  • 24-200mm Zeiss lens with amazing zoom range
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Tiltable LCD screen to frame shots
  • Autofocus tracking even with 20fps shooting
  • 4K HDR recording

Cons

  • Heavier than other compact models

Anas picks Sony as his choice of compact camera brand, having experienced a wider range of colours and better quality on his own Sony point-and-shoot, compared to its competitors. At the top of the range, you'll find the RX100 VII model, which has a sizeable 24-200mm lens, bigger than most digicams. This latest compact camera is a premium variant of its predecessors, featuring 4K video options, a frame rate of 20fps (frames per second), incredible telephoto zoom and image stabilisation. It's also great for the vlogger on the go, who can record vertically and have the clip appear in the same orientation on the PC or phone. Selfie shots are going to be a breeze with the tiltable LCD display, which flips out and lets you frame your shot. Considering its high price point, the RX100 VII is more suited for the serious photographer who is looking for a lighter alternative when on the road.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh369.04 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh256 and two years for Dh422.

2. Best All-Rounder: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera

Pros

  • Equipped with 4.2x optical zoom lens
  • NFC and Wi-Fi library sharing
  • Tiltable LCD monitor
  • 20.1MP sensor

Cons

  • Only 1080p videos at this price

Over at TikTok, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II is on everyone's summer wish list. Social media users are wowing their followers with a side-by-side comparison of pictures taken with their smartphone versus the compact digicam, with the latter shots revealing warmer, deeper contrast and more true-to-life colours. It's similar to the RX100 VII in more ways than one: both carry a 20.1MP sensor, tiltable LCD monitor, and a zoom lens, albeit its zoom range is smaller and videos peak at 1080p resolution. Still, the camera makes up for it with NFC (near field communication) and Wi-Fi smartphone sharing, so your media library is always social media-ready. Reviewers call it a worthy competitor to the Sony RX100 VII, except the G7 X Mark II fits into the pocket easily. Many pick it up for travel vlogging and creating content on YouTube, too. They call it the perfect 'home' camera.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh241.58 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh171 and two years for Dh282.

3. Best for Zoom: Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95D Superzoom Digital Camera

Pros

  • 30x optical zoom on a Leica lens
  • 4K videos and pictures
  • 20.3MP sensor
  • Tiltable LCD screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • Flash could be better

Panasonic Lumix DC-TZ95D packs all the bells and whistles of a higher-end compact camera at an affordable price. Its most outstanding feature is the super-zoom Leica lens, ranging from a wide 24mm to a 720mm focal length - so that's a staggering 30x pure optical closeups of mountain peaks and far objects. You also get the upperhand on the 20.3MP sensor, along with 4K videos and photos. Just as with our Sony and Canon picks, the LCD touch monitor flips up 180 degrees to frame the perfect group selfie. There's built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support to wirelessly share memories with family and friends, too. Buyers are impressed with its zoom capabilities, calling the results detailed for a small-form camera. They love that the pocket camera only weighs 328 grams.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh142.97 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh103 and two years for Dh169.

4. Best for Casual Photographers: Canon IXUS 285 HS Compact Camera

Pros

  • Ideal home and vacation camera for casual users
  • Slimmer than most options listed
  • 20.2MP sensor with 12x optical zoom
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC function

Cons

  • No viewfinder
  • Battery life could be better, say reviews

For an old-school model, try the Canon Ixus 285 HS, the more advanced version of the TikTok-favourite Ixus 185. It still has an ultra-slim metal body and is every bit reminiscent of stylish retro cameras of the aughts. The 25mm wide lens comes with 12x optical zoom and shoots 1080p videos in the widely accessible MP4 format. Unlike the newer models listed above, the Ixus 285 HS doesn't feature a viewfinder, but you can frame your shots via the large three-inch LCD screen on the back. To prolong your battery life, turn on Eco mode to squeeze in more shots at an outing. At this price point, you can also expect Wi-Fi and NFC sharing, so your Ixus 285 HS is truly only retro in name. Reviews attest to the zoom quality and outdoor pictures taken at night. Others note the shutter speed for capturing crucial moments quickly.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh146.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh103 and two years for Dh169.

5. Best Budget: Sony DSCW800 Digital Compact Camera

Pros

  • Produces nostalgic results, being the oldest model on our list
  • 20.1MP sensor with 5x optical zoom
  • 720p HD video recording
  • Battery lasts 200 images
  • Extremely lightweight

Cons

  • No viewfinder
  • No wireless sharing

Our oldest, and thereby the most pocket-friendly, compact camera on the list is Sony DSCW800. It's the perfect point-and-shoot model for someone looking to add nostalgic images to their social media feed. You're only getting 5x optical zoom, with 720p HD video recording and no wireless sharing, so be prepared for some lower-end specs. The user can still enjoy multiple scene selections, such as pet mode, night portrait, beach and landscape, as well as sweeping panoramic shots. With simpler, straightfoward features, it's no surprise that the DSCW800 only weighs 125 grams in total. Reviews love the simplicity of this model and wrap it up as a gift for senior family members, too. Others find the 5x optical zoom a better, snappier option for spontaneous shots on holidays and at parties.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh83.25 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh103 and two years for Dh169.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.