Last updated: November 2, 2018

This guide has been updated to include details of the Panasonic Lumix DC-LX100 II, which has not yet been fully reviewed and could, when tested, change our recommendations.

If you want a compact camera that produces great quality photos without the hassle of changing lenses, there are plenty of choices available for every budget. All of the cameras in this buying guide have zoom lenses, with focal length ranges mostly spanning around 24-70mm (equivalent).

The majority of the cameras in this guide use 1"-type sensors, which fall in-between the tiny chips used in smartphones and cheap compacts, and larger sensors found in mirrorless and DSLR cameras. Larger sensors offer more control over depth-of-field and usually (but not always) have less noise at high sensitivities.

Our Pick: Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VA

The RX100 VA packs virtually every feature imaginable into a slick metal body that slips right into your pocket. It's an updated version of the original RX100 V that includes an improved buffer, reduced lag in the viewfinder and additional metering and AF options, among other things.

The RX100 VA can take bursts at 24 fps with continuous autofocus and Eye AF, so it's hard to miss a shot of a fast-moving child. It has a fast lens for shooting in low light, but since it stops at 70mm, it's not well-suited to shooting sports.

A clever pop-up viewfinder makes taking pictures in bright outdoor light easy. The RX100 VA can also capture sharp 4K video with excellent autofocus. If you're spending a weekend at Disneyland you will want to pack a spare battery or two, but the RX100 VA will make it through a birthday party just fine.

Also recommended: Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II

While it doesn't have incredible burst rates, the ultra-compact Canon PowerShot G9 X Mark II is an amazing value camera, with a street price well under $500.

It uses the same 20MP 1" CMOS sensor as other Canons, meaning that you'll get pleasant-looking JPEGs, and a modern Digic 7 processor that allows fast (ish) burst rates and a large buffer. The F2.0-4.9, 28-84mm equivalent lens isn't the brightest out there, but it's more than enough for most folks.

The G9 X Mark II features a touch-sensitive LCD screen, and Canon's wireless system includes both NFC and Bluetooth, allowing for easy pairing, photo sharing and remote control. What's not to like? Well, the G9 X II doesn't record 4K video, and its battery life is pretty low. Even so, for those seeking a camera that you can carry everywhere, the G9 X II is worth a look.

We considered all of the cameras below when picking our winner, and even though Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V is our top pick, the cameras on our short list are also worthy contenders.

If you're not convinced by our recommendations, read through the full buying guide for a detailed breakdown of each contender's strengths and weaknesses.

Please note that in order to keep this guide as concise as possible, the Sony RX100, RX100 II and RX100 III are not included. You can learn more about them and which model is best for you in this article.

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