The(Not So) Lowly Point-and-Shoot

When buying a camera, most people's first instinct is to look into "professional" cameras like DSLR's, mirrorless, and even rangefinders, but a lot of people don't think of point-and-shoots as a serious tool in photography. Whether it is because of the often small sensors, the lack of customization, or even the small size, point-and-shoot cameras are often viewed as amateur. It's too bad because there are some absolutely incredible point-and-shoot cameras on the market today.

I recently bought a Nikon D610, but I seriously considered ditching my DSLR system for a point-and-shoot simply because recent models have advanced to the point that they are just as good as a lot of semi-pro cameras. Take the new Fuji X100F. I consider it the creme de la creme of point and shoot cameras, and the only thing setting it apart from the X-Pro2(3k msrp and one of my favorite digital cameras in production) is that you can't change lenses. Its not just Fuji cameras either. A lot of them give can pro cameras a serious run for their money, and their use as primary cameras is vastly underestimated.

My Favorite Models:

There are a lot of good point and shoots, but a few go above and beyond in performance and price point. 

Ricoh GR II

  1. Fuji X100T/X100F ($750-1300)
    • As mentioned before, the Fuji X100 series is probably the single best line of PAS cameras on the market. Sporting a great APS-C sensor and 35mm equivalent lens, they are very versatile. There a few major bugs that were fixed in the X100T(the X100F's predecessor), so If you have the funds, I wouldn't go any farther back than that. These cameras are almost like modernized Leica's with the hybrid optical viewfinder, and the X100F has a great af system. If you can deal with the lack of interchangeable lenses, this system would make a great primary camera.
  2. Ricoh GR II ($550-600)
    • What can be said about the GR series? They have been a cult classic among street togs since the days of film, and the GR II is one of the best digital street photography cameras out there. The image quality is as good(or better than) the X100T, and it produces stunning b&w photos. If you have a primary camera and are in the market for a pocketable PAS, the GR II is a great choice. It is also a great value primary camera though, and If you consider that it is a camera/lens combo, it is actually one of the less expensive APS-C sensor cameras out there. My only issues(if you can call them that) is that the 28mm equivalent lens is a bit too wide for my taste, and there is no ovf like the Fuji.
  3. Sony RX100 V (~ $1000)
    • I am hesitant to recommend this one, but in good light this camera is pretty versatile and has descent image quality. I would recommend this for the person who needs a do-everything PAS camera, and doesn't need absolute top-of-the-line image quality. Keep in mind the sensor in this camera is only about the third of the size of the Ricoh or Fuji, but the Sony has some neat features, as well as 4k video to play around with. I haven't personally used this camera though, so I can't attest to the build quality or handling, although I have heard that it isn't always the most responsive camera.

Who Should Buy One

Anyone! Smarphone cameras are great, but I still think a good PAS is a useful part of your arsenal, and for DSLR users, a go-everywhere camera can be very useful. If you have some spare cash, I say go for it and take your pick from the models above.