How To Choose a Point and Shoot

It can be hard to tell the difference between point and shoot cameras when there are so many different ones! Each one has its own features and cool quirks that set it apart from other cameras on the market. This guide is here to help you choose which point and shoot 35mm film camera is best for you.

Person holding Nikon point and shoot 35mm film camera and smiling at the camera.

What is a point and shoot camera? 

A point and shoot camera is named for how it is used, as in, you point the camera at your subject and take the image. They are often compact and have fully automatic settings. We will run through a few different things that these cameras have that can help you to make a decision.

Why should I buy a point and shoot camera?

  • They are super compact and easy to take with you everywhere!
  • This makes them great for travelling and everyday use. 
  • They are really easy to use, which means anyone can use them whether they have used a film camera before or not. 
  • Because they are easy to use, you can take photographs quickly and never miss a moment!
  • They are a great replacement for disposable cameras as they are more eco-friendly.

What do I need to consider when buying a point and shoot film camera?


Camera flashes are used in low-light situations, such as at night, to give extra light to what you are taking a photograph of. It can be really useful as it means you can use your camera in any situation.

Point and shoot cameras often have the flash built-in to the camera. These can be fully automatic, or you can use a little switch or mode setting to turn the flash on. 

Here are some examples of point and shoot cameras with flashes:


Point and shoot cameras come with either fixed lenses or zoom lenses. A fixed lens is one that stays at the same focal length (distance from your subject). A smaller number means a wider image, for example, a 22mm lens will be wider than a 50mm lens. 

Some cameras come with zoom lenses that can zoom from a wide focal length to a closer one.

Here are some cameras with zoom lenses:


Aperture is how small or big the hole is inside your lens and affects how much of your image is in focus. For example, an aperture of f/3.2 would have a blurrier background than a lens with an aperture of f/5.6. 

Aperture on a point and shoot is usually fully automatic, but cameras with lower apertures that allow lots of light in generally have sharper lenses (which means your images appear sharper and clearer).

Here are some examples of cameras with low apertures and sharp lenses:


Most point and shoot cameras will have automatic settings, in which the camera does everything for you. However, some cameras have different modes that allow you to change how the camera reacts. 

An example of the mode that your camera may have is no flash. This is useful if you were taking a photograph of a sunset. The camera may think that it is too dark and automatically discharge the flash. Having a no flash mode means you would be able to take the image without the flash firing. 


Self-timers on point and shoot cameras can be really helpful, especially if you travel solo or you don't want to be that person that has to ask a stranger to take a photograph of you. 

Not all point and shoots have this option. Here are some point and shoot cameras that do have a self-timer option: 

Need more help?

We receive lots of requests from people looking for a particular type of point and shoot camera. You can send us a message on our chat feature or send us an email. Here are some of the most common requests and questions we receive: 

I've used disposables, and now I want a reusable camera.

Here are our picks for cameras that are similar to disposable cameras, but are reusable!

I want a point and shoot camera that fits easily into my pocket.

Point and shoots are super compact, but here are our picks for ones that could fit in your pocket. Disclaimer: we don't know how big your pockets are... but these would fit in mine!

If you are looking for more recommendations for compact 35mm film cameras, have a read of our blog post all about the most compact cameras that we recommend.

I want a camera that will not break easily. 

Most point and shoot cameras are made from plastic, which means if you drop them, they may not survive. Here is our selection of durable point and shoots that are mostly made of metal: 

I want great quality images from my point and shoot.

Here is our selection of point and shoots that have great lenses and create high quality images:

Still stuck on which film camera to buy?

Try our film camera quiz. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and then you will get a list of personalised camera recommendations. 

Or send us a message on Instagram, send us an email, chat to us on our live website chat, or read some more of our blog posts!

If you like what we do, but can't buy a camera from us, please consider buying us a cup of coffee! It helps us to keep these resources free, consistent, and accessible. 

Max, owner of Cameras By Max

Article written by: Max

Max is the owner of Cameras By Max. They work full-time repairing and refurbishing all the 35mm film cameras you see on the website. Their favourite camera (at the moment) is the Olympus XA, and their favourite city in the world is Edinburgh.


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