Best 8 Pocket Cameras in 2024

Pocket cameras have come a long way in recent years. With major improvements in sensor technology and processing power, today’s models can produce impressive image quality while packing many features into compact bodies that can slip into your pocket. You could be a hobbyist looking to capture life’s everyday moments or a professional in need of a discreet secondary camera, there is a pocket camera to suit your needs in 2024.

In this article, we round up the top 8 pocket cameras on the market this year for both photography and videography. We selected and ranked these models based on important factors like image quality, features, portability, and value.

Our top overall pick for 2024 is the Insta360 GO 3 Action Camera. Weighing only 35g, this thumb-sized wonder pulls off specs and performance you wouldn’t expect from such a tiny package.

This year, we have included point-and-shoots with large sensors, adventure cameras, advanced hybrids capable of high-end stills, 4K video, and more. If you are looking to capture travels, document family memories, shoot full-featured video projects, or simply have a capable compact camera on hand at all times, this guide will help you find your perfect match.

1. The Insta 360 Go 3- Best Overall 2023 Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Ultra-lightweight and compact
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Versatile mounting options
  • Long battery life with Action Pod
  • Robust shooting modes

What We Don’t Like

  • Battery life when used alone
  • Can overheat when shooting 4K

Leading our list of the top pocket cameras for 2024 is the minuscule yet mighty Insta360 GO 3 Action Camera. Weighing an astonishingly compact 35g, this thumb-sized pocket camera offers specs and performance that dwarf its compact form. It is capable of capturing smooth, stabilized 2.7K video and builds on the strengths of its predecessors to become our choice for the best hybrid camera in an ultra-portable package.

The Insta360 GO 3’s versatile design allows you to mount it virtually anywhere using accessories like the included magnet pendant and easy clip. You can get creative with unique hands-free angles ideal for vlogging, mountain biking, or capturing unique scenes. A bundled Action Pod extends functionality even further – offering a flip touchscreen, remote control, and preview, plus 170 minutes of battery life.  

When evaluating pocket cameras this year, we emphasized strong sensor and image quality performance in a highly compact body. The Insta360 GO 3 satisfies wonderfully on both fronts – its 1/2.3” sensor manages impressive dynamic range and low light capabilities given the camera’s tiny footprint. To add to that, excellent electronic stabilization produces gimbal-smooth video sans the bulk.

Connectivity and advanced features also ranked highly in our criteria. Built-in WIFI facilitates wireless transfer and remote control through the Insta360 app. Shooting modes like Active HDR, PureShot, and Horizon Balancing raise the bar on creativity. All together in a design barely larger than a robin’s egg, the Insta360 GO 3 is a marvel of miniaturized engineering that earns our pick for today’s top pocket camera.

2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII: Best Premium Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • A large 1” sensor enables impressive IQ
  • Bright 8x optical zoom lens
  • Robust video specs with mic jack
  • Tilting touchscreen and EVF
  • Speedy autofocus and burst shooting

What We Don’t Like

  • No weather sealing
  • Premium price tag

Earning our pick for the best premium pocket camera is the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII, dubbed the “Expert Compact” for its pro-level performance. The RX100 VII delivers amazing image quality rivaling that of larger sensor cameras, making no compromises on portability. It is constructed around a large 1-inch sensor paired with a razor-sharp Zeiss 24-200mm zoom lens.

Despite its shirt-pocketable size, its Exmor RS sensor captures tack-sharp 20MP stills at up to 20 fps, shooting high bitrate 4K video. It has an advanced 357-point hybrid autofocus system with real-time tracking.

The DSC-RX100 VII has an integrated pop-up OLED viewfinder to ensure you have more stable handheld shooting, while the tilting touch screen affords you flexible viewing angles. Connectivity options like mic input, HDMI output and Wi-Fi round out its robust package.

This pocket camera shines in areas our experts focused on for ideal pocket cameras, including sensor performance tied to image quality, durable yet compact form factor, and a stacked feature set catering especially to video, action, and low light scenes.

If you are a discerning photographer or videographer wanting big camera firepower in a portable body, you will find your perfect match in this capable take-anywhere powerhouse.  

We must add here that the RX100 VII delivers category-leading quality similar to that of bulkier interchangeable lens models as it is positioned at a premium price point. This clearly shows why it stands tall among the pack as the do-everything maven of pocket cameras in 2024.

3. Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 Digital Camera: Best Travel Zoom Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Far-reaching 15x optical zoom
  • Integrated high-res EVF
  • A large 1-inch sensor enables great IQ
  • 4K video and USB charging
  • Intuitive physical controls

What We Don’t Like

  • Lens has a narrow variable aperture
  • No tilting rear LCD

If you’re looking for a balance of portability, versatility, and imaging capabilities, the compact Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 stands out as our pick for the best travel zoom pocket camera. This lovely point-and-shoot is equipped with a far-reaching 15x optical zoom lens in a conveniently compact body.

The ZS200 delivers amazing 20MP image quality, whether shooting vibrant landscapes at wide angles or capturing distant subjects with the telephoto end of its LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens. Its shooting capabilities are made possible by a large 1-inch sensor.

We found its Impressive features like 4K video, USB charging, and an integrated 2.3 million-dot electronic viewfinder offering more flexibility for travelers. At the same time, its intuitive physical controls and touchscreen interface allow simple operation if you want to capture spontaneous moments while you are exploring new places.

Panasonic managed to strike an ideal balance between size and features with the ZS200. Its portable form houses premium components usually found in bulkier ILC models, like the high-resolution EVF and large sensor and uncropped 4K video in a camera that slides right into your pocket.

Considering its other capabilities like the 15x zoom range, fast burst shooting, RAW formats, and robust connectivity, the ZS200 shapes up as a formidable pocket-sized travel companion camera. It can fit in most trouser pockets or small bags easily.

If you are on the hunt for pro-level image quality and increased reach in a highly portable package, the Panasonic ZS200 has the versatility and power to handle your global adventures while barely making a ripple in your luggage or trouser pocket. It is reasonably priced too and available with discounts.

4. Canon PowerShot V10: Best Pocket Vlogging Camera

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What We Like

  • Vertical form factor for vlogging
  • Sharp 19mm wide-angle lens
  • High-quality dual microphones
  • Integrated kickstand
  • Streamlined exposure controls

What We Don’t Like

  • No advanced manual controls
  • Non-removable battery

Catering squarely to content creators, the uniquely designed Canon PowerShot V10 stakes its claim as our top pick for pocket vlogging cameras this year. This streamlined model abandons the classic horizontal orientation for a vertical form factor better suited for shooting video at arm’s length. An integrated kickstand allows you to prop the camera up hands-free.

The PowerShot V10 makes selfie framing a breeze while delivering vivid 4K or 1080p footage using a 1-inch CMOS sensor and 19mm wide-angle lens. Its dual microphones ensure enhanced audio quality for narration, while an oversized record button enables you to start/stop recording seamlessly. Connectivity options allow you to live stream directly online or use the V10 as a plug-and-play webcam with crisp video quality.  

Canon took note of user needs and feedback while designing the PowerShot V10 explicitly for today’s social content creators. This pocketable vertically-oriented vlogger optimizes portability and one-handed use. Its flip-out stand, mics, dedicated exposure/audio controls, and uncovered lens will help you capture first-person vlogs on demand.

If you are a hobbyist who is after pro-am quality without the learning curve, this easy-operation camera helps your selfie star shine. Pocket cameras are supposed to be easy to operate but capable and this one is exactly that.

The uniquely angled Canon PowerShot V10 will let you focus on performing rather than operating as it offers a specialized take on modern pocket cameras. Its handheld-friendly form and purpose-driven exposure/mic settings simplify making you and your message the center of attention during video capture. We love what it has to offer as a vlogging pocket camera in 2024 and recommend it.

5. Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV: Best Mirrorless Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Large sensor in a slim body
  • Effective in-body stabilization
  • Fast overall performance
  • Flip-down touchscreen
  • Interchangeable lenses

What We Don’t Like

  • No weather sealing
  • Fixed rear screen limits angles

Proving big things come in small packages, the ultra-compact Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV stakes its claim as our pick for the best mirrorless pocket camera. This micro 4/3 model retains a slim, portable form factor perfect for everyday carry despite having a larger four-thirds sensor than typical point-and-shoots,

The E-M10 Mark IV delivers excellent image quality, fast autofocus, and up to 15 fps continuous shooting to capture fleeting moments on the fly with its powerful 20MP Live MOS sensor and speedy TruePic VIII processor. Its 5-axis in-body stabilization provides up to 4.5 stops of shake reduction for crisp images handheld. It is also equipped with aa flip-down touchscreen monitor to help you with selfies and vlogging.  

In keeping with our criteria for ideal pocket cameras, the E-M10 Mark IV houses an impressive imaging pipeline into a super portable body. Its Micro Four Thirds platform lends flexibility to change lenses. Connectivity options like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enable you to share straight from the camera.

If you are seeking compact interchangeable lens power, this lightweight ILC option offers big performance without weighing down your jacket pocket. This pocket mirrorless delivers impressive specifications and image quality that rivals larger DSLRs.

 The OM-D E-M10 Mark IV makes no compromises on features or portability. If you need expansive creative control from a take-anywhere camera, you will most likely find it a perfect pocket-sized mirrorless companion.

6. Canon PowerShot S95: Best Budget Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Excellent image quality for the price  
  • Bright f/2 aperture lens
  • Effective optical stabilization
  • Intuitive physical controls
  • Sharp rear LCD screen

What We Don’t Like

  • No manual exposure controls
  • Lacks wireless connectivity

You don’t need to break the bank for quality. The slightly dated but capable Canon PowerShot S95 earns our pick as the best budget pocket camera for value-focused shooters. This compact point-and-shoot consistently punches above its weight for image quality versus price given it is equipped with a 10MP CCD sensor and DIGIC 4 processor.

We picked it because of its wallet-friendly cost but its bright f/2 lens with 3.8x zoom gives the S95 capabilities akin to premium compacts. Its effective optical image stabilization and ISO range extending to ISO 3200 equip the S95 to shoot handheld in low light. An intuitive control ring provides manual adjustments on the fly. It also comes with a sharp 460k-dot LCD which makes framing and reviewing a breeze.  

While more advanced features like 4K video or wireless connectivity are absent, the S95 nails fundamentals like portability, image quality, and intuitive handling that remain relevant in 2024. If you are a photographer seeking a capable secondary compact or first-time shooter on a budget, this value-leading Canon delivers everything you need for standout snapshots on the lower end of the budget.

The budget-friendly Canon PowerShot S95 proves compact cameras can balance quality results with everyday affordability. We recommend it as a starter pocket-size and pocket-friendly (no pun) camera if you are very tight on budget and just want to start shooting.

7. Minolta MN60WP 48MP: Best Kids’ Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Rugged, waterproof design
  • Vibrant color options
  • Integrated selfie screen
  • Intuitive, easy interface

What We Don’t Like

  • Lacks wireless connectivity

Geared squarely towards budding young photographers, the playful Minolta MN60WP earns our pick for the best kids’ pocket camera. This compact point-and-shoot offers an easy way for teens to explore their creative side without breaking the bank and it comes clad in a range of vibrant colors.

The MN60WP captures high-resolution photos and crisp 4K video with its 12MP sensor – perfect for sharing daily adventures on social media. Its waterproof design allows underwater capture during pool parties or beach trips. An integrated selfie screen coupled with built-in editing functions adds extra fun for selfie-snapping millennials.  

While more advanced shooters may desire manual controls or wireless connectivity, the MN60WP focuses squarely on simplicity and durability to suit young photographers. Its budget-friendly price point and rugged, no-fuss operation make this a great starter camera for kids ready to enter the world of photography without worrying about expensive gear.

The Minolta MN60WP lets your teenage budding photographers embark on creative capture during life’s fun moments. It blends user-friendly function with wallet-friendly affordability which makes it a great choice for parents looking for a gift for their teenagers that is not a high-end smartphone.

8. Ricoh GR IIIx Urban Edition: Best Street Photography Pocket Camera

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What We Like

  • Imaging pipeline optimized for street shooting   
  • Legendary GR wide-angle prime lens
  • Lightweight but tough magnesium body
  • Discreet design avoids unwanted attention
  • Abundant B&W shooting modes

What We Don’t Like

  • Lacks video capabilities  
  • The smaller 1/1.7″ sensor struggles in very low light

Earning our pick as the best street photography pocket camera is the very unique and niche-focused Ricoh GR IIIx Urban Edition. This APS-C premium compact blends discreet portability with immense imaging power perfectly suited for candid street shooting. It usually comes encased in a metallic gray magnesium alloy body accented by a navy-blue ring grip.

At the GR IIIx’s core lies a 24MP sensor free of low-pass filtering to enable superb sharpness. This pairs with Ricoh’s renowned fixed 28mm equivalent f/2.8 GR lens revered for its public photography prowess. The camera’s native ISO 102,400 shooting competes with far larger cameras for light sensitivity, while integrated 3-axis stabilization provides up to 4 EV of shake reduction when shooting handheld.

On the handling front, the GR IIIx omits overcomplicated controls in favor of a streamlined design focused squarely on enabling rapid response capture. Its Autofocus lever and two control dials strike an ideal balance between speed and creative dial control. Add weather sealing, DNG RAW shooting, and abundant B&W rendition modes, and the GR IIIx transforms into a formidable street shooter’s best friend.  

We chose this unique pocket-size gem this year as it is made to let you masterfully capture urban life’s fleeting moments anywhere the streets take you. It Blends discreet portability with immense imaging power, making it a great choice, especially if you love Ricoh’s reliable cameras. Enjoy it!

Table 1: A comparison table of the 8 best pocket cameras in 2024

Camera ModelSensor TypeMegapixelsMax Video ResolutionSize & WeightKey Features
Insta360 GO 31/2.3″ CMOSUp to 2.7K Video and Photos2.7K35g, Thumb-sizedInnovative magnetic mounting system, Waterproof up to 4m, Hyperlapse mode
Sony RX100 VII1″ Stacked CMOS20MP4K/30p302g, Compact body20 fps burst shooting, Phase detection AF, Pop-up EVF
Panasonic ZS2001“MOS20MP4K/30p340g, Mid-sized body15x optical zoom lens, 5-axis hybrid O.I.S, High-resolution EVF
Canon PowerShot V10 20.9 MP, BSI-CMOS13.1 MP HD4K211g, ultra-compactVertical form factor, Built-in stand, Dual microphones
Olympus E-M10 IVFour Thirds Live MOS20MP4K/30p383g, Ultracompact body5-axis in-body image stabilization, 16 Art Filters, Flip-down touchscreen
Canon S951/1.7″ CCD10MP720p193g, Compact bodyf/2 lens, Control ring for manual adjustments, Customizable control button
Minolta MN60WP1/2.7″ CMOS12MP4K/30fps140g, compactWaterproof up to 16ft, Dual screens, Vibrant color options
Ricoh GR IIIxAPS-C CMOS24MP1080p262g, Very compact bodyLegendary 28mm equivalent f/2.8 GR lens, 3-axis in-body stabilization, Discreet outward design

This is How to Choose a Pocket Camera in 2024

The following are the key criteria you should use to evaluate any pocket camera you want to buy in 2024 if you want value for your money:

Sensor Performance and Image Quality

First and foremost, sensor capabilities directly impact photographic potential. Larger sensors such as Micro Four Thirds, 1-inch, and APS-C allow improved light capture and depth of field control compared to smaller sensors.

Resolution between 10 to 20 megapixels strikes an ideal balance for most users, providing ample flexibility for cropping. Maximum ISO levels topping 25,600 minimize the need for flash while facilitating handheld low-light shooting.

Sensor size

  • Larger sensors are better (Micro Four Thirds, 1″, APS-C)
  • Enable improved light capture and depth of field control
  • Example: Ricoh GR IIIx has a large APS-C sensor

Resolution  

  • 10MP to 20MP is good for most use cases
  • Higher resolution allows more cropping flexibility
  • Example: Sony RX100 VII has a 20MP 1” sensor

Low light ISO performance  

  • Look for native ISO from 100 to 25,600
  • Excellent high ISO reduces the need for flash
  • Example: Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV goes up to ISO 25,600  

Dynamic range

  • Wider dynamic range preserves highlight/shadow detail
  • Example: Insta360 GO 3 excels here for its tiny sensor size

Portability and Handling

Secondly, the portability and form factor require evaluation to ensure true compactness. Total camera weight below 8 ounces makes all-day carrying effortless, enhanced by bright zoom lenses maintaining f/2.8 apertures for their size. Dedicated physical controls like dials and buttons should enable intuitive one-handed adjustments on the fly. A minimum of 300 shots per charge qualifies for good battery life.

Size and weight

  • Truly pocketable cameras weigh under 8 oz  
  • Example: Insta360 GO 3 weighs just 0.8 oz

Lens

  • Bright zoom lenses (f/1.8 to f/2.8) optimize portability
  • Example: Panasonic ZS200 has 15x f/3.3-6.4 Leica lens

Ergonomics and controls

  • Intuitive, dedicated dials/buttons facilitate one-handed use
  • Example: Canon G5X has abundant physical controls

Battery life

  • 300 shots per charge is good; 500 shots is great  
  • Example: Sony RX100 VII gets 260 shots per charge

Features and Connectivity  

Finally, features and connectivity add creative functionality. Priority shooting modes optimize the camera for common scenarios like action or landscapes. 4K video recording facilitates detailed renderings, while multiple wireless protocols enable seamless smartphone connectivity for instant sharing. Extras like weather sealing significantly broaden possible shooting environments and durability.

Shooting modes

  • Priority modes tailor the camera to common scenarios
  • Example: Olympus E-M10 IV has 16 Art Filters

Video resolutions   

  • Minimum 1080p/60fps, 4K/30fps ideal
  • Example: Panasonic ZS200 captures 4K video

Wireless connectivity

  • WIFI and Bluetooth enable seamless smartphone connectivity  
  • Example: Ricoh GR IIIx has 2.4GHz Wi-Fi

Weather/dust sealing

  • Extra durability broadens shooting scenarios
  • Example: Ricoh GR IIIx is weather-sealed        

Our experts used these factors to gauge real-world shooting capabilities for travel, landscapes, street scenes, and everyday photography on the go of the eight pocket cameras we selected this year.

Final Remarks

There is now a huge diversity of pocket camera options tailored to varied needs and budgets. If you are after capturing everyday memories or professional image quality on the go, consider one of the options in this guide while choosing your perfect pocket camera in 2024.

FAQ

What Is the Best Pocket Camera for Travel Under $500?

For travel specifically, we recommend the Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 as the best sub-$ $500 pocket camera. Its 15x zoom range, a 1-inch sensor for great image quality, 4K video recording, and travel-friendly features like USB charging make it an ideal travel zoom camera.

Does Sensor Size Matter for Pocket Cameras?

Yes, sensor size is a key indicator of image quality in pocket cameras. Larger sensors (Micro Four Thirds, 1-inch, APS-C) allow improved light capture and depth of field control compared to smaller sensors. So, when determining potential image quality, checking the sensor size is important.

Do All Pocket Cameras Shoot High Quality 4K Video?

While some exceptional pocket cameras like the Sony RX100 VII and Panasonic ZS200 capture c 4K footage, not all pocket cameras offer 4K recording. Many budget models may max out at 1080p instead. Checking the video resolution specs is important if 4K video is your priority.

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John Doe

John Doe

I am John, a tech enthusiast with a knack for breaking down complex camera, audio, and video technology. My expertise extends to social media and electronic gadgets, and I thrive on making the latest tech trends understandable and exciting for everyone. Sharing my knowledge through engaging content, I aim to connect with fellow tech lovers and novices alike, bringing the fascinating world of technology to life.

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