When you need a camera to perform all the heavy lifting in a relatively small package, the point-and-shoot solutions are worthy candidates. However, to really dig into the basic foundations of exposure you will eventually need to dive into manual mode.
Rummaging through the details of the exposure triangle is beyond the scope of this article, but if you want this to be a long-term hobby, these factors are the foundation for every shot you will make. Thus the reason for bringing you the best point-and-shoot cameras with manual mode.
The shortlist of cameras we bring you today will ease you into manual mode. These feature not only automatic settings on the camera, but also aperture and shutter speed priority modes, along with variable ISO settings so that you can play with each independently.
1. Fujifilm X100F
The Fujifilm X100F may be the most expensive camera on our list of point-and-shoot cameras with manual mode, but it’s also arguably the most capable. This camera has the most appealing design, featuring retro rangefinder-type looks, a hybrid viewfinder, and (obviously) a manual mode.
The camera features a highly-capable 24.3MP APS-C-X-Trans CMOS III sensor, with an ISO of 100-51,200, a fast 8 fps shooting speed, and a total of 91 AF points. It also comes with Fujifilm’s renowned film simulation modes and is quite happy to shoot video at 4K when needed. The built-in lens has an f/2 aperture for low-light shooting and with an equivalent focal length of 35mm, which is a great viewpoint for most types of shots.
With the manual dials and levers, you can control the Fujifilm X100F as they did in the old days. After some practice, this method becomes very intuitive and is a quick way to play with all the settings when you do dive into manual mode.
Most of all, it provides wonderful image quality to a professional level, with all the facilities you will need for years of fine image production. You can read more in our full review of the Fujifilm X100F.
2. Canon PowerShot SX730 HS
For a more cost-effective solution, the Canon Powershot SX730 HS is a tidy little camera with a lot of power under the hood. The Powershot SX730 HS delivers impressive performance by the 20.3MP, 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor, and DIGIC 6 processor, with a very useful ISO range of 80 to 3,200, a burst speed of 5.9 fps, and HD 1080p/60p video recording.
The lens on the Canon is equally capable with a zoom range covering an equivalent 24-960mm range and lots of image stabilization modes covering normal shooting to macro photography. There are also a lot of ways to share the images via the built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth.
Although the camera doesn’t have a built-in viewfinder, the 3″ 922k-dot tilting LCD monitor is extremely clear and bright, and can also be tilted for shooting at extreme angles. Although the PowerShot SX730 HS is a small and compact solution, it has all the shooting modes you could ever need and doubles up very well as a travel solution.
3. Sony RX10 IV
Sony has been a long-time producer of bridge cameras, which combine characteristics of a full DLSR or mirrorless solution with the seemingly more basic compact variety. This isn’t a cheap camera by any means, but it also packs in all the tools you could ever need to go from full automatic to manual workings.
The 20.1MP, 1″ Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor has an incredibly fast continuous shooting speed of 24 fps, which will be the envy of any sports photographer. And when coupled with the 24-600mm equivalent zoom lens, it’s more than capable of capturing wide to super-telephoto images.
The lens has a very capable f/2.4-f/4 aperture for low-light conditions, coupled with an image stabilization system with 4.5 stops of compensation. Images are very sharp at the very telephoto end of the spectrum.
The Sony RX10 IV is very capable in video mode, offering 4K with lots of different options such as slow-motion video and advanced features such as a microphone and headphone socket. This camera may seem like a strange offering when you consider the Sony a7 III and the Sony a7R III, but if you prefer a solution that can provide professional results with all the shooting mode you could ever need in an all-in-one camera/lens combo, the Cyber-Shot RX10 IV is a high-quality solution.
4. Ricoh GR III
Although the Ricoh GR III looks like a basic point-and-shoot camera on the surface, it’s an extremely high-quality imaging solution, chock-full of functionality. In its third iteration, the GR III features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, with a wide-ranging ISO of 100-102,400 and an equivalent 28mm f/2.8 lens.
This model also brings for the first time a three-axis Shake Reduction system and, although there is no traditional viewfinder, the 3″, 1.037m-dot rear LCD screen provides plenty of detail to analyze a scene. The camera also has reasonably-capable video facilities, featuring HD modes at 60, 30, and 24 fps.
A simple dial on the top of the camera swaps between the different shooting modes. With not just a manual mode available, but also all the semi-automatic modes and three user set modes.
The GR III is quite specific in its offerings, being more for those who need a wide-angle lens solution for the likes of street photography, environmental portraits, or even landscapes. However, as a very high-quality compact solution, the Ricoh has a lot to offer. If it just came with a viewfinder of some type, it would be a far more rounded solution. Read the rest of our thoughts in our Ricoh GR III review.
5. Canon Powershot SX530 HS (Budget Winner)
At first glance, the Canon Powershot SX530 HS looks like a bare-bones DSLR, but it’s really a bridge camera, a happy medium between the high-end models and a compact solution. The benefits here are the 50x optical zoom lens (an equivalent of 24-1,200mm), a 16MP High Sensitivity CMOS image sensor, HD video at 30 fps, and image stabilization.
Although it looks like a regular DSLR, there is no viewfinder. The camera does feature a rear 3″ 461k-dot LCD screen, which has most of the facilities from the high-end versions. A simple top dial can take you from full auto mode to fully manual. There are other options available for your own picture settings and for quickly swapping into video mode.
Considering the current price of the Powershot SX530 HS, for just a few hundred dollars it’s a great all-in-one solution. It doesn’t just allow you full control over all settings, but can also be used for anything from landscapes to far off wildlife shots.
Selecting the Best Point-and-Shoot Cameras with Manual Mode
With so many affordable camera solutions currently on the market, it can be hard to differentiate between the wheat and the chaff. All the point-and-shoot cameras with manual mode above provide great all-round facilities, with semi-automatic and manual shooting modes.