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PowerShot G7 X Mark II
This Canon sits right in the sweet spot for price, features, and image quality. At $650, it’s relatively affordable too. The G7 X captures detailed images thanks to a big 1-inch sensor, optical stabilization, and 4.2x zoom. The tilting touchscreen and built-in Wi-Fi increase its utility. I appreciate the wide selection of controls given the compact size—Canon found room for an exposure compensation dial, as well as a big front dial around the lens. Even though it’s easily stuffed into a pocket, this petite device sports a comfy, confidence-inspiring rubber front grip and rear thumbrest that make it satisfying to hold.
Need the basics? This tried-and-true Sony model, though several years old, is still a gem—especially since the price keeps dipping every time Sony releases newer versions. For as low as $370, you can scoop up this premium compact, which comes standard with a 3.6x optical zoom lens. It doesn’t have the modern amenities—it lacks both touch input and Wi-Fi—but the money you save by going for this slick Sony means you’ll have more dough left over for extra batteries, straps, SD cards, and cases for toting it into the wild.