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Which compact camera brand?

Which compact camera brand to buy in 2019

By Ryan Shaw

Article 2 of 2

Discover the best and worst compact camera brands for reliability, according to our independent survey of digital camera owners.

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Our reliability survey shines a light on the most dependable camera brands and, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best compact camera for you to buy. 

Every year we survey thousands of Which? members about their audiovisual products to find out which are the most - and least - reliable. Our unique survey helps us to identify the brands that people trust and would recommend to a friend. This guide provides verdicts on the biggest camera brands, including Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony. To see our in-depth verdicts of individual models visit our compact camera reviews.

For each brand we'll tell you the average test score, how reliable it is and how owners rate it, plus we provide an overall verdict. We have ratings for all the major compact camera brands, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. 

Below, you can see how the best and worst compact camera brands compare:

Below, we’ve collated all our camera test results, plus our unique reliability ratings and customer service scores, so you can see how compact cameras from all the major brands compare.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Brand name Average review score Reliability rating Customer score
69% 75%
A well-known brand with a big reputation. Its cameras are typically reliable and score well in our testing, securing three Best Buys.
71% 74%
This specialist digital camera brand tops our reliability ratings with its range of simple and advanced cameras, with most models costing around £200.
59% 67%
One of the pioneers of digital photography, this brand has been making digital cameras since 1996. The huge range should have something for everyone, from simple point-and-shoot models to more advanced models.
67% 67%
This instantly recognisable brand was another of the early pioneers of digital photography. Despite it receiving a middling customer score of all the compact camera brands, it still produces top-scoring and reliable cameras.
56% 67%
One of the most recognisable camera brands, it's likely to have something to offer no matter what kind of camera you're after. It produces cameras with full manual controls, 4K video recording and waterproof models.
n/a 66%
A brand better known for its other audiovisual products, there haven't been many new releases from this manufacturer of late. Previously, it was pushing the envelope on new technology, but other brands have since caught up with their own innovations.
62% 61%
A high street brand that previously enjoyed a large market share in cameras. At the time of writing, this brand has secured no Best Buys and ranks bottom for customer score, with plenty of room for improvement in overall picture and video quality.

Table notes
Sample sizes: 1,118 (reliability), 1,327 (customer score). Based on a survey of 9,513 Which? members in March 2017. Test lab data correct at July 2017.


Member Content

Choosing the best brand of compact camera

The table above reveals an overview of the real-life experiences of people with their compact cameras. To sum up, cameras from a brand with a higher reliability rating are less likely to suffer from faults or stop working completely.

Out of all the types of camera, compacts has the highest number of brands to choose from, so you're spoilt for choice. But you want to make sure that your next purchase will last. 

If you select any model from the top brand's range of compacts, you can be assured of a reliable, robust and top-scoring camera. Its cameras have a superb Best Buy hit rate, plus it's ranked the highest for average test score and customer score, and has the highest reliability ranking along with another brand. 

93%The highest compact camera reliability score

At the other end of the scale, another compact brand didn't fare so well. It only secured one Best Buy and ranked poorly, with a 56% average test score and a 67% customer score. While it may be a popular brand for other types of camera, it seems that there is significant room for improvement in the compact category. 

Of all the compact camera brands surveyed, the best secured a fantastic 93% reliability score and 75% customer rating. Meanwhile, the worst recorded a customer score of just 61%.

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on Britain's favourite tech brands. Every year we ask Which? members to tell us about the technology products they own - from how likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once they get them home. This year nearly 10,000 Which? members told us about more than 30,000 devices.

We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our annual survey. This year we had enough respondents to report on popular high street digital camera brands, such as Canon and Nikon, as well as other well-known brands, including Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. The most-recommended brand has a customer score of 75%, compared to 61% for the least-recommended brand.

Our reliability surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best cameras you can buy.