A point-and-shoot camera, also known as a compact camera and sometimes abbreviated to P&S, is a still camera designed primarily for simple operation. Most use focus free lenses or autofocus for focusing, automatic systems for setting the exposure options, and have flash units built in.
Point-and-shoots are by far the best selling type of separate camera, as distinct from camera phones. They are popular for vernacular photography by people who do not consider themselves photographers but want easy-to-use cameras for snapshots of vacations, parties, reunions and other events. Point-and-shoot camera sales declined after about 2010 as smartphones overtook them in such uses. To overcome market shrinkage, compact camera manufacturers began making higher end versions and with a stylish metal body.
Most superzoom compact cameras have between 30x and 60x optical zoom, although some have even further zoom, most notably the Nikon Coolpix P900, which has 83x optical zoom, and weighs less than 300 grams, much less than bridge cameras and DSLRs.
The terms “point and shoot” and “compact camera” are used differently in different parts of the world. In the UK point-and-shoot predominantly means a fully automatic camera, regardless of size or shape. A “compact camera” on the other hand, has a small body, regardless of any fully automatic capabilities. Thus a DSLR can have point-and-shoot modes, and some compact cameras are not designed for point and shoot operation, with the equivalent controls to a DSLR.