The PowerShot 18: Which Canon compact is right for you?

Like Canon's compact and ultracompact cameras? Good, 'cause we've reviewed all of the models that are currently available.

Most of the past two months for me have been spent testing and reviewing Canon's 2010 PowerShot compact and ultracompact cameras. Why? Because CNET's readers really, really like them. The last one completed was the SX210 IS, the company's 14-megapixel compact megazoom featuring a 28mm-equivalent wide-angle lens and a 14x zoom.

Like its predecessor, the SX200 IS, the design is less than perfect, which dragged its overall rating down. However, for anyone wanting semimanual and manual controls paired with a long lens jammed into a compact body, this is likely to be the best option.

I don't expect Canon to announce additional 2010 point-and-shoot models until August/September. Until then, the links below will take you to our reviews of Canon's currently available PowerShot cameras--from the entry-level A490 right up to the advanced G11.

Canon's advanced compacts for control freaks: If you're looking for a companion to your dSLR, want a megazoom lens, or both, start here. Best of the bunch is the PowerShot S90 , a little camera with a lot of control.

Choosing the right Canon ultracompact camera: Here you'll find all the latest Digital Elphs, the company's smallest pocket point-and-shoots. Most of them feature wide-angle lenses with modest zoom ranges, HD movie capture, and HDMI outputs for connecting to an HDTV or monitor. The favorite here is the extremely small and attractive 14-megapixel SD1400 IS. (If you want an optical viewfinder, pick up the SD780 IS while it's still around.)

Cheap and easy: Canon's A-series PowerShots: Just basic snapshot features and good photo quality, but at a lower price than the Digital Elphs. (They're a bit bulkier, too.) Though the series was once known for its manual controls, optical viewfinders, and AA-size battery power, only the AAs remain and that's just on the lowest-end models. The top pick would be the fullest featured one, the A3100 IS. However, if you're only looking for an inexpensive way to take the occasional snapshot, the A490 is best .

Don't care about Canon? Great, 'cause in the coming weeks we'll be testing the Nikon Coolpix S8000 and L110 ; the Fujifilm FinePix JZ500, JZ300 , and HS10 (yes, that one ); the Casio Exilim EX-FH100 ; the Kodak Slice ; and the Samsung HZ35W .

If those don't interest you, let me know in the comments which point-and-shoots you want to know more about.

 

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