Casio Exilim EX-S5

The good: Slim, pretty design; very good feature-to-price ratio; above average photo quality for its class.

The bad: Long shutter lag.

The bottom line: A budget ultracompact worth buying, the sub-$150 Casio Exilim EX-S5's only real issue is shutter lag.

Read the full review.


Best price: $108.99 from NewEgg.com.
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Nikon Coolpix S230

The good: Very good touch-screen LCD; simple operation; overall excellent design for its class.

The bad: Generally soft photos; mixed performance.

The bottom line: The Nikon Coolpix S230 is a decent ultracompact camera with a little extra wow factor of a touch-screen interface.

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Best price:
$159.99 from NewEgg.com.
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Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

The good: Attractive, ultracompact design; easy operation; well-rounded, basic feature set.

The bad: Photo quality dips above ISO 200; flat buttons can be difficult to press accurately.

The bottom line: Simple and stylish, the sub-$230 Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS is a fine back-pocket camera as long as your photo-quality expectations are reasonable.

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Best price: $172.95 from B&H Photo.

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Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290

The good: Terrific design, interface, and controls; wide-angle, 5x zoom lens; excellent price-to-feature ratio.

The bad: No optical zoom while recording video; soft photos.

The bottom line: The sub-$250 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W290 is an excellent, well-balanced compact camera.

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Best price: $219.97 from Vanns.com.

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Canon PowerShot SD940 IS

The good: Very small; simple operation; very good photo, HD movie quality; HDMI out.

The bad: No optical zoom in Movie mode; mixed performance.

The bottom line: One of the best ultracompacts available, the sub-$300 Canon PowerShot SD940 IS nonetheless falls short of greatness in performance and photo quality.

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Best price: $279 from 1StopCamera.com.

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Samsung TL320

The good: Extremely large feature set; solid, high-end design.

The bad: Photo quality dips above ISO 200.

The bottom line: The sub-$380 Samsung TL320's myriad shooting options make it a very good dSLR companion, but the photo quality and performance are definitely those of a point-and-shoot camera.

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Best price: $299.99 from JR.com

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