Canon describes the PowerShot SX200 IS as a 'super-compact wide zoom', but that's stretching it slightly. It's actually something of a monster as far as compacts go. The specs are good, though, with 12 megapixels, manual controls and a 12x wideangle zoom, but the SX200 will set you back about £280.
These compact superzooms are catching on. Regular superzooms might have a longer zoom range, but they're styled like mini SLRs and there's no way you're going to be able to shove one in your jacket pocket like you can with this camera. Besides, the 12x zoom on the SX200 still has a long enough reach for all but the most distant subjects.
Long zooms need image stabilisers to keep the picture steady, and Canon's IS mechanism does a great job here. Canon says it offers a 4x shutter speed advantage, and it certainly steadies up long-range shots remarkably well.
At the other end of the scale, the zoom is equivalent to a 28mm wideangle, so this really is a very flexible do-it-all camera. It's a good one for learning about photography too, because, although it has idiot-proof fully automatic modes (plus new help screens), it has aperture-priority, shutter-priority and manual modes as well.
But, while it looks great on paper, the SX200 chucks away much of its potential due to the way it's designed and the results it produces. Some aspects of this camera are just unnecessarily annoying, like the flash which pops up as soon as you turn on the camera and can't be clicked down, even when you turn the flash off -- and it's right where you want to rest your left index finger when you're holding the camera.