There are only a handful of compacts with a slightly larger sensor and larger aperture lenses: The Canon G12 and S95, the Nikon P7000, the Olympus XZ-1, The Panasonic LX5, and the Samsung TL500. The G12 and XZ-1 are over budget unless you can find one on sale. The P7000 is apparently good but very slow. The TL500 does not have HD video. The LX5 is more capable than the S95; it's faster performing overall, has much better battery life, and is faster optically at the telephoto end of its lens by a full stop. It can also take an external flash and an optical or electronic viewfinder.