The Pansonic ZS100 offers great blend of quality, size and features for people who want better photos and are willing to trade off a little quality for a lot of lens.
The Leica D-Lux 5 compact camera is undeniably expensive. But its superior images, classic design and broad range of features go a long way towards justifying its price tag.
A superzoom's a smart buy as long as you realise that you're not going to get quite the same handling and picture quality as you would from a digital SLR. You don't want to spend a fortune, in other words. On that basis, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38 is great. Panasonic's created a camera that's one of the best of its type, but one of the cheapest too
This camera's great zoom range, metal build and cracking LCD screen are occasionally let down by rather dull, listless images lacking in contrast. The Fujifilm FinePix F300EXR's noisy zoom and overly sensitive mic are also considerable pitfalls.
Great fun to use and packed with useful features, the sturdy Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ30 isn't cheap, but it has built-in GPS to geotag your photos, good low-light performance and an impressive movie mode. If you're looking to upgrade your snapper before your next holiday, this is certainly one to consider.
Reliable, predictable image quality and built-in Wi-Fi make the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 a tempting choice for novice users. Tweaks and options are a little thin on the ground, but the option to add creative filters retrospectively means you can afford to experiment without spoiling your original shots.
The Canon PowerShot A4000 IS is a very compact camera that's easy to use, with dedicated help screens for beginners. It features a high resolution and a long zoom but there's more noise in the results than there ought to be, and some light streaking in movies. While very well priced, spending a little more would pay dividends.
The Canon PowerShot S110 is a really versatile, very small camera that would be a great carry-anywhere option for the more ambitious photographer and anyone looking for a point-and-shoot to supplement their dSLR.
Superzooms are often disappointing, with poor definition at longer focal lengths, sluggish operation and average handling, but the Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is an exception. It's big and expensive, but it's also pretty darned good
You'll save both space and an awful lot of money with the Fujifilm FinePix SL1000's 50x captive zoom lens. Image quality could be better, but with a fairly healthy selection of manual controls -- plus raw image shooting -- it's a good choice for the more ambitious novice looking to hone their skills on a budget.
With its distinctive off-white fascia, elegant styling and ergonomic design, the IR-300 is an easy camera to like. However, the complicated menu system, disappointing movie mode and occasional problems with colour fidelity mean you can do better elsewhere
Advanced amateurs who find dSLRs too bulky will like the Sony Cyber Shot DSC-H5's versatility but lament the noise at higher ISOs.
It shoots good photos, but mediocre performance and a serious design flaw may keep this 8-megapixel camera out of the hands of enthusiasts.
While it suffers at higher ISO sensitivity settings, the Kodak EasyShare Z885 is a surprisingly flexible, affordable camera.
Though nothing extraordinary, the Nikon Coolpix L610 is a decent entry-level compact camera that shoots slightly above its price.
The Nikon Coolpix S4 resurrects the company's classic swivel-lens design with modern touches, including lots of scene modes and in-camera fixes for common problems. Image quality and performance seem a bit old-fashioned, however.
A true spy gadget, the Nikon Coolpix S01's image quality is better than its size or price might suggest. Until you get one in your hands, it's difficult to imagine quite how small it is. Think of it as a competent, carry-anywhere alternative to a smart phone's built-in camera.
The Nikon Coolpix S220 is an adequate, inexpensive choice for social-network-loving photographers.