- Fri, 30 Oct 2009
Whether you're after something fun and stylish, or a more fully featured alternative to your DSLR, there's a compact for every need and budget.
Best for... A Budget Bargain
You don't need to spend a fortune to bag a bargain. These cameras offer style, cool features and impressive performance at prices that won't break the bank.
Fujifilm Finepix Z33WP - £130
The tiny Z33WP not only looks great and comes in a choice of five candy colours, it's also waterproof down to three metres. In fact, it's the world's smallest waterproof digicam. The Z33WP is easy to use and features auto scene recognition for best results.
Canon Powershot A480 - £90
It's hard to go wrong with Canon compacts, but this one represents especially good value. It's brisk in use, the quality is good, and you even get some advanced features such as Motion Detection technology,which senses moving subjects and makes adjustments accordingly.
Panasonic FS7 - £120
The FS7 is packed with cunning technology to help you get great shots,including Face Detection, Intelligent ISO and Intelligent Scene Selection. You get a Leica 4x optical zoom with Optical image Stabilisation, and choice of snazzy colours, like this festive green one.
Olympus X-42 - £70
If you're looking for a cheap but good digital camera to give your kids this Xmas you won't go far wrong with the X-42. Available from Argos for £70, it comes with an amazing spec -12MPs, 5x zoom, 2.7inch LCD, digital anti-blur and Face Detection.
Sony Cyber-shot S950 - £90
A Sony for under £100? You bet. And the slick-looking S950 doesn't hold back on features either: 4x optical zoom with SteadyShot stabilisation, 2.7inch LCD screen, Face Detection, high ISO up to 3200. There's even a choice of colours.
Best for...Cutting-Edge Technology
So you're a gadget freak and you want a camera that does clever tricks that your mates' cameras can't. You want them to gawp in envy when you demonstrate your new toy's party trick. In short, you need one of these...
Nikon Coolpix S1000pj - £400
Forget cramming round the back of your camera with your mates trying to see your pictures. At the press of a button the little S1000pj can project your pictures onto any white surface, such as the wall, from up to two metres away. Just like slideshows of old though, you'll need to turn the room lights out first.
Samsung ST550 - £260
Taking self-portraits using the outstretched arm method can be a hit or miss affair - heads chopped off, sloping horizons and so on. But give the front of the ST550 a tap and a second LCD screen springs to life on the front. When you're not snapping yourself it can display cartoon images - perfect for attracting the attention of distracted kids.
Canon Powershot D10 - £260
Beaches and cameras don't tend to mix too well, but the D10 is not only comfy on the sand you can take it into the sea too. The winner of our waterproof cameras group test, you can also take the D10 skiing or rock climbing thanks to a clever system of bungee cord attachments. A great design, great image quality and some cool accessories, such as interchangeable snap-on facia panels in different colours.
Fujifilm 3D W1 - £480
How about a camera that shoots pictures in 3D? You don't even need those funny glasses to view the results on the rear LCD, although you will need a special digital viewer to view them externally. Fujifilm's new system offers the opportunity to be part of the first wave of the coming 3D revolution set to engulf not just photography but movies, TV and gaming.
Casio Exilim FS10 - £260
The FS10 is the smallest of several Casio cameras that can shoot stills at 30 frames per second and video at 1000fps for ultra-slow motion playback, making it perfect for sports or nature. Want to analyse your golf swing or your tennis serve in inch-by-inch detail? Or capture a bird in flight, or perhaps even a balloon bursting? Then look no further.