BUYER'S GUIDE / The Best Compact Cameras
Waterproof cameras, superzoom compacts and more!
The 4 best digital cameras of the moment: the best all-rounder, the best-value digital camera, the best budget option, the best choice if money is no object.
In the SX700 HS, Canon already had an excellent 30x zoom compact; it was a good all-rounder, and all Canon really needed to do to make it perfect was improve the image-processing algorithms. Unfortunately, the manufacturer decided to give the SX710 HS a new 20.3 Mpx sensor, which proved not to be the wisest of decisions: it brought responsiveness down, as well as picture and video quality, and lost Canon its substantial lead. Although we're disappointed, we should try to focus on the positives: the PowerShot SX710 HS is still a very good 30x compact, and it's as easy as ever to get to grips with.
With the HX90V/HX90, Sony presents a serious contender for the title of best 30x compact: it provides all-round performance, a plethora of features and is the only model to offer an electronic viewfinder, adjustable screen and customisable settings ring, all in one compact package. Indeed, despite having all these features, it's still the most compact camera of its kind. Unfortunately, this all makes for a relatively high RRP.
Olympus has not been sitting on its laurels, and we're delighted to finally have a rugged compact with RAW shooting. With its outstanding macro and underwater modes, the TG-4 offers all sorts of possibilities. We'd strongly recommend this sturdy all-terrain camera to nature-lovers.
The Canon IXUS 265 HS is small, sweet and simple, but most importantly, it performs. Excellent responsiveness and good picture quality make it a perfect companion for any occasion. It's a good choice if you want to travel light and need something easy to use. It's a shame that the zoom is so dark, though, as it means you'll have to compromise when lighting isn't so great.