Once you are prepared to between £150 and £200 for a digital camera you have almost full choice when it comes to buying compact models. You can choose between some of the best pocket cameras and some cameras with a tremendous amount of zoom if you need that sort of power to get in close to distant subjects.
At this price point build quality is usually very good. You should also be able to find cameras offering eye catching picture quality. Unless you are in the market for an older model all cameras are likely to be able to record High Definition movies.
At this level cameras with manual exposure control start to be more widely available. This type of digital camera is more likely to appeal to the more serious photographer who sees photography as a hobby.
Aside from its obvious ability to zoom in on distant subjects the SP-720UZ is able to squeeze in wide scenes and can focus from 1cm away from your subject in macro mode. There is a burst mode that can reel off up to 6 shots at a rate of 5 frames per second. You can shoot High Definition movies and there is a 3D still photo feature. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.
The Finepix F660EXR has a wide range of features. As well as the more obvious zoom power the camera has a 24mm, wide angle lens. You get access to manual exposure controls as well as Full High Definition movies with stereo sound. Other features include image stabilisation and slow motion movies. You can also shoot 360 degree motion panoramas.
The Lumix DMC SZ7 is a versatile digital camera. Its zoom range caters for distant subjects, wide scenes and every type of photo opportunity in between. There is a 3 inch LCD screen, a High Definition movie mode and image stabilisation. The High Dynamic Range mode helps to bring out more detail in high contrast scenes. You can also fire off shots at up to 10 frames per second.
The Powershot A3400 IS is a cheaper option when it comes to touch controlled digital cameras. Aside from touch control it operates along the lines of a fairly typical point and shoot digital camera. It has a 3 inch LCD screen, can record High Definition movies and has image stabilisation for both still images and movies.
The Finepix SL240 offers wide angle photography options as well as the more obvious telephoto ones. Features include a set of manual exposure controls as well as image stabilisation, a hot shoe, image stabilisation and High Definition movies. For composing photos you have the choice of using a 3 inch LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder. There is a macro mode that is capable of focusing from 2cm away from your subject.
The Canon Powershot SX510 HS is packed with plenty of features. As well as having a wide range of manual controls the big attraction of this model is its 30x zoom lens. This type of lens gives you a great deal of flexibility. As well as being able to zoom in on distant subjects it is also equally at home when you are taking panoramic landscape shots or photographing groups of people.
Its feature set makes the Powershot SX510 HS a good choice if you see photography as a hobby. In many ways it is similar to a Digital SLR, but with the convenience of not having to worry about changing lenses for different types of shots.
If from time to time you find 30x zoom is not enough, Canon have equipped the Powershot SX510 HS with a feature called Zoom Plus. This increases the amount of zoom available to 60x, giving you one of the most powerful cameras around.
When you are looking for creative control, manual features include shutter priority, aperture priority and fully manual exposure. There are also extra white balance options for colour control, compared to more basic digital cameras.
Other features include a 3 inch LCD screen, the ability to GPS tag photos, Full High Definition Movies (1080p) and Wi-fi connectivity to make sharing your photos easy.
The Canon IXUS 155 is a simple point and shoot digital camera. At a shade under 24mm wide it will slip into more or less any pocket. It is priced at the cheaper end of the market and is a good choice for anyone looking for a basic pocket camera with an extra touch of style.
In addition to the lower price, pocket size and stylish looks, the other big attraction of the IXUS 155 is its ease of use. This is a simple point and shoot digital camera that makes all the tricky exposure decisions for you. All you need to do is point the camera at your subject and click the shutter button.
What I like most about cameras in the Canon IXUS range is that they feel well made and give the impression of better build quality that some of their rivals.
Key features include 20 megapixels, a 10x zoom lens and the ability to shoot High Definition Movies. The IXUS 155 has a Zoom Plus feature that can boost zoom up to 20x. This is a very handy feature when you find you cannot get in quite close enough to take the picture you want. The ultra wide lens is a big help when you are trying to squeeze in panoramic landscapes or take a shot of a group of friends.
The TG-620 is waterproof to depths of 5m, shockproof to falls of 1.5m and can continue to operate in temperatures down to -10 degrees centigrade. It has plenty of other features too. These include a 3 inch LCD screen, image stabilisation and battery charging via a USB port. There is also a 3D stills photography mode as well as being able to shoot full 1080p High Definition movies.
The big attraction of the Olympus SP-820UZ is the 40x zoom lens. This gives you the flexibility to photograph more or less any typical photo opportunity. Other features include a 3 inch LCD screen, a macro mode that can focus from 1cm away from your subject and the ability to shoot High Definition Movies. Power is supplied by AA batteries.
The Lumix DMC LZ20 is designed in a similar style to a Digital SLR. It has a manual exposure mode, a 3 inch LCD screen and Image Stabilisation. It can also shoot High Definition Movies. Power is supplied by four AA batteries. For close up work this camera can focus from 2cm away from your subject.
Taking a look at the robust features on offer the Lumix DMC FT20 is waterproof to 5m, shockproof to falls of 1.5m and freezeproof down to -10 degrees centigrade. Aside from those features it operates as a straightforward point and shoot digital camera. It can shoot High Definition movies, has image stabilisation, a 2.7 inch LCD screen and can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
The stand out feature on the Coolpix S1200pj is the built in projector. As well as being able to display photos you have taken with the camera you can connect your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® , iPod nano® or iPod® to the Coolpix S1200pj and display images from those sources too. Aside from the projector you get standard point and shoot ease of use, image stabilisation and a 3 inch LCD screen. You can also shoot High Definition movies.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 is a 14 megapixel digital camera. It has a 3 inch touch controlled LCD screen. For zooming in there is a wide angle 5x zoom lens. You can shoot High Definition movies and image stabilisation is available too.
The Powershot D20 is waterproof to depths of 10m, shockproof to drops of 1.5m, freezeproof to temperatures as low as – 10 degrees centigrade and dustproof. It has a 3 inch LCD screen and can record both High Definition and slow motion movies. It has GPS tracking and in macro mode can focus from 1cm away from your subject.
The Coolpix L610 is an easy to use digital camera offering a fair amount of zoom power. It can also produce Full High Definition Movies with stereo sound. Another feature worth mentioning is the panoramic mode Nikon have built in. This gives you the ability to create 180 degree and 360 degree panoramas. Power is supplied by AA batteries.
The Coolpix S8200 is a powerful compact digital camera. It has plenty of zoom power with a 14x zoom lens. It is capable of shooting High Definition movies and has a 1cm macro mode for close up photography. Other features include the ability to photograph action at up to 5 frames per second. It also has a high definition, 3 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation.
The Finepix Z1000EXR is a slimline digital camera that offers you Touchscreen control. It also has a Wireless Image Transfer function that is compatible with some smartphones and tablets for wireless upload to the Internet. Other features include High Definition movies, a 3.5 inch LCD screen and functions to enhance the way your portrait photos look.
The Lumix DMC G3 has a 3 inch LCD screen that pulls out away from the body and also twists around. The screen is touch sensitive allowing some settings to be changed via touching the screen. It has manual exposure controls, a viewfinder and images can be stored in RAW mode. There is a High Definition movie mode. Stereo sound can be recorded to accompany your movie clips.
The Lumix DMC TZ25 has a wide range of features. These include manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority), a burst mode capable of firing off still photos at a rate of 10 frames per second and image stabilisation. It can record High Definition movies and produce 3D photos too. There is a 3 inch LCD screen and in macro mode the minimum focusing distance is 3cm.
The Lumix DMC FT4 is waterproof to depths of 12m, shockproof to drops of up to 2m, dustproof and freezeproof to temperatures down to – 10 degrees centigrade. It can capture both full High Definition movies and time lapse movies. Other features include a 2.7 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation. It has GPS tracking and a built in compass.
The Fuji Finepix XP150 is a robust digital camera. It can operate underwater to depths of 10m. It can survive 2m drops and can also cope with temperatures as low as -10 degrees. It also has special seals to keep out sand and dust and a rubberised coating. Other features include GPS tracking, Full 1080p High Definition movies, a 2.7 inch LCD screen and image stabilisation.
The Lumix DMC FX80 has a 3 inch touch controlled LCD screen. Other features include being able to produce 3D photos and panoramas. Panasonic have built in image stabilisation, plus the ability to shoot Full 1080 pixel High Definition movies. In macro mode the Lumix DMC FX80 can focus from 5cm away from your subject.
The Powershot SX260 HS packs a wide range of features into a relatively small body size. These include GPS tracking, a 20x wide angle lens, a 3 inch LCD screen and manual exposure controls (Fully Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority). It can shoot High Definition movies with stereo sound as well as slow motion movies. It has image stabilisation for both still photos and movies.
The Coolpix L810 scores highly for ease of use. Features include a 3D photography mode, plus the ability to shoot High Definition movies. There is also image stabilisation and a 3 inch LCD screen. Power is supplied by AA batteries. The 26x zoom lens also has wide angle capabilities. The Coolpix L810 is available in black, red and blue.
The Lumix DMC GF2 is remarkably small for a camera that offers you the ability to interchange lenses. The camera body itself is almost pocket sized. There are plenty of advanced features on offer for the more discerning photographer. These include manual exposure, Full High Definition movies, 3.2 frames per second and a 3 inch touch controlled LCD screen.
The Canon IXUS 265 HS is only 23mm wide and will slip easily into more or less any pocket. Compared with other, similar sized digital cameras it has a few extra features that help to justify a price tag that is higher than more basic point and shoot models.
Despite the extra features, the IXUS 265 HS remains easy to use. All you need to do to take a picture is line up your shot and press the shutter button.
The extra features include extra zoom power (12x), Wi-Fi and NFC for easy connectivity and photo sharing, as well as Full High Definition Movies (1080p). GPS tagging is available too, although you will need a compatible Smart Phone for this.
If from time to time you need some extra zoom power, Canon have equipped the IXUS 265 HS with a feature they call Zoom Plus. This doubles the amount of zoom available to 24x.
Another plus point is the stylish look of the camera. In the hand it also gives the impression of a touch of extra build quality. You have a choice of colours, with silver, black, pink and purple versions available.
For composing your pictures there is a high quality, 3 inch LCD screen.
The SH-21 has a wide angle lens, can shoot Full 1080p High Definition movies and can produce 3D stills photographs. Olympus have equipped the camera with image stabilisation, plus a mode for increasing the detail showing in the darkest and lightest areas of your shots. The LCD screen is 3 inches in size and the battery can be charged via a USB terminal.
The Lumix DMC FS35 offers some extra zoom compared to a lot of compact digital cameras. The amount of zoom available can be increased to a maximum of 18x when shooting at lower resolutions. The camera is able to capture High Definition movies and has software built in that makes it easier for you to upload photos and video clips to web sites such as Facebook and YouTube.