The easy-to-use compact boasts an 18.2mp Exmor R CMOS sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, Full HD video recording and built-in Wi-Fi – all in a stylish little package.

Quick start-up and fast AF acquisition are further attributes of note, along with well-controlled chromatic aberrations at both ends of the colossal 25-500mm (35mm equivalent) zoom range.

Pros:

  • Slim and stylish design
  • 20x optical zoom lens
  • Very good image quality at low ISOs

Cons:

  • No tripod bush
  • So-so performance in low light
  • Some loss of image quality at wide-angle settings

Not yet reviewed by TR

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9

Spec: 16.1mp,1/2.33-type High Sensitivity MOS Sensor, Full HD (1920 x 1080) video, 3-inch TFT screen
Price:
US$223.37 / £139 / AU$299

Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9

The no-fuss approach to the interface on the SZ9 will appeal to enthusiasts who prefer to point-and-shoot rather than faff about with camera settings or gimmicky features.

Billed by Panasonic as "every photographer's friend," the SZ9's small size and simple user interface certainly make it an approachable compact for less experienced users that just want to take great pictures, minus the fuss.

With manual options very few and far-between, the SZ9 offers a decent range of automatic modes and little extras like the option of adding creative filter effects to your images in-camera – either at the time of shooting or retrospectively.

Consistently turning out well-exposed, pleasingly detailed images, the SZ9 is a reliable everyday shooter with the added bonus of built-in Wi-Fi and the ability to control the camera from your smartphone.

Pros:

  • Easy to use – ideal for beginners
  • Good overall image quality
  • Useful 10x optical zoom

Cons:

  • Few manual options so less suited to advanced users
  • Macro mode only focuses down to 5cm
  • Lens motor picked up on movie soundtracks

Not yet reviewed by TR

Canon IXUS 135

Spec: 16mp, 1/2.3 type CCD sensor, HD (1280 x 720) video, 2.7-inch TFT screen
Price: US$160.68 / £99.99 / $149

Canon IXUS 135

Dipping into the shallow end of the price pool, you start to see some paring back of features, such as 720p – rather than Full HD - movie recording, a smaller 2.7-inch screen and a lack of manual functionality; however that's not to say that the budget-friendly IXUS 135 doesn't have its fair share of good qualities to offer.

The more modest 8x optical zoom lens on this model still offers plenty of scope to get creative with your framing, with the on-board Intelligent IS system helping to keep your shots shake-free.

Designed with beginners in mind, the simple interface puts 32 Smart Auto scenes at your fingertips, delivering consistently accurateand high-quality shots from all manner of photographic scenarios.

In spite of its low price point, the IXUS 135 even manages to proffer Wi-Fi functionality for easy sharing and GPS via mobile.

Pros:

  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • GPS via Mobile
  • Smart Auto (32 scenes) for ease of use

Cons:

  • Smaller 2.7-inch LCD
  • Only 720p HD movie recording
  • Noisy above ISO 800

Not yet reviewed by TR

Nikon Coolpix S6500

Spec: 16mp, 1/2.3-in. type CMOS, Full HD (1920 x 1080) video, 3-inch TFT screen
Price: US$192.82 / £119.99 / AU$219

Nikon Coolpix S6500

With a 12x optical zoom lens, Wi-Fi connectivity and Full HD video on board, the Coolpix S6500 is bound to appeal to tech-savvy snappers that don't want to break the bank.

It comes in a selection of colours and sports a sleek, svelte silhouette that conceals a wealth of impressive features. Nikon has shoehorned a 16mp back-illuminated CMOS sensor and EXPEED C2 processor into its robust little body, along with a VR lens covering an equivalent 25-300mm focal range.

Automatic functions cover beginners with options like an Auto HDR mode, 3D shooting and Easy Panorama 360/180-degree capture and a high-speed continuous shooting mode records 7 consecutive stills at 10fps, with Subject Tracking keeping moving targets in focus.

The on-board Smart Portrait system is another feature that will appeal to socialites; however a lack of manual functionality and some inconsistencies when it comes to accurate exposures take the shine off an otherwise impressive contender.

Pros:

  • Plenty of automatic functions on board
  • Full HD movies
  • 10fps shooting with Subject Tracking AF

Cons:

  • Auto metering system tends towards slight overexposure
  • Little manual functionality
  • Fine detail is somewhat lacking in images

Read our Nikon Coolpix S6500 review