Nikon Coolpix S3300

Price: £85/US$90/AU$110

Specs: 16MP CCD sensor, 6x optical zoom, 720p HD video, 2.7-inch screen

Best compact cameras

This slim, metal bodied camera has a 6x optical zoom lens squeezed into a body only 19.5mm thick, which makes it ideally pocketable. The 16MP CCD sensor should provide ample resolution for producing large prints, and the Vibration Reduction system will help to tame camera shake.

Plenty of automatic features are provided to aid creativity without oodles of technical know-how. A set of 18 scene modes cover camera settings for common picture taking scenarios, and the Smart Portrait System provides a plethora of automatic detection technologies to enable foolproof people pictures.

Canon IXUS 230 HS/Canon ELPH 310 HS

Price: £180/US$375 (around AU$275)

Specs 12.1MP CMOS sensor, 8x image stabilised zoom, 720p HD video

Best compact cameras

Best compact camera 2013

This slim, stylish, metal bodied camera sports an Image Stabilised 8x zoom lens and delivers excellent quality images, even at high ISO sensitivities thanks to the implementation of Canon's HS system. The same 12.1MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor found in other Canon HS cameras work together to produce cleaner, sharper images, fast response times and good dynamic range.

Being an IXUS, it is designed with point and shoot photographers in mind and is very simple to get to grips with. 720P HD videos can be recorded via the direct recording buttong on the rear and a selection of art filters expand creative opportunities.

The Canon IXUS 230 HS wins our Best entry-level compact camera award.

Read our Canon IXUS 230 HS review

Samsung PL120

Price: £100/US$190 (around AU$150)

Specs 14.2MP sensor, 5x optical zoom, 26mm wide angle, dual image display

Best compact cameras

This budget marvel has an extra 1.5-inch LCD screen on the front, to aid taking self portraits. This is a great feature for those travelling on their own, or as a couple who might be a little scared to trust a stranger with their gadgets when trying to take a picture with themselves in it. It can also show animations to keep little ones' attention when you switch on the Children mode

A comprehensive range of image effects, a video mode and an in-camera editing function all add to what is a very fun camera to use, for a very reasonable price.

Read our Samsung PL120 review