The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is a superzoom that offers a good balance of features and produces still images and HD movies that are very pleasing.

It might lack some of the bells and whistles of other travel compacts - such as the Panasonic TZ30's touchscreen or the Samsung WB750's Live Panorama mode - but it delivers where it really matters: in picture quality and manual control.

We liked

The combination of automatic and fully manual shooting options, plus creative effects such as slow motion video, are great fun and useful.

We disliked

High quality, high speed burst shooting isn't available in all modes, and battery life, rated at 230 shots in normal use (and a lot less with GPS activated) is merely OK.

Final verdict

The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS's 25-500mm equivalent zoom range surpasses the Panasonic TZ30's 24-480mm reach at the top end, although the Canon SX260 HS's sensor, at 12.1MP, comes up short against the Panasonic's 14MP resolution.

Not that that matters when it comes to overall picture quality. The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS's images can be a little soft straight out of the camera, but the camera is capable of resolving a good level of detail and pictures look a little cleaner than those from the Panasonic TZ30.

In terms of street price, there's a wafer thin mint between the Canon SX260 HS and the Panasonic TZ30 (the Canon is currently a little cheaper). But the longer zoom range, versatile exposure modes, ease of use and picture quality make the Canon PowerShot SX260 HS a slightly more well-rounded and better value family camera.