The LS2 is one of those cameras that looks more expensive than it actually is. The build quality and finish are exemplary and easily good enough to embarrass some cameras costing twice the price. Ergonomics are equally good, with finger and thumb rests that help you get a firm grip, making it easier to hold the camera steady and avoid camera shake.

Great in low-lighting conditions, the LS-2 has a fast f/2.8 lens, at least at the wideangle end of its 3x zoom lens. More amazingly, considering the budget price, is that the camera features a built-in image stabilisation system which, in our tests, worked remarkably well.

Also exceeding expectations based on its price, the LS2 features a wide range of autofocus options, including 5-point AF and centre spot, plus some great scene modes, your two favourites of which can be assigned to the main control dial for quick access. Better still, in the family holiday context, the camera features a special 'Simple' mode, which is all but foolproof to use.

You can use the LS2 straight out of the box, by simply inserting a couple of AA batteries and taking advantage of the 14Mb of built-in memory. To extend your range, the camera takes SD or MMC cards, which are widely available and inexpensive, so memory and power are well sorted, especially as the LS2 manages an amazing 250 shots from one pair of alkaline AA batteries.

The zoom range is only average but the lens proved impressively sharp at all zoom settings in our tests, generating finely detailed images. Colour rendition was also accurate, both inside and outdoors, with the auto white balance feature guessing right every time. The more we used the LS2, the more we came to love it.

Great image quality at the price, and a superb range of features at the price, including an anti-shake system sign and looks. Matthew Harris

Via PhotoRadar