One of the biggest advantages of D-SLR photography is that if you run out of zoom, you can just change the lens. Wide-angle and teleconverters are available for compact cameras, but they're usually a poor substitute for a good optical zoom range - which happens to be the Caplio R30's strongest point.

Many cameras only offer a wide angle equivalent of around 35mm that often isn't wide enough to take in the bigger picture, especially for landscape photography. The R30 zooms right out to 28mm and, while the difference might not sound a lot, in practice it really is.

Thanks to an impressive 5.7x zoom range, the R30 also offers a pretty good 160mm telephoto facility as well, making it a great all-rounder - potentially at least.

Pick up an R30 and you get an instant high-quality vibe. The finish is excellent and the body is designed to make it sit comfortably in the hand. This is backed up by a generous 26MB of internal memory as well as compatibility with favoured SD and MMC cards, and the Li-ion battery is good for an impressive 330 shots between charges.

Unfortunately, the R30 didn't prove quite so impressive in image quality. Compared with the Nikon and Canon cameras in particular, metering and exposure tended to be a little less consistent and colour rendition wasn't quite as accurate.

Image noise was also higher than we'd hoped for, especially considering that the CCD hardly pushes the boundaries at 5Mp, and the highest 800 ISO setting proved all but unusable. In addition, and like only the Optio WPi in the group, the maximum movie capture resolution is a paltry 320x240 pixels, rather than the now more standard VGA 640x480 mode. Matthew Richards