The 20X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX260 HS pocket megazoom does a lot of things--and it does many of them well, thanks to very good image quality, great creative modes, and manual exposure controls.
The Canon PowerShot A3300 IS is a solid sub-$200 point-and-shoot camera in more ways than one: It has a sturdy build, and it takes good-looking pictures for a camera at such a low price.
The Casio Tryx camera has an innovative, twistable design, along with super-high-speed video capture mode, an extremely wide-angle lens, and some cool in-camera tricks for capturing hands-free shots and artistic-looking stills.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 is a showpiece for the benefits and drawbacks of a touchscreen interface. Its touchscreen UI introduces a few groundbreaking features, but may leave you longing for old-fashioned analog controls more often than not.
If you're looking for a touchscreen camera, the Canon PowerShot Elph 500 HS is one of the best point-and-shoot options. Due to the touchscreen, however, the Elph 500 HS acts more like a phone than a traditional camera.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a camera that offers more features than the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V, with its 16X-optical-zoom lens, ability to capture 3D images and excellent video, GPS functions, searchable in-camera help guide, and more.
The PowerShot SX230 HS has great image quality that puts it among the top tier of 2011's pocket-megazoom class, and the camera can be as easy to use or as manual-oriented as you want it to be.
With an F1.8 lens, a full array of manual controls, and some creative in-camera extras, the Olympus XZ-1 is a very versatile camera. Though not the easiest one for novices to use, it will reward those who get to know it.
The Nikon Coolpix S9100 is the rare beast that will please both novices and experienced shooters, even with its lack of manual controls. Thanks to its great image quality and creative modes, practically anyone will find this camera a pleasure to use.
The long-zoom, GPS-enabled Lumix ZS10 is a nice compact camera for travelers, but it suffers from indifferent image quality and mediocre battery life.
The interchangeable-lens Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 puts an innovative spin on touchscreen controls for advanced focusing tricks, and turns in the best video capabilities we've seen to date out of a still camera.
Articles by Tim Moynihan