1st Place: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3
A deserving winner of our coveted Editor's Choice award this very month, the Lumix LX3 from Panasonic is a top-quality compact camera designed for keen photographers who want advanced manual controls, high performance and the best possible image quality without the bulk of a digital SLR. But the LX3 will also appeal to those looking for a top quality point-and-shoot camera thanks to its impressive Intelligent Auto system.
Combining elegant style with sophisticated technology and a huge range of features, the LX3 is equipped with a superb Leica 24-60mm lens, large 10.1MP 1/1.63-in sensor and a super-high-res 460k dot 3.0-inch monitor. It has optical image stabilisation, Raw mode and HD-quality video capability. At £300 it may seem expensive, but when compared to other high-end compacts it looks like good value for money.
2nd Place: Canon IXUS 960 IS
If you're looking for a top quality luxury ultra-compact camera, the Canon IXUS 960 IS has got it all. With a light but super-tough titanium body, powerful 12.1-megapixel sensor, superior quality 3.7x zoom image stabilised lens and wide-view 2.5in 230k monitor as well as an optical viewfinder, the 960 IS is packed with powerful but easy-to-use features.
It's a great looking camera and with its fantastic build quality and ultra-strong body it'll stay looking good for a very long time. Benefits include ultra-fast performance in almost any lighting conditions, fantastic image quality and of course the reliability and reputation of the Canon brand name. It's a bit expensive, but it's worth every penny.
3rd Place: Samsung NV30
Samsung has made enormous progress in the camera market in a very short time, thanks to outstanding models like this NV30. It has a fairly simple specification, with a good quality Scneider-Kreuznach 3x zoom lens, 8.1-megapixel sensor and a wide-view 2.5in 230k monitor, but for under £100 it offers the kind of features, performance, handling, build quality and results that will match almost anything from the more established brands, including a few unique features of its own, such as the stop-motion animation mode.
The NV30 features Samsung's innovative Smart Touch control system which takes a bit of getting used to, but there's no question that it is fantastic value for money.