The 50 best cameras
Canon EOS 1100D
This is Canon's entry-level D-SLR. It's a 12.2MP camera that's highly affordable and offers a range of shooting options as well as excellent image quality with limited image noise and decent HD video capabilities. A great first step up from compact to D-SLR.
How much £459.99
Drop it, dunk it or freeze it, the 16MP TX10 will weather it all and has better image quality than many tough cameras. Sony's Sweep Panorama feature, where you continuously sweep the camera sideways to take a huge landscape image, is spectacularly effective.
How much £319
Casio Exilim H5
The 10x zoom on the H5 is handy and the 12.7MP sensor is decent enough. It looks a little more cheaply built than some cameras here but it's well made and great value. Controls are limited, so ideal for a beginner.
How much £99.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
Compact system cameras are the new D-SLRs: they have big sensors and interchangeable lenses but eschew the bulky mirror system of D-SLR. But unlike many models this 16MP model has a viewfinder. The G3 is small but powerful with a touchscreen display and fast autofocus. Its picture quality is particularly strong.
How much £599
Leica V-Lux 30
Superzooms often look like D-SLRs but without the interchangeable lenses - which means there's no danger of dust getting into the camera body. The 14.1MP V-Lux 30 takes amazing pictures and its 16x optical zoom means it's versatile. The continuous shooting mode takes 10 frames a second at full resolution and it shoots video, too.
How much £550
Canon EOS 600D
Canon's D-SLRs are deservedly popular and the latest model has a high-resolution sensor (18MP). The 600D is particularly good at shooting HD video and advanced features include a wireless transmitter to communicate with an external flash. Easy to use, too.
How much £700
Sony's 16.2MP NEX-C3, out next month, is simple, light and takes amazing shots. It's a compact system camera so saves on weight by ditching the standard D-SLR mirror system.
How much £499.99
Leica V-Lux 20
The 12MP Leica is a sensation. It's a handsome and well-built camera that is easy and enjoyable to use. Its excellent lens is a big factor in the strikingly good images it takes and there are plenty of extra features and functions.
How much £495
Canon Ixus 115 HS
A small budget can still buy you a decent camera. Like this niftily designed sleek 12MP model with simple controls and exposure smarts to provide strong pictures in a variety of conditions ? the price may have been cut, but performance hasn't.
How much £130.93
Canon PIXMA MG6150 Printer
Canon's printers are hard to beat and this one offers exceptionally good photo prints. Its wireless capability uses your home Wi-fi network so you can print from your computer in one room to the PIXMA in another.
How much £199
Sony's 16MP machine uses an all-new approach to SLR photography. The mirror that reflects the light to the viewfinder is translucent so it doesn't need to flip up when the shot is taken, as is conventional.
How much £599.95
This is a minor improvement to last year's outstanding NX10. It has a 14.6MP sensor and a unique function button on the lens to control some settings. It's simple to use and automatic settings work well.
How much £459
Canon PowerShot SX220 HS
This neat 12.1MP camera is small enough to take on holiday. It has a wide-angle 14x optical zoom that is great for distance and panoramic shots. It shoots video in Full HD and the 3in LCD is good for framing stills and video.
How much £199.99
Nikon Coolpix S3100
The 14MP S3100 has a great design and comes in a range of bright colours. It has an above average 5x optical zoom and offers strong picture quality ? though the 2.7-inch LCD is a little small. Good value.
How much £109.99
Canon PowerShot SX30 IS
How big a zoom do you need? This camera has one that's ultra wide-angle, a massive 35x. Such a big zoom could suffer if it didn't have strong image stabilisation, but it does. There are lots of shooting options, too.
How much £429.99
Olympus also makes Compact System cameras but this DSLR has semi-professional features and lots of options for the more advanced enthusiast. It's a big beast but pretty impressive.
How much £1,499 body only
Olympus Pen E-PL2
The Pen series of cameras has a desirable retro look - modelled on a classic Olympus from the 1950s. The latest 12.3MP model has no viewfinder, so you frame shots on the 3in screen.
How much £470
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20
Panasonic's compacts are routinely excellent and this 14.1MP model has an outstanding 16x optical zoom. It also has GPS built in so you tag the location at which you took each photo.
How much From £267
The 14.2MP Z90 has a decent 3in touchscreen with neat extras like Touch & Shoot: tap the screen and the camera quickly focuses where you touch and fires the shutter.
How much £110
Eye-Fi Memory Card
This photo memory card creates its own Wi-fi network so it's easy to upload images wirelessly to a computer or tablet. Once that's done, you can save space on your camera memory card.
How much £79.99
ThisD-SLR excels at battery life, picture quality and fast, accurate autofocus. Its 16.2MP sensor comes up with the goods. It's pitched between consumer and pro, and offers exceptional quality and versatility. While it's not cheap it has a lot going for it.
How much £1,030.94
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3
A new 12.1MP model, out later this month, this Lumix is well priced, small and cute. It has a touchscreen operating system that aims to be especially user-friendly. But it still has rich, strong image quality. Ideal for the design-conscious snapper.
How much £499.99
This 16MP camera has a great gimmick: a front-facing LCD to complement the 3in touchscreen on the back. The front screen can be used to preview self-portraits, show a visual countdown or to play animations to keep children looking in the right direction.
How much £249.99
The 16MP ST95 is great value and super slim. There's a 5x optical zoom, appealing touchscreen interface and sophisticated automatic exposure options so all you have to do is point and shoot. Lots of extra features like face recognition, too.
How much £139.59
Fujifilm HS20 EXR
This camera sports a 16MP sensor and a 30x zoom with manual control. Image stabilisation helps when the zoom is extended. A range of film simulation modes adds to the variety of effects so images can be vibrant or soft, for instance.
How much £340
The latest digital SLR from Nikon is superb. This model's 16.2-megapixel sensor, extensive effects palette viewable on the camera and fast focusing when framing shots on the LCD screen all deliver great results.
How much £700
Olympus Pen E-P2
There's no built-in electronic viewfinder here, though an attachable - and excellent - one is supplied. Otherwise, you set up shots for the snazzily designed EP2 on the 3in LCD. Also boasts built-in image stabilisation.
How much £849.94
The retro-designed X100 has a 12.3MP sensor that's as big as many digital SLR cameras, so the pixels are bigger and the image quality is much improved compared to a compact.
How much £999
Kodak EasyShare Sport
Kodak's compacts have a dedicated Share button that makes it easy to send images to an email address, Facebook or other sites automatically when you connect your camera to a computer.
How much £59.99
It looks weird but it works a treat. The Gorillapod is a funky tripod that wraps round branches or banisters, and stands happily on uneven surfaces. The SLR version even has a spirit level. Splendid.
How much £13.99-£29.99
The K-x has been around for a little while so its 12.4MP sensor isn't the most advanced on test, but it's now highly affordable. Unusually, it is powered by AA batteries.
How much £349.99
This was Sony's first compact system camera - it's tremendous. The light and small body fits the hand well, the interface is simple and attractive and the resulting photos are sharp and impressive.
How much £499.95
This is a solid, effective performance compact that packs a lot into a small case. It has an excellent lens that means you rarely have to resort to flash.
How much £399
Pentax Optio M90
The 12.1MP M90 is a straightforward compact with a 5x zoom. It fits the hand nicely and has 20 scene modes to ensure you get strong pictures.
How much £69.99
Nikon Coolpix P500
Nikon's latest superzoom handles like a dream and the 36x zoom - the biggest on test ? delivers the goods. An efficient, powerful camera.
How much £339.95
Sony's 14.2MP a390 is geared to first-time D-SLR users, so it's extremely accessible and has decent features, though no HD video recording. It has fast autofocus in Live View mode (when you frame your shot on the LCD screen instead of the viewfinder).
How much £359.99
Samsung Lumix DMC-NX100
The 14.6MP NX100 is a stylish little number, though there's no viewfinder but the 3in AMOLED screen looks great. It does have the highly useful Samsung i-Function lens that lets you adjust shooting options quickly.
How much £249.95
Casio Exilim EX-ZR100
If you're shooting sports, wildlife or a fast-retreating celebrity, the high-speed continuous shooting feature on this 12MP Casio - up to 30 frames per second - helps capture the moment you're after. And the 12.5x zoom gets you right into the action.
How much £299.95
Another bargain snapper, the 14MP VG130 takes reasonable quality photographs despite its near credit-card size. It looks good in its metal body and the one-touch video record button is a bonus. It also has a 5x optical zoom.
How much £73.49
Film 2 SD Negative Scanner
Do you have a drawer stuffed with slides and negatives? This neat gadget turns them into digital files. Suddenly your analogue collection goes digital. The LCD screen means you don't even need a computer in the equation as it saves images to an SD card.
How much £109.99
This is Nikon's entry-level D-SLR and it offers exceptional ease of use but still has strong manual overrides for those who want more advanced control. It has a 14.2MP sensor and a Guide mode that will suit D-SLR newbies.
How much £449.99
Because there are more recent models, the NX5 is now cheaper, and it includes an electronic viewfinder. The screen isn't as bright as on the NX11 and it lacks the i-Function lens but some features are similar.
How much £299.95
Another ruggedised camera, the 14MPXP30 comes in lots of colours to help you find it if you drop it. Its GPS feature helps you remember where you took your photos, and it's great fun to use.
Where www.marksandspencer. com
How much £139
Sony's 14.1MP W530 is very cute, with a great lens and 4x optical zoom. Although this camera is cheap, it still includes Sony's highly enjoyable way to shoot landscapes, Sweep Panorama, and is also easy to use.
How much £119.99
The 24x optical zoom is built into a case not much bigger than many compacts. This is a competent, lightweight 16MP camera. You can take still images while shooting HD video, though it's easy tomake the camera shake.
How much £300
The 16.3MP sensor on the K-5 is enhanced by an image-processing engine that adds to sensitivity and helps improve picture quality. Plus, it's weather-proofed.
How much £1,079
Panasonic Lumix GH2
The 16MP GH2 is Panasonic's flagship camera for video, and is outstanding for still shots, too. It also includes scene modes and impressive auto settings. It doesn't come cheap but it's very good.
How much £799.95
Kodak EasyShare M583
The 14MP M583 has an impressive 8x zoom, much higher than most compacts. It uses a high-quality Schneider- Kreuznach lens and has many scene settings.
How much £149.99
Panasonic Lumix DMC-F3
This affordable 12MP camera from Panasonic crams a lot in to its slim case. Picture quality is generally good, though low light doesn't help and the smallish (2.7in) screen could be better.
How much £74.99
Kodak ESP Office 2170 Printer
Kodak printers have exceptionally low ink replacement costs. This printer includes wireless printing, copying, scanning and even a fax capability.
How much £119.99
Whether you are an aspiring pro in search of a powerful piece of kit or a keen amateur, David Phelan puts you in the picture.
>> Click on More Pictures to launch our guide.
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