Mark Goldstein is the Editor of Photography Blog. And he's been so kind as provide us with his favourite point-and-shoot picks in every key category.
Best for lowlight
The camera of the moment, the popular PowerShot S90 is a small but perfectly formed compact for the keen photographer. Concentrating on image quality rather than simply joining in the megapixel race (just like Sony's TX1 / WX1 models), the S90 offers DSLR-like results in a pocketable device, making it the perfect second camera for any self-respecting DSLR owner. A sensible resolution of 10 megapixels and fast zoom lens make the S90 an excellent choice when the lighting drops. This is one camera that you carry everywhere and still achieve breathtaking photos that will look great on your wall. [Review]
Best bang for your buck
Samsung can always be relied upon to deliver more for less, and the HZ15W/WB550 is certainly no different. It can't quite match every feature that its main rivals offer, but it does cost a lot less than them. With an amazingly versatile 10x zoom lens, high-definition video and a wealth of beginner-friendly modes, this well-designed camera is simple to use yet offers enough features and quality to satisfy more experienced photographers. This could well be the only camera that you ever need. [Review]
Best video/still crossover
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7 is not only one of the best video compacts on the market, it's also one of the best cameras full stop. Support for the AVCHD Lite format almost doubles the recording time, albeit at the expense of editing ease. The dedicated Record button, stereo microphone, wind cut function and audio sampling at 48kHz combine to make the TZ7 a star performer for moving images. It's also a fantastic stills camera too, with an incredibly versatile 12x zoom and top-notch image quality - a great do-it-all, carry-everywhere device. [Review]
Best super slim model
Sony has long ruled the roost in the "it's so slim you can barely see it" category, and the desirable TX1 continues that tradition. Combining a sturdy yet stylish metal body, clever sliding front plate and impressive folded lens optics in a frame that's just 14.1mm thick, the TX1 still manages to pack in a 4x zoom lens and 3-inch touch-sensitive rear screen. You also get the added bonus of Sony's impressive "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, which greatly improves low-light performance. Available in a variety of attractive colours to match your personality, the TX1 is guaranteed to look as good as you. [Review]
Best wet and rugged
Ed note: Brian Lam reviewed most every rugged camera under the sun last summer, and his favourite all around performer went to the Pentax W80, a Jack-of-all-trades rugged cam featuring a 5x internal zoom lens. Its picture quality doesn't compete with the best point and shoots, and the W80 can only be dropped from around 0.5m, but it can go underwater up to 4.8m and function in temperatures down to -10C. [Review]
There are obviously a lot of other great cameras this year for every budget and level of experience. See all of Photography Blog's camera reviews here (http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/).
Mark Goldstein is the Editor of Photography Blog. Photography Blog has been independently reviewing cameras and reporting photography news since 2003.