There are times when you want a camera that's slim but still able to zoom in on the action from a long distance. There are quite a few models that despite having a 5x zoom or more are still small enough to fit into a pocket. We compiled of a short-list of our top five and categorised them according to users' needs: whether travelling, leading an active lifestyle or simply shopping on a budget.
Best All-Rounder — Canon IXUS 970IS
Building on the feature base of the Canon IXUS 90IS, the 970IS offers a significantly increased zoom length in a remarkably similar form factor. It's only slightly thicker than an inch at 27.4mm, and has a lens equivalent to a 37-185mm film camera. Similar in zoom length to a basic digital SLR telephoto lens, you'll be able to easily zoom in and focus on distant objects. The addition of optical image stabilisation is a definite plus for long-distance low-light photography.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Canon IXUS 970IS, click here.
What's hot: 5x optical zoom with optical image stabilisation, sharp images, good noise performance up to ISO 800, camera looks fantastic.
Best Entry-Level — Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150
If you don't want to shell out mega-bucks on a top-of-the-line camera, you can still get good quality camera with a large zoom lens. Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W150 is very affordable when compared to premium models, but still has most of the advanced functionality. The only thing lost is a few megapixels — it boasts a still-healthy 8.1Mp instead of the average 10Mp on some other models.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W150, click here.
What's hot: Sharp pictures, 5x optical zoom with stabilisation, smile shutter.
Best for an Active Lifestyle — Olympus MJU 840
It's slim, it's curvy and it has a strong metal casing. At a mere 24mm thick it's incredibly easy to slip into a pocket and take out wherever you're going, and you can be guaranteed that like all other models in Olympus's tough MJU range, the MJU 840 can take a lot of punishment — making it perfect for the active user. When we reviewed this unit we were also very impressed by its style; it's still one of the best-looking compact cameras on the market today.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Olympus MJU 840, click here.
What's hot: Great design, solid build quality, lots of features, low noise levels.
Best for the Fashion Conscious — Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300
If you're taking a camera with you everywhere and getting it out at every opportunity, it may as well look good. Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-T300 does away with the conventional camera form factor of an exposed lens, hiding it away behind a professional-looking metal cover. Unlike the other cameras in this line-up, there's no telescopic lens protruding from the body. The optical zoom is still a hefty 5x, with the additional bonus of optical image stabilisation.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T300, click here.
What's hot: Sharp images, stylish design, touch-screen interface, low levels of noise.
Best for the Traveller — Samsung i85Designed as a convergence device, the i85 fills all the roles of a conventional camera as well as offering a media player and a travel guide built-in. It may not be as capable as an iPod and a guidebook, but it does most of the work in a casing that's only 20mm thick.
For full specifications and an in-depth review of the Samsung i85, click here.
What's hot: Fills a variety of roles, stylish design, natural colour balance.