Best overall: Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX10

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The level of image quality you can expect from a compact has leapt since Sony revolutionized the market with its original RX100, back in 2012. Now there are three manufacturers making 1"-type cameras (Nikon, the potential fourth entry, abandoned its DL-series before they were ever launched). For us, the sweet spot in the market is the $700 region, with the Sony's RX100 III, Panasonic's LX10 and Canon's G7 X II all offering a good balance of price, capability and image quality.

The specific feature balance varies, camera-to-camera: the Sony includes a viewfinder, the Canon has the longest lens and probably the best hands-on exposure controls and the LX10 offers 4K video with touchscreen controls and surprisingly capable AF.

While there are good reasons to pick any of them, it's the Panasonic that wins the day for us. Its touchscreen interface means it works well, no matter how much control you want to take and its autofocus is the best we've seen, this side of the more expensive RX100 V.

The RX100 V is sensational if your budget will stretch to it. We expect most cameras in this roundup to be generations away from the RX100 V's class-leading 4K quality, autofocus, and continuous shooting ability, especially if you plan primarily to let the camera take control. But it's the all-round flexibility and capability of the Panasonic that makes it an office favorite.

Best for travel: Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100/TZ100

The DMC-ZS100 stands alone in its balance between lens speed, lens range and pocketability. It has a 25-250mm equivalent lens (that's 10X) in a well-built body that can fit in a jacket. Its camera is highly customizable and its touchscreen permits quick focusing. It's an excellent performer, especially in terms of autofocus, and produces images that are easily better than your typical, small-sensored travel zoom. Its 4K video, as well as the various features derived from it, are also excellent. The large sensor means the ZS100 is more expensive than most travel zooms, but we think it's worth the extra money.