What camera should I buy?

Best high-end pocketable compact - Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

With its combination of class-leading image quality and only the slightest of size penalties, the RX100 is the winner of this group. It's not the most engaging camera to use, but it trumps its rivals so soundly in terms of image quality that it wins the crown regardless. While the price, added size and hotshoe pushed the RX100 Mark II into the class above, the original model remains king of pocketable compacts. It's not the perfect camera, but there's no serious competition from other compact alternatives.

Best affordable high-end pocketable compact - Canon Powershot S120

Canon's re-launched S-series has essentially defined this sub-class of cameras (the Nikon, Fujifilm and Panasonic rivals fit a very similar format but arrived on the market much later). The S120 maintains the popular features of its predecessors, but now it operates faster and has a brighter lens. The Panasonic, with its viewfinder - albeit not a very good one - is also worth a look, but it's the polished nature of the S120 that gets it a mention. Reliable in operation with improved touchscreen control, built-in Wi-Fi, and 1080p video, the S120 has the right balance of size, capability, and usability. It can't match the RX100's larger sensor for image quality, but it's a lot less expensive.