Snap happy: top compact cameras under £100
A decent compact camera will ensure you do your family snaps justice. And these ones are proper bargains...
"What do I want with a compact camera?" you might ask yourself. "After all, I've got a smartphone and I take all my pictures on that." Which is all well and good until you finally get around to printing out your precious memories and find that your mobile's camera pics look great on screen, but fuzzy, pixelated and downright disappointing when printed out. Sure, high-end smartphones do feature genuinely top-notch cameras, but if yours isn't one of those then you'll find an entry-level compact will offer better quality than your mobile. Even better, look hard enough and you can find fully featured compacts for under £100. Just like these ones...
This neat little snapper from Sony is pretty much the definition of point and shoot. The fact that it's light on features will be seen as a negative for hobbyist photographers, but if your goal is a camera that you can whip out at a second's notice - without having to worry about settings - then this is worthy of your consideration. If you want control over more than just ISO senstivity and white balance though, you will need to look elsewhere. Core specs include a 20 megapixel CCD sensor and 8x optical zoom.
Canon IXUS 165
This feels like a lot of camera for the money - it's well built but still small enough to easily slip into a jeans pocket (just 22m thick). Features include 720p HD video recording, 8x optical zoom and a 20-megapixel CCD sensor, along with some neat settings such as Long Shutter (which helps get good quality night-time shots) and Low Light (which reduces the sensitivity of the camera to ensure less graininess when shooting with little light). You'll find there's an IXUS 160 model around for a few quid cheaper, but bear in mind that one comes without optical image stabilisation, which means capturing fast-moving subjects (such as children) in a hurry is likely to yield more blurry results.
Nikon Coolpix S3700
As with many other compact cameras around this price-point, the Coolpix S3700 is built around a 20-megapixel CCD sensor with an 8x optical zoom. Among the features that help it stand out is built-in Wi-Fi and NFC - the inclusion of which makes it much easier to get your photos onto your smartphone or tablet. Not only that, it also means you can use your mobile device as a camera remote-control. Who needs selfies when you can be your own photographer? It's an extremely pocketable camera - weighing it at just 118g, and measuring a slight 20mm in thickness.
Nikon Coolpix S33
The shiny, colourful casing of this camera might fool young children into thinking it's a toy - but even if your toddler does get their hands on it, you won't have to worry about it getting trashed. The Coolpix S33 is a tough-cam - waterproof to 10 metres, drop-proof to 1.5m and cold-resistant to -10 degrees. At this price, those tough-nut specs come at the expense of other features. There's only a 3x optical zoom and the sensor is a 13-megapixel CMOS. Still, you do get a Full HD 1080p video mode and everything's bundled up in a remarkably svelte casing. Despite the waterproofing, this snapper is still just 37mm thick.
Fujifilm FinePix S8650
If you don't mind your camera being a bit more chunky, opting for a bridge model such as this from Fujifilm brings several benefits. Not least of these is the fact that it's much easier and more stable to hold than your average dinky little compact. Plus, inside that chunkier casing, it's possible to tuck away a big zoom lens - the S8650 includes a 36x optical zoom. Unlike compact cameras as this price point, the S8650 comes with a range of manual and semi-automatic shooting controls - providing plenty of opportunity for more ambitious photographers to get creative.