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Small, snazzy, slim and ultra-cool, the best ultra compact digital cameras in the market today are all this and more and take great pictures too. Whether on a family vacation, or at a party or at your kid's concert these cameras allow you to capture those memorable moments by simply flicking them out of your handbag or pocket.

The best ultra-compacts are the smallest pocket cameras easy on the pocket and are available right from around $150. They come equipped with in-built image stabilization, powerful lenses and HD video recording.

Apart from being lightweight and feature-packed, the best ultra-compacts make a fashion statement as well with their slim looks and snazzy designs and colors. They emphasize on user friendly design with some of the models sporting touchscreens. If you are always on the go and want to have a handy snapshooter and resist the idea of a bulky cameras and lenses then the digital ultra-compacts offer a wide range of choice for you.

Almost all players in the digital camera market have a lot to offer in the compact and ultra-compact camera range targeted at amateurs and newbies. Choosing the best ultra compact digital camera is a tall order. Opt for a model with in-built image stabilization as they can be prone to camera shake due to the light weight as well as availability of a viewfinder for the sunny outdoors shots. Many models offer advanced features such as face detection as well, for capturing excellent portraits. Check out our list of such best pocketable cameras 2013, top rated by some of the best digital camera reviewers around the web.

Browse All Top Ultra-Compact Digital Cameras »

Nikon Coolpix S02

Nikon Coolpix S02 13.2 MP Digital Camera


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Nikon Coolpix S02
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30
Pentax Optio LS465
Canon PowerShot IXUS 500 HS / ELPH 520 HS Light Field
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20
Nikon Coolpix S02 13.2 MP Digital Camera
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 Digital Camera
Pentax Optio LS465 Digital Camera
Canon PowerShot IXUS 500 HS / ELPH 520 HS Light Field Camera
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 Light Field Camera
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Release Date
Sep 2013
Feb 2013
May 2012
Feb 2012
Feb 2012
Camera Type
Ultra-Compact, Ultracompact
Ultra-Compact, Ultracompact
Ultra-Compact,Standard Point and Shoot
Ultra-Compact,Standard Point and Shoot
Light Field Camera, Ultra-Compact
Optical Zoom
3.0 x
5.0 x
5.0 x
12.0 x
4.0 x
Resolution
13.0 Megapixel
18.0 Megapixel
16.0 Megapixel
10.1 Megapixel
16.2 Megapixel
Image Sensor Type
CMOS
BSI-CMOS
CCD
CMOS
CMOS
LCD Screen Size
2.7 in.
3.3 in.
7.66 in.
3.0 in.
3.0 in.
Image Sensor Size
3.16 mm
7.66 mm
7.66 mm
6.0 mm
7.7 mm

  • Still, we can't fault most of the technical sides of it, so if you really don't have any interest in discovering photography - and some people don't, but you want a sexy little silver box in your bag, then the Nikon Coolpix S02 will be ideal.


  • The Nikon Coolpix S02 is designed to be used when out with friends etc. It's small enough to carry around in your pocket or bag and you'd barely even know it was there. Smart phone users aren't likely to see much of an appeal though as you can't upload to the web straight away - if there was built-in Wi-Fi then it would be a fantastic camera for those who want to upload their pictures onto Facebook before they get home. The camera is made of metal, looks stylish and comes in a number of colours.


  • Why are people still buying these cameras? Is it the big screen, the colors? We know it's not the user experience. So... what then? We've heard it before: Touchscreens move units. But why? This isn't a phone; it's a camera, and cameras need buttons. Otherwise they'll handle like the TX30.

    Every spring we hear it over again: "I need a camera. It has to be cute and I have to be able to spill a drink on it." We also hear: "...and it has to cost less than $100," but let's not get greedy.


  • The Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 is an ultra-thin rugged camera for those who don't want to worry about the camera getting a little wet. It's certainly not for divers, as the touchscreen display does not work underwater. The otherwise beautiful OLED display is also difficult to see outdoors. The flash is very weak, and battery life is poor. Photo quality is decent for its class, though details are smudged when viewed full size. Since it lacks the GPS of its peers, the TX30 isn't a great value, either.


  • All the main camera manufacturers have produced waterproof cameras, but Sony's tend to stand out from the crowd as they look more like a normal camera, rather than some of the tough models that are also available. This doesn't mean the TX30 isn't tough - it's waterproof to 10m as well as being dust, freeze and shock proof. Adding to its stylish look, the 3.3 inch LCD touch screen fills the rear of the camera, with no buttons except for those on the top.


  • The Pentax Optio LS465 is a no-frills budget compact that offers 16MP of effective resolution. While it's not going to set the world alight in terms of features or build quality, the flexibility offered by its 5x optical zoom coupled with the superior image quality it's capable of producing at lower ISO settings make it a more reliable image capturing tool than a cameraphone or smartphone.


  • It does appear that Pentax have very much designed this camera with the ladies in mind, it's picture with a lipstick on their website and is available in pink and purple, possibly not the ideal choice for many men! But for the gents, there is the black version and it certainly won't leave you feeling embarrassed. The LS465 isn't the most feature packed camera, but it is easy to use and takes a decent shot.


  • This camera doesn't make for a significant upgrade to a camera-phone. The 5x optical zoom is one feature that phones can't match, but the unreliable focus when zoomed in and the lack of optical stabilisation limit its appeal. Unless the interchangeable designs are too tempting to resist, we'd recommend the Canon PowerShot A3200 IS instead.


  • The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS is a good choice for those already happy with their smartphone's photos and movie clips, but looking for a cute little camera with a long zoom and faster performance.


  • The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS packs a 12x zoom lens into a very compact body that's sure to turn heads. But this pretty camera is hampered by a tiny sensor that produces noisy images at middle to high ISO settings.


  • The Canon IXUS 500 HS is a good attempt to marry the classic styling of the IXUS range with a big zoom lens, but the tiny controls, poor battery life, so-so image quality at high ISO speeds and the eye-watering price-tag detract somewhat from its overall appeal.


  • The rugged camera that doesn't look rugged, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 is a nice option for people wanting an ultracompact for days by the pool and nights on the town.


  • The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 is gorgeous on the outside thanks to a slick and slim design and a sharp rear touch-screen LCD. This rugged pocket camera is waterproof to 16 feet, but its image quality is very disappointing.


  • We can't call the Sony TX20 a plainly bad camera. We scored some fairly attractive shots, particularly when taking advantage of the fast burst mode. Plus, the idea of a moderately rugged camera inside a chic body is a lead that other manufacturers should follow. Yet, what else can we really say about a camera that makes no improvement on its predecessor? The only reason to buy a TX20 is because the TX10 is no longer widely available. It's insulting to the consumer base (bigger numbers are better, right?)


Top 5 ultra-compact digital camera:

  1. Nikon Coolpix S02 13.2 MP Digital Camera
  2. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX30 Digital Camera
  3. Pentax Optio LS465 Digital Camera
  4. Canon PowerShot IXUS 500 HS / ELPH 520 HS Light Field Camera
  5. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20 Light Field Camera