A step up from the traditional touristy compact, but not as heavy (in the hand and on the wallet) as a pro DSLR, we present five of the best of the new breed of "hybrid cameras" for your snapping pleasure.
So dinky it's almost pocket-sized, Sony's lightweight, titanium hybrid cam is pleasingly stripped down on the controls front, plumping for a single wheel and three buttons. Stills benefit from a "defocus" setting which blurs the background, and the sweep panorama is near-seamless.
Sony NEX-5 review | T3 Gadget Awards: Camera of the Year
Panasonic Lumix G2
With 12.1 megapixel stills and 720p video recording, the Lumix G2 also packs a HAL-like "intelligent auto" setting, which picks out commonly photographed subjects and adjusts shots to show off their best sides. Chunkier than some, but still more portable than a full-blown DSLR.
Panasonic Lumix G2 review | T3 Gadget Awards: Camera of the Year
Panasonic's smallest offering to date, the DMC-GF1 sacrifices a viewfinder to save space, although it does have a built-in flash. Picture quality isn't quite top notch, but at a mere £570 it's a worthwhile consideration for those unwilling to shell out a near grand for one of its rivals.
Panasonic DMC-GF1 review | T3 Gadget Awards: Camera of the Year
Retro looks with spaceage innards, the 60's-looking E-P2 takes crisp, warm shots due to its iEnhance technology, and 720p video with full stereo sound. It lacks a built-in flash, but the E-P2 comes with a hotshoe for pros to attach their own flashguns to.
Olympus E-P2 review | T3 Gadget Awards: Camera of the Year
Pretty it ain't, but the GXR is the first hybrid camera to offer both replaceable lenses and replaceable sensors. It's a bit like being able to choose different film types in the days of yore, and the slide-in system makes it quicker to swap out components. Innovation, however, is pricey.
Ricoh GXR review | T3 Gadget Awards: Camera of the Year