Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10

With a body measuring about the width and height of a business card, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX10 point-and-shoot camera ($280 as of May 4, 2011) packs a surprising amount of features into a slight frame. It offers not only (very limited) manual controls for shutter and aperture, but also a buffet of futuristic extras: three separate ways to capture 3D images, 1080i video capture at a smooth 60 frames per second, and modes for low-light shooting, panorama images, and backlight correction. What's more, the WX10 has a 7X-optical-zoom lens, which is slightly mind-boggling given the camera's size.

Although it produces good-quality photos and videos, they're not amazing; this camera doesn't take the sharpest pictures, and its price tag seems a bit high. But if you value genuine put-it-in-your-pocket portability as well as innovative in-camera extras, the WX10 is among the leaders of the ultracompact class.

The Cyber-shot DSC-WX10 boasts a 16-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor; like most recent Sony CMOS-sensored point-and-shoots, it does a good job in low-light situations. Its optically stabilized 7X-optical-zoom lens offers an ultrawide 24mm at the wide-angle end and 168mm at full telephoto (in 35mm film equivalent), with maximum apertures of F2.4 at the wide-angle end and F5.9 at full telephoto.

The WX10 provides decent but not outstanding performance in macro mode: You need to be about 2 inches away from your subject to capture a crisp shot. Even though most images taken with the WX10 look great on the camera itself and at smaller sizes, photos tend to appear soft once you offload them to a computer and view them at full size.

At 3.9 by 0.9 by 2.0 inches (width by depth by height), this is a very small camera. As such, the physical controls are small and slightly cramped--the major trade-off for its ultracompact size. The mode dial offers eight selections, but the dial rests flat on the back of the camera, making it hard to adjust correctly at times.