Nikon Coolpix S630

Rounding out the high-optical-zoom announcements is one of four new additions to Nikon's S series of Coolpix cameras, the Coolpix S630 -- though it skimps on the wide-angle end. With a 7x optical zoom ranging from 37mm to 260mm, the 12-megapixel S360 also offers four-way image stabilization; a 2.7-inch LCD; in-camera editing features; automatic scene selection; ISO equivalency up to 6400; a Smart Portrait setting that combines face recognition, smile trigger, blink detection, red-eye reduction; and an anodyzed stainless steel frame. Available in five colors (black, blue, red, purple, and silver), the S630 is available starting in March for £250 plus VAT.

Nikon Coolpix S620

Though it's priced lower than the Coolpix S630, the £210 plus VAT Coolpix S620 may be a smarter buy for one reason: a 28mm wide-angle lens on the low end of its 4X optical zoom lens. The 12-megapixel S620 also assembles most of the features found in the S630, including four-way image stabilization, automatic scene selection, in-camera editing features, and Smart Portrait mode. To these it adds motion-tracking autofocus and what Nikon claims is the "fastest start-up time in its class," at 0.7 second. The S620 will be available in black, purple, silver, pink, blue, and white starting in March.

Nikon Coolpix S230

For touch-screen aficionados, the 10-megapixel Coolpix S230 boasts a 3-inch touch screen that you can operate with your fingers or with the included stylus. Other than the touch screen's fun-sounding 'paint function' mode, this model's specs are fairly standard: a 3x optical zoom (35mm to 105mm) lens, four-way image stabilization, Smart Portrait and automatic scene-selection modes, and in-camera editing apps. The Coolpix S230 will be available in March for around £165 plus VAT.

Entry-level cameras: Nikon Coolpix S220, L19, and L20

Three of the new Coolpix announcements target budget-conscious home users, with entry-level additions to the Coolpix S and L series.

At £130 plus VAT, the ultracompact 10-megapixel S220 is just 18mm thick. It has a 3x optical zoom (35mm to 105mm) lens and comes in five colour choices: black, blue, plum, magenta, and green. It's slated for availability in March.

The red, 10-megapixel Coolpix L20 will be available for £115 starting in March; it serves up a 3-inch LCD screen, automatic scene selection, in-camera image effects, and a 3.6x optical zoom (38mm to 136mm) lens.

At the very-entry-level end of Nikon's 2009 Coolpix announcements is the AA-powered, 8-megapixel Coolpix L19. With a 2.7-inch LCD and a silver frame, the L19 will be available in March for the bargain-bin price of £85 plus VAT.