Looking for SLR-like control on a pocket-friendly cam? Check out the Canon PowerShot S90 ($400). Packing a high sensitivity 10-megapixel sensor, the DIGIC 4 image processor, and a customizable control ring, the S90 segues nicely from a beginner-level auto mode to full manual control, complete with aperture and shutter priority modes. A bright f/2.0, 3.8x optical zoom lens, RAW + JPEG support, and a 3-inch LCD round out the spec sheet, making the S90 a good compromise between size and image quality for advanced amateur shooters, and a great secondary cam for dSLR owners.
Tough, but not bulky. That might be a good way to describe the Casio Exilim EX-G1 ($300; December 2009). The first camera of Casio's new G line, the EX-G1 is a 12.1-megapixel, .78-inch pocket cam with unusual resilience: it's waterproof down to 10 feet for up to 60 minutes straight, resists water penetration even when being directly sprayed, can handle temperatures down to 14 degrees, and can withstand multiple falls from seven feet. Other features include a 848 x 480 16:9 movie mode, microSD storage, intelligent autofocus, and a 3x zoom lens.