Pros 4x optical zoom, manual features galore, tiny
Cons Flash could be stronger
Summary I don't think Will Greenwald paid much attention when he was reviewing this camera. It is CHOCK FULL of manual features including manual focus, manual shutter speed and aperture, and white balance setting. This is a GREAT small camera that functions great either as a small point-and-shoot or a manual shooter which lets you explore different composition options. The body is solid and feels well put-together. I can't recommend this camera enough.
Pros Easy to use, Lots of settings
Cons Print Quality, Small LCD
Summary I previously used a Canon PowerShot A520, 5 MP. I was happy with it until it decided to take a leap from the table and break. I love the PowerShot's feel and look, so I was lucky to find a newer upgrade to the line.
Everything about the camera is pretty much the same as the A520, but the resolution on printed pictures is better and I find the shutter time to be better. These cameras have a solid result every time. Great zoom. The extra 2 MP gives you a little push into great. I would recommend the Canon line, especially this A550 over any other brand in this price range. What a deal!
Pros higher pixel rate, SD card, less power requirements
Cons very little manual control, poor performance in low light
Summary I got this camera as a replacement (with some extra cost, obviously!) to my old PowerShot A70 which had a CCD problem. I compare the performance to A70 with A550 and see that A70 was far better in many ways (only exception is the 7.1 pixel rate compare to 3.2 of A70). This camera is OK for day light outdoor shots. Performance in low light / night is poor compared to some of the other models in the same range. Though there is a manual mode, the camera allows you to control very little manually. I do not see any advantage in this camera other than the higher pixel rate and pixel rate along cannot do any magic.
Pros Price, Picture Quality, Great Video, Lots of Features
Cons Some strange lines from indoor lighting, none other than that
Summary My Sony DSC-P92 finally gave out after 6 years of punishment. While the Sony was built well, many drops and much picture taking by my 4 and 6-year-old, I was never quite satisfied with the picture quality so I decided to try another brand. While I photograph constantly, I'm very much a novice. I just want to be able to point and click and not mess with any manual controls. However, the A550 has many more features than my old P92. So far, the Canon A550 has not disappointed. Right out of the box and taking a few snaps without reading any directions, the picture quality is much, much better than my old Sony P92. The build feels to be of similar quality, heavy and solid feeling. It fits in the hand well. While the LCD is a little smaller than other models at 2.0", it is very clear. I almost didn't buy it because I wanted a bigger LCD screen. The video is outstanding with no effort on my part and battery life is great (2 AA batteries). I am very happy with my purchase.
Pros Fine LCD display, somewhat compact, does video, easy pull-trigger zooming
Cons Incapable of taking shots of anything even slightly moving, occasional slow loading times when using flash, harsh flash lighting- makes it too obvious it was being used
Summary Given the amount of money it costs, I would suggest looking for something a bit better than this. You can set the ISO speed and hold the camera as still as you want, but taking pictures of moving things simply will not turn out. The flash is also ridiculously obtrusive. You're much better off even shining a flashlight at your subject than using this.