Pros + Great image quality and image processing
+ Face detection works great
+ Slow motion video is also great
+ Great Looking Camera
Cons - Zoom being slow in video mode
Summary This is a point and shoot class camera, if you understand that going in, you are going to be more than impressed with it. I'm going from an SD630 and hands down, this beats it. I even had an SX210IS and these images are on par with it, if not better. I had to return my SX210IS as it had issues with dust on the image sensor and I've been waiting for a new P&S class to come out. I bit the bullet on this camera and what can I say - I am happy!Update Link
300HS vs 500HS:
There is a 500HS version of the camera, which is approx $50 more. To this point, the only differences I can tell are the LCD on the back as well as aperture priority and shutter priority, while the 300hs does not. The touch screen on the 500hs can also be used to focus on a particular subject. The 500hs also has a wider aperture at 2.0, the 300hs has 2.7.
Small. Awesome. There is a texture on the camera, I really like this as it seems like it will help if you hands are wet (sweat, snow, etc). Easy to operate one hand and if using both hands, flash isn't in a horrible place. Display is very bright and button seem intuitive as with other Canon cameras. Battery and SD are on the bottom door, USB and HDMI are in a covered side port. Comes with a wrist strap if you desire a little extra security.
Camera is ready to take photos very fast. From the time you press the button, it's pretty much set to catch the action. Time between photos wasn't terrible (about 1.5 seconds) and if you need it, there is continuous shot mode. Had no problem with the Canon software on Windows 7. I've used the Canon Photo Window import for a while, does a good job of getting photos off the camera without duplicates. I use Picasa to then manage my photo library (I skip the Zoom Browser, but it's really not bad if you want to use it, I'm just a slave to Google/gmail)
I didn't find this anywhere in the specs, so if you're looking, the camera uses mini-USB, similar to all Canon's that have come out over the last few years.
You're going to be impressed with the form factor of this camera and it's 5x OPTICAL zoom. I immediately disabled digital zoom as 12.1MP + 5x Optical will get you very close to the action. You're better off digitally enhancing the photos later on.
Battery + Memory Card:
This uses the NBL-4 (again, I found confusion on this and accessories) - so if you have some of those laying around keep them as they'll work just fine in this camera. This is nice as my SD630 uses the NBL-4 so now I have 2 chargers + 3 batteries. It took my 16GB SDHC (Sandisk Ultra) without any issues and holds thousands of images. Images have tended to be between 2 and 3mb on the highest settings.
Look, I'm no photo fanatic, I don't expect the people buying this camera are. I am looking for solid images and this camera delivers. There are a ton a feature you can delve into and I'm sure they are good. It has manual mode, so if you fancy that, you can go down that path. But I'm the type of person that knows when something looks good, OK or great. This camera consistently delivers GREAT photos. I'm happy with the low light and images aren't blurry or grainy (within reasonable expectations).
FINALLY! Optical zoom on a Canon during video! 1080p brings this camera up to par with others in its class and it does a decent job. I didn't notice any major noise when zooming in and out while recording video. I know this is the excuse Canon has used in the past as to why they never had this feature. It shoots nice clips for those quick moments. This will NOT replace a true DV cam, but hey, for a few minute clips here and there, you will simply not be dissapointed.
Lastly, If you will buy this camera I suggest for best deal at: www.amazon.com/exec/******/****/B004J41T7Q/cnet-offer-20
Updated on Oct 2, 2011
If you will buy the 300 HS I suggest you have to compare for best price before you decide at: http://300HS.url-Go.com
Pros Fast start-up time
Excellent photo quality
Pin point zoomed in focus review
Excellent build quality
Cons Paint on the red version scratches easily
Summary My only issue with this camera is that the body paint on my red version has scratched in several places. If you want a compact camera that takes EXCELLENT photos in any situation then this is it. You can pay more for the 500HS, but it's not worth it, this is a better camera. I use it on construction sites to take photos to record architectural details. Taking accurate photos of the as-built conditions and making an accurate legal record of those conditions is critical in my line of work. I used to use a DSLR, but those are a pain to haul around sites and can't always fit into the spots where we need to take photos. This camera is excellent in low light, zooming in on details as well as taking wide full shots. It is so good, that we've purchased 6 more for our site supervisors and building techs in the field, they all love it and are glad to give up their DSLR's. Every few years a camera just comes together the right way, this is one of them. I believe that this camera will become the standard in the industry to beat.
Pros The speed, size and photo quality is great, but I am most blown away with the low light performance.
the zoom is great, I can zoom to take a picture and pick up far more detail than with my eyes.
the finish is sand paper like, but is like a very fine grai
Cons Auto mode sometimes uses flash when it shouldn't. And uses too high of an iso speed in some cases, resulting in some avoidable noise.
Summary I just want to confirm everything from the editor's review.The battery life is decent, but for 10 bucks on ebay, i found two 1400 mAh battery's, (vs the original 700 something) and a travel charger.
I am VERY happy with this camera, and HIGHLY encourage you to consider it.
Updated on Jul 2, 2011
"Great camera."on by HAWGNDODGE
Pros Blazing fast start up.
Amazing video quality.
Cons no screen protector included.
Summary Extremely pleased with this camera. I can't impress enough how good the video quality is. The photo quality is even better if that's even possible. Used it for a week at Disney and charged it every night. Never had an issue with battery life during the day. Would highly recommend this camera.
Pros Ultra Compact
Cons Some photos can be blurry (but I am a novice at best :)
Video option seem to drain battery very quickly
Summary I had received the SD1400 as a gift, but that was slow in comparison to this. I thought this was worth the extra cost. The CMOS sensor seems to be the big improvement over the SD14000. I also like the optical zoom when using video. Although when I use the video option, the battery drains very quickly.