"One of the best point and shoot cameras, but pricy"4.5 starson by WeaselSW
Pros: 15MP, 4x optical zoom, optical viewfinder, Syncro AF, Drive bracketing, full manual controls, 1600 ISO mode, panaramic on-screen assist, smile detection, impressive image quality for a point and shoot
Cons: Expensive camera for a point and shoot, no HD video clips, slightly high noise at high ISO
Summary: I am an amature photographer that loves using my D-SLR whenever possible, but also owns a point and shoot for portability and fun. I have owned numerous point and shoots over the years, all of them being Sony brand. This one camera has turned me over to Canon for point and shoot cameras as well, and I will probably not look back!
This camera is loaded with features, which can be used by the advanced photographer, but easily avoided all-together for a more novice user who wants the camera to control everything. One of the best features of the camera is the fact that it can be as advanced, or as easy, as the user wants it to be.
The camera has a great feel to it in the hand, as it is sleek and smooth. It's lightweight and seems durible enough to withstand some abuse. It is certainly as durible as some of the shockproof cameras on the market, but will withstand typical bumps and scratches, perhaps even the occasional drop. The power button is conveniently located, a small reach futher for the finger from the shutter button.
Right out of the box, most people who have owned point and shoot cameras before will be able to understand how to use it and most of the features without reading the manual. While in AUTO Mode, there is no guessing involved, the camera does all the work for you, and I have not been disappointed yet with the results in this mode. If you need to tweak the photo a bit, then full manual controls are available (including manual focus), or you can select a program mode for partial control over the environment.
I was very impressed that the camera had a Syncro AF, which means better auto focusing with less blur. Also, a optical viewfinder is excellent when trying to conserve battery by not using the LCD, or getting a more realistic view of the subject or scene. Drive bracketing is a great feature, taking a new photo, about 1 per second, until you release the shutter button. Although this mode does reduce the resolution of the photo and is by no means as powerful as an SLR drive, it is a nice feature to have on a point and shoot camera, and not found often.
I have found that the image quality of this camera was very impressive, espcially with the Contrast Correction feature turned on. Being almost 15 MP, can take the same resultion photos as my D-SLR camera! Most impressive was its ability to take wonderful low-light photos, with less noise than my previous point and shoots, and better focusing ability. Impressive is the 1600 ISO setting, which I used with only a candlelight with impressive results. The noise does dramatically increase at this setting, but it is a great feature to have for certain extremely low-light conditions.
One thing that I do wish this camera had (and then would almost be perfect) is High Definition video clips, which are getting more popular on modern point and shoot cameras. There are two video settings, the larger resolution being merely VGA, which may have been standard several years ago, but are quickly becoming replaced by HD video capturing.
Another thing that I would like to see with Canon cameras is the ability to charge the battery inside the camera. Yes, it is always handy to have an external charger, but most of my charging (especially with point and shoots) occur while I have the camera plugged into my computer via USB. All of the Sony point and shoots that I have owned had a USB charging dock that the camera nicely fit into. As for this camera, no such thing exists, nor will it for this model as it does not have any connecting ports on the bottom. This, however, is a small inconvenience compared to all the wonderful (and powerful) features the camera does have.
At almost $400 retail (at the time of release), the average consumer may wish to wait a little for the price to come down... with the current market, this should not happen in much time at all. But whenever you decide to buy this camera, coming from someone who has owned many point and shoot cameras, this one is sure to be a pleasure to own!