"Nice intermediate camera but quirky"3.5 starson by CuriousChris
Pros: Good quality images
30x zoom works well and photos are sharp
Price was good for the features
Video work well and its nice to be able to zoom
The quality of low light is surprisingly good
Scenes presets work well
Viewfinder is rare in pocket cameras
Cons: Not a fast camera. The auto focus can be quite slow.
Batteries don't last a long time
Annoying lens cover prevents cameral from starting up if its left on
HDR is spotty, rarely works properly
The battery cover is hard to click back in place.
Summary: Bought to replace an aging Kodak dx 7590 (I also have a Canon EOS Rebel). I was attracted to the 30x zoom since I often take photos while sailing. I was not disappointed there. Zoom photos are sharp and distortion free and the colours are good.I posted a page of photos taken with the camera here:
Quality of the images is very pleasing below 400 ASA, above this the noise gradually increases.
I find the colours to be good and the white balance has been surprisingly accurate.
You can activate a histogram and I find this helpful.
Unlike most compact cameras it has a viewfinder and that is very helpful in bright light. I guess it would save power too.
The main complaint I have with this camera is the speed. Although it boots up quickly, the auto focus is annoyingly slow as is the time between shots...sometimes, other times its quite fast.
I put in a fast memory card and this helped some. I don't think this will ever be a fast camera.
Batteries don't seem to last very long but its better with a lower level of brightness on the screen. I will experiment with the autofocus, I expect turning that off will also reduce power usaage if necessary.
The charger that comes with the camera is very slow (7 hours) and I quickly replaced it with a faster charger (less than 1 hour).
I carry extra pack of batteries.
The camera has a nice rubbery grip and feels comfortable in the hand. Its quite a large camera but that's the trade off for the better lens and 30x zoom.
I didn't have any real trouble figuring it out. The manual was online and seems adequate. The navigation is easy and controls seem to work as expected.
I like that there is a single button for video. You can take still photos while in video mode, they are at the same dpi as the video. Video mode allows you to zoom while shooting. The focus re adjusts resonably quickly. There is a noise with the zoom motor, not terrible but it can be heard.
I find that the usb connection needs to be pushed hard to go in and that the battery cover must be exactly lined up to work. Annoying but not serious.
I was surprised how well the really close photos came out. I'm hoping to take a bunch of insect photos this summer and this should be just right.
It has 2 panorama modes. One allows you to take 3 photos which the camera then stitches together, and a sweep panorama mode where you slowly move your camera across the area while depressing the trigger.
The 3 photos panorama has worked so-so for me but the automatic sweep has been really good. It doesn't always capture the same angle of sweep, it depends on the number of pixels captured. It ends up being roughtly 180 degrees.
It has a high dynamic range setting but I've not found that it works very well. Things have to be very still for this feature to work. I think it is better to take 3 photos at different exposures and manually integrate them in Photoshop.
At the same price as other point and shoot compact cameras (I paid 278.00 Canadian) this camera offers many nice features.
The Viewfinder and 30X optical zoom are a real plus.
The quality of the images and video even in low light, and colours are entirely satisfactory for this level of camera. Image quality is really what I wanted and I got value for my money.
If I could magically wave my wand I would make it faster but I can live with what I have. Most of my photos are landscape or boats.
I'm delighted with the sweep panorama and prefer the control of making my own High Dynamic range photos myself anyway.
The flash seems to work as well as expected from this class of camera.
All in all a good camera. Having used it for a month I am happy and would buy it again.
Updated on Jan 20, 2012
These were greatly reduced in size for the website but still good.