Pros Zooms really far, lots of scene modes, comfortable and steady
Cons Vibration reduction is a must for so much zoom, else pictures lack sharpness
Summary I was just about to go in for this lovely looking camera, and it had **all** the features I wanted - included great short range shots.
Unfortunately, with so much zoom, its not possible to keep your hands steady. You'll need a tripod or a surface on which to keep the camera for the long zoom shots.
Other cool features include the fact that you can see yourself before shooting a self image... also, the large lcd screen and d-lighting (auto lighting correction) are great features to go with.
Pros very friendly controls and user interface, slim and cool design
Cons no manual settings; shaky and blured images; no viewfinder
Summary I bought this camera to take pictures of my newborn son. It's been impossible to get the camera to take close ups or portraits with natural light. The images I get are always blured. You have to be totally still to get a decent one. I've tried landscapes with and without zoom, and I get sharper images with my old canon s200 (2MP). All the scene controls haven't helped and the camera has no manual settings. The zoom is useles without a tripod. The battery life is poor, and not having a viewfinder doesn't help. This is also a problem when you have a lot of light and you cannot see what's in the LCD screen. I'm returning it and I'll get a Canon sd500.
Pros 10x zoom; swivel design; scene/assist modes
Cons No zoom stabilization; no viewfinder
Summary I got this camera because it's the only compact camera that has the swivel lens design and the 10x zoom. It's unfortunate that only the movie mode has the vibration stabilization option. Picture quality is very good but not great. THe scene modes, especially the face focus priority is great. There is wee bit more noise than the Canon powershot cameras but I'd say about par with the Sony DSC-S/P cameras.
Pros 10x zoom, multiple scene settings, small size
Cons no image stablization, no flip away screen
Summary This is one awesome camera for this price range. I did a lot of looking around in my area and I was down to deciding between this camera and a Canon that was $100 CAD more, comparing regular prices. This one was on sale, and came with NiMH rechargeable batteries and a two battery charger, whereas the Canon came with 2 alkaline batteries. So I got this one, which I still think is a much better deal. The lack of image stabilization may be a pain, but you can still make beautiful photos without a tripod or stable surface. This camera does not have a flip away LCD screen, but the only thing that would add to this camera is protecting that screen. The swivel lens (with internal zoom) goes a full 270 degrees, allowing you to photograph in front of you, behind you, above you, or below you. This camera has settings for backlighting, close-up, a night scenes, portrait, landscape, indoor, beach/snow, sunset, dusk/dawn, fireworks, museum, and panorama. You can also record video, but if your focus is making videos, I strongly suggest looking at video cameras, some of which are surprisingly small and can also take stills.
The S4 also has a basic point-and-shoot mode, which will do most of the focusing for you, but you can also use the macro, self-timer, and flash settings on screen. This mode also allows you to choose your colour mode (standard, vivid, black and white, sepia, cyanotype), ISO, best shot selector, exposure, white balance, and file size.
You can easily delete photos or mark/unmark photos you want to be transfered to your computer. Don't like icons on your LCD screen? That's easily fixed as well. You can turn on or off a welcome screen and sound as well, so you can be greeted with a coolpix screen or your favorite shot.
It does come with a lens cap and a spot to attach it to a tripod, and takes 2AA batteries. It doesn't have a manual viewfinder or a lot of manual settings, which can be either a pro or con, depending on your personal preferences.
It comes with basic software and panorama stiching software, as well as USB and A/V cables.
It's small with plenty of settings, and if you aren't a pro and have reasonably steady hands, but want to explore photography (like me), you'll likely be quite happy with this camera.
Pros point and click good imaging
Cons shutter on camera has broken almost everytime I have tried to use it
Summary I have not been to impressed with this camera. I have used it a couple of times and it wokred awesome. I purchased the camera in September 2006 for off road racing. It worked awesome point and shooting at fast moving objects in the sports setting. THen in November the shutter broke on it I had it repaired and since then it has been in and out of warranty 6 times; each time the shutter has broken. I am ready to buy another camera and count my losses as it is now March 2007