"Love it! Perfect step up from a point & shoot camera"4.5 starson by Justin1Cale
Pros: + Body is well built and feels very sturdy
+ Camera feels very well balanced
+ Auto setting is excellent
+ On-camera help facility is fantastic
+ Zoom is incredible - 30 times optically
+ Panarama setting is wonderful
Cons: - Camera does not come with a memory card
- No useful user guide
Summary: I absolutely love this camera! I have only had it for 4 days, and have spent hours taking photos with it already.
For background information, I am comparing this camera to my well-loved point-and-shoot Canon Ixus 90 IS. I have never owned a compact bridge or DSL camera before.
Here are my first impressions:
The body is well built and feels very sturdy. It weighs in at 613g including the strap, battery and memory card. When I add the weight of my case (bought separately) the weight goes up to 850g - this is heavy compared to my other camera, and I don't think I'll be taking it out and about for holiday snaps. For specific photo-trips though, the weight is OK.
Despite the weight, the camera feels very well balanced and so far I have not had any finger or wrist strain whilst taking photos.
The camera does not come with a memory card, but it does have some internal storage - sufficient for around 20 photos I think.
Even though it is an 18.2MP camera, the individual photos do not seem to take up too much storage space - around 3 to 4 MB per photo (about the same as my 10MP point-and-shoot camera).
I'm absolutely delighted with the photo quality produced. The auto setting is excellent, and the many extra settings allow for lots of creativity. I particulary like the blurred background setting - my portrait photos of my family have come out looking very professional.
The on-camera help facility is fantastic - if you press help it will display information that is relevant to wherever you are in the settings. I have learnt a lot aready about photography, although I do still have some way to go! You can even adjust the strength of the flash...I haven't tried this yet.
There is no paper manual or disc supplied with the camera - but you really don't need either. The camera plugged into my Vista PC and worked straight away, and as I have already said, the on-camera help is perfect with help providied where and when you need it.
The zoom is incredible - 30 times optically, and then another 30 times digitally. It seems to have some clever software on board to improve the digital image as it zooms in.
In addition to the LCD display there is also a view finder. This is extrememly handy in bright conditions. When you put your eye to the viewfinder, the screen goes off to prevent glare. I don't think the view finder is optical, as it seems to be a copy of what is being displayed on the screen. This is useful when looking something up in the help facility, as help is also shown through the LCD. Suits me fine, but I'm not sure whether top photographers would like it.
The panorama setting is wonderful - it works like you are taking a video, but then puts it into one image. No more stitching photos together on the pc!
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In conclusion, I heartily recommend this camera to anyone moving up a step from a basic point-and-shoot camera.