Excellent choice

Sep 10, 2008 (Updated Sep 10, 2008)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Zoom, Hotshoe, Layout, LCD, Pictures, Focus Checking, Size/weight

Cons:Noisy, Lens cap, Available accessories

The Bottom Line: This camera is a smart choice for anyone. My 4 year old can operate this camera on the auto setting, yet I can still take excellent pictures on manual.

I love photography, and as much as I'd love to own a dSLR it's just not in my budget at the moment. This is the next best thing, in my opinion. I love the option of full manual control, and the automatic and program modes make this camera nearly foolproof. I was taking great pictures right out of the box, and they've only gotten better as I've learned more about the camera. Contrary to what other reviewers have experienced, I've enjoyed the AA batteries. It's nice to know that if I'm out on vacation and run the batteries down, I can pop into Walgreens and grab a pack for $4 rather than being without my camera until I can charge it. I immediately replaced mine with Low Self-Discharge rechargeables and find they have a remarkable lifespan. I can take probably 300 pictures or more on a charge. I've been using this camera for 6 months now, and here are some of my experiences with it:

1. Zoom- Once you get used to it, the zoom is really precise. I can compose a shot in under a second without having to fiddle with it too much. At first, the variable speed zoom lever takes a little trial and error though.
2. Hotshoe- To be honest here, I don't have a speedlight yet. But I am thrilled to have the option and it's next on my list to purchase.
3. Layout- I find the buttons, menus and overall layout of the camera extremely intuitive and easy to use. Buttons are easily accessible and comfortable while gripping the camera. After one quick read through the manual, I could easily locate any setting I might need in the menu system.
4. LCD- I am so addicted to the pivoting screen that I'm afraid I won't be able to take pictures without it when the time finally comes to upgrade from this camera. I love that I can take eye-level shots of my kids without crawling through the mud with them, lol. I can compose shots that do not include tourists' heads because I can hold the camera above the heads and still see the screen. I can take a family portrait and see that everyone is actually in the frame. Brilliant!
5. Pictures
a. Auto- This camera takes some of the best exposed, consistently good pictures of any point and shoot I've ever used. This holds especially true in low light.
b. Manual- Mastering manual control was much simpler than I thought. Nearly all the adjustments can be made with the 4-way button. The on-screen meter runs a little underexposed for my taste, but only by about 1/4 stop. I just compensate accordingly with my settings.
6. Focus checking- I frequently use the feature that shows where the camera focused after the shot. It's as easy as tapping the display button while the review image is displayed on the screen and it shows a crop at 100%, a bounding box around the focal point, the histogram and a few other details. This can be an invaluable tool when shooting because nearly all shots look sharp on the LCD of a digital camera. It's not till you download them to your computer or try to print that you'll realize if the focus was off.
7. Size/weight- The camera just feels good in the hand. Enough weight and grip to balance nicely and get a stable shot. The ergonomics make it easy to hand hold, even with one hand.

1. Noisy- At anything above 200 (and sometimes even lower than that), the pictures are really noisy.
2. Lens cap- This might seem like a petty complaint, but really the lens cap is an important part of any camera, protecting its most delicate part. And this one is terrible. It falls off if you so much as look at the camera too hard. Forget about tossing it in a bag or purse, you'd better have a dedicated camera bag for it in case the cap pops off in transit (which it most certainly will).
3. Lack of available accessories- This really limits this camera, in my opinion. The only accessories available for this model are wide angle, teleconverter and close up lenses. A greater variety of lenses and other accessories (like the underwater housing available for previous models) would have been nice.

In addition to these cons, I have had 2 problems this far: the supplied USB cable died after only a few months. While I realize cables are cheap and readily available, it was a difficult problem to diagnose and caused a lot of frustration. For the price of this camera, and the fact that it comes with zero accessories, I expect the things it did include to be of a higher quality. The other problem I have is that after less than 6 months of use, the pivoting screen no longer consistently detects it's position. When I try to flip the screen outward, the camera switches the display back to the viewfinder. It works fine when I have it opened away from the camera, but as soon as it clicks in place, the display transfers. I have to turn the camera on and off several times to restore correct functionality of the screen. This is frustrating, and I've missed a shot several times because I am fighting with the camera instead of taking pictures. I plan to contact Canon customer service about this issue, but was waiting until after my recent family vacation in case the camera needs to be sent in for service.

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