This S5700 slots into the middle ground between point and shoot and digital SLR. For not a lot of money you get a compact camera with the equivalent of 38 - 380 lens, (plus digital magnification X 4, which does degrade the image somewhat), and quality images which are good for A4 enlargements at the highest shooting quality. You also get a load more control over the settings more akin to using a SLR. You can leave it in auto for point and shoot simplicity or a whole range of other settings suited to portrait, landscape, snow, beach, party, museum etc. Plus the usual priority A, S, and full Manual and macro settings. Cables are included for playback through TV and usb connection to PC (I haven't used the latter or the supplied software as I prefer to use my PC's card reader for faster transfer of images).
What I like:
- The price - about a third of what you pay for a digital SLR
- The image quality - the 7 meg is as good as film on standard size prints
- The battery life is good (you can use rechargeable 4 x AAs - get at least 2700 NiMH, - easy to carry spares or buy standard AA in an emergency)
- It takes the cheaper SD as well as Xd cards. Even at high resolution you can get a 1000 frames on a 2 gig card
- The extended control - I can finally get depth of field on a digital!
- The large bright LCD screen
- It takes movies (can't do that on my film SLR!) up to 36 mins on a 2GB card with decent sound and zoom
- Good low light sensitivity ISO 1600 - I've got some good looking pictures indoors without flash
- Nice rubbery grip
- When you turn off all the beeps / shutter sounds it is virtually silent in operation
- It will take 46mm filters - stick a UV one on to protect the lens and improve the image in bright sunlight
What I don't like
X Doesn't include camera case or memory card (has only 27 meg internal memory)
X Still get some noticeable lag between pushing the shoot button and taking the picture but it's better than any digital I've previously used
X The manual focus is fiddly - and not easy to tell when its there
X It's a bit too compact- I actually prefer a bit more camera to grip
X The view finder is poor and not as accurate as the large screen - you would only ever use it in very bright sunlight
X Image stabilisation isn't that great - basically just increases the ISO - so faster but more grainy
So overall I think this is a winning package, it will appeal to old SLR users like me who want the advantages of reasonably priced digital, without having to compromise all creative control. As a multipurpose camera with a x10 optical lens in a very compact package, this is a cost effective solution. I have now lived with this camera for a few months and have taken 1000's of frames. The results have been great in a whole range of different settings. I have been particularly impressed with the ability to capture shots indoors without flash. The compactness of the camera, ease of use, and rapid start up encourage you to use it. Apart from a slight tendency to over expose, most frames I've taken have been been in focus with good colour balance. I am pleased with my purchase and recommend this to you. Spend a bit more on getting a fast san disk ultra SD card (excellent value currently on Amazon), and you will have a versatile, responsive and rewarding package. After sales 46mm wide angle and x2 and x3 lens are available from the 'bay if you want to extend on what is already a pretty versatile lens range.
You might be considering the slightly up rated S5800 - an extra meg on the image and batteries and charger thrown in. I believe you can also get it in silver. But at a bit over one hundred quid this model has to be the bargain (it was double that RRP when released). It really is a great camera for the money I am sure you won't be disappointed.