I bought this camera two weeks ago and have since tested it with 6 hours of video, and over 3000 pictures in various conditions, indoor, outdoor, in snow, sunshine, cold weather, warm weather, and decided to write a short review about the camera. I have about twenty years of hobby old-school SLR experience and my first digital camera was the Ixus 50 which we have donated since purchasing this camera. I have uploaded some photos I have taken with this camera that you can see above as well.
* Truly excellent outdoor photography, I would venture to say near SLR quality
* The zoom is excellent, and gives nice clear shots at great distances
* Full Automatic is excellent and nearly idiot-proof, and fully manual is also possible (see negatives below)
* Camera is light and very transportable
* Indoor photography is VERY GOOD, however not excellent (see negatives below)
* Easy to use menus, very straightforward controls and easy to use controls, surfaces, and all is very reachable, with just the thumb.
* Macro shots are very nice
* Nearly every imaginable setting possible that could be wanted, needed or used is available on this camera.
* Stabilizer is excellent and allows shots at 1/4 second without a tripod (with my analog SLR at less than 1/60 it was already iffy)
* Battery life is good, but I still recommend a backup (OEM work as of version 1.0)
* Auto Focus is super fast, and with AF tracking you can really get some nice sport shots
* HD video is excellent quality (720 not 1080) but unfortunately limited to 30 minutes in the EU (tax regulations I guess).
* Raw photos and does RAW+JPEG simultaneously, this means you get a RAW AND a JPEG saved on your card for each picture.
* The software that comes with it is useful. In the slideshow you can click on properties and see exactly which fstop/shutterspeed was used, which setting, etc. You can also search your database per each and every camera setting you want. i.e. it categorizes all photos taken in "nightlandscape" or "high dynamic range". Can be useful when you have thousands of photos to look through.
* 16:9, 4:3, 3:2 shot formats possible
* comes with a lenscap!
THE NOT SO POSITIVES:
* Fully Automatic indoor photos can be grainy with flash
------THE FIX: In P mode on your camera, you can turn off intelligent ISO and manually set the ISO to 80 or 100 and you get excellent quality pictures anyway with little or no grain. In intelligent ISO mode, you can set the max ISO as well, (200, 400, 800, 1600 are possible). If you set this at 200 you can get very nice indoor photos.
* Zoom is a bit noisy in video mode
* Auto focus is really annoying in video mode, constantly focusing and unfocusing.
------THE FIX: you can turn off constant auto focus in the menu while shooting in Manual video mode. I recommend this for most situations, especially fast moving targets, or party situations where there are a lot of different areas to have to focus on. Also, set the zoom at say 3x and leave it for most applications
* Video limited to 30 minutes at a time (not a big issue for me)due to EU regulations, though this is not the camera's fault ;)
* Manual focus for pictures is possible only by using the toggle stick, joystick thingy, the lens itself is not manually focusable. This means you only have a digital manual focus. The AF is so excellent though, I have rarely used the manual focus on this camera.
* Raw photos not useable with Irfanview, the program I use. They are viewable with the supplied software, but I guess also not with photoshop. EDIT- There is an Irfanview Update which allows you to work with RAW photos!
* No BULBS (leaving the shutter open indefinitely) setting, however, in the night landscape, and starry night modes, shutterspeeds of 8,15,30, and 60 seconds are possible which enable some pretty creative shots.
This camera more than fulfills its role as a bridge camera and I am extremely pleased with both the quality of photos as well as the video quality. It is very light, very transportable and is an excellent allround camera which satisfies the point and shoot crowd as well as the more photo savvy crowd as well. The very small negatives to the camera have very doable and acceptable workarounds or fixes and as such, this camera gets a full five stars for doing exactly what it states and doing it very well. Even hobby SLR enthusiasts will find this camera has enough manual settings and creative setting possibilities to keep you well satisfied and keep your creative juices flowing without having to slap down big bucks for an SLR.
I do recommend at least an 8GB, class 6 or better memory card for this camera. I bought the 16GB verbatim class six card from here at Amazon, and this allows the 30 minute max video (so does my 8GB card though) and 1600+ photos at the highest setting (Raw 12M.)
Enjoy! I will post some photos soon that I have taken with this camera.