I bought this camera as a replacement for a Minolta A1 which had developed a fatal fault. From the reviews it seemed to be the best of the compact non-SLR cameras - and I wanted one with an LCD viewfinder so I could frame pictures without the camera at eye level and could gauge the correct exposure.
As a general-purpose camera, it's great. It's small and unobtrusive. Colour rendition and ease of setting a custom white-balance are excellent. But it is let down very badly by poor image quality at even moderate ASA speeds and by very slow autofocus.
Picture quality is reasonable at 100 ASA but the small sensor size and the small size of each pixel because of the 12 megapixel sensor mean that there's a lot of sensor noise which needs to be managed by rather intrusive artifacts of post-processing in the camera, even at 100 ASA. At 400 ASA or above the picture quality is *very* grainy. At 1600 ASA (only useful if you need to hand-hold a shot in low lighting) it is appalling.
The autofocus takes about 2 seconds to activate: even if you have previously focussed correctly, as soon as you take your finger off the shutter and then press it again later to take the picture, the autofocus seems to defocus and refocus before letting you take a shot. This means you have to sit there with your finger half-pressing the shutter, waiting for the optimum time for the shot. And then you have to wait two seconds before you can take another.
It would be useful if the exposure lock wasn't reset when you changed zoom: I'd like to be able to zoom in to take an exposure reading from the most important part of the scene, lock the exposure and then zoom back out to compose the shot.
The zoom control is electrical rather than mechanical. This requires judicious nudging of the zoom control to set just the right focal length. A mechanical zoom ring (as my Minolta had) would be so much better. Likewise, a movable LCD screen that could be tilted horizontally upwards (for from-the-waist or on-the-floor shots) or downwards (for over-the-head shots) would be useful.
The exposure meter tends to over-expose slightly. I've found that I usually use the camera with -0.3 stop adjustment to avoid burnt-out highlights.