First of all, this camera is VERY small - it's an ultra compact compact - and you really can take it anywhere at no inconvenience and when you unpack it from the box you'll probably think 'this is even smaller than I thought' I think this is because the corners are so smoothly rounded it feels tiny!
Secondly, it has an excellent auto mode and a good face recognition AF system. The menu's are nicely laid out and it's intuitive. The auto white balance is generally very good, and it takes great snapshots. I particularly like the way that with one button press in auto mode you can bring up exposure compensation and that the EV scale then stays there until you put it away again - this is superb especially when shooting into the light (a notorious way to confuse the metering with any camera!)
Please don't be fooled by the 'megapixel' wars though - all these latest compacts have a tiny sensor and the result is that although the photo's are physically 'large' in terms of their overall size they are not comparable to a professional or SLR camera in terms of detail and file quality. (This is not a Canon-only issue, of course - you can't get full frame performance in something so small you lose it in your pocket!)
The lens is OK, although it's a shame it does not have an F2.8 setting (having said that the low light performance with no flash is still quite good, because the higher ISO performance is good -at ISO400 and 800 you get good compensation for the lens' lack of a really wide aperture!)
I was particularly drawn to the fact that this camera has a proper optical viewfinder, since I am able to hold steady and frame shots better using the camera up to my eye than with an LCD, but the sheer tiny size of it makes it less of an advantage than I had expected - it's kind of recessed into the curved top and you have to press the camera into your face quite a bit to see!
The real strength of this camera is its video mode. It is quite simply astonishing. I mean - basically this is a HD video camcorder in a tiny camera body! We got the camera as a take anywhere alternative to my professional camera and with a young son the video side of things is very important to us -the movie mode on this does not disappoint - I was blown away!
Overall I'm really impressed and the camera does exactly what I wanted of it, but if your list of requirements is stills first movies second I would not recommend it, instead pointing you at the non HD video versions from Canon which have better photo taking abilities. As an alternative if you wanted a non Canon product you could also look at the Sony DSC-W300 which loses HD video but gains a Zeiss F2.8 lens which is very likely to give it the edge as a camera.
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