Yesterday the new camera arrived and over all . . . yeah, I'm happy with it.
The zoom is incredible. And it is fast for multiple shots. So fast, in fact, that the first time I thought it was doing something wrong. This is going to be an incredible camera for wildlife.
This is really good for bracketing where you take a shot a different settings (Normal, more light, less light). For those of us who play around with HDR (High Dynamic Range) pictures, this looks very good. Oh, but look -- the camera has a setting for HDR to do the work itself. That might be handy too, though I enjoy the HDR programs I own. There are other in-camera tricks you can do, but I have all the programs to do those out of camera and with more control, so I'll likely not use them often. The camera has good bracketing controls, and because it's so fast, you probably won't need a tripod for most bracketed pictures. The fast part is great for capturing action, too.
The colors are fantastic. The pictures look sharp and many of them don't have the smudge problem (see below). This is a great close up camera. I went crazy looking for the macro setting and then discovered the change is automatic: If you move in close to a subject, it switches to the macro lens. Yay! You can also do manual focus, so you don't need to worry about not having the choice No more switching over to macro and then forgetting to switch it back and wondering why you can't get something in focus.
I keep having a problem finding some of the controls which is just a matter of learning the menu system. My fingers keep moving to do 'Canon' stuff, but I'll get them retrained soon.
The camera has GPS tagging, but I have not turned it on. It will drain battery power and until I leave the house, it's kind of useless. However, with Russ coming home this weekend, I'll be on the road a bit! Yay!
There are a couple things that bother me. One is the very small viewfinder. I'd gotten used to using the viewfinder instead of the live screen on the Canon. I could hold the camera steadier that way. But I can get used to it. This live screen doesn't have as much tilt-and-turn as the Canon. I keep wanting it to bend a certain way, and it won't -- but I knew that, and I'm just trying to get used to it.
The second thing which is a bit more of a problem is a smudged appearance when using the extreme zoom, but usually noticeable only when you blow the picture up larger. There is also some of the smudging when it takes multiple shots to make one picture, too. This occurs when the scene is too dark and you're not using flash. This is really not much of a problem because you don't normally see the effect in the size you would normally view anyway. If I were doing huge prints, I might be upset. As it is, I'm not doing any prints at all. This makes the camera quite good for online picture sharing, which is about all I do these days.
I'd read reviews on these types of cameras (not just the Sony version) and saw the smudge description on many, so this is not something unusual. I suspect the only way to get away from it is to go to a DSLR with individual lenses dedicated to the vast range of this single lens bridge camera. (Bridge cameras are the ones that are not the normal point-and-shoot, but aren't DSLR cameras, either. They're the step between.)
This would be a problem if I were trying to enlarge the picture to get something specific in there. However, the zoom itself works so well that this might be a very rare occurrence. I'm not certain yet how much this might affect me since I haven't had much of a chance to get the camera out and about. I've also noticed that I can fix some of the problem in Adobe Lightroom (which I adore) and Photoshop CS5 . . . so I am probably not as worried about this as I would be in other circumstances.
The pictures I've posted here are resized from the huge originals, so even if you click on them, you should see some nice pictures.
If you are going for large prints and such, this is likely not the camera for you. For people like me, who have extensive on-line photo collections, but very little print at all, I think it is an excellent choice.