I got this as an insurance replacement for my aging Nikon D40. I had decided that the changing lenses and bulky unit was now no use to me for carrying around catching those family snaps. I had looked into this camera because I have a Sony Ericsson Arc S that is based on the same Exmor-R technology and the low light shots were impressive. I was not dissapointed with this camera. The zoom is more far reaching than my old 55-200 nikon lens and the low light shots without the flash are excellent.
Dont get me wrong when it comes to raw photo quality the nikon would still win but this is only really an issue if you are going to enlarge pictures way beyond A3 size Whereas I had to use some cropping and enlarging from my nikon because of the short zoom lens (too stingy to pay out another few hundred quid for a bigger lens) I no longer have this issue as the 16X zoom is more than adequate to mean that any cropping and enlarging would be kept to an absolute minimum.
the camera itself is well built. Solid and heavy enough to show its sturdy yet light enough to carry around easily. There are variable usefull options like the option to take 2 pictures right after one another. One uses the flash and the second doesnt. this means that if you take a photo and it over exposes the next one is more than likely to be perfect. In low light without flash the camera takes 10 shots rapidly (around 1 sec) and combines them in order to weed out noise, camera shake and enhance detail. this results in some really great low light shots with plenty of colour and detail without washing out the picture or having over lit areas.
Some of the features take a while to get used to and finding exactly what you want will take a few tries but the range of manually selected scenes as well as auto features and auto + give a camera than delivers excellent picture quality with the compact size that would suit more people.
The movie quality is the best I have seen from a non dedicated video camera. the low light video is far superior to any I have seen on a dedicated camera and the zoom works brilliant as well.
Only niggle is the flash. It is positioned where you naturally place your finger on the camera and results in your finger getting pushed off or you stopping the flash from rising.
All in All this camera is more than I expected and for my needs now beats my old Nikon D40 hands down.