I have been going back and forth with the same question. I have read all the reviews and opinions I can find on both. After going to the local store and playing with the TZ5 and the 100 (since the 110 is not out yet) I did not find many major difference from the point of view of a novice user. The two main difference I noted were 1) the TZ5 is more compact and I really liked that, however 2) when I zoomed in with the canon on a small sign the image was crystal clear, when I did the same with the TZ% the same sign was very blurry, not even close to readable. This decided it for me. I went with canon.
I own this camera (one of my favorite birthday gifts). Page 67 of the software actually states how you can get download the pictures without installing any software. http://web.canon.jp/imaging/information-e.html
One thing it forgot to mention is that you can also just pull the memory card and put it in a portable USB SDHC card reader. I've downloaded pictures directly off the card, using Windows Explorer (w/o software), and using Canon's ZoomBrowser software. The one advantage to using their software is that it automatically puts the pictures in folders named by date. Plus it remembers if you took a portrait or landscape shot and automatically re-orients the picture so you don't have to rotate. That's handy; I just wish it could auto-rotate videos too.
This camera runs on normal AA batteries, you can see the battery level indicator on the screen. Though the batteries do not last as long as proprietary batteries, but you will not be worrying about running out on them, as finding a pair of AA batteries is relatively easier.
I'm having this issue, too. Camera seems to get confused and the whole frame becomes blurry rather than focusing on the one object. It takes several attempts to register what I'm trying to do, and then it's too late - opportunity has passed and subject has moved. Time to really study my manual I guess or maybe this is a shortcoming with this camera.
Larry, I have done the exact thing you have been doing. I need/prefer optical viewfinders also and can't find one to suit my needs anymore. I wrote an email to Canon about a year ago, when I was camera shopping, asking why they are eliminating it on most of their new (new at that time) Powershots. The reply I got was that they're responding to consumers who are demanding larger LCD screens and don't need optical viewfinders. I replied that they should start reading forums to see how many people are lamenting the lack of viewfinders. Some people don't like to use the LCD because it eats up battery power. Others, like me, live in the desert with bright sunshine that renders the camera pretty useless with only a washed-out LCD screen. I asked the person at Canon to pass on my pleadings to Canon powers-that-be to not eliminate optical viewfinders. I also need a Powershot size with 6x or higher optical zoom for my business use, and I love my A720IS, but that was discontinued in 2008 so I can't buy another. I can't afford $300+ for a new camera. Canon appears to no longer care about consumer comments and just goes with the flow. I have three Powershots, but may have to move on to a non-canon if I can find a camera that better matches my needs. I can't be loyal to Canon if they no longer offer what I'm looking for.
alot of folks recommend using nimh batteries and a good charger. Personally I prefer using the Energizer lithium batteries. They last a very long time and I have taken 100's of shots, used the flash alot plus recorded a few videos and the batteries are stil going strong. Alkaline batteries are best for emergency situations only when no other battery type is available. A set of 4 lituium battieries is around $9.
I think you should get the Panasonic TZ5 (or TZ4 if you don't care about HD video). The TZ's will jump to an Optical 16.7x@ 3MEGAPIXELS, and will be in the $200- 230 area vs. the much more expensive 12x...I have both the TZ5 and SX110. They are both GREAT cameras. The TZ5 is lighter and smaller, and you can take video with optical vs digital zoom (clearer video). I bought the SX 110 , because there is a CHDK modification available for it (Google CHDK). You can do timelapse, RAW format, extend the shutter speed to 64 seconds....but if you are using the camera for the day, I would go with the TZ4 or 5, but you better hurry- all of these cameras are discontinued!
DO NOT BY THE FUJIFILM!! I did and it's ABSOLUTE CRAP. I get better photos from my old Fujifilm A500, the point & shoot Fuji A500 takes better photos. Light/color and White Balance are crap in the S1000fd. I take photos for my Etsy shop with my Fuji A5oo, it surpasses the S1000fd, which is quite surprising!
+1 on Ryan's post.
I just recently bought this sx110is camera, and when I was shopping for my new digital camera my very first criteria was AA batteries.
It goes without saying that having a universally available power suppy while traveling is indispensible. It's so easy to forget to charge proprietary batteries - and that's if you remembered to bring the charger.
Even at home, I never want to have the day come that I want to capture a moment but can't, because I forgot to charge the battery pack.
It's true that you'll get more shots per charge on a proprietary battery pack, but when you can get several hundred from a set of AA's, what else do you need?
The one downfall of the 2xAA's in this canon is a long flash recharge time (during which you cannot take any pictures, flash or not) - around 5 seconds if you use the highest of 3 flash settings (flash recharge is pretty quick on the medium or low flash settings). If you're going to be at an engagement where you're going to want quicker turnaround (wedding/whatever) you can always buy Lithium AA's - expensive, but great performance.
Also consider that a typical lithium battery pack will only last around 5 years. It's the nature of lithiums. Plus, if you care, niMH is better for the environment than lithium...