I bought this camera based on the pre-release reviews the first day it was available. I have now used it for several months, having taken vacation pictures as well as random shots, both scenic and casual shots of people.
On the positive side, the camera is really well thought out, fits nicely in the hand, feels substantial and has relatively intuitive adjustments. On the negative side is it consumes batteries at a terrific rate.
Since I really bought the camera for vacation, I was pleased that it would take AA alkaline batteries, however when using it with alkaline batteries it didn't take long to learn that it goes through them at a very rapid pace. I was not getting anywhere near the number of images suggested by the reviewers. During a busy day with a lot of shots, I would go through a set of alkaline batteries. I just wound up buying a lot of batteries during the vacation.
Since returning home, I have gone to the rechargeable NiCads and it seems to give me more images with these. When you change battery types though, you must use the menu to reset the camera to the appropriate batteries, apparently to maximize the lifespan. Something I don't like though, is that every time that you take out the memory card to put some pictures into your laptop or PC, the batteries fall out. It is an annoyance. The card itself takes some getting used to in that you really have to push it way down to get it to click into place.
The zoom is very responsive............I mean very responsive. I have no complaint about the zoom itself, but adjusting it is so sensitive that you cannot tighten up the field with people shots. You either get them too small in the image or you cut them off. A slower zoom would be so much better so that you can have more control. Even though I am much more familiar with the camera now, the zoom is still way too touchy for small increments.
One real complaint I do have about the camera, is that it is slow on recovery of the flash, and with the other cameras I have had, if I were trying to take a flash picture, and waiting for the flash to recover, I could hold the shutter release down and as soon as the flash had recovered, the next image would be taken immediately. With this camera, you must release the shutter button and depress it again for the next flash picture. Of course, this means that you are guessing when the flash has recovered before taking the next picture.
The final thing is one on which I made my own mistake. I find that having a real compact camera I can put into my pocket is very important to me. This one is too large for that. While this camera is quite small, it isn't small enough to put into your pocket. It will fit into a purse, but not a pocket. Whereas I used to carry a small pocket camera much more, because I never knew when I would get a shot, this one must be taken along when I am anticipating using it.
Overall, I really like this camera and would recommend it to others. It is a nice design, and perhaps none of what I consider as drawbacks may be important to others. I will keep it as an adjunct camera, but I am still going to buy a different compact which will really fit into my pocket, but which has a longer zoom than my present Sony.