Up front, I'm a professional photographer with other very nice cameras. I had considered more expensive options...larger aperture, cmos, whatever, but am glad that I saved the money and went with this one. If you want all that performance stuff, just get a dslr and call it a day. These weather/impact resistant cameras are the only way to go with point and shoots. I've ruined a couple others with only the slightest usage...a complete waste of money. Also, who wants to dangle a $300+ camera over the edge of a kayak, or freak out about every grain of sand on vacation. Since this doesnt' have a retractable lens, it's MUCH less prone to problems that inevitably kill other fragile models. Compact with a very usable zoom range.
I just got back from a trip up the Oregon coast: kayaking, swimming on the beach, hiking, and SO many times I congratulated myself for the wise purchase (leaving the other cameras at home and bringing this tough little guy). I still got some very cool shots. The quality of the image was better than I had expected. By the way, I LOVE LOVE the panorama feature. It took a sec to figure out how to use it properly, but once I did, I got some stunning images. They look like fish eye shots cropped to ultra wide screen. Very cool little camera at a fair price. I have every reason to believe this one will last. Only reason for 4 and not 5 stars is because no camera is perfect. They're all a compromise in some way. For getting out there and getting some cool shots to remember, all without being up tight about your gear all the time, this is perfect.
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