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I bought this camera as a birthday present to myself November 2008. It hadn't been out long and after reading several reviews of various mega zoom cameras (and having favoured Kodak for about 5 years or so), this is the one I decided on, (the fact that Kodak had a 4 hour sale on with £50 knocked off this helped immensely too!)
Firstly aesthetically it's a very nice looking camera. Very nice to the eye. I thought that in pictures it looks more bulky than it is, but it fits into the palm of my not very large hands, nicely.
It has a large array of functions and if you are a beginner and you are prepared to sit down for a while and read the instructions carefully, you will be very happy with the outcome of your photographs.
I myself, pride myself on being an amateur photographer, and being a mother also, you can guarantee that my house is filled with photographs of my children too, so the fact that this has a super fast capture is fantastic, you can snatch action shots like you just plucked them out of thin air as long as the settings are correct.
It has a large screen on the back of the unit, quite a lot larger than a lot of cameras this size, which I find very useful, especially when viewing on the screen to take a photo and not through the viewfinder.
You have the opportunity to grade the megapixels down in the settings. You can have the maximum of 10 megapixels, and take it down to 8.9, 7.5, 5.0, 4.5, 3.8, 3.1, 2.8 and 2.4 megapixels. Quite a range there I think you'll agree, which is handy as sometimes if you're taking pictures for something like EBAY for example, it will sometimes reject the larger pixelated pictures, so its handy to downgrade then at a touch of a couple of buttons.
The one downside to the camera is that when you're in a high pixel mode and you've taken, say, 5 photographs, it does tend to "process" for about 30 seconds before it will let you take another - this I occasionally find annoying although taking the pixel level down slightly does counter this!
Also I find its handy if you haven't much space left on the memory card, taking it down to even 7.5 can give you a few pictures more.
It has a MASSIVE 15x zoom lens. This has been brilliant, especially with my son, I photographed an aeroplane, first without the zoom which showed it in a mass of sky, then as it slowly crossed the sky, I zoomed in to the maximum and I could just about read the numbers on the undercarriage! Absolutely brilliant. The only way that could've been any better was if the pilot had waved at me!!
It has a good range of scenery functions also, normal portrait, night portrait, landscape, night landscape, snow, beach, text, fireworks, flower, museum, self portrait, stage, children , backlight, candlelight and sunset..... This also has a panoramic feature, brilliant for capturing a massive beach scene, which I did recently when the children went off in different directions!
This can be used right to left or the other way round, you basically take several photos as you move around and the wonder of this camera (and others on the market) stitch them as best it can to make one long photograph, brilliant if you're a marketing exec and making a photographic banner!
Most things people want is video capture, and this too is fantastic. I had a Kodak before this one where you turned on the video but unfortunately all you could really hear was the humming of the motor when you zoomed in and out....no such problems on this little beauty!!
I recently did a small video of my friends daughters christening and you could hear the vicar's speech as clear as the church bells, t was very difficult to tell it was done on a camera and not a video camera (a steady hand often helps).
Another marvel is that this camera, videos and captures pictures in HD technology - fabulous for those of you with HD tv's and the like.
One of the things do so well is the software that comes with their camera, just a single click of the camera and BANG! they're downloading to your PC. Brill, and the editing features are great too.
All told, I love this camera and the more I play with it the more I learn, when the time comes to upgrade it will be difficult to find one that I like as much as this, but as with technology, everything moves on, but even when I do, this camera will still accompany me as a trusty favourite.