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I have had this camera now for a few months and I have a mixed opinion about it.
I chose this as an upgrade from a kodak 5mp camera as I wanted a camera that was a bit more challenging and could offer me a better range of options that would bring out the best in my pictures.
I am not a professional photographer by any means but I really enjoy taking good quality pictures when I am on my travels. After a trip to New York with my kodak I was really disappointed to get home and find that my pictures werent the best they could have been and so decided to take the plunge and get myself a new camera.
The sony looks stunning. Its a beautiful and solid camera. The Carl Zeiss lens was one the of the things that attracted me to the sony over other cameras. As a novice I wanted a camera that would allow me to take simple automatic pictures but give me scope to learn more about photography and alter functions myself. The sony does exactly this. It has an auto function and lots of other functions for the budding photographer. It was important that it had face detection which is a great feature and the image stabilisation function is brilliant for those who have shaky hands.
So far I have not had any pictures come out with red eye which is amazing. Not having to go and edit this out is a great time saver.
The internal memory is of course small but i've only had a 512MB memory card and thats managed to hold over 200 pictures. The battery is pretty average. Thankfully its rechargable but I do think a spare battery would have come in as a useful extra.
The zoom is phenomonal. Perfect to get those amazing shots from the back of a crowded arena or to catch that bird flying miles over head. I love having 15x zoom it really enhances the photography experience and you no longer get frustrated at taking pictures only to find you can only get the smallest picture of something in the distance. I would have liked a wide angle lens for the price aswell but the lens isnt too bad for wide shots in itself. However I was unable to get a good picture of the whole coliseum at Rome with the camera which was rather disappointing.
Another fab feature is the 3.2" display screen on the back of the camera which is tiltable. Perfect for when the sun is too bright to get a good look at the screen or if you need to stand on your tip toes with the camera above your head for a good pic. You can now tilt the screen so you are able to see what you are taking a picture of!
Now to the problems. 8.1mp isn't one of the greatest mps out there but I've found that there isnt a big quality impact on the pics. They look great and there is a HD feature. But for the money I spent I would have liked 10mp.
The most annoying problem I have which if I had known about before I got the camera I would have actually refused to buy it is that it can take a looooong time to take the picture. I've stood there for minutes at a time constantly clicking the button to try and make it take a picture. This is unbelievably frustrating when something is on the move or you're in a rush or there are people behing you wanting to take a picture of the same thing. I get so mad when this happens and its not just a few occasions that it happens. This makes the camera a rather disappointing buy. Sometimes you need a camera that you just shoot and click. And most of the time this camera just wont do it for me!!
Overall in theory and on paper this camera is a great buy but get in the field and try taking a simple picture and you could get into a serious argument with your camera. Aside from this the pictures eventually come out great and I wouldnt go back to my kodak even with is problem.