A Great Solution at Last!
I love this little camera, and my last camera was a Nikon D3s! I have been looking for this camera for some time, was an early adopter of the Lumix LX-2 and 3, then the GF-1, always looking for high quality files in a small footprint.
I read David Pogue's review in the NYT in the spring and scoured the internet until I finally bought this one, at a premium, from someone in HKG in the summer, before it was released in North America. I haven't been disappointed at all.
It seems to me camera manufacturers have been dragged kicking and screaming into this small market, which I believe is about to become a BIG market, and I think Sony is to be congratulated for offering such an excellent product. This is a solid little camera which simply delivers at all times.
The jpeg and RAW files are beautiful and hold up very well up to 800 and are certainly useable at 1600. The autofocus is a bit slow at times, but that is a minor niggle. The battery craps out too fast as well, so make sure you recharge every night, like your cellphone.
It's so small I sometimes forget it's in my pocket, but it comes out often and delivers a very quiet and superb big punch in any condition, light or dark. After lugging professional equipment all over the world, I'm now retired and can concentrate on my personal projects, mostly street photography. You can see some of the results here http://www.flickr.com/photos/aphovasse1/sets/72157632017548489/
I give this camera a solid 4.5 out of 5
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from My Best Photo of the Week