Nearly my perfect camera, but...
In most regards my ideal pocket camera - It comes in an absolutely tiny form factor that is more compact than many lesser specced cameras. It has a fantastic 25-250mm equivalent 10x zoom lens. 14mp sensor which is more than enough resolution for most needs (having never felt under resolved using any of my 10mp camera) and with a great image quality and high ISO performance for the sensor size (notably also being offered in the cheaper SZ1 model - identical in every way other than using a cheaper CCD chip compared to the SZ7's CMOS). The controls are limited to 'compact camera' style levels of control - no aperture, shutter or manual settings but ideal for simple point and shoot work with enough control via the exposure compensation to work with most everyday situations.
For me that works out as a near ideal pocket camera, but were it for one glaring problem that ruined the experience and led to me returning my sample.
The one glaring problem with the SZ7 to me? The viewing angle of the 3" screen on the back... I have no complaints about the clarity, sharpness and quality, but found that the viewing angle of the screen was narrow enough to make it near useless for me. Held directly on front of your eyes it is great, but move it more than a foot and the screen starts to wash out, making gauging exposure near impossible and framing a chore, rather than a joy. I find that I very rarely use a camera at head height, instead want to be able to frame so as not to distort perspective with my subjects - so kids head height rather than mine, or to get more unique viewing angles like low down or above my head. The menu does offer a 'held above head' setting for the screen which may alleviate some of the problem but constantly having to turn it on and off is an annoyance, and it doesn't help with chest level or lower shooting.
In comparison the screens on my Panasonic GF2 and Canon IXUS 200 HS are clear and perfectly viewable in full colour at pretty much all usable angles.
|Orange-tip Butterfly by anisah|
from Nature's Colour Palette
|Windswept juniper by Kreber|
from Wind power