I was thoroughly dissapointed with this camera.
Sure, the zoom ability is there, but any camera with 20x zoom will, or should at least - zoom at 20x. Other than that, not much I can say.
I decided on this vs. the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35/FZ38 being that both seemed to specify similar features.
So I went with the theory that the flip out LCD screen would permit ease of use during low, or high, or sideways shots.
Okay, that ability was there, but everything else was way off for me.
I've explained this in other postings, but I suppose digging into here is appropriate.
My original Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 does video (focus and zoom at same time), and actually takes great balanced pictures that don't look like "pictures" if that makes sense. Just like I saw the scene when I was there.
Now the Canon- well, every shot looked bland, and almost had a I just captured it from a video still image quality to it.
My other main use I use my Pocketable Point and Shoot camera for is to take inventory of things I receive in the mail, product information, serial numbers, and of various fix, build or other projects around the house.
That being said, I then started taking (or trying to) take pictures using the same handling, positioning, distance, and turn on and shoot methods I've always used.
So, lets see, okay, here is a box that just came in, I want to document the condition of the item as received, starting with the condition of the exterior of the shipping box - to illustrate carrier handling.
Right at the get go, the camera was difficult to use. Set at the auto setting, the camera would overide any desire I may had to force the flash (which needs to be pulled up by the way, manually).
So, there I was, in a low lit room, trying totake a picture of the shipping label (black and white piece of paper on the side of the box).
Here, if in Auto, the camera would not use the flash, but then that meant the session would proceed relying on the IS ability of the shooting to compensate for any low light level shooting. So, what that did was increase the lag time for the camera to "prepare" itself to shoot the image at the IS mode, low lit, w/out any flash.
Well, that was totally a turn off. Now, what used to be a simple 1,2, 3 done procedure, invoked all kinds of photographer considerations for an irrelevant picture taking session.
When I tried to force the flash, I was required to switch the camera into its manual modes, then try to fiddle with the power of the flash, macro, super macro, or what not settings, blah blah blah.
I then tried to see if the SX20 IS would be able to take any pictures of any clarity in a low lit room. Focusing on the box covers, labels of other products, etc. Well that was a nightmare.
Another issue - which is now a more pronounced factor that it was before, was the ability of the camera to focus after zooming into the object.
Okay, we all know the limitations of being able to focus towards an object, and have the camera autofocus. There has been a balance imposed upon us, and we live with it. If you can't "frame" the image within those limits, then we move closer or further from the object.
So, there is a box, on the floor, could be a christmas present, and you want to take picture of the outer wrapping, to include the "from / to label".
Well, AS it stands now, and after my experience trying to do this in my office, I would have to physically move towards the object, and find the sweet spot between zoom, tracking towards the item, and focus ability of the shot.
Oddly enough my old TZ1 was able to take pictures of things like a door knob across the room, in macro mode, using the full spectrum of the zoom mode. This would change if I was closer the object. Seems like the combination of macro setting, with distance actually improved the ability to take pictures of things close up without actually reducing zoom and moving within inches of the item.
So, a spider on the floor technique macro seeting 1) move camera close to it, autofocus, shoot or; 2) macro setting, step back, and zoom right into it.
Anyway, this focus/zoom factor was totally un-user friendly with the canon.
I also would say the entire grip area is plastic, even though that front area on the right side looks like rubberish material, its not. I found this to be very plasticky, and cheep feeling. Also felt like it was going to slip out of my grab. Not sure how the FZ35 is made in the grip area, or if it has a that nice rubber layer for added gription.
One thing that was cool about the Canon, and which may also be an ability of the FZ35 was real time preview-out ability while video recording or photo taking. We played around with this in the living room, and you were able to see the live feedback of the recording on the tv.
Another problem with the Canon - not sure if it was a setting or not, was the playback ability of the recorded files. One at a time was very frustrating and combersome, especially w/out a remote.
I would encourage the looking for the feature of random play, play all, and especially a camera that comes with a remote control, or is able to be controlled by a universal remote - such as one you may have in your living room already. So that these controls could be made from the couch, and you can enjoy the show verses be the "projector guy" near the tv, being actually part of the show fumbling with the camera.
More to say, but that is enough for now.