Canon has produced a very good alternative for the compact camera market in its PowerShot SX150 IS platform. The camera boasts a 14MP picture size with 12x optical zoom capability and the camera delivers. The SX150 IS is a little bit larger and heavier than most compact cameras but is of quality construction and durable. The case is nicely designed with specific places to rest your fingers and thumb for one-hand operation. All the controls can be operated with the right hand while holding the camera.
The picture quality is very good. Canon's processor provides vivid colors and impressive clarity for a compact design. The large viewing screen is impressive and easy to see, even in bright sunlight. The controls are easy to use and placed such that they won't be accidentally changed. The controls in the on-screen menu are easy to use and, if you're familiar with Canon's menu system, you'll be able to start shooting right away. Those that aren't familiar with Canon should read the manual, but even then, the menu selections and control layout are very intuitive and easy to use.
This camera has so many features that I was blown away at how much I could do with it for such a small price. The camera provides a lot of special shooting features that can be used not only for still photography, but also for the video recording. There's an "easy shooting" mode for those that want to pick up the camera and start shooting right away, allowing the camera to make all the decisions about ISO, white balance, focus, etc. It has some very cool features as to filter the image to just the color you want, i.e. if you select green, it will provide a picture/video on gray tones and will let the green objects to be unfiltered. There are plenty of shooting modes that allow the photographer to select a style for their photos (monochrome, color accent, landscape, color replacement, miniature mode, macro, smile and face detection, beach and snow scenes, fireworks, etc.). For those that want more control over their photography, the camera does offer shooting modes in Manual, Program, Aperture and Shutter Priority.
The movie feature works well and provides decent HD video, but keep in mind that this camera is not a movie camera, so don't expect Hollywood quality from it, but it's nice enough to document short events for display on HD TVs and the web.
The flash is a little different for this camera. It's centered over the telescoping lens but is manually activated (you have to lift the flash open with your finger) to turn on the auto-flash feature. While this may seem like an annoyance at first, it's actually not a bad feature, just different; and it prevents that annoying "pop-up" of the flash when you really don't want flash but the camera's sensors require it. Only one drawback of this camera is that after a constant use of the flash a message ‘flash is charging’ appears for 2-4 seconds .This delays the picture. Wish it was a bit faster.
Overall, this is the LAST REMAINING, top quality, 2-AA battery, point-and-shoot camera left on the market, people. There are some very good economical reasons to PREFER that choice. Anywhere you travel, you can ALWAYS buy - or borrow - AA batteries to keep it going. The AA batteries are about as universal an item as exists on the planet, so you can still keep shooting this camera almost anywhere you go. But you absolutely should use rechargeable AAs whenever you can, to save money - a LOT of money and they last much longer on each charge. I get about 250 large JPEG photos per charged set. This camera can meet most user's needs especially if they are looking for a camera that provides a lot of shooting features in a small package with HD video and is easy to learn to use. I highly recommend it.