1) High dynamic range, much fewer chance of over-exposure (better than many entry-level DSLR)
2) Good performance when shooting sunny landscape, beautiful blue and green, and warm and rich red under Astia film mode
3) Easy control of ISO and DR level if configured above.
4) Although more grainy, it retains more details under high ISO.
5) Excellent accurate color if u use custom white balance.
6) Unlike F70EXR and F80EXR, its full 12 megapixel mode is actually quite sharp and usable. (I still prefer hardware DR expansion under 6MP.)
7) Manual mode for hardcore users.
8) $17xx is really a unbeatable price.
1) Battery is too small considering the camera size.
2) Max. aperture of F3.3 is too small.
3) Video is rather jagged and noisy. And u cannot zoom while taking video.
4) ISO 800 is acceptance only if downsized. ISO1600 may have chroma noises.
5) Auto white balance some times gives strange results (although Astia helps it a bit).
Most of the time I am using
-- P-mode <= More controls
-- Picture size = Medium 4:3 (6 megapixels) <= Big enough for A4, and hardware dynamic range expansion
-- Fine JPEG <= Less artifacts esp. when low night and noisy/grainy
-- Auto ISO (400) <= Maintain good quality
-- DR400% <= Dynamic range is this DC's biggest advantage!
-- Astia (Soft) Film Mode <= Warmer color and actually tone is less dull
-- Photometry as "Spot" when shooting landscape or simply turn on Face Detection when shooting people
-- AF Mode as "Multi" or "Spot" <= "Continuous" keeps the camera too busy
When it is a bit darker, I use EXR-DR mode + Auto ISO 800 + DR200% (others same as above). I do not use EXR-SN because it is limited to DR100%.
When it is even darker, I use "Natural Light" mode. The camera will mostly use ISO1600 and no DR. Yet, this mode gives surprises some times.
Basically, I am choosing ISO and DR level simply by rolling the control dial. This is very convenient. If I wanna use flash, I use "Slow Sync" with P-mode above. Only when I want to 12MP in a bright environment (P-mode, Auto ISO 400, Auto DR, Large 4:3), I need to fiddle with the menu.