Pardon this long post guys, but to me buying digital cameras is an important decision, so the more information the better to assure you won't be disappointed with your camera shots.
While I have used digital cameras since their debut back in 1998 for consumers, and I have a lot of them, I am a lousy photographer. I have had three beginner DSLR cameras too, but am simply too inept to take good pics.
So point & shoots are my preference and when I shop I heavily rely on other's opinions and reviews.
IMHO the best point & shoots are Canon's Powershot series. Feature for feature, durability and end product (pics), the Canon has always pleased me (starting with a Powershot S10 2.1MP I took to Europe in 1999).
When I saw this Woot I said "why not" since a man can't ever have enough digital cameras (added to my aesenal I would then have about 30 cameras. LOL).
This price point is great, especially for a Samsung (I have always liked Samsung products and am currently loving my T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S cell phone, the Vibrant).
Alas, this review by a self-declared serious amateur convinced me to pass on it.
Just sayin. Your experience may differ.
I'll edit his review down to his main points.
Hope this helps in your buying decision.
Sidenote: Don't ever buy a camera based on megapixel rating alone.
After hours of research, I decided that this Samsung HZ30W was the camera to buy after directly comparing specifications between this, the Canon SX210 and the Panasonic ZS5.
I consider myself a serious amateur. I've owned 4 Canons from their SD line and a Canon DSLR.
I decided on the Samsung over Canon and Panasonic, that all have very similar specifications (for the things most important to me.) The Samsung is the smallest of the three and had a better flash reach and macro than the Canon and a better zoom than the Panasonic.
It ultimately came down to the fact that the Samsung was cheaper and smaller. I really like the lens on this camera. The wide angle is amazing; I can get so much more into my pictures.
The screen is large and very clear, and the buttons have a good lay out. I like the way it feels in my hands; it has an intuitive fit.
I like that the final image shows up on the LCD screen- with settings and all. (over/underexposure is immediately evident, can look at the picture in black and white...ect)
All of these features make it easy for a novice but still interesting for more advanced users.
There is only one problem. The picture quality is dismal. After being disappointed I decided to compare side-by-side the Samsung and my Canon SD850 (released in 2007).
I set both cameras up and started test shooting and 2GB [in photos]later there is no comparison.
In every single shot, the Samsung is grainy, definite lines bleed, and there is too much noise.
Sunlight, low light, flash, zoomed and unzoomed- the picture quality is terrible.
As soon as you start to zoom in on the photo these problems are evident.
I would not print anything this camera produces larger than a 4x6 format.
I really like this camera, but it ultimately comes down to image quality. This Samsung was put to shame by technology three years old [my old cameras].
If it were not for the noise, I would suspect the poor image quality is due to a bad JPEG compressor, because quality this poor should not have made it to market.