Strengths: 5x optical zoom
Exceptional ease of use
Playback includes 8x zoom on images
Crisp LCD screen
Diopter adjustment on viewer
Well laid out controls
Relatively low shutter lag
Li-ion battery has good life, even with flash
Good manual controls
Good custom modes
Weaknesses: Li-ion battery requires external charger (included)
Amount of red-eye in flash pictures
Would like an AC adapter to be included
16 MB SD card is too small
After using my works Kodak DC290 (2.1MP) intermittently for a few years I took the plunge and bought my own digital camera. My goal is to replace my Canon EOS 10s SLR for everyday use. This review is based on 1 month of use.
There is no shortage of cameras in this field. The biggest factor that lured me to the 450 was the 5X optical zoom coupled with the compact size. I was actually consider the evem smaller Pentax Optio S4, but was annoyed with the placement of the power and shutter buttons. It also has a decent video mode and plenty of manual controls. Finally, I have several other devices using SD cards, so that was a real positive. The 16 MB card that was included will only hold about 4 full-res pictures. I bought a 256 MB card at the same time. The 16 MB will go into my iPaq.
I have found the camera exceptionally easy to use. It only took my 7 year old 5 minutes to figure out how to take pictures, review and zoom, and play back the video.
I have done some macro tests - very nice, and a variety of other shots. The 5x zoom is marvelous. The camera includes several preprogrammed exposure modes, such as sunset and snow - both of which have improved the shot over the standard auto exposure mode. Even in auto mode it is very easy to adjust the exposure levels.
The red-eye is significant, due to the compact size. This camera lacks a hot shoe or external flash sync.
I have found the performance of the Li-ion batteries to be near manufacturers claim - I had about 100 pictures with heavy flash use. Unfortunately you need to use an external charger. i'll be getting a second battery soon.
The camera has two neat modes: A 3D mode that takes two pictures of a scene. Print these out and use the included viewing device to see the stereoscopic image. There is also a panoramic mode that allows you to take a series of pictures while providing an on screen view to align each in sequence.
The camera also comes with ACDSee 3.1 software. This includes an image stitcher that works with panoramic images mentioned above. The focus is more on image management than on editing abilities. I'll likely use this only for the image stitcher.
I have no hesitation in recommending this camera to any casual or semi-serious photographer - as long as they appreciate the limitations of the flash system.