I think the reviewer was very fair and very perceptive. The evidence is there in the test images. The ones at f8 were not as good as the Canon G6 in terms of resolution and noise whilst the ones taken at f4 were slightly better than the G6. If that were not enough, the behaviour observed fits the physics.
With 35mm film cameras diffraction problemswere something one worried about at f16 or less. Witha 4Mp consumer digital camera, the pixel separation is about 3.5 microns and diffraction problems didn't show up significantly atf8. Butwith Sony's 7Mp ccdthe pixel separation is only about 2.7 microns and this means that diffraction is going to show up at f8 and that's exactly what it has done. We have reached the limit of what light will allow us to do using such small ccds. Sony may be able to squeeze more pixels on that ccd but it will only make the problem worse. They will just have to make bigger ccds like the more expensive ones they put in the SLRs that have a pixel separation ofabout6to 9microns.
Now we know about this we can easily avoid the problem, but manual aperture control will only be necessary if you are shooting at 7Mp in high light levels and you need the highest availableresolution.I can live with thatsoI have just ordered one.
I'm certainwe all have a lot of fun with the new model.