PANASONIC LUMIX FX9. is the best thinnest digital camera.
The ex-s500 has a dedicateddigital Antishake processor, so it should be better with low light than its more competent sister ex-z750, but in my personal taste i would prefer a mechanical optical image stabilizer to a DigitalSignalProcessor that is shifting pixels. Somehow i have a gut feeling all that digitalness is accumulating in the chain.
But after having owned a Casio exilim z750 i would not dare to buy the s500, but would go with a Panasonic Lumix instead, possibly FX9. They both have the same Image sensor size of 1/2.5", but i think the lumix has less "digital feeling" to the picture.
If the z750 picture quality in any way gives a hint on s500 picture quality readmy girldfriends and myexperience on the z750 that we where not quite satisfied with.
My girlfriend owened a casio ex-z750 for 1 day, i told her to atleast wait for the firmware update that would fix the movie whine and adress problems of fokus and picture quality, but she sold of the camera anyway.
The few but problematic things that made her drastic move where.
Blurry and grainylow light photo, and out of focus most of the time when dark (z750 has no digital (or analog) image stabilzer like s500 has, pixelshifting dsp), now i know the firmware update has a better darkness algorythm for less noise,and the focus issuses have been adressed, but to what extentcan it bee improved? Anyway she likes to take photos during dark and its should be able to take good pics in evening party or else it is loosing its usefullness.
We both agreed some pictures especially when there was adequate light conditions, came out quite nice, and with a feeling of reality to them, but more photos where not up to par, than she thought acceptable.
The pictures also had for my and her tasting a to "digital feeling" over them, her having owened a Nikon 4300 bnefore that and comparing the results.
I have read its about the sharpenign algorythm that sharpens everything, compared to teh smarter sharpening way that canon and nikon employs keeping the small details like grassunchanged, while sharpening only the big picture" to avoid that overly digital feeling.
Colours where also of the chart, unatural to an extent. The saturation and contast tweaks that have to beappliedby changing default for a more natural tone, did not give the harmonic colours wewhere after.
She bought this camera ater heavy research and Ken Rockwells recomendation, because of its extensive manual control otions as she is a true photograficenthusiast.
It was however very speedy and fun to use because of its very good interface.
She has now ordered a Nikon D50, to be shure to get good night shots. And we bothhave come to agreePanasonic Lumix pictures have that magicaltone of harmony, like we are used too, just like her old Nikon 4300. The 4300 was slow but precise, when shooting nightshotsit landed almost always beautiful pictures.
So i think i will get myself a Panasonic Lumix L1X with a huge Image sensor CCD of 1/1.6", andwideangle of 28mm. The Panasonic Lumix FX9 would be my choice for ultra compact however, would i go for the smallest footprint.
She also came to the conclusion that more pixels does not equal better picture, just like the marketing megapixel hyperness criticism goes, cramming in to many pixels on a to small chip area used with a lens with notcomparably enough light intake, will undoutebly lead to noise = picture stress.