I received the camera from NewEgg.com within a week, and spent about three hours reading through the camera's manual. The manual covers all the features of the camera concisely and in an understandable way.
Having used the camera for over a month now, I am extremely pleased with its performance. Its features fit my decision criteria exactly. With the alkaline batteries included with the camera, I was able to take nearly 250 shots, mostly with flash and without the LCD viewfinder. The battery life exceeded my expectations, and the NiMH batteries are supposed to last even longer.
In the camera's fully automatic mode, operation is point and click. First one presses the button half-way down so that the focus can adjust. If the LCD is on, a green square appears outlining the location of the focus points. Pressing the button fully snaps the picture, and a satisfying "click" sound effect is emitted. (The sound effects can be disabled and customized.) The snapped image displays in the LCD for 2 seconds by default.
I leave the camera at 1600 x 1200 fine resolution. These images are 400KB-800KB in size each, so I can fit several hundred shots on the 256MB compact flash card. The camera came with a sixteen Megabyte card, but I don't think I will ever use that. Another interesting feature I may never use is the camera's stitch-mode, in which multiple images can be stitched together in software to make a panorama.
To transfer the images to my PC, I simply switch the camera to "playback" mode and plug it into the USB port using the included cable. Windows XP launches the "Digital Camera Wizard", which allows me to save the pictures to the hard drive and delete them from the camera. After loading them on the computer, I retouch, crop, and rotate the images as needed using Paint Shop Pro.
For printing enthusiasts, the camera supports Canon Direct Printing. I've never tried it, but if you have a compatible printer, you can just plug in the camera or compact flash card into the printer via a special adapter or cable, and start printing without ever using the computer.
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