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I can't compete with their technical knowledge and experience. I'm also not qualified to offer any opinions as to which other cameras out there might be of better value. Having said that, I paid $169 for mine (with FedEx to Hawaii) in January 2005 and I have taken several thousand shots with it in the 3 weeks I've had it so far.
In general, I'm very happy with this camera. It's small enough to fit in my pocket, takes decent pictures in most situations and is very good with batteries. I'm using a high speed 256 MB card and average about 150+ pictures at full resolution and lowest compression. For transfer, I remove the card and use a dedicated reader attached to my PC.
Some specific observations...
-medium lighting: use of flash is almost required. The assist lamp does its job well but shutter speeds (only auto available) seem too low... images come out with a little too much exposure and there's far more motion blurring than I think is called for. (It's worth noting that this problem is not unique to this camera.)
-9-point autofocus: A selling point, I think, but I prefer not to use it. I get more "control" over metering and focusing using the center spot. It's still auto, of course.
-noise/grain: this camera is somewhat noisy... even in broad daylight at ISO 50. However, I find it tolerable. For 4x6 and 5x7 prints, it's not really noticable and light use of software, such as Neat Image, cleans it up very effectively.
-tone quality: colors without flash are simply gorgeous. In situations that require flash, though, things look a wee bit off. As mentioned, some difficulties arise with medium light (see above) so there are times when it's hard to decide what to do. I usually opt for the flash since colors are easily corrected.
Would I buy this camera again? Yes and no. If I wanted an effective and inexpensive point-and-shoot, I would buy the A400. However, I find I'm wanting a camera with a lot more in the way of manual controls and add-on lenses, etc. This class of camera simply is not what I need for that. Perhaps in a year or two, I'll get around to buying a DSLR.