I had upgraded from a Hewitt Packard, and took the advice of the sales clerk at Wal-Mart. I was looking at Nikkon and Sharp, but he convinced me that the Canon would be easier, more like the HP, and the quality would far surpass what I currently had. He was completely correct. The features on this camera are amazing. The only down side was that it does not have an internal memory. Everything has to go on the memory card, but when you instantly download through usb into the computer it is effortless. I really enjoy the stabiliazation feature it has, keeps me from having blurry pictures. Advance functions go from pictures at night, with light behind the subject to taking pictures of fireworks. All of which I have done and have had excellent results. Battery life is very good, but found that the rechargable batteries are worth their weight in gold. Picture quality is outstanding and I could not have asked for better. I am completely impressed with the Power Shot A550, and would recommend it to anyone. Not to mention that it will take movie/video streaming pictures along with sound. If you have a chance to play with one at a store, do it, you will be happily suprised.