I was hiking in the White Mountains (California) on July 30, and I had just spent a day schlepping around the 10.5-pound rig for snapping marmots and bighorn sheep. As I hiked, I ran into a stranger with this SX30IS hanging around his neck. I wasn't familiar with that camera, so I asked some question. He turned it on and extended the lens out to the equivalent of 840mm. Right there, he had my attention, because the definition of schlepping is when I have to carry my Sigmonster lens around with a major tripod, and here this guy had as much focal length hanging around his neck. He could not show me a great deal since it was only his third time to carry it. When I got home a week later, I looked up that camera and saw that its price was only $400. Well, geez, that $400 is about the cost for a simple filter for the Sigmonster. I read a couple of camera reviews, and they were OK... for the features that they reviewed. There are other features that I'm used to for wildlife photography, and those are not necessarily present. In other words, if you are used to a "real camera" DSLR, then this may or may not be right for you. If you are used to a compact camera and you just need more reach, then this may be better. I've had this thing for just a few days, so I am just scratching the surface of understanding its menus.
I can tell you right away what it is not good for, Sports. The autofocus system is very automated, and you have to kind of let the chip have its way with your subject. That has a lot to do with it being a contrast detection autofocus, and not the phase detection autofocus that I am used to.