Image quality, particularly at the lower ISO range, is much better than I had expected. It's hard to compare an $800 Sony to a $6800 Canon and be objective, but I am extremely pleased with my Sony so far. Since I got the Sony, my canon has not even made it out of the bag. I take it everywhere and really enjoy it. Like you said, the camera is just "fun" to use. I need to post some sample images, because I have gotten very lax on that week.