I've taken thousands of photos since Julia was born, over 4,000 (that I've kept) since March 2007 with my Canon PowerShot SD800 IS. I wear it all weekend and whenever we travel with Julia, and it takes excellent pictures. But a few years ago our friend Alex got a Nikon DSLR, and I was highly impressed. The SD800 is small (which enables me to carry it without thinking), and shares the problems endemic to pocket cameras: the flash is anemic and it's prone to red-eye. Since I don't really process my photos (I just crop them in iPhoto and post), I have a lot of photos with red-eye (most of my photos are indoor shots of Julia, which aggravates the problem). iPhoto's red-eye reduction is useless, and I don't want to go through another program just to fix red-eye. The camera doesn't pick up the normal eye color, so it's not possible to restore it, and I simply don't have enough time to fix that many photos.

Additionally, I've taken several photos at concerts, and I always have to throw most of them out due to underexposure. The SD800 will gamely fire its flash if I allow it, but it cannot illuminate people onstage unless I'm sitting right in front of them, and photos without flash (to avoid distracting performers) are typically too dark to see.

I would of course love to upgrade my SD800, but it's great for what it is. Gifted photographer and camera guru Jeff Carlson recommended Canon's new S90, which sounds in all respects improved over my SD800, but there's nothing actually wrong with the SD800 and I don't think the S90 could actually solve either my red-eye or low-light problem. A few days ago I realized that I will in fact likely never upgrade my SD800. Amy and Salome only use their iPhone cameras, and they are not unusual. I have taken at least one photo with my iPhone 3GS rather than the Canon because I wanted to post it to Twitter immediately, and that will happen more over time. I'd like having my photos geotagged, but it's a hard problem for a standalone camera. By the time my Canon dies, the current iPhone camera will probably be substantially better than the 3GS camera I have today (I can hope for flash, but don't expect it), and such a camera -- always with me, and capable of instantly sharing photos -- will probably make a pocket camera irrelevant.

So my Christmas & Hannukah present to myself this year is the Canon EOS Rebel T1i. I really like image stabilization, and Nikon doesn't offer it in the same price range. I like the Canon point-and-shoots (my only complaint is their lack of battery gauge -- for which I use CHDK), and will probably ignore most of the T1i's fancy features (including raw mode), but it should do much better with low light and red-eye when I carry it. I will get an external flash later -- not an option with SD800 or S90.

Thanks to Digital Photography Review for their 30-page review.