I have to agree with you, I am disappointed with the quality of the photos from the P100.
Too much noise and there is a lack of detail.
Take a look at the Canon SX20IS, it makes very sharp pictures with no noticeable noise at normal settings.
There is now a Canon SX30IS, but the picture quality is not as good as the SX20IS.
The SX30IS has a 14 megapixel sensor and the SX20IS has a 12 megapixel sensor.
The 14 meg sensor produces more noise and Canon applies firmware noise reduction to make the noise less noticeable. That causes a loss of detail.
As for low light, I don't know of any big zoom camera that is better in low light than any other.
If you want good results in low light, use a tripod.
You need a tripod also when you are zooming (any camera) more than 10X.
Can anyone suggest a replacement for my new P100? I love the super zoom and like the viewfinder. However, it takes lousy pictures! I've poured over the manual, tried different settings, and the only pics to come out clear and sharp are in macro. I'm looking for something in the same price range, with a viewfinder, super zoom, decent low light photos.