Overall, the S2950's photo quality is OK for casual use outdoors in bright conditions, but really nothing else. While these are 100 percent crops
of photos of our test scene
, photos viewed at smaller sizes are noticeably soft and smeary starting at ISO 200. Some post-shoot sharpening helps this, but if you tend to do a lot of heavy cropping or enlarging, it might not be good enough. From there things just look worse to the point where they really aren't usable at ISO 800 or above. The loss of detail is one thing, but really it's the color shifting starting at ISO 400 that drags it down. Keep in mind that as the lens is extended, the apertures get smaller. To compensate, the camera will raise the ISO or slow the shutter speed if needed. Either way, if you're holding the camera and using its 18x zoom and there's not a lot of light, you're going to end up with soft or blurry photos. But that goes for any megazoom camera, not just the S2950. If you need a camera than can regularly handle low-light photography without a flash, I would not recommend this camera.