Frequent visitors to wildlife parks will love the S8000. The long reach of the lens easily counterbalances our concerns about image quality, and a 300mm lens that fits in the pocket is truly convenient.
It's also well made and competitively priced at £250 at its launch.
It won't be for everyone - if you don't think you'll really use the S8000's long reach, you should save yourself around £100 and buy a compact with a more modest, 'normal' zoom lens such as the Canon Ixus 105.
The long lens is a real talking point, and it works really well. Image quality is generally fine and although the ordinary continuous mode doesn't exactly blaze a trail, the optional sports mode works well. The S8000 is also very well made and easy to use.
Look too closely and images can be a bit soft - the best way to avoid this is to keep your crops to a minimum. The long start-up time is a bit of a drag as well. Finally, the S8000 is a little expensive if you're not going to make use of the 300mm lens.
For those who want plenty of power and resolution without resigning themselves to needing a dedicated bag for their camera, the S8000 is a great compact.