Last year I purchased a Canon Powershot SX130IS for the business, to help us get some great product photos for the website. I LOVE this camera! It had a large enough Optical zoom to not have to go digital, has image stabilization, and runs on rechargable AA batteries (very important to not run out of batteries).
We have had(what I thought was) good luck with this camera, our images were great.. Then with the last re-design of the website, I was receiving feedback that the images were "noisy"... HUH?
I sent a few pics off to a photographer friend of mine and received feedback that the pictures should be adequate for what we need.
I then decided to do a test.. I purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3 with a 14mm pancake lens (this is the other camera that was in the running when I purchased the Canon last year).
I figured I could take a couple images with both cameras, send them off to my reviewers and get their feedback. As soon as I took the first photo with the Panasonic, it was over. Even on screen I could tell the color accuracy was superior to the Canon.. When the primary purpose of a camera is to take product photos, color accuracy couldn't be more important. GAME OVER..
Now, don't get me wrong. The intent wasn't to point out that the Canon has flaws. I STILL LOVE this camera. My intent was to point out that I made a decision based on finances last year. And if I had purchased the Panasonic last year, I wouldn't have an extra camera to sell off today.
So... regardless of the purchase you are making - look at what the purpose is. And if you know something is better, but can't afford the better..wait, save your money and go with the better. In the long run, trust me, it ends up costing you less :)
If you want more information on the Canon - check out this review
If you want more information on the Panasonic - check out this review