I first got into photography simply to make my blog photos look nicer. Coming from my SonyEricsson mobile phone cams, it was quite a step up when I got my Canon 400D. Since then, most of my photos have either been using my DSLR, or my phone cam.
Last month, I decided to get my first real point & shoot camera. The point & shoot I have is a Canon A80 which I got used and use exclusively for my underwater shots (This will change once the UW housing for my Lumix arrives...whenever that is...)
Veering away from the popular Lumix LX3, I decided to go for the ZS3/TZ7 for it's high zoom (12x, that's 25-300mm in SLR terms) capabilities.
I was never too fond of the automatic settings found on consumer cameras, but I have to say, Panasonic did good with their Intelligent Auto mode. Unlike the bigger LX3, the ZS3 has no manual controls so you can only select iA mode or one of the many presets. But it does a good job about 90% of the time.
And even though I do miss the manual controls, I am quite happy with how well the ZS3's iA setting performs in most conditions. And even when the iA can't quite guess what you're taking a photo of, you can just select the right setting from the many presets that are built into the camera. (Sunset, Candlelight, Fireworks, and Underwater are just some of the many scenes to choose from)
The ZS3 can also record in 720p HD using the AVCHD Lite which basically means you've got a very decent camcorder with an excellent zoom lens built into the ZS3.
Over-all, the ZS3 is a very capable point & shoot camera. I feel it offers more versatility than the popular LX3 due to the very long zoom. It's a small, light, and relatively affordable camera.
If you're in the market for a good point & shoot camera, I would seriously recommend the Panasonic ZS3/TZ7 to be on your list of considerations.