I'll stick with my Panasonic TZ5 thanks ..
The performance of compact cameras has greatly improved over the years, largely as a result of advances in auto technology. Improved autofocus, white balance and exposure systems mean that most pictures will turn out sharp and correctly exposed, while face- and smile-detection systems mean you're more likely to snap your subject …
I can forgive your use of 'sharpness' when you mean 'optimum focus', but I'll stick to a reviewer who knows what a focal length is. The 'Multi-Target Auto Focus' surely does not 'shoot seven images at seven fixed focal lengths'. If it did, it would provide a choice of compositions. The fact that you even listed the focal lengths in terms of 35mm equivalents should have given you some indication to what 'focal length' refers to? The feature actually takes seven shots at different focal distances. This is in essence just auto focus bracketing, and has been around since the Contax N1 of 2001.
How long before I turn my camera on and send it out for walk to take a picture of anything that interests it ?
Automation surely has its limits ? Next mode will be 'party mode', switch to this and the camera will check alcohol levels and refuse to take a pic if you are more than three times over the limit.
The camera reviews on El Reg are all... they don't really cut the mustard.
By the way, the "HIGH-END" compact Ricoh is the GX200. A very interesting camera, yet sadly in urgent need of a better sensor with less noise issues. I say urgent as the GX200 has much better ergonomics & handling than what Canon (G10 heavy brick) & Panasonic (LX3 fiddly toy) offer at the high end. Once Ricoh updates that model they will likely be the best option for folks who actually want some nifty features in a compact that feels "right". If you're "only" after total image quality you're getting a Sigma DP anyway.
Of all the digital camera, there are no comparison to tradition film camera when come to instant clear shot after one another with almost 0 wait time. Most current available digital camera in market, with 7 megpix or larger image size, will blur or pause if you try take 3-8 continuous high resolution snaps. Even the best sony or kodak, have this problem, particularly the pain in the neck batteries power hogging problem yet to solved.