I am a proud new owner of a Sony Cybershot WX9. Emphasis on the word proud. I cannot tell you how much I’ve loved rediscovering the joy of taking pictures again–the kind with actual pixels beyond what my iPhone 3 can offer. And I’ve loved seeing every one of my subject’s faces light up when they look at the screen and see just how good they’re looking on film.

Here are eight reasons you want one:

1. The size is fantastic. Even having a 5X optical zoom lens, which makes it a bit deeper than the most narrow Cybershot, the WX9 is still under an inch thick; small enough to cram in a pocket unless you’re in suck-in-your-stomach skinny jeans (which I decidedly never am).

2. It comes in red. Hello.

3. It’s intuitive. Without once looking at the manual, I had it pretty much functioning within 20 minutes. There’s also an on-screen help menu so you may never look at the manual at all.

4. Phenomenal auto settings. Most beloved by bloggers: The “soft skin” feature which makes everyone look just a wee bit prettier. Also great is the background defocus feature that keeps your foreground subject sharp, as if you were using a much more expensive DSLR camera. Plus special settings just for kids, animals, fireworks and food. Possibly all together.

5. Decent flash settings. My night shots aren’t horribly blown out for a change. The “soft snap” anti-blink totally works.

6. Shoot HD Video, 3D photos, or a panoramic sweep. So fun! So 2011!

7. Auto detect on faces when you’re taking your own picture. How genius is that? Set it to one or two people, it detects when you’re both in frame before snapping, and you won’t end up with those shots of your left ear any more.

8. Price, price, baby. It’s the most reasonable of all the Sony Cybershot cameras at just under $200. Sweet.

If I have any minor criticisms, it’s that the battery could last longer on a single charge–you’re going to need to carry a spare battery or be sure to recharge it every night on a trip. I also wish I liked the Sony carrying case a little more. But I’m reaching here, folks. For $199 it’s an outstanding little point-and-shoot. And I’ve got about 300 pictures already to back me up on that. –Liz

Find the a Sony Cybershot WX9 camera online at the Sony Store

Thank you so much to Sony for providing me with a Cybershot camera. That I love.