I owned a number of Canon PowerShot cameras (SD300 and SD1000), and I was always pleased with being able to quickly take one out of the pocket, and take a picture within about 2 seconds of noticing something interesting. Nearly 100% success rate, pictures always in focus.
On rare occasions, I would forget to use the macro mode when taking close-ups (e.g. of spiderweb), but it would be very rare and never cause any major concerns or annoyances, since with macro close-ups, you universally always go back to see how it went, and can easily change the focus mode to Macro for additional shots (and that ladybug isn't going anywhere!).
However, with the newer 300HS, this has changed. I'm no longer able to take sharp photos with anywhere close to 100% success rate, there are always great delays related to auto-focus that additionally make me lose some shots due to the brand new camera being much slower than the much older two. Clear pictures cannot be taken through a windscreen of a moving car. Pictures taken at night with city street lights are now often completely out-of-focus, even though this new camera has a BI-sensor. My overall success rate went from 99%, to around 75%. The cause? Autofocus is way too loose, and no longer prefers infinity by default. I'm also experiencing the same problems with Camera on Android 4.2 on Galaxy Nexus, where there is seemingly no way to disable full-range auto-focus, either.
Why does this happen? Is this a case of a massive failure and underestimation of user's needs, or is it really useful to NOT provide a setting where autofocus cannot go closer than 50cm or even 1m?
Should everyone suffer having 25% of their pictures ending up out-of-focus in real usage just because in the old days few people knew that distances shorter than 50cm required setting Macro mode on, and it was universal to see out-of-focus close-ups from various amateurs back in the day?