Thanks a lot guys for your nice analysis and giving me nice feedback on what is better and what is best.
One thing that I forgot to mention was that I am mainly looking for a high quality Image and have heard people saying time and again that the Digic IV processor is way better than the Digic II processor. Plus, the new technology is of course better than the previous one.. i.e. Higher ISO, low noise, overall features.
Can you kindly elaborate in this regard.
Marketing horse pucky is what it is. People also mistakingly think that the "DIGIC" processor is responsible for all aspects of the camera--from focus to card write speed. It is NOT! It's just like the megapixel wars on the point and shoots. It's not just the number of pixels, but lots of other factors that contribute to the quality of the end result!
The "DIGIC IV" versus the DIGIC II or III is nothing more than a faster processor with updated software that processes the bits coming from the sensor and converting it to JPEG. If you shoot RAW, you actually bypass a lot of the software in the DIGIC processors.
Granted, a DIGIC II processor may not have enough horsepower to process 22 megapixels of 14-bit data. But a DIGIC IV is not the primary reason--let alone the sole reason--as to it's supposed imaging superiority over the previous generation of processors. The only thing we do know is that the DIGIC IV processor is faster and is running newer software than the previous DIGIC processors.
Picture quality has a lot to do with the ENTIRE chain--from the light to the lens to the sensor to the processor to the post-processing. All hopefully mostly controlled by the photographer. The DIGIC chip is but a cog in a complex chain that determines "image quality." I would argue that the lens, the focusing system and the image sensor is more crucial than the DIGIC processor. After all, garbage in, garbage out.
BTW--newer technology isn't ALWAYS better. Was Vista better than XP? Was DOS better than UNIX? The Segway better than the bicycle? What works better than a wheel? That's some old technology at work!
If I sound a little annoyed, it's because I am. I'm sorry--but this misunderstanding and/or misrepresenation of what the "DIGIC" processors do is so pervalent that I finally gave into the temptation to rant a little. Please forgive me.
P.S. Without peeking at the EXIF, can anyone tell me which DIGIC processor was responsible for the following image?