Manual focus compact?
Having previously asked about "what compact with tea making facilities" My real need can now be defined as: what compact can you recommend with good zoom and with manual focus as well as auto focus.
I find that when trying to photograph at short range something like a spider's web the auto focus on my Canon will select the first substantive object that it detects which can be several feet behind the subject, thus throwing the subject completely out of focus. Am I asking too much of a compact and should I be looking for a dslr?
Does anyone recommend the Canon SX20 in this regard?
We haven't tested the SX20 yet, though we reveiwed its predecessor and the similar SX1. It certainly suits your requirements in terms of features and if you're comfortable with bridge cameras and an electronic viewfinder then you won't go far wrong. Canon do not as a rule make any bad cameras and the results are sure to be pretty good.
I would make sure you handle one before buying to make sure that you're happy with the size, shape and user-experience. Don't buy just from looking at photos online.