Cindy, You must get a camera with a large, zoom lens. Forget about point & shoot, pocket cameras. The 5700 just went down in price because the new model came out. Although they are expensive, they have a lot to offer. There are cameras out there that can do the same job or better for less. The best example for this are the Minolta and Olympus cameras.
All these are great cameras and take awesome shots. For the price of the Nikon 8700 you could get a Canon Eos Rebel. I have the Olympus C-765 Ultra Zoom and it is an awesome camera in every which way for a lot less than Canons and Nikons. Panasonic also came out with some big zoom cameras recently and I've read many nice things about them. Ultimately you have to go with the one that feels right to you..
Cindy the best way of finding the best camera for you is going into a store that has all the models you like.. pick up the camera and see how it fits in your hand.. ergonomics are key in getting a camera as are aethetics. what is the good of a workhorse when it doesn't feel right in your hand or is so ugly that you don't want to bring it with you? Nikon's are good cameras they have high quality lenses and are built very well. the 8700 is a metal alloy and most of the camera's that this gentleman is suggesting are plastic.. while plastic is much lighter in some cases metal is just much more rugged when being used alot..
Bring in a ring or something of that nature to take a few macro shots with.. use the zoom in feature to see how well it does with details.. this is the best way of testing the camera that you are planning to buy.. at my shop we allow our customers to print out samples to see how much they like it...
Hi Dave I have the Olympus C750 & want to upgrade to a better camera with similar or better zoom qualities & one that must have a rechargeable lithium ion battery as Nimh dont seem to last long enough I also need the camera to be a compact like the 750 & have 30fps video with sound need a pointer from you, ie which one would you suggest the canon S1IS or the olympus C770 or the Dimage Z3 Thanks & regards.
Although I am not Dave, I would like to inform you that there are not too many cameras out there with a big, 10X zoom and small as the C-750. Your best bet would be to upgrade to the even smaller C-770 which comes with charger and battery. Plus a remote control. It has TruPic Turbo and a bunch of more features that the 750 doesn't. The Z3 would have the biggest zoom, plus it has AS = Anti shake and the S1-IS which in my opinion is an overpriced 3-Mp camera. The only attractive feature is the IS = Image Stabilizer.
Your best bet is the Olympus C-770!..
If this is your first digital camera purchase, what did you use before and what did it do, or not do, that you would like your digital to do better? (A question to guide your thinking, not answer.) The Nikons are good cameras but they aren't beginners cameras unless you are planning to leave them in the auto modes. Which isn't bad but may mean you are paying for features that you won't be using. If you are really interested in macro, check in the reviews for how well the cameras you are thinking of handle macros and how easy they seem to be to use in macro mode. The best thing to do may well be to go find a camera that you like the feel of, that fits you and is within a reasonable budget and then begin using it. Unless you have fairly specific goals, it's going to be hard to give much useful advice. Once you become familiar with what the various features are, what works for different types of pictures and what your most common objectives are, it will be a lot easier to narrow down a good camera for those uses.
Going to the longer zoom cameras tends to get you a larger camera and electronic finders. Some people don't like the evfs, they usually take more batteries (easy to keep more sets charged, btw), and using the long zooms is good for applications like sports and nature but may not be worth the added price if those aren't your intersts - also you may find that if you are shooting a lot of family/indoor shots, a wider starting zoom, like a 28mm equivalent may be a better choice than a camera emphsizing longer zoom reach...