My suggestion, go for either the Canon S5IS or the PannyFZ if you need some zoom range, those will do the job, the others will likely be lacking...
Or if you do go for a dSLR, the Nikon D40 and 18-200VR might be a good place to start your search...
Cheers,S.**My XT IS Full Frame APS-C/FF of course!*****So is my 5D 35mm/FF**..
I do not believe I am ready for a DSLR. I do not have the time toimmerse my self enough to learn what would be necessary to takequality pictures plus my wife also would like to use the camera andshe is not very technically inclined..
First off, I'm not trying to convince you to get a DSLR, but as a relatively new DSLR user myself, I have to say that for the most time, you don't really need to spend too much time on learning what to do to take quality pictures..
Entry-level DSLRs do a fabulous job at taking great pictures on auto settings. I got my Pentax K100D a year ago and keep it on P (which is pretty much full auto, but looks nicer to me than keeping the dial on the green AUTO) 95% of the time, and get excellent pictures..
It's really only when the conditions are quite demanding or when I see on the LCD screen that P can't quite cut it, that I fiddle with other modes, use exposure composition or go to aperture priority or manual. Which is pretty much what you'd get with a non-DSLR - most of the time, in good conditions, for an amateur/beginner, both a DSLR and a P&S take great pictures on auto settings, you just have to compose and push the button..
But with a DSLR, with just a little time spent on experimenting (or learning the basics of what aperture, shutter speed and ISO mean, which at the most basic level shouldn't take more than half an hour), you can also get good pictures when the conditions are more difficult. With a P&S, you might not even get that choice - even with non-DSLR cameras with manual settings, there just aren't always that many options to choose from..
So I'd basically say that entry-level DSLRs can be used perfectly well on auto or P mode most of the time. I occasionally give my camera to my mother, who loves taking pictures but has no idea about the technical things, in P mode, and she has no problems with it - I only had to tell her which button to press, and that to zoom, she has to turn the lens ring and not a lever on the camera body..
Again, I'm not trying to talk you into getting a DSLR - it might not be what you need or want, especially if you're very sure that you will not want to experiment or learn a few things in addition. The clear advantage to a user that wants mostly nice snapshots is really mostly in lower light, as DSLRs have perfectly usable ISO 800-1600. The down side is that it's easy to start wanting more lenses and other extra equipment, and that adds up to quite hefty amounts quite quickly!..
Thanks for all of the advice. If I did decided to go with a DSLR for my shooting purposes. What would be a good bridge camera that the wife could carry in a purse or small camera bag. She has told me she would not feel comfortable with a DSLR at this time. Sshe really likes the G9, but I think that would be a bit of overkill if I were to go with an EOS 350D/400D...
Any of the ones you mentioned in your first post... but you don't need to go that high to get a good compact - if you can still find one in the store, a Canon A550 is a decent compact that I bought a couple months ago for my 6-yr old son (he can use my 350D but it is a little heavy for him) and the quality of output is quite reasonable (only 4x zoom though)..cheers,S.**My XT IS Full Frame APS-C/FF of course!*****So is my 5D 35mm/FF**..
That is where the delima comes down. I know that in a less than a year or so my son will be in sports and I will want to be able to get those action shots, thus the need for a decent zoom and fast shutter operation..
However, in being honest with my self, I tend to be the type of person that goes way over board in regards to buying. I am in no way an amature photographer and the prints would be primarily 4" prints and would be mostly at special occasions or random pictures of the kids..
Again thanks for all of the help...
If you want a camera you can easily put in a pocket the TZ-3 will fit the bill and also take nice photographs.If you have rally big hands you might want to look at a Canon A640 or so..
Comfort of handling is as important as bulk and weight and, personally, I will not buy a DSLR just for that reason. I use a Panasonic LX2. It was almost a toss between the LX2 and the TZ-3 but I fell for the manual controls on the LX2...