The two giants are Nikon and Canon. In the 50's, 60's, 70, 80's Nikon ruled, then Canon took over. Canon has been dominant ever since. Nikon's new top of the line pro camera is excellent and a bit ahead of Canon, but Canon still has excellent cameras out there..
Remember the lens is as important as the camera, so you are really choosing a lens system when you choose your camera brand - The Nikon lens system or Canon's. These two manufactures get the most after market support of third party lens makers, software, technical goodies, etc..
Chose either for as sure as God made little green apples, shortly after your purchase your new camera, one or the other manufacture is going to come along with a better one than yours in the same price range..
Others owning different cameras will tell you their cameras are good also, and it's true, but get either Canon or Nikon...
Although not reviewed yet on this site, the new Nikon D3 might be what would approach closest to a 10. Though no camera is perfect, it's a good all around performer. You're gonna need deep pockets for that one though...
You're gonna need deep pockets for that one though..
I did not think of it as a pocketable one even with a deep pocket ..
I've been looking at DSLRs, and I'm having a hard time choosing whichone to get, so I'm looking through all of the reviews..
Since your main use is photographing paintings, I would recommend Canon models with the Picture Styles option called "faithful," which is supposed to optimize color accuracysurely an important consideration for your application..
DigitalCameraInformation.com, in it's reviews, uses the "faithful" setting in it's color accuracy tests, and have found excellent performance using this mode. I haven't read every Canon review, but those I did all received excellent scores for color accuracy using the Faithful style. The modestly-priced XTi had a near perfect 100.3% saturation level and even lower color error than more expensive models like the 30D and 5D..
In another thread, I pointed you to a review of the Sigma 50 mm EX macro DG lens. I think that this lens with an XTi would make a great combination for your needs...
There are still "issues" that need to be addressed, and I'm sure there are cameras on the drawing board that will meet the challenge of these issues..
For example, "dynamic range" - how many f stops of contrast a camera can handle - is still to low in my books. To make me happy it should equal, better yet exceed "film's" - not slide's - contrast range..
Full sensor is still a must with more megapixels as cropping is a problem on partial sensor cameras. Sony has introduced a new CMOS FF sensor so they may lead us to the promised land on that issue; the promised land is cheaper FF sensors making it into intro DSLR cameras like the Canon Rebel. Eventually P&S's will have FF as well. Before some one starts babbling why P&S's won't go FF, recall older film P&S's were using the same film as SLR's. Now don't go into APS, this was a momentary lapse of sanity by the camera industry, which sales backed up this claim; and it is slowly disappearing into photographic limbo..
With ISO's going through the roof, eventually with IS or VR and a very high ISO, you'll be able to hand hold a camera at one second shutter speed..
Exciting times for photography, but no "ten" cameras yet...