First of all, your 2# point "Great Zoom capabilities - I assume she will need a higher pixel count".
This is the wrong way to go. Forget "higher pixel count", "Digital zoom", "cropping capabilities" and other things like that. What you need is a good lens..
I'd suggest the Nikon D40. Small, cheap, very fast and responsive, and with excellent image quality. With the 55-200 VR lens, you have a very decent telelens with Vibration Reduction capabilities..
No movie mode (no DSLR has), but you don't need that, do you?.
I am hoping some of the experienced individuals on this site can helpme out. I am clueless when it comes to cameras, their advantages,disadvantages, etc. I bought one of the compact cameras for my wifea few years ago and it lasted a while, but it really wasn't the bestcamera. She wants an SLR camera and requires the following things....
1) Shutter speed - She hates having to wait 30 seconds between eachshot. She wants a digital camera that can take very fastpictures...one after another.2) Great Zoom capabilities - I assume she will need a higher pixelcount camera for this. We are going on many trips and takingpictures of wildlife from a distance. Therefore, this is importantto us.3) Don't want anything that is too heavy. Again, we will betraveling with this camera.4) Automatic Stability5) Capability to record movies (This is a want, but not 100% necessary).
She is a beginner in all senses and is not interested in becoming aprofessional photographer or anything like that. Therefore, anysuggestions aside from the SLR cameras are welcome as well. Lookforward to your responses.
Consider a bridge camera such as the CanonS3 or S5. Has all of the above features you've mentioned. The S5 is a newer model but it is bigger than the S3. The S3 is a good value and a very good camera..
First of all, shutter speed is about exposure and has nothing to do with continuous shooting speed. That is about camera processing speed. If film days it use to be about how fast it could advance the film, now it's about creating the jpg and saving it to the card. Generally DSLRs have MUCH faster processing than compacts. If she want's a DSLR get her one. That means she is ok with the size and weight and no compact is going to be nearly as good..
Get her one of the following options and she will be very happy:.
Pentax K100D Super + Tamron 18-200 or new Pentax 18-250 lensNikon D40 + Nikon 18-200VRCanon Rebel Xti + Sigma 18-200 OS..
If you want a small travel package that is image stabilized (smart choice) go with a single lens, not the cheap 2 lens kits. Carrying the 2nd lens around really limits your camera travel bag and she will often see something and wish she had the other lens on. Changing lenses also create opportunity for dust on the sensor. I'm a big fan of the Nikon 18-200 VR lens and even use it professionally some. It is also by far the most expensive lens above and the largest (though not too big). That said, you probably won't see any appreciable image or build quality differences in any of the above 3 kits and the Pentax is the best value probably. If you want to see what a 6mp camera with the Tamron 18-200 on it can do see my thread here:http://forums.dpreview.com/...forums/read.asp?forum=1019&message=25709244..
D40 and 55-200 VR are solid pieces of gear, but I'm assumign you mean 55-200 + 18-55 kit, because 55 is WAY to long on the bottom end to be a primary lens. Given his description of use, I find that most first time DSLRs users really are happier with a single lens kit. I would go the extra few hundred $ for the 18-200 VR that would replace both lenses, provide VR across whole range, and be superior to 18-55 in the normal range. I'm not a big fan of 18-135 though it does provide good range for $..
Agreed on the "forget pixel count". MP count is COMPLETELY irrelevant to entry level DSLR customers. Any current 6mp DSLR is capable of producing beautiful images all the way up to 16"x20" prints. Over the years I have used 6 and even 4mp SLRs professionally...
There are lots of good SLRs out there - Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Olypus to name a few. Really depends on how the camera feels in the hands and whether your wife is slightly or better built..
One thing I can comment on is if you are looking to photograph wildlife then you're going to need something with a longer focal length than 200mm. I would look at 300 at the least and would suggest a kit like:.
Nikon D40(x) with 18 to 70 and 70 to 300mm VR lens. On the D40(x) the 70-300 will give you 135-450 efective focal length (as it is the smaller DX format sensor). However, the 70-300 is not light...Otherwise any of the above cameras with the same or similar focal length lenses..
Ultimately it depends on your budget. One thing is that non will fit in a handbag!.
Talk about a post that let's the cat out of the bag. Somehow you have managed to open a portal that has tried to almost address every thread within this site. Good effort actually.How much do you want to spend in the short/long-term?.
I could list many more questions to try to refine your choice but this thread would go on forever and be of no use to you.$$$ limit please, for your sake..