All the entry level and mid range SLRs have an auto setting that'll take care of everything except the zoom. You don't get motorized zoom on SLRs but it's not difficult turning the lens barrel..
A camera like the Canon 450D with the 1855 IS (Image Stabiliser) kit lens would be a good choice. It gets very good reviews. The Nikon D60 is somewhat similar and can be had with a stabilised kit lens. These are both fairly compact SLRs that won't frighten your users too much..
Even more compact camera like is the Olympus E420, the smallest SLR there is..
DSLR's even in auto mode are not the best choice for users who are not going to be practicing before using..
There are still lots of things that need to be done, set, verified to get good shots..
A much better choice would be a really good point and shoot camera. They are made for the casual user who probably won't take the time to read the manual. The automatic modes are truly automatic and almost always get a keeper shot right out of the box..
DSLR's have interchangeable lenses and you really don't want just anybody taking off the lens. And they will if they have any idea it will come off. Then the sensor will have dust on it and it'll be a pain to clean every time it comes back. If not cleaned then every photo after that will have dust spots on them.
You could probably get 3 or 4 p/s cameras for the $1000 you have to spend..
If you think that makes sense, then you must have read someone else's post!..
If you want a big camera with lots of zoom and very reasonable (good) picturequality, there is lots of choice out there. Socalled Superzooms or bridgecamera's. Fujis S100 is good, sony's H50 is good, Panasonic FZ18 is good. They are smaller then DSLR, and will give you many of it's advantages. They even have some great features that give them some advantage over DSLR in some conditions..
But... All P&S (small ones, megazoom ones, big ones) will produce less results when shot in low-light situations. Remember that a DSLR will do better int those circumstances..
If you want to go for an easy to use DSLR that isn't to expensive I'd recommend the Sony A300 or A200. Bought it myself this week and it is lovely. Nikon D40 and D60 are great camera's too, a little smaller then the Sony..
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I am the treasurer of a major organization for my University. I wasinterested in buying a digital SLR in the $500-$1000 price range..
You will do well with any of the entry level DSLR's from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Sony, etc..
The main reason I am looking at an SLR is because it will bedifficult to lose because of it's size as well as the picture qualitythat results from using an SLR..
Picture quality will definitely be better..
I read reviews of SLRs but there are certain things I need and can'tusually find..
This camera will be used to be checked out by members of theorganization to take pictures at certain events. These users will notbe professional photographers by any means. So what I am hoping foris an SLR that has the basic qualities of a pocket-sized digitalcamera. I mean things like auto focus, motorized zoom, auto mode,auto flash, etc..
You will not have a motorized zoom, but everything else is available..
I am going for simplicity here. I want most anyone to be able to pickit up and be able to use it..
Does anyone have any recommendations for a camera like that?.
Again, any entry level camera with a couple of kit lenses can be had for this price...
DSLR's even in auto mode are not the best choice for users who arenot going to be practicing before using..
There are still lots of things that need to be done, set, verified toget good shots..
Any consumer DSLR has full auto mode, it's absolutely no different than your average point and shoot, it won't allow you to make any choices in exposure..
A much better choice would be a really good point and shoot camera.They are made for the casual user who probably won't take the time toread the manual. The automatic modes are truly automatic and almostalways get a keeper shot right out of the box..
DSLR's have interchangeable lenses and you really don't want justanybody taking off the lens. And they will if they have any idea itwill come off. Then the sensor will have dust on it and it'll be apain to clean every time it comes back. If not cleaned then everyphoto after that will have dust spots on them.
Dust really isn't that big of a deal, if someone took off the lens and left the camera face up for a month maybe but this is just irrational fear. Finger prints are more likely a problem in this situation and a pointy shooty is not immune to that either..
You could probably get 3 or 4 p/s cameras for the $1000 you have tospend..
Quality Vs Quanity.
A large superzoom wouldn't be a bad suggestion really, it may not handle abuse as well, a bump to the plastic fantastic motorized zoom will set you back the cost of the camera but in a situation like this serve the purpose.-.
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Although a dSLR can give better images it is not obvious that the users you have in mind will get better images with a dSLR. The main areas of superiority for the dSLR would be fast focus and low light performance, but an operator with a low skill level can more than "compensate" for a camera with high performance. Lots of posters here have reported that "I upgraded to a dSLR and now my pictures are worse". A dSLR on full automatic still has more potential for a snafu than a P&S because it is easier to dial in a (wrong) exposure correction, change the WB etc. Also, a dSLR (and it's lens) in the price range you have nominated will be relatively delicate - harder to lose, perhaps, but easier to drop, leave the lens cap off etc..
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