You should determine what subjects you will be shooting, what features are important to you, and what size body you want/need to encompass the features since you've covered the complete range from ultra compact to a bridge camera..
At least narrow down the type of camera that will suit your needs best then compare brands to see if they have the features you want and try to handle them at a local retailer.Regards,Hank..
If you find the E410 heavy then you definately need to start with a P and S. the 410 is BY FAR the smallest lightest DSLR made..
MaddogOlympus E-500, Olympus E-510..
You seem to be taking a reasonably path to success. Costco has the FZ18 with the same return policy. You may want to try that out...
Starting with a fixed-lens camera with decent controls and ergonomics is quite reasonable, provided that you're not fixated on some particular type of photography for which you need more specialized or higher-end gear..
To give on example, if you were planning to shoot stop-motion shots of action during evening high-school football games under what would likely be very bad lighting, doing so with a small-sensor camera is probably going to be an exercise in frustration. If you want extremely shallow DOF, it helps to have a rather large wide-open aperture and sensor, both of which are fairly rare on most fixed-lens digital cameras...
You're thinking seems on the right track. I'll second that recommendation for a Panasonic fz18 at Costco. Has the wide angle lens too...
If you can get by without manual controls, then likely you can also get by without a DSLR..
My Canon S3 is a bunch heavier than most compacts. Most definitely not a pocket camera. Wish I could afford a 2nd camera (compact) to lug around for those all day shoots..
With the compacts you will have to sort out which features are key for you. For example, optical viewfinders are becoming rare in this type. Here is a link to another thread on the general purpose compacts -.
I've used an Olympus Stylus Zoom (35-70mm) film camera for years.I've always liked it's size and weight and have been satisfied withthe results. I use it mostly for travel, family and pet pictures. Iseldom take sports action pictures. Sometimes I like to nature shots both flora and fauna..
I want to get a digital camera..
My thought is that I should get a point and shoot for now..
I'm thinking that a Panasonic DMC-TZ3 might be a better choice. From what I'm reading, the wider lenses on the TZ3 and SD870 might beappreciated..
Is my thinking on this reasonable? Any other point and shoots I.
Should be looking at..
In a P&S, the wide end of the zoom is the one most likely to be most used: the wider the better IMO..
When moving into current digital P&Ss (while most viewfinder arrangements -LCD, OVF- perform adequately indoors or in the shade) you will be surprised at how few have an optical viewfinder, and how inadequate the performance of most/all? EVFs and LCDs is under "normal" outdoor sunlit conditions (compared to what you have been used to with your "film" P&S, with it's optical viewfinder, parallex and all)..
The one piece of advice I'd give you is, before you hand over any money, try it out first: outdoors, on a sunny day, with the sun behind you!..
One thing I think is very important, particularly coming from a film camera is make sure whatever you buy has a viewfinder, preferrably an optical rather than an electronic one..
Trying to take pictures with a point & shoot without a viewfinder in bright sunlight is extremely difficult because the LCD screen is virtually unseeable (thats a new word)I think your canon A720 IS might be an excellent choice...