I'd not recommend a DSLR for someone who wants to be a casual shoote,r with no post proccessing of an image, after teh camera records it..
For those who want to take a picture, then print it out or use on their computer, without editing, I recommend a P&S. That;s what they were designed for..
DSLR's are for those who are more demanding of their equipment, adn as such, they are nto really a straight otu fo teh camera pciture making machine..
Yes, you can adjust the DSLR to do so, but, again, you need to more about the DSLR and photography in general, to set it properly, for every situation..
I have a Canon 30D with some very fine glass. My Kid uses a Canon 10D with soem pretty good glass. I picked up a Canon 300D for the wife to use. She hates it. Bought her a P&S Canon S3 IS and she is absolutely in love. Even shows me her "wonderful pictures" that it takes.
"Why doesn't that big expensive camera of yours, with that huge white lens,do that for you?".
"You always have to adjust everyone of your pictures!@".
List goes on..
Point is, she is very happy with what her camera does, I'm very happy with my camera setup as well. But, I know I can make that image even better with alittle PS'ing..
As for her camera, I'm thrilled she likes it..
I picked it up, was impressed with what it did, considering what it was, but would never really expect much out of it..
Different standards, differing sets of expectations.Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..
Dpreview has a "Features Search" in their Buying Guide section, so I put in your wish list.I selected four criteria:Under $600,less than 28mm,more than 200mm, andhas image stabilization..
And four cameras came up. Two Panasonics and two Olympuses. All four got pretty high ratings from users..
On that buying guide search, you will see a list of vendors, complete with vendor ratings. You will be pleased to see that those four cameras sell for between $250 and $350, which is well within your budget.MartyPanasonic FZ7, FZ20, FZ30, LX2Olympus C4000, C7000.
Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..
Dave Patterson not speak with fork tounge. I've seen pictures on a P&S which are as good as the best you can get unless you strat nit-picking..
Primarily your results will be based on composition and lighting which is up to you..
I had an Olympus N1 - first small SLR, no autofocus, auto apature etc and produced my best results yet - in circa 1976. Now I have Nikon..
If you want the best then get a camera and spend lotd on fixed focal length glass.If you want great photos then it's up to you..
There is no practical difference between any camera. I have seen great photos with Nikon, Olympus, Canon, Pentax, Minolta et al. the camera doesn't matter.So:If you have plenty os money and are willing to invbest lots then get an SLR..
If you want good photos on a limited bufget then get a P&S - and Canon IS series is possibly the best here..
Whatever feels better in your hands is the correct choice - pictures are up to you. Like listening to Hi-Fi amplifiers. Close your eyes and listen to the music and chose what you feel is best (OK, you can't pick a camera with your eye's closed but hopefully you'll get the analogy)..
Methinks your teacher gets a 'kick-back' from Canon?.
In your profile you mention that you've been using point and shoot cameras of late and greatly miss your high school experience of shooting with 35mm. I think you would enjoy a DSLR, and your teacher's recommendation of the XTi is an excellent one, though you could save some money by buying the also very good Canon XT ($399 vs. $530, body only; I think the feature set is worth the cost difference for the XTi, but either will take great pictures). As you likely know, you need higher shutter speeds to avoid blurry shots from camera and/or subject movement, and that means you need faster lenses and higher sensitivity. Either of the Canon digital Rebel bodies will give you clean images at higher ISO speeds than a compact camera could manage, and you can get a 35mm F/2 lens for $224 (equivalent to about 56mm on a 35mm camera, and a great general purpose lens) and/or a 50mm F/1.8 for $87 (about an 80mm, short telephoto equivalent). Amazon has been a reliable source for me when I couldn't find a product locally (prices quoted are their current prices)..
The article linked to below hasn't been updated for a year and a half, but still offers a useful, sensible plan for building a camera system over time in a logical way.http://philip.greenspun.com/photography/building-a-digital-slr-system..
I wouldn't be afraid of a refirbished camera from a reliable source. Many of these cameras were returned because the owner didn't know how to use them. Canon, Nikon, or whoever checks them out pretty carefully and repackages them refirbished at a real savings. If a small repair is indicated they do it..
If there is a large repair needed, they generally don't fix it and don't remarket it. It's too expensive given manufacturing costs on a new one..
Online, I'd stick with B&H or Adorama...