Budget under $350 would be preferable, but $400 would probably be upper limit Size Compact to mid-size. I want something small enough to easily slip into my bag to carry around with me while on my vacation. So, I'm guessing something in the compact to mid-size range would feel easily portable. Even though smaller is always better, I'm more concerned about weight than bulk. I want something light enough that I don't mind carrying it in my purse during my vacation. But, I don't require something that is super-super-tiny enough to fit into a pocket since the purse I use is more of a tote bag size. Features *How many megapixels will suffice for you? 6MP will suffice * What optical zoom will you need? I'm not sure. I'll be using the camera for a trip to Alaska, so will be excited if I can get decent wildlife shots from a cruise ship or park bus. Considering the fact that I've been using a 4MP camera with 2.8x optical zoom, I'm sure I won't be disappointed in most zoom options! * How important is “image quality” to you? Very important; 9 out of 10 Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)? Manual settings are appreciated, but definitely not required. General Usage * What will you generally use the camera for? The catalyst for getting the camera is an upcoming trip to Alaska. So, I'll be taking pix of wildlife and landscape scenery. Depending on how much I end up spending on the camera, I'd like to be able to use the camera when I get back home to take good shots of the toddlers running around without very long shutter lag or processing time. * Will you be making big prints of your photos or not? Yes, at least 8x10 but would like the option of making larger prints, especially of the landscape shots. Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? I don't think so. Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? "action shots" of a 2 year old once I'm back from vacation Miscellaneous If all other things are equal, I'd like to have a view finder, but not a requirement. Are there particular brands you like or hate? I'd prefer not to get a sony so that I dont' have to get special memory cards that only work in sonys. Currently I use SD cards that fit into my other cameras and other electronics. (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD) Image stabilization would be great. Wide angle (if possible in a compact) would be great for trying to capture scenery in Alaska.