I'm split between getting a compact p&s, or a slr-like camera. My main draw to the slr-like cameras are the ultra zoom lenses, and the possibility of using them for a photography class. I should probably get two cameras, but that really isn't an option at the moment. I must use AA/AAA batteries. I frequently snap 100 pictures to get 1 decent photo. Rechargeable batteries are worthless when I forget to charge them. Btw, I'll be referring to my old camera a lot....a FujiFilm FinePix 2400Zoom. I bought it over 8 years ago because it could take about 100 pictures with alkaline batteries, almost double that on NIMH batteries, had 3x optical zoom which was pretty good back then, and could take 2.1 megapixel pictures that'd fill up my entire 1600x1200 monitor. Budget $200-350....although $350 should include the camera, case, memory, and any other must-have accessories. Size Compact to Ultra-zoom/Slr-like Features How many megapixels will suffice for you? 6 to as many as possible....although I've gone for the last 8 years on a 2.1 megapixel camera and never really felt a need for more. I think of high megapixel abilities as a bandaid to hardware or user induced zoom deficiencies. What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x) I currently have 3x optical zoom, and that's nowhere near sufficient. I want to step up to at least 6x, although the 10x-12x ultrazooms are attractive, especially since extenders can be used to further increase the zoom. How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10) 3 for color quality 8-10 for detail quality General indoor and also very-close macro shots are VERY important. My current camera is nearly unusable indoors unless it's in an office with arrays of fluorescent lights....and leaves it almost worthless at home. I'd also like to use this for biology photos that'll require very close and detailed shots. Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)? I need to learn what these are.... General Usage What will you generally use the camera for? Family photos. Shots of items taken indoors at home (poor lighting) to sell online. In class of small organisms as little as 1 cm wide) Shots of still nonmoving animals both in and out of the water although the camera will be out of the water....although a camera with an underwater case accessory would be nice if I ever decide to get my feet wet. Will you be making big prints of your photos or not? No. All photos will go on my website, although some, maybe all, will be in full resolution. Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos? Almost all my shots will be indoors. Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos? Very rarely. The closest thing to an action shot will be taking pictures of objects as I drive or ride by...I ride a motorcycle. Miscellaneous Are there particular brands you like or hate? I assume FujiFilm and Fujitsu are the same company. My old FujiFilm digital camera has served me well for almost a decade, and did everything I expected it to do when I bought it. I also have a Fujitsu tablet pc that I really love. That said, I'm not willing to give up much to stay within the Fuji family. I very nearly despise Sony. Are there particular models you already have in mind? FujiFilm S700 Canon S5 Canon A570 IS Canon A720 IS (If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD) Image Stabilization is must. The closest thing to a tripod I'll use is a mount on my motorcycle, or a harness bar mount in my car for canyon carving runs....both of which will introduce lots of vibrations. I'd also prefer to have it be weatherproof, have a rotating lcd, and a hot shoe...although I can deal with having none of these. My old FujiFilm has been stored in a waterproof Otter Box for the last 8 years. While that may seem like overkill, I lost quite a few cameras while on kayaking and canoeing trips even though they were packaged in at least two layers of ziplock bags.....and I also dropped one down the throat of a rapid, but that's another problem! Quick time to first photo is also a big deal. Video recording abilities would be sweet too......it'd help replace my video camera that was stolen last summer.