Originally posted by fred_ljWell, since no one's gotten back to your question yet, you need to evaluate a few things before you choose what kind and the manufacturer of the camera:
Will you want to shoot things indoors well with good exposure and minimal grain? Or will you be mainly outdoors where available-light photography is easier?
Will you ever have the need to make large prints? Do you like the idea of being able to shoot continuously for several seconds at a high rate for active shooting scenarios (sports, kids)?
I don't know if you've already gone over cameras in terms of things like this, but it's a good way to figure what direction you want to proceed in. I wouldn't just stick with one model I heard was good. The man may frustrate some people, but www.kenrockwell.com 's "how-to" section has a very good summation of the differences between classes of cameras. Basically, though, if you want a true, unhindered photographic feel with digital, a digital SLR is the best way to go. If you don't mind being forced to shoot at extremely low ISO sensitivities and tiny sensors and delays, then grab a point and shoot.
It all hinges on what you think you might do with your little gadget.
Thanks for your thoughtful post, and the Ken Rockwell link.
I take Ken's point about speed being a crucial factor, but I can't really spring for a full d-SLR. And I've used an old Kodak 1MP camera that produced better pix than a new 3MP Hewlett Packard....
I'm principally interested in panoramic landscape shots while mountain biking -- the camera should be rugged, not too heavy, have excellent optics, and reasonably fast. I don't ask much!
Wide-angle lenses (let's overlook add-ons at the moment...) have a special appeal because they should reduce the number of pix required to cover a given panorama. And LCD viewfinders that flip around should make for a more durable package.
The Ricoh Caplio GX sounds promising: fast, wide, inexpensive. But some owners have voiced misgivings about image quality. The Canon G5 seems pretty good, but the Oly 5060 comes in at about the same price, goes wider, and seems to be supremely versatile.
So right now I'm more-or-less looking for reasons to *not* go for the Oly.
Oh, and since this is a Mac forum, I should add that native OSX software is a must, but we all knew that, right?