What Camera Should I Buy?

I love pictures. The advent of digital photography has been a boon to a snap happy fool like me. I can snap away and delete the junk (and there is a lot of junk) without any real penalty.

I have a decent Cannon PowerShot point and shoot camera. My biggest complaint about point and shoot cameras is their over reliance on the flash. I much prefer natural or ambient light, but in many circumstances, those are hard to maximize with a point and shoot camera. I’m not Jenna or Casey, but I’ve got a decent eye and sometimes my execution is even good.

Sometimes, not so much.

It was while trying to capture these photos in Washington that I said to my husband. “It is time to move up to the next level of camera.” I just can’t get the control I want with a point and shoot.

Here’s where I need your help. I need help figuring out which camera to buy. When I walk into any retailer that sells cameras, it is instant overwhelm. I’ve read review sites, but most contain far more technical babble than I can decode. So, I’m hoping if I tell you about the pictures I like to take and my learning style you and your collective wisdom can point me in the right direction (no pun intended).

I take memento photos (us on vacation, my kids on stage), but more and more, I’m interested in candid shots from a distance and scenery shots.

I also tend to hang around with people who are extremely sensitive to bright light. So, learning to maximize ambient light would be a huge plus.

I need a camera that will allow for manual settings as well as auto because sometimes let’s face it you only have time to grab the camera and push the button. However, I plan on keeping my PowerShot. It lives in my purse and will continue to do so. This other camera will be for the more predictable “Kodak Moments”.

I taught myself PhotoShop years ago, I had a book that showed you how to make textures. I learned about the different functions and features by doing. I’ll likely be the same way with photography. I’ll see a shot and tinker with the settings until I get what I want. So, settings should be fairly easy to manipulate. An the view screen should be a good size. I am have problems seeing detail clearly at a distance, so the ability to take the shot via the view screen is a must.

I would like to be able to change lenses and tinker a little there too.

I don’t need video functionality although it appears to be hard to get away from it.

This is not going to be an instant purchase, and I don’t want to drop a HUGE chunk of change, but I’m looking at this as an investment since writer’s make more money when they can supply photographs too. I don’t need bells and whistles and sirens. Just a few bells and maybe a whistle would be nice.

Camon Vs. Nikon? Olympus? Sony? I’ve been Canon most of my life, so I’m familiar with their menu structures and since I’m not anywhere near professional, I won’t notice the color variations. I’m inclined to stay with Canon based on familiarity, but am open to alternate suggestions as well.

So dear reader, what do you recommend?

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