Some people buy DSLR cameras that are way too complex for them. It isn’t that they couldn’t learn the camera if they so desired. It’s more that they don’t want to. Having sufficient funds to buy a professional quality cameras doesn’t necessarily include having sufficient interest or desire to learn how to run the darn thing.
I wonder what goes through their minds during the classes I teach.
For example the other day I had a big class and it was all about one the very popular professional quality cameras. Sitting close to the front were a really nice older (mid 50s) couple. The husband knew his cameras and was really getting how to work the controls of his new professional quality instrument. His wife had a similar camera and, while she wasn’t as familiar with photography, she was really trying hard to figure it out. Overall in my opinion based on my observations of her, she too was getting a handle on her very complicated camera. By the end of the session she was a pretty happy camper.
I wish I could say the same about a couple of other students. It’s my guess they had the cash to burn and they bought the best. Unfortunately, by half way through the class they were lost. Really lost. And, I believe they were lost because they weren’t paying enough attention to the lessons. I know they weren’t because in both cases I’m think of, these guys (Why is always men?) would ask a question which had been covered earlier in the session. And, they didn’t do it just once or twice.
Folks, if you want to buy a great camera but don’t have the time or inclination to learn how to run the professional models then please go buy a Canon 40D or a D40 Nikon (in Nikon a D60 or D80 are still okay) because they have a fully automatic mode, plus pre-set modes (portrait, landscape, macro, night-time, flash off, etc) and creative modes (program, aperture priority, shutter priority) and full manual mode. If I was buying a second back-up camera body that’s what I would do. (And it would have to be the D80 to match my lens set but a D40 will do everything that’s important just like the D80.)
There’s nothing inferior or lacking in these advanced amateur models. They are fabulous pieces of equipment capable of recording images as perfect as any other camera. It’s just that they are built for a price and some of the more esoteric features have been left out to save on cost. And, conversely, some very desirable features such as the ability to shoot in pre-set modes, has been included.
Also if you don’t want to lug around a DSLR then consider a really good point-and-shoot like the Canon G9 which will do everything a big DSLR will do with the exception that you can’t change lenses. (About $500.) Or buy a smaller Canon or Nikon (By the way there’s a rumour that Nikon is bringing out a competitive model to the G9. Oh boy!!) which has the features you want. Any of the point-and-shoots that cost more than around $200 will let you create fabulous images that you’ll be proud to show.