Olympus SP-550UZ - As Close To A DSLR As You Can Get
I was looking for a digital camera that could "do it all" and the Olympus SP-550UZ really lived up-to its expectations. It's as close to a DSLR as you can get (but without the good ISO performance).
I bought this from a certain store in Canada where it was on sale, and got it on a remarkably cheaper price than stores in the US. It was worth every penny spent. Anyway, about the camera itself; it has a plethora of features be it Manual Controls, Shutter Controls, Zoom (18x), Image stabilization, a powerful Flash or good macro capabilities.
Whether it may be a family occasion, or you're out for a scenic drive, this camera does the job, and does it well. It's very comfortable to use, and hold in your hands. It comes with a good, solid strap.
However, there are few very small shortcomings with the Olympus SP-550UZ. First. the ISO quality i.e the quality of photos at indoor locations/night time is an issue. However, if you're using a tripod then you can eliminate that problem completely by using a lower ISO number.
Secondly, the camera uses XD cards, which is an outdated technology (the cards themselves are not very hard to get, but generic card readers won't recognize them). However, if you carry around the USB wire with you, then this won't be a problem.