if you want to get into serious into photography but don't want to spend all that money, try looking into the pro-sumer camera. The pro-sumer camera has enough lens range, from macro to telephoto. and they are on the $500-$700 range. These cameras offer what DSLRs can do, but the only disadvantage is that you cannot change the lens.
Powershot G7 (has a external flash hook up)
Powershot S3 IS (this one has an image stabilizer, so you can hand hold your camera as low as 1/8 second shutter speed)
As for nikon, they have stopped producing a pro-sumer camera. There are other brands that is good but i have no knowledge of. I think the Panasonic pro-sumers are highly rated as well.
the next step up is the SLR game. there are affordable DSLRs such as the D40 or the Rebel 400XT, if you want to get into photography but do not want to spend all that money.
photography is much like having a fish tank, there is always the next step up.
SLR is, single lens reflex which means:
They seem to say SLR cameras are a must.
when you look at the camera, you are actually looking through a bunch of mirrors that reflects the image from your lens. and when you press that shutter button, the image lifts up and exposes it to a film. which we call digital sensor nowadays (what makes a camera DIGITAL) and NO, SLR IS NOT A MUST. It's not about the camera, it's about the photographer. Just like fishes, It's the fishkeeper, not the aquarium nor the fishes, nor the plants.
amateur photographers today are brainwashed by camera manufacturers to think that it's all about the camera. I am confident to say that i can out-shoot any monkeys who dare to say that SLR is a must, with my 3.2MP point and shoot camera. Focal Length.
hopefully this visual explanation would clear up your questions on focal lengths.
the farther the distance between that last element of the lens, the higher the number goes. if the focal length is 50mm, that means the distance between the last element of the lens and the sensor/film is 50mm. the higher the number, the closer you get to the subject. a 400mm lens means the distance between the two is 400mm. http://www.usa.canon.com/html/eflens...gth/index.html
go to that link, that should give u a focal lenght comparison.[/quote]