Originally posted by Adeptus
When looking at specific models, keep in mind that megapixels is just a number and more doesn't always guarantee a better picture. That is just the resolution of the sensor. When it's not matched by an equally sharp lens and low noise levels, all it will give you is a bigger file.
In general, I am biased strongly in favor of Canon. If there is a Canon that is in your price range and meets your requirements, that's where I would look first. I have been happy with every Canon camera I've ever had and they all have been passed on fully functional (except for the one I accidentally threw 10 feet and had land on concrete; and even that still worked minus the zoom).
I'm also strongly biased against Sony. Everybody I know who has had a Sony camera has had theirs break much sooner than it should. Sony can also stick their proprietary memory sticks up their ass.
Like Canon, Nikon has historically been a photographic equipment company, which I inherently trust more than electronics giants which never made still photo cameras before they turned digital. Nikon would be my second choice, as far as brand preferences go.
+1 Except for Nikon, but strongly in favor of Canon.
Recently I've seen some friends using Nikon cameras and unfortunately pictures aren't that good, especially on dark scenarios. But I guess for DSLRs it's a different story.
Sony takes good pictures for indeed they easily break.... and memory sticks fail.
My Camera at the moment which is like 2 years old I think, is a Canon A590IS, and the pictures taken in AUTO mode are really good, and the options you have when taking in MANUAL or PROGRAM modes are awesome... you can take the pictures any way you want (in terms of settings).... Besides, even if it's not a DSLR camera, the CHDK
hack is really handy.