I have used a lot of SLR cameras including Nikon & Leica. Since I switched to digital most of my cameras have been Nikon with a small Sony and a couple of Panasonic cameras. My kids have favored small Canon cameras.
I take a lot of pictures in demanding conditions, and I expect a lot from my cameras, My Nikon D50 has been a workhorse for several years.
A couple of years ago a bought a compact wide angle Panasonic Lumix camera. It has been a great camera with the excepton that it takes a while to focus.
Recently my pocket camera, a Nikon S9 died. I did not want to spend a lot of money, but I wanted wide angle and as much zoom as I could get.
I ended up buying a Pansonic Lumix DMC ZS-1 from Amazon for $240 before shipping.
The camera has 10.1 megapixels and 12X optical zoom plus 25mm wide angle capability. I have used it hard, and I am very pleased. I have done a number of interesting pictures with it, including the one in this post.
Because of its compact size it is my default camera these days.
I even recorded a video while sitting in a pew in our church. The camera was hand held with no tripod and no external microphone.
This one minute clip of the musical group Southern Grace is a testament to the camera's video capabilities.
I just posted another hand held video. This time it is a thunderstorm that struck our area this afternoon.
I am looking forward to doing some video with a tripod.
I did not buy the camera for its video capabilities but they are certainly a bonus.
I read a lot of reviews before I bought the camera, but none of them gave me a true idea of the versatility of the camera.
Usually if I have to pick one camera, it is the ZS-1. I can fish and still have it in my pocket.
It just does a great job. This web page has samples of other photos that I have done with the camera.
This camera is hard to beat for the money. The fast focus, ultra zoom capabilities, wide angle lens, and video capability might make it the best real estate camera there is for the money.
I would definitely rather drag this camera on a trip rather than a DSLR. If you are going to take it on a trip, I would buy a second battery.