* What budget have you allocated for buying this camera?
Up to $350
Compact to SLR sizing, but not SLR. Considered them, but price and lens/gear toting on long hikes made them impractical.
How many megapixels will suffice for you?
Minimum 6.x to 8.x would be fine.
* What optical zoom will you need?
* How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
Do you care for manual controls?
A nice-to-have, not essential. Manual focus would help action shots.
* What will you generally use the camera for?
A do-it-all camera for outdoor shots (hiking) and family portraits, but main focus is action sports shots (i.e. windsurfing) from a distance (100-400 yds).
* Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
Some, but not real action, just standard family style, mostly posed.
Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
Are there particular brands you like or hate?
We have had good luck with Nikon and Canon, but they don't seem to be as competitive in this marketplace.
Have looked somewhat at Canon sx100 and DMCFZ8, but would appreciate group feedback on good bang-for-the-buck. Need to purchase in next two weeks.
(If applicable) Do you need any of the following special features? (Wide Angle, Image Stabilization, Weatherproof, Hotshoe, Rotating LCD)