I've been asked to help investigate cameras for my husband's parents. They love to snap photos at family gatherings, and my mother-in-law faithfully assembles prints into into albums. A majority of their photographs are of people.

Camera Type
� Are you looking for a compact point & shoot camera, a DSLR, or something in between? (Or perhaps you haven't decided yet � that's okay!) Compact point & shoot.
� Is this your first camera? No.
� Are you interested in a high level of control, or would you prefer to let the camera do as much "thinking" as possible? The latter.
� If you had to choose, would you prefer a more versatile (large "�") zoom lens, or top-notch image quality with no zoom at all? They need a zoom.
� What size of camera do you want? To what degree would you be willing to sacrifice other features for compactness? Pants pocket is ideal, but jacket pocket would suffice. The most important factors is quick & accurate autofocus and minimal time between shots. Everything else is secondary.

� What budget have you allocated for buying this camera? Please be as specific as possible. Let's say $400 at the top end.
� Do you plan to spend more on additional accessories now or in the future? (Lenses, lighting, tripods, batteries, memory cards, camera bags... it adds up!) We'll make sure they invest in a good memory card, perhaps an extra battery. Beyond that... nah.
� How long do you plan on keeping this new camera? They've had two digital cameras so far and have hung on to each at least 4 years, maybe 5.

� What will you generally use the camera for? Family & vacation photos.
� Are you going to photograph sports? What sport, and from how far away? Kids' activities, not much distance. Maybe a Division 1 baseball or football game once a year.
� Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos, or other low-light photos? Yes and yes.
� Will you make prints, or primarily view and share images on a computer screen? Yes. If you make prints, will they typically be small (up to 5�7") or medium sized (8�10"), or are you interested in larger sizes as well? Small.
� Are you interested in spending time post-processing to make an image "perfect", or would you prefer to use images basically straight from the camera? The latter, though if the camera were packaged with easy-to-use software, then my mother-in-law might be interested in playing around with it.

� Are there particular lenses or technical features that are interesting or important to you? HD video; easy to use menu; solid feeling case; intuitive controls.
� Are there particular brands or models you already have in mind?

Thanks in advance!