For me, the only camera that came anywhere close to what I'm looking for is the Nikon D7000. Everything about this camera screams "there can only be one!" For a beginner with aspirations to be a serious hobbyist slash enthusiast, it has enough user friendliness coupled with enough advanced features to allow advancement at a steady pace. Don't get me wrong, this camera will be far more capable than me for at least the first year and maybe more, and that's the point, if I am going to invest in a proper camera, I do not want to have to upgrade a year or two later. The Nikon D7000 has so much going for it, compared to the others I looked at, the D5100, the Canons,the Pentax and the Sonys, that I just kept coming back to it.
I spent weeks watching You Tube videos (check out www.digitalreviewtv.com and www.artoftheimage.com), read countless articles online (www.snapsort.com is amazing) and even went into a few stores to check out some models. Listening to and reading the reviews and there are plenty all pointed to the D7000. A few key features.
16.2 megapixels, Expeed2 processor, dual memory card slots, ISO from 100 to 25600, burst rate of 6 frames per second, magnesium alloy body (vs plastic of all others), all weather proofing sealed, autofocus motor, 39 focus points, 1080HP movie, 30 second to 1/8000th of a second shutter speeds, shutter tested to 150,000 actuations, dust cleaning CMOS sensor, multiple scene modes, kit lens 15-105mm Nikkor build, live view through the lens, pentaprism, 100% viewfinder image (wysiwyg) and to cap it off the price off all this amazing technology for £1000.
This is a serious bit of kit. The key for me was spending a lot of time taking pictures with my little CoolPix and my Android phone, the joy and fun of taking pictures was what mattered, not the kit. Discovering an inner creative side, the peace and calm of just wandering around eyes wide open and discovering new and interesting things, or discovering really dull and boring things, the art of discovering and framing and composing has awakened something within and is very welcome.
Oh, and the CoolPix and Android are always at the ready. Next post, all going according to plan, an order will be placed and delivery taken a week later, watch this space.