I was looking for something that was $500 or under & agonized over what to purchase for months....Everything I kept reading gave a bad review about noise, etc. ... What I realized after going to a Camera shop where I got One-on-one help is this: Most of the reviews on camera sites are done by people who ARE Professionals, so the would like a camera to give "perfect" pictures.... To the untrained eye, what we get now days with SOME digitals is extremely good. I had a Coolpix 4300. One of the first digitals that came out & loved it until this past year when the pictures started coming out blurry, etc.
The man at the camera shop IS a PROFESSIONAL & he uses the BIG Huge cameras of course, but when the Canon SX20IS came out, he used it for a few months testing it. He told me that as long as he remembered it wouldn't do what a "PROFESSIONAL" SLR would do, it took AMAZING pictures.... I asked him what it would do compared to my Nikon Coolpix 4300. His comment was; "Smoke It"..... So I took the plunge & so far have been VERY HAPPY It cost about $400.00.... It has the 20x zoom .. No attachments for zoom, but you CAN get the lighting attachments if you so choose. I bought the small one to start which ran around $160.00. So far I haven't even used it! LOL... So, I hope this is helpful for you in your search... I'm very happy now & relieved to have this hunt over with... Other stores I went to tried to sell me the DSLR's and all the attachments which would have run me around $700-$800 not including all the zoom lenses & lighting attachments.... That could have run me up near to $1500.00 in the end & then I would have had to lug around all that heavy stuff... UGH! I was so thankful I finally went to see our local Small camera shop! I'm Very Happy