I guess I could simply have said "What in the past 10 years is the under $500 equivalent to either the Lumix DMC-LC1 or the Lumix DMC-GF1."
I am looking for a digital camera that approximates an old "student" SLR. The digital equivalent of the SLR film camera you would have used in a photography class a decade or more ago. Think old Pentax, Minolta, Nikon, etc. Something with auto focus but that is easily switched to manual mode for ISO settings, aperature, manual focus, etc. No auto focus would be okay too.
It doesn't have to be a new model, I'd be more than happy to buy an older discontinued model.
Lens doesn't have to be removable, but I would like a fast lens and quick auto focus so as to approximate a film SLR.
Would really like hotshoe (an additional pop up flash is okay).
Megapixels aren't a huge concern. I have never printed larger than 8x10, with most being 5x7.
For the old-timer in me, metal bodies get style points.
Cost: the more inexpensive the better, but can this be done for under $500?
Has a camera like this been made in the last 10 years?