Since you are interested in Image Stabilization I assume you are looking for a camera with a 10X/12X optical zoom.
Image Stabilitzation is not really necessary of cameras with smaller optical zooms.
So...I can only find 4 cameras that have Image Stabilization, hot shoe and cost less than $500:
Konica Minolta - Z3 and Z5
Panasonic FZ-4 and FZ-5
Here is link to a side by side view of specifications:
most digital cameras have an image ratio of 4:3
most DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras and 35 mm film cameras have an image ration of 3:2
This is the ratio between the lengths of the horizontal and vertical measurements of the photo it produces.
The standard television set has a ratio of 4:3
Most common is 50, 100, 200, 400
Notice that each number is double the preceeding number.
A setting of 100 will make the sensor twice as sensitive to light as a setting of 50. etc, etc,
The non-zoom focal length of the lens.
The lower the number (i.e. 28mm) the wider the angle of what is captured.
If you are in a small room and want to include a large group of people in the photo, a wider angle is better.
Stabilization lens or CCD:
Each has its advantage and disadvantage (and cost).
Makes little difference to the photographer.
Here is a link to a good explaination of exposure, which includes shutter speed, aperture (f-stop), ISO, and Depth of Field. This information is important to anyone who is using the manual controls of a camera.
Here is an on-line short course in digital photography:
I have been researching cameras since my Kodak LS443 quit working. Takes picture but only black on screen and when I download the picture. I figure that it will be better to toss than to get it fixed with the prices of cameras falling. Enough on the ole camera.
I am really confused and need your expert advice.
I basically take pictures of family, my grandson mainly and he has big blue eyes and of course big red eye with the Kodak. With all my research this time, I have realized that I need more optical zoom instead of digital zoom, hot shoe or external flash to help prevent red eye, timer, jpeg format and of course a stabilizer. Now my question, which camera is the best. I have spent days researching but I do not understand all the numbers on the compare sheets. I have figured out that Max and low resolution = pixels, but image ratio, ISO rating, zoom (w) should it be 28, 35 or 38, image stabilization do you want it to be lens or CCD? All of this is like Greek and I have not been able to find a site on line that explains any of these numbers. HELP! I know they must be important for them to be listed. Please help as I really want to buy a new camera soon. Also which on line store is the best? Also I do have a Lexar SD memory card, a Smart Media memory card and of course the printing dock with the Kodak so if I could use any of these accessories would be a plus but not imparative. I would like to stay below $500.00 if possible and I would like to have at least 4 pixels but from what I have read, the optical zoom is the most important if you have a stabilizer.