For $500 and under.....
Sounded like a simple task......
The problem is the video.
I assumed you would want a camera with manual controls since the Epson 3100 had such nice things as:
That led to a lot of nice cameras but cameras in that class have not put much effort into video. They have specifications like 640x480 at 15fps (frames per second) or just 320x240 at higher frame rates.
I found only one camera that meets you desires:
The Fujifilm E550 - 640x480/30fps video and the camera sells for just under $300.
Now for $525, there is the Sony V3.
A very nice prize indeed.
And if you can wait until the end of June, the Canon S2-IS will be selling for $500. This will be the hot camera for people who want a 12X optical zoom. It is supposed to be fast, fast, fast. In addition to the 640x480/30 video, you can take full size photos at 2.4 frames per second. Just hold down the shutter button and it will continue to capture until you run out of memory. For shooting action....it will be hard to beat.
I'm not terribly experienced using digital cameras. We bought our Epson 3100Z when our son was born back in 2001, but although it has served us well, it died this week. After consulting Epson and their local authorized repair center, the cost to fix the camera (quoted at almost $300) would be more than I'm willing to spend on an older camera, with no warranty.
So, now I'm in the market for a new digicam.
I would like a camera that's user friendly, has a decent zoom (the zoom on the 3100Z was ok, but I'd like something better) takes good quality photos (mostly family stuff, but closeups of flowers, etc too), and takes good video too.....all for under $500. The Epson was a 3.3 MP, and I'm looking for something higher than that, but again, with good pix quality AND good video quality, all under $500.
I don't want much, do I? LOL.
Appreciate any help, thanks!