Here is an exiting news (well, for me at least). After using my sophisticated (but limited zoom) point-and-shoot Ricoh R8 for several months now, I decided to get a new camera. My dilemma is deciding between a DSLR or a superzoom camera (a.k.a. bridge camera). DSLR will have the superb image quality that I would like, but the negatives of owning one are: cost (especially for the lenses that I have to buy - macro, telephoto, etc) and weight. On the other hand, bridge cameras will have the adavantages on (relatively) cheaper cost and lighter weight, but lacks the image quality due to having a much smaller sensor. The cost comes first since I only have the vacation pay from the last job to spend on. I spend a lot of time looking for a bridge camera on sale within my budget and preference, but was having a hard time.
Long story short, I saw a Panasonic Lumix FZ18S being on sale (possibly being a demo product) last week and pulled the trigger. It was after I made the purchase that I looked through the reviews, and I read mostly positive reviews, espeically from birding forums and nature photographers! In addition, it also has the ability to add teleconverters and close-up lens (but that's for the future).
The camera arrived this morning (above are the pictures taken with my R8) and the battery just finished charging. Today is a sunny day, so I can't wait to go outside to compare my R8 and Lumix this afternoon. Later!