I've just registered here a few seconds ago. To explain my situation, I've being only shooting with point-and-shoot camera's 'till now, but I've been shooting a lot, and familiarized myself with most of the functions the consumer range has to offer. I discovered I really like photography and would like to take it a step further, and do some more serious photography. So I started looking for a camera that fit my needs, one which could let me practice some more serious photography, and after reading a lot of reviews, forums and similar articles, I just couldn't make my mind up. I had the following problems: DSLR or not? Even though there are budget DSLRs available, it still gets rather pricey compared to non-DSLRs, especially if I want more lenses. Here I got stuck comparing the Nikon D40 to the Panasonic DMC-FZ18. 500mm does sound nice after all... If I decide on a DSLR, which one? In the DSLR budget compartment I have the Nikon D40 Double Zoom Kit II for about 600$, and the Canon Digital X Double Zoom Kit, for about 720$. At the moment I tend toward the D40, mostly because of the price, but also because I prefer SD cards to other memory formats. The reviews also seem quite similar, which is making my choice even harder. If I decide on a non-DSLR, which one? I mentioned the Panasonic DMC-FZ18 earlier, and it does seem to have a lot of features and options for a reasonable price of about 380$. However, the build just feels extremely fragile and light in my hand. It's competition comes in the form of the Canon G9. I love the build, and the feeling in my hand, performance is relatively similar, except of course the smaller zoom. The automatic lens cap and the small size are also practical features, as expected from a quasi point-and-shoot camera. All that for a price of about 400$. That would be my problem. Any help or advice is appreciated! EDIT: Please check my post a bit lower, I need some advice concerning lens compatibility. Thanks.