Hello. I've not been a particularly serious photographer (or at least steadily so), but I enjoy taking good pictures every now and then. My love has always been night photography. I enjoy the way light plays off of the environment, and just in general how special the world looks on a beautiful night. Also, I'm particularly interested in HDR photography, as a good HDR picture captures that sense of night-time magic particularly well. Since I've recently moved into DC, an area that has some seriously excellent nighttime scenery, I've been re-excited to get a bit deeper into the hobby. So far my camera is, sadly, a simple point-and-shoot, a Canon A1100 IS. I've been "making do" thus far since I can set between 1" and 15" exposure times, and force a single white balance. Since I don't have a remote, I set a two-second timer. With a tripod, the pictures are acceptable, but even at low ISO settings tend to be a bit noisy. I'm looking for a camera with a better sensor, generally better low-light performance, and more options that I could "grow into" as my experience level increases. I've been looking at the Panasonic Lumix LX3/5. I'm attracted by the general professionalism of these cameras, such as the ability to shoot RAW, change every setting possible, etc, but with a general ease of use. Additionally, I've seen some excellent night pictures captured from an LX3. Though there doesn't seem to be an official remote, which is a strongly desired feature, I've found a remote that mounts on the hot seat for $19, which seems like a reasonable solution. Budget is a big question on these forums, and a totally valid one. The LX3 around 3-400, the LX5 around 500. I almost definitely wouldn't be spending more than that; at 500, I would almost be willing to pay a bit more for a DSLR instead. I suppose that's the range I'm willing to work in; I'm an impoverished grad student so this is all an eventuality, and at any rate not a purchase I'll be making next week. If the general forum consensus is "You're much better off purchasing a DSLR, something like the LX3 simply isn't sufficient," then I would definitely take that into serious consideration in saving/making requests/begging parents, friends, and significant others. An entry-level item is only worthwhile if it could provide years of service; my photos will not likely provide a means of serious income. Thank you in advance for your time and putting up with this ridiculous wall of text.