Hello snappers. I have enjoyed taking photographs over the years and indeed have been proud of my pictures with the fairly standard and inexpensive cameras I have been using. The feedback from friends and family was always positive. I don't pretend to be any kind of expert but I have to admit to being amazed by some of the shots I have seen on various websites and I am keen to improve my own understanding in this area. For some reason I stopped taking my Chinon camera -yes it's been a while! - with me when going to sporting events, weddings, parties etc and haven't used it for ages. I have some great pictures of my visits to the Cheltenham festival and some even better ones of a trip to St Andrews in 1995 when Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tom Watson played a practice round together. The only shots I take nowadays are with my mobile phone and let's face it despite what the manufacturers say image quality is pretty poor! I put my poor Chinon's decline down to the discovery of alcohol. One of my favourite pasttimes was taking snaps of my mates in uncompromising positions whilst they were getting legless. Looking back it was quite sneaky but the results were very funny. There is no greater feeling than catching your mate throwing up and I consider myself very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to pick up such mementoes! This hilarity subsided though when it was me on the floor, or chatting with to ladies where a zoom lens would not be required! Yes cameras are good for recording events but there are some things you don't need reminding about! The Chinon had to stay home. Anyway enough about me. The reason for my post was to ask for some help from the experienced people on here to pick out a new camera with a view to rekindling my enthusiasm. I have already read some good advice about what cameras to choose and it seems the most important message is to know your camera and whether it will be suitable for the pictures you want. But there are so many cameras on the market I am struggling to narrow the search myself. I was thinking of maybe buying two cameras, one fairly cheap compact one for nights out and parties and another more expensive one for the more serious pictures at say sporting events and for sightseeing trips on holidays. Another interest I have is air shows and I am hoping the more expensive camera will help me take some great pictures from these. I am going to Fairford in two weeks so I need to get myself sorted quickly. I get the impression a decent optical zoom is key to getting quality pictures of the aircraft in flight, although some of you will probably put me straight here. Is a bridge camera a good idea for this sphere? Another thing I should mention is that I don't really feel the need to print the pictures and I am happy copying them to my PC and posting them online or sending them via e-mail. With regards to budget, whilst I have the money to splash out on a flashy new piece of kit I am reluctant to do so and don't really want to jump in feet first. I think low key is better and I can see how things are going before taking that next step. I was looking at £50-£100 for the compact - in case I get drunk and lose it! - and £200-£300 for the bridge camera. One camera that has been getting favourable reviews is the Panasonic FZ38 and this falls into my price range. When reading the reviews on this site though it did appear to get a few contradictory messages when compared to its predecessor the FZ28. What are your thoughts? As I said earlier I am no expert and although I am happy to experiment with the equipment in order to get the quality pictures, I like to keep things simple and wouldn't appreciate anything too overcomplicated. I acknowledge that to get some of those really amazing shots the top photographers are using different lenses and filters etc which are very costly, but I don't want to be carrying all that kit around with me. For me it's about getting a good balance between nice and easy pictures whilst at the same time enjoying the day out. Yes you could say I am until now a point and shooter but hopefully that will change. I will be losing my job at the end of the year and I am considering looking into photography as a possible career change. I realise how competitive this business can be but it's worth looking into. Do any of you make a living taking pictures? I look forward to hearing your views. Any advice whether it be about cameras or a career in photography would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for your time. Craig.