I have an Olympus 720SW (SW stands for Shock and Water resistant). This is my second Olympus - my other is an Olympus film camera, point-and-shoot. We have a Nikon CoolPix900 that we bought in 2001 and my previous film camera was a Pentax.
Olympus has a good warranty program (for one year, if you break it they will replace it and you can buy an additional 2 year warranty for only $50) and good email newsletters with tips on how to improve your picture taking.
I would LOVE to have one of the really nice digital SLRs but since I also love to carry the camera wherever I go we went with the Olympus. It fits inside of a zipable wallet. A good friend of ours who used to be a professional photographer bought one of the 720SWs when they first came out to take on a cross-country motorcycle trip. He loved it and recommended it to us when we asked his opinion on what we should get to replace the 2nd hand HP that I was carrying around in my purse. I've had it a year and my only complaint is that they should have made this one squash-proof like the 770SW(?) is. There is a lot of user tweaking that you can do if you don't want the camera do do it all for you and there are 25 different preprogrammed functions that you can use or tweak to your liking (candle light, available light, behind glass, museum, nighttime, self portrait, landscape, movie, etc). I've seen comparable cameras out there but none of them were waterproof like this one is - you can take pictures and movies with it under water up to 10 feet deep - or shockproof. Too bad my phone isn't as durable.
If you want to take REALLY nice pictures, for sale quality, then any one of those high end cameras would do you good. I would check for compatibility on add-on lenses (I think that I've read that Cannon holds the gold standard on lenses). For the stuff that I do - turning them into 8x10's for the living room wall - the tweakable point-and-shoots work just fine.
5 hours ago