I seem to have stumbled across a camera that is, in many ways, ideal for me: the Ricoh GR Digital. My reasons, in roughly decreasing order of importance:
- 28mm is my favourite focal length; it provides the perspective that comes most naturally to me when composing images. It is as wide as my best SLR lens goes, and I almost invariably use the widest focal length on my A570IS. Having a prime lens means (a) more light hitting the sensor and (b) potentially sharper images.
- The camera is versatile in terms of aspect ratios: with options for 4:3 (standard digicam), 3:2 (standard film), and 1:1.
- The camera is small enough to carry around, unlike a digital SLR.
- The camera is made of metal. (An advantage provided the weight is tolerable.)
- The camera can shoot in RAW format
That being said, it does seem a bit strange to spend $700 on a fixed-lens point and shoot camera when you can get a DSLR kit (something like the Digital Rebel XT) for a couple hundred more dollars. The DSLR is far more versatile and capable overall. That being said, my Elan 7N has spent the last year gaining dust in its case; my point and shoot digicam, by comparison, basically only leaves my side when I am in the shower.