This is my first post but I've been reading some great information here. Thanks!
I'm down to three long zoom cameras but need help deciding which is the best choice. This will be a Christmas gift for my bird-watching point-and-shoot wife. Primarily, but not exclusively, outdoor daytime use. Simplicity is initially important but capability will become important with experience. I understand that the Konica-Minolta Z6 is basically a Z5 with more memory (true?) and the Z5 gets mixed user reviews (LCD and zoom mechanical problems). The Olympus SP-500 is a little pricey for my $300 budget but still affordable. The Fuji S5200 has the best user reviews but it's only a 5mp 10x camera compared to 6mp and up to 12x. I know that 6 is better than 5 and 12 is better than 10, but are those significant differences?
The only advice I've gotten was second hand from a friend of a friend who works at a brick and mortar camera store. She categorically recommended the Konica-Minolta over the Fuji because the Fuji is "slower" (not sure what that meant), has fewer pixels and lower zoom power for basically the same price. I can read the specs, too. What I need is an educated opinion.
Is there anything that sets these three apart for my intended use?