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For someone who is starting out in photography and wants to get something more advanced than a point and shoot but less complicated than a SLR camera, then this is a good camera to get. It has the convenience of a point and shoot, as its fairly compact and at the same time is packed with manual features like shutter priority, aperture priority and a manual mode where you can adjust both. It has got a good 12x optical zoom, which can take you quite close to objects, and has image stabilization for getting a good shot even when zoomed in.
Also it has been a while since its launched so now you will find sweet deals for this one. i saw that you are getting this for $149 on amazon as i write this, its a sweet deal for what features it is packed with. it was my first semi pro camera as well and i loved it, still have it, even though I have newer models. The best part is that you can take your own time to learn manual features and keep clicking using the auto mode or program mode and still get good quality pictures. the auto mode is also better than a point and shoot an shoots quality similar to an SLR.
Perfect camera for those getting into photography as a new hobby. Light and easy to use, this is a welcome addition to any new photographer. It carries many functions from auto programming to a function that allows you to adjust every element that you want (Focus, light, shutter-speed...). Burst mode and "sport" allow you to take the camera to your favourite sporting events and not worry about whether you will get that prize snap. The flash system is very effective with automatic mode it will detect whether the flash is needed as well as taking out red eye. With a screen and a LCD viewfinder (Its a TV in a viewfinder!) this camera has a great range of gadgets as well as raw photography power with its 6million pixel Carl Ziess lens. The zoom is incredible with range to match any SLR camera. The only negative i have found is that you cannot change lenses. So this means its the perfect starting camera, but if you are a hardcore photograpgher, this may only suit you as a back up.
Get closer than ever with the Cyber-shot DSC-H2 digital camera from Sony. With its incredible 12X optical zoom lens combined with Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization system you can capture stunning long-distance images with minimized blurring, even during longer exposures. It is conversion lens compatible so you can easily add optional telephoto and wide-angle lenses for even greater optical range.