Digital Camera Recommendations?

With my birthday coming up and my growing frustration with my point-and-shoot PowerShot S400 I’m in the market for a new digital camera. I’m looking at something SLR-like, or maybe even a slightly-used DSLR, but my max budget is definitely $500. I’ll probably be partially funding my own present, but I’ll just view it as using a coupon or getting a really good deal on what I want.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading camera review sites, especially Digital Photography Review , but I usually just get lost in a lot of technical camera jargon that I don’t understand or don’t have the patience to research. Or I read 3 or 4 conflicting opinions on the same product. Or, the worst is when I find a camera I think I like and get excited about, then read it won’t be coming out for another 6-8 months.

I’m not looking to become a professional photographer, but I am looking for something that I can take a good photo with (accidentally) every once in a while.

So, what features am I looking for? Well, if it’s at all possible, I’d like these features, listed in order of priority:

  1. Fast startup/photo taking
  2. Decent low-light condition quality
  3. Image stabilization
  4. SD Memory card (my laptop doesn’t have a built-in CF reader)
  5. A little wider-angle lens
  6. 6-10MP
  7. Proprietary, long-life battery (no AA or AAA)

Any recommendations are welcome.

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