What digital would you recommend for bird shots and Macro for flowers. Easy to use for a 51 year old beginner is a must!!! This is more complicated than I thought and am completely overwhelmed!!! Thanks!
Camera shopping these days is pretty overwhelming. It's compounded by the fact that the models seem to change every year, like everything electronic. I'm not familiar with most of the current crop, but I can tell you that my personal experience with Olympus, Panasonic, and Canon have been excellent. Sony, Nikon, and Fuji also have fine reputations in digital cameras.
A couple of websites, DPReview and Steve's Digicams, might be helpful to you. They have a lot of reviews in various categories of cameras.
In addition, you can go to an online vendor such as B&H Photo and browse cameras by manufacturer. When you find a possibility, take a look at the complete list of specifications. Since you're interested in macros, check to see how close to the subject the camera will focus. When it comes to zoom, pay attention to the optical (not digital) zoom.
I hope these suggestions will narrow your choices just a bit. Good luck!
Nanny, I just discovered that the Panasonic Lumix FZ7 is under $300 now. Here it is at Amazon, a good place to buy cameras.
I recommended the FZ7 to a friend, and she is loving it. I have the 2005 version, the FZ5, which is similar, but with slightly fewer features. To see some of the photos I've taken with it, go to my Flickr pages.
I don't think you could go wrong with this camera, but if you want to keep looking I'd certainly understand. Research is half the fun. :-)