Here's the deal...I bought a FinePix2800Z 3 or 4 years ago w/ a great [for then] optical zoom [6.0 + 2.5 digital] and 2MP. It takes great stills outdoors, but any movement and I get blur. My 2nd son is graduating high school in about a week--the last 3 weeks I've taken Prom pix indoors and out, award banquets [indoor] and general senior memorabilia shots. Out of probably 300 shots I've got about 5 usable ones...friends with more recent [but less expensive] cameras got great shots, indoors and out [thank God]. Almost every shot has blur from movement, and by the time the shutter snaps, the kids have moved to another room!
This camera has given me great service over the years, but again, mostly for outdoor or well-lit indoor stills. The ability to shoot candids is almost non-existent [nieces, nephews, etc--I have to switch to my 30 yr old SLR!]. I was never able to shoot my kids playing basketball or playing in the pep band [again, movement in low light]
Now, I'm a pretty skilled Photoshop editor, and have used the camera lots in my work as a freelance graphic designer for a fast food chain--but food is still. Most of our stuff is deployed via the web, so the 2MP has been ok. But now I need something that will take portraits [I've done some really great ones, even with this camera, as long as they're outside and frozen...] but I do NOT want to miss shots of graduation, reception, etc.
I'm not a photo-techie, so I'm not sure about specs [ISO, etc]. But I know that friends and both of my kids get great shots with their Kodak EasyShare and lower-end DiMage cameras...
So, to recap...I need the zoom, need decent shots of normal movement [I'm not talking sportscenter], decent portrait ability, ability to shoot indoors and get some candid shots [ie of a reception, etc.]
Hope that helps. I don't want to spend $1400, either.