I am a sculptor and I take lots of photos for reference. Budget is $550. The camera will be carried on hiking and horseback trips. I need a 10x to 12x telephoto. The camera needs to be fast and easy to use. Some shots will be from horseback. I need sharp, clear images, even inlow lightforest areas. Ease of use is important. Somephotos will be of moving wildlife. Movie clips not important. Fast accurate auto focus is essential. Quietness of operation is a plus. Macro mode would be useful, but not required.
The Image Stabilizer sounds very helpful...but will it travel okay and hold up even on a trotting horse?
I am not in a rush, I'd rather wait a few months and get the 'right' camera than get one today. I know some new models are just coming out that sound promising.
What are the most important features I should look for? Suggestions???