Buying a new camera

Recently my brother in law asked me an important question:

Need some advice – we are planning to buy some electronic equipment with the baby – a new picture camera and video (dvd) recorder.  We were wondering if you had any recommendations.  Sameena heard that any of the SLR cameras are good because they don’t have a delay.  Any input you could give would be much appreciated. 

Since people are always looking to buy cameras, I figured I’d repost my answer here. 

So I really wouldn’t suggest getting a DSLR.  The concept that there’s no delay is somewhat of a myth, and the DSLR is a lot more camera than you need.  It’s also bulky, blah blah blah.  Too often you see people buy a DSLR and it’s way more camera than you need.

My favorite amateur camera is the Canon Powershot series.  They come in very small sizes which is really important, and unless you’re a secret photographer and want to do spot metering, I doubt you’ll find the edges of it’s performance and think, "Man, I wish I had a DSLR".

On the video front, I took a $200 Radio Shack-bought Sanyo C40 with me to Pakistan for video (it also does stills) and really liked it.  It’s small and took decent video.  The powershots do video as well.  I recommend buying the powershot and sharing the video off it with friends before you go buy yourself a video camera.  If you really care about quality, you’ll still want to buy something extra if you are really into your video, but you’ll have a much better idea about what you want after you’ve used the Powershot-shot video.