an optical viewfinder
decent array of controls
moderate zoom range
runs on AA batteries
good-sized LCD display
less than $200
Nikon eliminated the optical VF from their coolpix line, so they were out. After looking at other cameras and reading many reviews, I came to the conclusion that the Canon Powershot A-series cameras were my best bet. Although I am a die-hard Nikon person when it comes to film and digital SLR cameras, I wanted something that fit my needs, not a label, and the Canon Powershot A570-IS really attracted me. It may have been Herb Keppler's article in a recent issue of Popular Photography where he featured the Powershot A460 that made me take notice. The A460 is a cute thing, and very inespensive, but lacks the manual control that I wanted. The A560 didn't quite have all the features, but the A570 did. For $50 more, I got a cameras that really has a lot of creative potential, and fits in my shirt pocket.
As you can see, the Coolpix 3100 was getting worn and scratched, and the 3.1 MP count was limiting. With 7.1 MP, movie mode, Image Stabilization, et., etc., the Canon is a huge upgrade.
I don't have any photos from it to post yet, but give me a day or so!