Olympus D-500L review
The only reason this camera gets a "poor" on features is because it is (in digicam terms) ancient technology nowadays...
However, as an entry into "sort-of" SLR digicams, the D-500L is no mean performer. Producing images of 1024x768 or 640x480 in three quality modes, it is still ideal for web-use and (perhaps) small prints.
It sports a proper TTL viewfinder, autofocus, spot or average metering, built-in pop-up flash, 3x optical zoom, 43mm filter thread (ideal for adding a teleconverters, wide-angle, etc.). It's also extremely easy to use, and takes standard AA-sized batteries (NiMH preferably).
As a starter camera, I can heartily recommend the D-500L (UK name is C-1000L). It's only got 850K pixels, unlike the 1.3M of the D-600, but in compensation it has a slightly higher ISO (~180), so low-light performance is marginally better.
Only the usual suspects - these cameras *will not* focus in low-light; you're stuck with fixed 8ft-infinity or 1.3ft "instant" focus. Not ideal.
Unless upgraded by Olympus, the D-500 will only take up to 8MB SmartMedia - actually not that great a problem with an average HQ (1024x768 medium compression) image taking about 150K. 8MB cards are cheap...
The final downside is finding a well-priced specimen. I've seen (refurb) units on sale for £190 in the UK. eBay prices for US cameras seem to be in the $250-$300 range. I'd say it's well worth about £150 ($210), but much more than that and you may as well get something a bit newer for a few quid more.