Can you get SLR performance in a smaller camera? The 'micro four-thirds' camera has the same sensor as some models of the Olympus DSLR, but sacrifices the view finder and mirror to put it in a smaller body. Initial impressions are good:
Olympus E-P1 Hands-on Preview
It has a focal-length multiplier of 2x, compared to 1.6x for a Cannon Dig Rebel, so it has a smaller sensor.
A co-worker looked at the compact super-zoom category and decided on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 based on the strong review. I can see the attraction. Especially for photographing wildlife, as he hopes to do.