Okay, first I'm sure there have been many questions like this before, but on the search bar I didn't come up with much information I was wanting to know, which is just honest opinions.
So before I jump into the question, a bit about me. I've been shooting portraiture for near 2 years. I have a D800E and it's a beautiful camera and I am nothing but happy with it.... in the studio. I obviously don't care to lug the thing around when I'm just out to the cafe or at a family dinner. But I always get an itch when I see an image I want to take, but have nothing but a crappy smartphone to take it with. So here's what I'm looking for. Any suggestions that fit all or most are welcome. I have my own considerations but I won't mention them just cause I want to know what you all think without bias to the system I mention.
So here it goes, I don't much care for spec sheet comparing. I can do that myself. I don't care about pin point clarity, I don't care about frames per second, and I don't plan on shooting Avatar 2 so video specs really mean nothing to me. Just people who own cameras and can tell me why they like them or don't.
Without further ado, what I'm looking for....
1-Highly Portable. Pocketable is a plus, but fitting in a messenger bag is perfectly fine. The D800 hurt's my bad neck on long walks, weight is more the issue than size.
2-At least decent image quality. I would prefer a larger sensor than that of a P&S, but it does not have to be interchangeable lens. (however being interchangeable is a relative plus or at least having a decent fixed lens zoom. I dont like being stuck with one FL for eternity) Resolution and ISO performance are second priority to overall image quality and appearance, and more importantly ergonomics.
3-Under or around US$400 for full system. Cameras up to $700 can be considered , but for a take-with-me-everywhere I would like it to not be too valuable in the case of it being lost, stolen, or damaged.
4-Focus speed is paramount. The camera is to be used for street photography as well as the family portrait or two at parties. So being able to point the camera at an unsuspecting passer-by and shoot in just a moment before they realize is very important. I do candid street photos, or at least like to.
5-The look and feel of the camera are mildly important. I like classic looks but am willing to forego that in the case of excellence in performance. Not having at least one control dial that can be set to exposure compensation is a REAL killer. I tend to set my aperture wide open, set the shutter to auto, ISO to auto 100-1000, and manually control my exposure with exposure compensation. Without that function being instantly changeable the whole purpose of the camera is lost to me.
The only reason I ask this here is because the guys at the camera shops all recommend me the same cameras that don't fit ~enough~ of those needs or is exorbitantly expensive. It's either in my price range and is a slow, soccer mom point and shoot (no offense meant to soccer moms), or is 1800-2100US. Internet reviews are little help in that one site says a camera is the bees knees, and the other site says its rubbish. That and nothing compares to simply getting your hands on them to get a feel for the camera and it's files, yet I haven't the budget to rent cameras until I find a keeper.
Sorry for the long post. TL;DR - I need a small light-weight carry-everywhere camera with at east decent speed and image quality, with manual controls that's no ~too~ expensive.
Thank's in advance for any advice or opinions offered.
D800E, 24-120 F4 VR, 50mm 1.8G, 85 1.8G, 28mm 3.5, 135mm 3.5