I have not thought of moving into entry level of SLR at the moment. For now i would just want a camera that has the convenience of the basic functions of a PnS compact cameras and at the same time equip with creative controls that I am able to switch to, to take aesthetic photos which is not heavy and troublesome while I am travelling overseas.
Dont really like to carry a heavy DSLR cameras with all the lenses with me when overseas...
I have evaluated a Panasonic z28 and Canon sx10 for my father for an all in one camera and decided to get him the Panasonic because it's cheaper, lighter, and has high definition video. The quality of the pics should be similar.. Panasonic has a faster lens though so might be even better. The zooming function of the Canon is much faster though and the build quality feels more like dslr and heavy. The Panasonic is light plastic instead. So out of the 2 I recommend you get the Z28.. if you want to wait then the Canon Sx1 should be released soon. Not sure if in Singapore though. We in the U.S. will not get it. not sure why.. but it will have CMOS sensor and HighDef video as well.. so should be slightly superior to the Panasonic but for much more cost.
I agree with you that you should not get a dslr for vacation purposes.. I have a 50d Canon dslr but will not bring it to my vacations because it's just too much stuff! People already have enough bags and stuff to drag along already no need for big heavy equipment. I have a Panasonic LX3 that I will bring with me instead that gives me small size and good quality as well as a standard small digicam for longer zoom. It's good enough.
Not true about low light quality of Panasonics. Panasonic LX3 is THE best low light compact cam in the market today. F2 lens at 24mm wide angle and lower megapixel to reduce sensor noise. G10's low light performance is not as good.
Z28's low light performance should be a little better than the sx10 but not the sx1. If you can get the sx1 it should be the best camera out of the group but it's much more expensive as well.