The first truly great non-dSLR digicam

   The first digicam - other than a dSLR - that was semipro was Canon’s G9.  It was where the industry started getting it altogether - started to.
   It was rather easy to hold - though lacked a good grip; no problem, some prior shooter made a home industry of making knurled grips or cast ones with a similar knurled-like finish backed by self-adhesive back that seemed just part of the camera when installed!  (See in photo below.)  It had a great, moderately-fast zoom lens.  Mode control was easy with dial atop camera.  ISO easy to set with dial atop camera - to very-“optimistic” 1600.
   What it lacked: easy exposure compensation control in the field - a thing Canon would fast fix on later models (and much better ones) in the G series, roughly analogous to the rangefinder 35mms so many of us started on (but with far better lenses than any film rangefinder had).
   Price was quite good as a compact backup digicam - if bought used off of eBay or used from Adorama’s used division.

Canon G9 that I had.