Buying a piece of electronics can be so intimidating when the ads and sales people start throwing terms at you. These terms mean nothing to you until you actually start using the camera and find out you were sold something you dont need or you were undersold on quality.

 
This HOW TO is going to take the guess work out of buying a digital camera. There are a few key things to look for:
  1. Pixels (the number of little colored squares that make up an image), You need 8 or more if you can afford it. You can get away with 7 but I would go for 8+ if you can.
  2. Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom, Digital Zoom distorts the pixel resolution as you zoom. (your picture will go from 8px to 4px just because you zoom in on something far away.) Optical Zoom is better because it get closer without lessening your resolution so your picture is clearer. You want to get the highest number of Optical you can find in your price range (ex: 4x, 5x). 
  3. Memory, Usually there is a slot for an SD card or a MemoryStick Duo Card. Either one of these is  good to get. You might have to purchase one of these seperatly from the camera. A 2-4GB card would be sufficient. Sometimes they are on sale. (see my super sale posts by clicking super sale in the catagories section on the right)
  4. Be sure to get a camera that comes with a neck strap or a wrist strap. If it has a wrist strap, invest in a lanyard or neck strap to replace the wrist strap. You will not regret this. I have heard of too many of my students losing their cameras because they didnt have a neck strap.
  5. Batteries, Somtimes the camera will take AA betteries. Invest in a 2 sets of rechargeable batteries. Duracel and Energizer are good for this. If you camera takes a Lithium Ion battery buy an extra one. This will come in handy later. Just like we used to carry an extra canister of film around, now its a battery. Keep your backup charged.
Reviewers Reccomend the Sony Cyber-Shot and the Cannon PowerShot. I own a Cannon PowerShot and I LOVE it! It even records movies! Look at a list of the features for the camera you are looing at. Make sure there are features you want included: ability to capture movies, fun frames for pictures, manual settings, etc.