Purchasing a digital camera can present us with a bewildering array of choices. The range of models and features is enormous and the prices vary accordingly. The best way to begin narrowing down the options is firstly to consider your budget and secondly the purpose for which you are buying the camera.
If your budget is $1000 or more then you have the option of buying a digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera which will certainly provide you with excellent image quality. And if you take a serious interest in photography this is definitely the way to go. These cameras are all of professional or semi-professional quality and do require some skill and knowledge to give their best results.
If you have less than $1000 to spend then you will be in the market for a compact digital camera. Although, as the name suggests, they are smaller than SLRs, many of them are capable of producing more than adequate results for most purposes. Due to their portability, even professionals sometimes carry a compact with them as a backup camera. If you're interested in photography as a casual hobby, or just want a camera to take on holidays or to record family occasions then a compact would be ideal. They are also easier to operate than SLRs and for this reason they are often recommended for one's initial foray into digital camera ownership.
Once you have decided on the type of camera you're going to buy, then it's best to do some research. Digital camera magazines and the internet provide excellent and mostly unbiased reviews of the many models available. They often include comparisons of similar cameras competing in the market place, pointing out the strengths and shortcomings of each model, as well as the uses for which they are most suited (such as studio work or outdoor shoots for example). Going to a camera shop which stocks the unit you're interested in and getting a hands on look at one can help you have confidence in your final choice.
Finding the best price for the camera you have in mind can also be done easily on the internet and it pays to search eBay's listings by typing the model name and selecting "cameras and accessories".