WHAT TO LOOK FOR: When buying a digital camera you must look for the basics and what stands out for you. First you must look at the how much zoom digital or optical, then how many pixels, white balancing, storage internal and or external, camera interface camera conections, and most of all value for money, price.
PIXELS: Pixels are what make up a digital photo they look like tiny squares, if you zoom into a photo on a computer you can see these little squares. So when you see a camera for sale and it says it's a 4 mega pixel one it means that in each photo taken the maximum amount of tiny squares is 4 million. This also determines the print quality and maximum print size for example a 4 mega pixel camera can produce pictures 7.1" x 5.4" or a 5 mega pixel at 8.1" x 6.1". you can go larger but the quality begins to diminsh.
WHITE BALANCE: A digital camera must have an automatic or manual white balance function to make it easier to use. White balance changes through the camera so that you can shoot indoors, outdoors and shots that are low light. Outdoor shots are blue in colour and indoor shots are orange in colour so the camera must alter to change the different colour temperatures.
DIGITAL AND OPTICAL ZOOM: Nearly all cameras have both digital and optical zoom but when purchasing your first camera you must favour optical zoom. This is because optical uses the optics of a camera like an old SLR, optical is clearer and sharper than digital. With digital zoom it almost pretends to zoom using the CCD inside the camera, what happens is it will crop the image and make it a smaller size, ie less pixels.
SCREEN SIZE: Early digital cameras came out with a LCD screen size of around 1 inch now digital cameras a blessed with up to 2 inches and even more. Always look for a camera with the most screen size, yes they will probably eat up your batteries but it's worth it, you can frame up a photo with ease and actually see what your taking without having to squint.
BATTERIES: Now days digital devices come out with high powered rechargable battery packs this is perfect for long photo taking. Some digital cameras still use AA or AAA bateries and you will find it costs quite a bit of money maintaining them. So if possible look for ones with battery packs.
MEMORY: Some cameras come with ther own memory but look for ones that can take memory as well. The types of memory are CF or compact flash the first and original memory card, used in high end digital SLR's you can buy them up to 4gb. SD secure digital these ones have a write protect switch. Multimedia, Smart Media, Memory Stick from Sony and XD xtreme digital. Say if you had a memory card at about 32mb and a 4mp camera you could only take about 16 shots so the higher the memory card the more shots you can take.
CAMERA CONECTIONS: these are the conncetions, serial, which is used by older computers and you rarely see it anymore, USB universal serial bus it transfers up to 11 mega bits per second, USB 2 the next stage of USB it's faster at 480 mega bits per second, then theres firewire at 400 mega bits per second.
COST: The starting price of a digital camera for a 3mega pixel one is about $120 mark to thousands for the professional high end digital SLR's at about 6-9 mega pixels. If you are a beginner look at cameras at about the $300-$500 it will get you good optical zoom, good quality brand ( canon, sony, fuji) and good screen size, and allow you to recharge it.