"What kind of camera should I buy?" I get asked that question quite often, however there is no simple answer. There are basically three types of cameras that are available on the market today: (1) point-and-shoot camera, (2) digital 4/3 camera and (3) DSLR ( Digital Single Lens Reflex) this is primarily what professionals would use.
When looking for a new camera some of the catch words you'll see are megapixel, optical zoom, digital zoom and others. There is much hype that more megapixels are always better, however this is not entirely true. It's not just the number of pixels but also the quality of the pixels that make up the image, so you should not buy a camera based just on how many megapixels it has. When you're looking for the amount of zoom the camera has pay attention to the amount of optical zoom, not the digital zoom. Optical zoom means you don't loose any quality in the photograph when you zoom. If you use digital zoom then the picture starts to degrade and looks pixelated.
Some other things to consider are the placement of the flash on the camera. Is it in a corner where you would naturally pick up and hold the camera? If so, that could be a problem with your fingers blocking the flash. How does the camera feel in your hands, smaller is not always better. Cameras are now starting to offer built in GPS that can be used to mark you location where you took your picture and others have built in wireless connectivity that can upload your photos to different social sites such as Facebook and Google Picasa, keep in mind though that these options add to the cost of the camera and will deplete your battery faster.
A good source for camera reviews can be found at cnet camera reviews.
My recommendation when looking to buy a camera would be to decide on what your budget is and narrow it down to 3 selections. Once you do that, go to the store and play with them, see how it feels in your hands. Check the camera menues, do they make since to you? Are the buttons easy to access? Does the battery door feel solid?
These are just a few tips that hopefully will help you on your next camera purchase.