First, it will matter whether you are buying a camera to be used for a hobby or as part of a professional endeavor.
Professionals use single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. If you are considering photography as a profession, then this is the type of camera you will want to invest in. SLR allows you to adjust the lenses as contrasted against the normal point-and-shoot cameras. You can control the opening of the lens and the shutter speed. Though it may be more difficult to operate, pictures taken with SLRs have higher quality and provide more gratifying results. They allow more space and opportunity for the best composition. Simply stated, compared to a point-and-shoot camera, SLR can do much more.
If you are able to consult with experienced photographers or purchase photo and camera magazines, get some product reviews. You can also do some research on your own through the Internet, paying particular attention to how users rate specific SLR cameras.
What is Your Budget?
SLR cameras are more expensive than point-and-shoot. Some low priced cameras have built-in aperture settings. They are also operated manually. On the other hand, there are models that offer better features, have timers, measure flash and provide automatic shutter and aperture speed options.
Making That Decision
Before visiting a store and walking out with a new camera, be sure that you have already decided in advance which features you like and will fit your budget.
When you arrive, spend some time with a knowledgeable worker to ensure you see and talk about the cameras that satisfy your specifications. Do not purchase one immediately; rather hold it and try it yourself. Adjust the lenses and familiarize yourself with the controls.
There are also digital SLR cameras that will compete for your attention. If one of those piques your interest, consider the same specifications you already have in mind, but definitely weight the cost. A digital SLR is pricey.
In fact, always keep your budget in mind while shopping for a camera. If what you really want is too steep, consider buying a refurbished camera, or check out options on eBay.