People are always seeing all the beautiful photos I've posted and then asking me what camera they should get! So, perhaps I can save a few emails by just posting my standard advice here in a "stickie" in this section of the forum.
There isn't just one camera that I recommend... there are three, depending on what you're looking for.
If you're just looking for a simple point-and-shoot camera that is small enough to keep in your purse... the camera I recommend is the Canon PowerShot A3100. This is a small, easy-to-use camera that is perfect for someone that is not a photographer and who just wants to pull a camera out of the purse for that occasional unexpected photo opportunity. It has an image stabilized lens with a 4x zoom, and shoots high-resolution 12 megapixel photos.
Canon PowerShot A3100 IS
At the other end of the spectrum, if you are looking to "go all the way" to really get the best possible photos... are not concerned about keeping the camera small... and are willing to pay some serious money for a camera, a lens or two, and possibly some helpful accessories... then you should get the Canon Digital Rebel XSi
, which is a digital SLR camera. You absolutely can not beat the quality of the photos from a good SLR camera paired with a good lens. But the equipment is not small, not un-complicated, and not cheap! Check out this page that I wrote all about the Canon Digital Rebel Xsi
Canon Digital Rebel XSi
If you want something in between those two cameras... something that takes near-SLR-quality photos, but without the hassle and expense of dealing with extra lenses and all of the complications of using an SLR camera... the one to get is the Canon PowerShot SX20. It's got an amazing 20x zoom lens built in to the camera. You never have to change lenses to go from an extreme wide angle shot to an extreme zoom, and you have many of the advantages of an SLR camera without the cost and trouble and size. You can use the camera in completely automatic mode and it's as simple as using a basic point-and-shoot camera... or you can dive in to the manual and learn how to use the advanced features such as rapid-fire continuous shooting. You can even add on an external flash, to bounce the light off of the ceiling and never get red-eyes in your flash photos.
Canon PowerShot SX20
So, there you have it... three camera recommendations, for three very different types of photographers. Which kind are you?
By the way, if you click on the photo of either of those cameras in this post, it will take you to the appropriate page at Amazon.com for that camera. Buy one from Amazon after clicking here, and you'll be supporting the forum by generating a commission that I use to pay our web server costs.