This very much depends on your needs and what you plan to do with the images. If you want carry-about convenience and want to take holiday and family snaps then you don't need an SLR. If you want to take close-ups, low-light photographs or wildlife photos, for example, then an SLR type camera will give you greater flexibility for more demanding requirements. Also consider what you want to do with the photographs. Do you want images just to post on the web for family and friends? Do you want enprints? Do you want high-quality enlargements for competition/exhibition purposes etc? The latter requirement may need an SLR type camera (though not necessarily) but the former might be covered by a less expensive camera. Be wary of asking make/model specific questions on these boards. For example, asking whether you should buy X or Y might result in owners of X or Y saying why they bought their camera but they may never have made a side-by-side comparison and if they did, they would be concerned about issues that affected their type of photography which may not be the same as yours. Also, makes/models change so quickly as manufacturers seek to gain market share with new models that not everybody here will have, or even know about, the latest model. What you should do: 1) Think about the type of photography you want to do. (See paras 1 and 2 above) 2) If you know a little about cameras, write out a list of 'Must Have' features (don't go for the Earth since the Earth may be outside your budget!) and 'Nice-to-Have' features. 3) Decide what your budget is going to be. Don't forget that spare batteries, cases/bags, memory cards and filters etc. all may add to the price. 4) Do some research. Look at the camera makers websites, read some photo magazines, search the web for reviews etc. 5) Create a shortlist of cameras (3 or 4 maximum) that fit your budget and have the features you require. 6) Go to the shops and handle the cameras on your shortlist. What do they feel like? Do you like the size, weight, layout of controls, displays, menus etc. 7) By all means, ask questions here but remember that focused questions will get focussed answers while general questions of the 'which one should I buy?' nature will elicit a range of responses based on personal likes/dislikes. If anything, it might confuse you more. (See para 3 above) 8) When buying, buy from a reputable source. Buying from eBay or from a dealer in Hong Kong is not always a smart move and may cost you more longer term if you don't know what you are doing. An established and reputable High Street dealer may not be the cheapest but you are likely to get problems sorted out a lot quicker than by buying remotely. 9) When you do get the camera, READ THE MANUAL. Do it more than once. Things are not always obvious on the first read-through. 10) Finally, if you have bought a modern digital camera and get bitten by the digital bug, there is a strong chance that you will want to upgrade at some stage. When repeating this decision making process, make use of the experience you have gained with your camera to determine what you look for next time. Good luck!